We are all dying. Every single one of us. There is not one exception in this room. Physically, we know this to be true. My bald head is a sign of the progress of death. Hair follicles, quitting, stopping to do what they were meant to do. My troublesome ankle that is keeping me from running is a sign of the march to old age that I can’t stop. Even my eyes are dying. They worked so well 14 years ago, and now I can barely lead worship without blowing up the words into a cartoonish 18 font. Continue reading Death and Resurrection
When I was seventeen, on a porch in West Toledo, I leaned over and gave Ann Weaver a long, passionate kiss. The problem was that Ann Weaver was my girlfriend’s best friend. Another problem was that she was the girlfriend of my best friend. In retrospect, one could easily see all of the bad decisions that led to this kiss. The long phone calls we shared. The sudden interest that I had for tennis that could only be satisfied by Ann who was on the school’s tennis team. The “close calls” we had had before, obviously signalling our mutual attraction. Our temptation for each other was understood between us. When we finished with our late night tennis lesson, I knew what could happen if I accepted the invitation onto her porch. Yet, I dismissed my weakness to this temptation and sat next to her on that swing, our legs touching. Our one and only kiss, ended up causing a lot of high school heartache and drama. Continue reading Temptation
Scripture for this sermon is Matthew 5:21-37.
Wow, it has been a busy, busy week for me. “For the church to claim the message of Jesus that God’s kingdom has come, it must look like God’s kingdom.” And let me tell you, that it is hard work, day in and day out. Continue reading Following The Law
So, a couple of years ago when online shopping was just starting to be a thing, I purchased a Christmas present for my wonderful wife on the newly created Walmart.com. I carefully picked out the gift, probably a waffle iron because I know how to bring the Christmas joy. I put it in my virutal cart and clicked on the little button to check out. The entire screen froze. I grabbed some lunch while the circle thing spun, smirking that this still beats waiting in line at a crowded store. When I came back, the circle was still spinning so I turned off the computer, turned it back on and tried again. The screen froze four more times before I could finally make it across the finish line at check out. It took me almost an hour to order that gift. At check out I realized they couldn’t guarantee delivery before Christmas, so I had to go to the store to pick it up anyway . Continue reading What the Light Reveals
Gifts are a big part of Christmas. You might have already opened gifts this morning or will be this afternoon or tonight or have in the weeks leading up to today. Some like my son in law Adam, will still be opening presents in January when his family gets together for Christmas. Continue reading The Best Christmas Gifts Come From Trained Monkeys
We call this text in Luke an apocalyptic text. It is part of a rich tradition of scripture and other writings that describe the coming end times in dramatic, terrifying and even violent ways. Even though Jesus in other places clearly tells us not to worry about when our world will end, there is a Christian tradition of ignoring Jesus and parsing this scripture and others to see if we are near the end times now. Earthquakes, check. Wars, check. Famines, check. Plagues, check. And because these catastrophes are both vague and always happening, people of faith for generations have speculated and even declared that the end times are surely beginning now. Continue reading Planting a Tree
William Tyndale was probably born in 1494 in England. Like many younger sons of a minor royal families he became a scholar and a minister of the church. With several degrees from both the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, he became known as an incredibly respected linguist and a young priest with very radical ideas about the church. He was enthusiastic about the reforms being put forward by the German, Martin Luther. His passion cost him his cushy job tutoring the children of a duke and tending to his private chapel. Continue reading Pouring Out Our Lives
The scripture for this sermon is Genesis 32:22-32.
I have a lot of vices, too many to count, although my guess is that some of you would be glad to help me add them up. However, one vice not on my list is violence. I am not a violent person. I do not react violently, even when provoked. I have never been in any sort of physical fight with anyone as an adult. I was briefly part of a violent gang…but that was in the fifth grade. And, we named ourselves the Jets, after the gang in the Broadway musical, West Side Story. C’mon, how tough does that sound? Continue reading Demand a Blessing