Sundays like today are one of the main reasons I do what I do. The whole morning, from start to finish, blessed and encouraged me, and I hope it did the same for you. I know that the ones who gathered this morning do not want a sterile, decaying church. I believe we want to see real change happen in real people. I believe that we want to trust Jesus to be that change rather than be Jesus’ triage nurse, telling him what’s wrong with everyone and what they need.
For our church, I think it’s time for a leap of faith. . . Continue reading “Sunday Debrief: There’s Room at the Table of Grace (8/10/14)”
Mother’s Day means child dedications. Child dedications mean I freak out more than I do over any other part of the service. “What if I get the name wrong?” “Everyone is counting on me.” “Even the GREAT grandmother is here!?!?!” “What if I forget the parents’ names?” The stress is nearly insurmountable. Even with practice the names, eve scouting out which parents are which before the service, I end bumble through the names and prayers HOPING that the families feel the least bit honored.
And then we go on with the service. . .
Reconciliation. God making right what we never could, though that certainly won’t stop us from trying. Such a rich and important word always leaves me feeling less-than-adequate to preach. You want a joke? You got it. A story or two? Absolutely. Talk about my failures? I can do that for the next fifteen days without stopping. Try to communicate the great act of God to restore us to him? Hmmm. I don’t know if I can take that on. . .
Continue reading “Sunday Debrief: (Re)Discover Reconciliation (5/11/14)”
The world will come at you and remind you regularly that your life will not be fully satisfied until you have what it has. Then, after you get it, you’ll suddenly feel outdated, antiquated, unhealthy, poor, embarrassed, or something else ridiculous simply because you do not have the next thing it is offering you.
Discontentment rises to the surface, sets it sights on you, and fires away until you succumb. And believers together often have a much easier times talking about their new house, renovation, car, or any other thing than they actually do talking about the transformation of their hearts in Christ.
The reason? I’m not a doctor, but I think at least in part it is because we believe a lie–the lie that Jesus changing us is less attractive and important than the newest thing we have.
So what’s the solution? Trusting our savior and enjoying him. Let’s remind ourselves of the words of Christ through Paul.
Continue reading “Sunday Debrief: Trusting God Completely (3/16/14)”
Some people like outlines. I usually enjoy making them for preaching; but sometimes they get in the way. This Sunday was one of those times. And, while it may not have mattered much in the end, I didn’t want the outline to get in the way of the point. (For those of you wondering why, we usually make our outlines a few weeks ahead of the Sunday, so there may be some variance in the final product from time to time.)
Luke 16 and the dishonest manager is a parable that many of us don’t understand.
I, too, struggled to get why this parable was told the way it was and why Jesus said what he did. Luckily, it isn’t on me to figure it all out on my own. I asked a dear friend—one with decades of ministry and teaching people about Jesus—for his thoughts. Here they are. . .
Continue reading “Sunday Debrief: The Eternal Gamble (3/9/14)”
I hope everyone enjoyed their (very cheap) Chinese finger trap. I saw people breaking them right after the service. You’re welcome.
Getting rich (or dying while we try) isn’t just a trap that we may fall into, many of us already have. We fill our lives, or bank accounts, our homes, and our plates with things for us—with a constant need to gain more. Gordon Gekko infamously reminds us of this idea.
But not so for the Christian (or at least, we would hope it to not be so) . . .
Continue reading “Sunday Debrief: Caught in a Trap (3/2/14)”
I am amazed at the things in my own life that don’t align with what Jesus would want from those who follow him. None hit so close to home as the statements about worry from Matthew 6 (ok, a few actually do).
I’d love to think that it were as easy as simply being happy instead of not worrying (and Robin Williams makes me think that perhaps it is), but I know it is much more complex than that.
So what do we do if we can’t just “be happy?” . . .
Continue reading “Sunday Debrief: Dealing With Worry (2/23/14)”