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Where Heaven and Earth Meet - Micah 5:2c-5a

Patch Adams encountered a thin place.  He had found himself in a difficult place.  He and his friends, including his girlfriend, had committed their lives as doctors helping the less fortunate.  In the midst of their service, in a tragic situation, his fiancĂ© is murdered by a mentally ill patient.  In anger and desperation, he cries out to God…and in a thin place, in a very thin place, God responds, making his presence known. What is a thin place?  The idea of a “thin places” is a Celtic notion.  Where often we think of Heaven as being “up there somewhere” the Celts thought of the distance between Earth and Heaven as being “three feet apart.”  They felt that there were places on earth where that distance narrowed and where we could experience the meeting of heaven and earth.  One of the places they felt this happed was in Iona[i].  While I have never been to Iona, I have a couple of friends who have been there as part of a spiritual retreat.  Their response to being in Iona leaves no d…

He Is The Vine We Are To Be The Branches - John 15:1-17

Today we conclude our journey through the “I Am” statements of Jesus.  We have tried to recapture significance of the impact that these statements would have had on the listeners, as well as understand what they mean for us today.  We recognized that in saying “I Am,” Jesus, blasphemously in the ears of his contemporaries, was claiming equality with God…for He was claiming the name God used to refer to himself when Moses questioned God’s name at the burning bush, with God responding, “I Am that I Am” and “this will be my name through all generations.”  The controversy of Jesus claiming identity/oneness with God is not controversial for us, because we, on this side of the resurrection, understand (well “understand” may be a strong word), know that Jesus, as God the Son, God the Father, and God the Spirit, are all aspects of our One True God.  For us, the controversy for some, is that the statements that Jesus made about Himself apply to us, as the church.  We cannot say, “we cannot do …

He Is...We Are To Be: The Way, The Truth, and The Life - John 14:1-14

He said, I AM… I am the Bread of Life…you can only find truly satisfying nourishment that will quench all thirst and satisfy all hunger in me… I am the Light of the World…I bring order to the chaos of your life…I shine light into the darkness of your sin and reveal your true intentions…not to condemn you, but in order that you might be saved…I give you life…I gather you with others around Me. I am the Gate…It is only through Me that you will find truly abundant and eternal life. I am the Good Shepherd…Hear My call…know My voice…Respond, and I will lead you through myself into the pastures that will allow you rest. I am the Resurrection and the Life…I am the source of life…don’t look to places of death for living, but look to Me, come to Me, take your eyes off the things of this world and let Me give you new life. My friends, I am so directionally challenged, as I’ve told you before, and as many of you know, that often times a GPS doesn’t work.  Sometimes it is because, even with the turns m…

He is...We Are To Be: The Resurrection and the Life - John 11:17-27

Have you ever had one of those moments where your spirit is just so deeply disturbed because of a person’s words or actions, that you want to scream, or weep?  Maybe it is with a child, trying to get them ready to go out of the house on a cold morning?  Maybe the conversation goes a little something like this: “Put on your coat, It’s time to go.” “I don’t like my coat, I want to wear my grey jacket.” “It’s too cold for your jacket, put on your coat.” “I don’t want to wear my coat, I want to wear my jacket.” “Look, it is really cold outside, it is cold enough to snow.” “Snow?  It’s snowing outside.  I want to see the snow.” “No, It’s not snowing, it is just that cold.  It is too cold to wear your jacket, you need to put on your coat.  Understand?” “Yes sir.  Can I go see the snow now?” “There’s no snow, we need to go now, let’s get your coat on.” “Okay.” And he picks up his jacket to put it on. “Not your jacket, your coat.” “But I don’t want to wear my coat.” “Aaaggghhh!” Now the Scriptures do not t…

Rejoice Always? Give Thanks in All Circumstances? - 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18

A little boy was asked to return thanks before a holiday dinner.  The family members bowed their heads in expectation.  He began his prayer, thanking God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles.  Then he began thanking God for the food.  He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, and even the Cool Whip. Suddenly he paused, and everyone waited—and waited.  After a long silence, the young child looked up at his mother and asked, “If I thank God for the broccoli, won’t he know that I’m lying?” My brothers and sisters, we have gathered tonight for our Thanksgiving Service.  WE are entering what many consider to be the most festive time of the year.  We gather to give thanks for the many blessings that God has poured into our lives.  We rejoice, or at least anticipate rejoicing a month from now, remembering the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is a celebratory season. The irony is, my …