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Showing posts from February, 2013

Where? - Philippians 3:17-4:1

Lent, the time of the Church year we began on Ash Wednesday and will observe from then until Easter—a period of 40 days (not including the Sundays), is to be a time of self-reflection.  The time of self-reflection is not to be one in which we look at ourselves and think we are God’s greatest gift to humankind, nor is it a time in which we sit there and condemn ourselves wishing we weren’t alive because our lives are so sinful.  It is a time in which we examine our lives, both our individual lives, and our lives together as the Church, and reflect on whether our lives are in line with how God calls us to live. Last Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent, we took some time to reflect as we asked the question: “Who?”  In this, I lifted up the term, Spiritual Alzheimer’s, and suggested that often times we forget who we are supposed to be in the faith.  We looked at how Satan tried to tempt Jesus to forget who He was by tempting him, 1) To use his divine powers to serve himself; 2) To bow down an…

Who? - Luke 4:1-13 (1st Sunday in Lent)

I want to tell you the story of a man whose wife is in a nursing home.  This man continued to faithfully try to help her, even when there was little he could concretely do.  The man, in his 80s, had stopped into a medical clinic to get stitches removed from his thumb. He asked the nurse if the doctor could see him quickly, because he had an important appointment at 9 a.m. “What appointment was that?” the nurse wanted to know. “I need to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with my wife.” “Is your wife ill?” asked the nurse. “Yes. She has Alzheimer’s.” “Would your wife mind if you were a bit late?” “Oh no,” he said. “She hasn’t recognized me for five years.” “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?” The man only smiled. “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.” Alzheimer’s.  In the seventeen years I have served as a pastor I have encountered this diagnosis in so many people—church and family members alike.  Many of you know that in the past year m…

Baggage - Psalm 51:1-7 (Ash Wednesday Reflection)

We call her “The Bag Lady.”  No, we are not name-calling a homeless female with a derogatory label due to her living conditions.  We are talking about my wife.  As we take our youth on trips, the other chaperones, the youth, and myself have begun lovingly calling Anita, “The Bag Lady.”  How has she earned that nickname?  It is because any time we go on a trip (whether it is a family vacation, a church trip, or a day trip to someone’s home), she carries enough luggage, enough baggage, to dwarf that of any traveler—she might’ve even given “Lovey” from Gilligan’s Island a run for her money.  She has earned the name “The Bag Lady” because in each of her suitcase or bags, are more bags, into which she has organized each and everything she has brought along…for instance, inside the “toiletries bag,” there is a medicine bag, a makeup bag, a jewelry bag, a toothbrush bag, a bag for the shampoo and conditioner, a bag for combs and brushes, and of course, a first aid bag, all amongst many other…

Paul Didn't Write Greeting Cards - 1st Corinthians 13

It's that time of year again. Guys, as soon as she finishes putting up with the last vestiges of our yearly obsession with pigskin tonight, she expects our attention to be focused elsewhere. She wants us to replace thoughts of footballs with flowers, the coin toss with candy, and quarterbacks with cupids.  February is here and as soon as the Super Bowl is over, guys, our focus is supposed to be on love. The month surrounding Valentine's Day is upon us. While Valentine's Day had some debatable origins, my theory is that it is maintained nowadays by the greeting card industry. The truth of the matter is that, as far as holiday sales go, the sale of Valentine's Day cards is second only to Christmas cards. Sadly, though, most of us guys must not be too good at remembering our girlfriends or wives because women account for 85% of all Valentine's card purchases. "Sad, Preacher? Give me a break. We have more important things to worry about than candy, flowers, and litt…