Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Better Than A Lightsaber - John 1:1-14

We gather here today just over a week after the release of probably the most anticipated movie of the year, or at least the second half of the year.  Proof how greatly anticipated the movie was reflected in the fact that during opening weekend, it shattered the all-time opening record by almost $40 million and the opening day record by nearly $35 million.  When you think of Star Wars, several things come to mind, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Yoda, the Millennium Falcon, and of course the tool that every young boy, and probably a few girls, as well as numerous grownups have longed to really possess, a lightsaber. Who wouldn’t want a lightsaber?  The lightsaber was the weapon of choice for both the Jedi and the Sith, Jedi (the good guys) representing the positive side of “The Force” and the Sith (the bad guys) representing the dark side.  In addition to serving as a weapon, the lightsaber was a pretty versatile tool.  It was a defensive tool, used not only to parry and block the incoming…

The Greatest Love Story - 1st John 3:1 (Christmas Eve Reflection)

I can’t tell you the number of romantic Hallmark Christmas love stories that Anita and I watch every year.  We enjoy spending that time together while we are wrapping presents or while I am typing bulletins or putting our Sunday slideshows together.  However, while all those movies are fictitious, the true Christmas Story is also a love story, it is the beginning of the Greatest Love story, and we are part of that love story, we are the reason for the love story. So my Brothers and Sisters, we find ourselves tonight in the midst of the Greatest Love Story ever told…a story that began when God said “Let there be light,” and won’t conclude until we see Jesus’ fulfillment of “Surely I am coming soon.”  Hear again the words of John, as related to us from Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrase of the Bible: “What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take u…

Overflowing Love - Philippians 1:2-11 (Sermon from December 6th)

Have you ever been in a hurry in the mornings fixing breakfast and either hit the wrong numbers on the microwave, or if you’re a stovetop person, forgotten about the timing while fixing oatmeal, grits, or cream of wheat.  We have a morning routine at our house.  Joshua wakes up with his alarm and comes up the hall where I am doing my devotions.  Once I am done, or if I am already done, my job is to help him finish waking up and get him eating breakfast while I fix my coffee and Anita’s hot chocolate for the morning, along with our lunches.  If Joshua decides on one of those three I mentioned, I am going back and forth to the microwave, working on both his breakfast or Anita’s hot chocolate.  The timings are close.  The initial time for the hot chocolate is a minute, thirty seconds, for Joshua’s breakfast, it is a minute.  Do you know what happens if I forget what I am putting in, and hit 1:30 with his breakfast, especially if I have accidently added too much milk?  That’s right, the b…

Eternally New - Isaiah 43:19

How about some Christmas trivia? When did the first Christmas Tree come into use? Many sources point to the first decorated Christmas Tree being found in Latvia in the year 1510. When was the first Advent Wreath used?  It originated during the Middle Ages, with formal rituals revolving around the Advent Wreath being in place within Catholic and Lutheran traditions by the year 1600. When was “Silent Night” first sung?  Christmas Eve of 1818 offered by assistant priest Joseph Mohr, as he scrambled to put a poem he had written in 1816 to guitar music when the church’s organ failed to work in preparation for the Christmas Eve worship. When was “Hark The Herald Angels” written?  In 1737, Charles Wesley composed this hymn, originally titled after the first line: “Hark! how all the welkin rings, glory to the King of kings.”  The first line was later changed to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” by George Whitefield—much to Wesley’s displeasure. These are all part of what we would call Christmas trad…

King of Love - 1st Samuel 8:19-22a; Matthew 2:1-2, 11; 27:27-31 (Nov 22 2015)

It’s Thanksgiving Week.  It is the week we celebrate the arrival of those who fled the rule of the King of England and sought to establish themselves here in America.  This week we remember the events that set this nation on course, years later, to reject the rule of a king and move toward the establishment of a publicly elected president.  With that in mind, isn’t it amazing that if we move away from our secular celebration of freedom from the rule of a king, and turn to our faith and consider the celebrations of the church year, that it is either the Sunday before or the Sunday after Thanksgiving that the Church observes Christ the King Sunday. Flashback thousands of years and we see the exact opposite going on.  Moses had led the People of God out of Egypt and through the wilderness, leading them as the divine representative of God.  When Moses passed, Joshua took up the role of God’s leader of the people, as he led them out of the wilderness, across the Jordan, and in conquest of t…

Are We Living Out Our Thanksgiving? - 2nd Corinthians 9:6-15

How many of us are ready to trust our future into the hands of today’s youth?  I mean, we hear all the stories of addiction to violent video games, hands that seem glued to smart phones, or stories of out of control partying.  I mean, really, that’s who holds our future.  How many of you are really ready to trust our future into the hands of those who are now under the age of twenty-one? I would.  Why?  Because while the young folks we’ve just described are out there, they are only a few of the generation that is coming up behind us.  I also know that there are other, remarkable young folks that will be the generation caring for us in the future.  For example, there was the group of young folks that I encountered at Summer Breakaway this summer, there was a core group of three, with others floating in and out, that asked another staff member and myself to spend time talking with them about understanding Scripture and how it related to life in society today.  It started out to be about …

In Remembrance: A Call To Action - Luke 22:14-20, 24-27 (October 4th)

Recently, Anita and I watched this Hallmark movie, Lead With Your Heart.  And yes, I will watch chick-flicks with my wife, just as she will watch the J.R.R. Tolkien movies with me…it was in the marital vows…, you know, for better or worse. I was thrilled with this movie because it reflected the equality of men and women of our day—too often we only see the husband portrayed as the inconsiderate spouse that forgets the anniversary—in this movie, they are equally guilty of letting their busy lives cause them to forget.  They key for today, though, is what happens when they remember.  They remember the anniversary (through the help of a friend and the help of a phone call), and they move into action to cover their error before the other spouse finds out. We have all kinds of ways to help us remember things these days.  The old stereotype of tying a string around your finger as I did with the children this morning is from days gone by, though some may still use it.  Some folks will write i…

Wait...Listen...Trust - Psalm 46

This past Wednesday was “Back to the Future Day.”  It was the future date into which the time traveling DeLorean from the second Back to the Future movie 1989 leapt.  The weeks and days leading up to October 21, 2015 had many people comparing our current time to the movie’s projected time…to see which science fiction inventions had actually come to pass.  This year, Lexus has released video of their newest ride, the famed Back to the Future hover-board.  Flat-screen televisions have become the standard—outside of a flea-market or yard sale, I don’t think you can purchase the old “two-ton” bulky televisions anymore.  iPads, Microsoft Surface, and a variety of Android tablets show how touch screen tablets have just about replaced laptops that weren’t even popular in 1989 (when many households were just acquiring their first desktop computers).  This past week Pepsi had a public relations fiasco as they released the sale of a limited edition Pepsi Perfect a day before Back to the Future …