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Showing posts from September, 2017

I Pledge Allegiance - Joshua 24:14-24 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

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A gentleman was coming out of church one day, and the preacher was standing at the door, as he always was, to shake hands.  He grabbed the young man by the hand and pulled him aside.  The Pastor said to him, "You need to join the Army of the Lord, my brother!" The man replied, "I'm already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor."  Pastor questioned, "Why is it I only see you at Christmas and Easter?" He whispered back, "I'm in the secret service." My brothers and sisters, we find ourselves in the midst of controversy within our nation.  It began last year with Colin Kaepernick and now has spread throughout the NFL, NBA, MLB, and, most likely, every other professional sport.  While NASCAR was singled out as different, even its most popular driver voiced apparent support for those who feel led to protest.  The controversy over whether to raise your hand, kneel, or stand with your hand over your heart during the National Anthem and the reciting of th…

Seaside Lessons With Jesus: It’s A Miracle Any Way You Look At It John 6:1-13

Covered Dish…Pot Lucks…Community Meals…. They go by many names, depending on what church community you find yourself a part of.  At times, they can be a cause for uneasiness.  I can’t tell you the number of times in the last 21 years that I would peek into the fellowship hall after Sunday School before my final preparation for worship and find myself a little uneasy because there didn’t look to be near enough food for the crowd we were expecting at church.  Only to find once the blessing and benediction had been offered and we walked back into the fellowship hall, that the tables were filled with enough food for everyone, plus some. As a matter of fact, there has only been once in the last twenty-one years where the abundance of food appeared like it was not going to work out.  I was just getting ready to go into the sanctuary and members of the fellowship team called me aside and asked me to take a look in the fellowship hall.  The tables were practically bare…and it was a Sunday wh…

Giving God What He Paid For 1st Corinthians 6:20 / 1st Peter 2:24 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

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I can’t tell you the number of times Anita and I have been through a drive-thru, placed our order, paid for our order, gotten home, pulled the food out, and there was something missing.  If I have picked it up by myself, that discovery is usually followed by, “why didn’t you check it before you left?”  When that happened and we lived in Burlington, most of the time one or the other of us would quickly slide back over to Wendy’s, Sheetz, or Cookout (the usually problem spots) and, nicely, ask them to correct the order so we could have what we paid for.  Anyone else been there? How many of you order online from somewhere like eBay where you are dealing with individual sellers as opposed to a business?  I have multiple times.  One of the first things I check before bidding on an item is to see the seller’s ratings and comments.  If I see a lot of “Item not as described” or “Item never arrived,” I quickly move on to a different seller or look elsewhere.  I don’t want to join the people w…

Seaside With Jesus: Jesus Goes Mafia Matthew 18:6-7

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It is humorous when Disney goes Mafia.  When they take one of the smallest of creatures in the film, a attic shrew, and identify him as Mr. Big, head of the crime syndicate in Zootopia.  As the tiny Mr. Big commands his henchmen to “ice” Judy and Nick, and watch the floor panel removed to reveal the ocean underneath, we uneasingly laugh as those old enough to know see allusions the Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone…then we catch mental images of the legendary “cement shoes” and bodies being dumped in the ocean.
It is no laughing matter, though, when the Son of God starts to sound like The Godfather.  Yet, that is exactly what we find as we encounter Jesus in these verses this morning.  Jesus doesn’t suggest that anyone be saddled with “concrete shoes” or even a “Chicago overcoat,” Jesus, the Son of God the Father, says “If any of you put a stumbling blocks before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and yo…

Why Are We Who We Are? 1st Peter 2:9-10 (Wednesday Night Refection)

How many of you have seen the movie Forest Gump?  At one point in the movie, Forrest ends up as a private in the Vietnam War.  During one of the Vietnam scenes, Forrest’s unit is ambushed.  Everyone in the unit, save Forrest, is either injured or killed.  We watch as Forrest searches frantically for his best friend, Bubba, and in the process hauls every injured comrade, including his Lieutenant, Dan Taylor to safety.  He brings them all out of the jungle to a rescue helicopter before being shot himself.  After their evacuation, the next scene shows Forrest and Lieutenant Taylor in the medical hospital, with Taylor questioning what he is supposed to do now that Forrest has rescued him.
We’ve been on this journey for several weeks now, letting Peter remind us of who we are.  He’s reminded us that we are a chosen race—those chosen by God across ethnic lines to be His people and because God has chosen us, we know that God loves us, God sees value in us, and God has a purpose for us.  Peter…

Act(s) of God Luke 13:1-5

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Hurricanes and flooding in Texas, Louisiana, St. Martin, Barbuda, and Florida.  An earthquake off the coast of Mexico.  Tornadoes in Texas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Georgia, Illinois, and other places.  Hail storms in Minnesota, Colorado, and Wisconsin.  Lightning caused wildfires in Wyoming and Arizona.  All natural disasters that have happened this year.  Unfortunately, as men and women walk through the devastation left by some of these events, they will, either knowingly or unknowingly, making a poor theological statement.  Natalie Barry in Texas, Danny Gibson in Georgia, and Janet Swenson in Minnesota will be among many who consider these events and label them as “acts of God.”  Their employment gives them no choice but to make this theological assertion, regardless of their beliefs.  They aren’t preachers, though…they are insurance agents.  Somehow, somewhere along the line, someone decided that the best term for destruction caused by a natural disaster was to label the event as…

Who Are We? God’s Own People 1st Peter 2:9-10 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

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We are nearing the end of our reflection on “Who Are We,” as we use 1st Peter 2:9-10 to remind us of who we are:  “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  Next week, as we will conclude the series, we will replace the “Who” with a “Why,” however today we come to the last of Peter’s statements of who we are.  We began by discovering that we are a chosen race, not due to skin color, the language we speak, or any other aspect of ethnicity, but simply because we have been chosen by God, meaning that God loves us, sees value in us, and has a purpose for us.  We learned that we are a royal priesthood in the line of the High Priest of High Priests, Christ Himself, that we might mediate God’s forgiveness and blessings, …

Seaside With Jesus: Water Walking -- Matthew 14:22-33

I love watching storms.  You can ask Anita.  She has had to fuss at me through quite a few.  I’ve shared with some of y’all, but for the rest of you to know how much I love storms, during our first hurricane, Fran, at 2 am I was standing with the backdoor of the parsonage open, with the wind blowing pine needles, leaves, and branches straight toward us, just watching the storm.    I hung out under the carport during parts of both Floyd and Isabell, as I do for almost any lightning storm that I can.  Even though I fell asleep right before Arthur made land fall while we were at Atlantic Beach (after Fran, Floyd, and Isabell—Arthur seemed like a mere summer storm to me), the next morning I went and spent an hour walking on the beach in the back end of the winds.  When we got our first DVD player, one first movies we bought was Twister and and our first Blu-Ray player was soon followed by The Day After Tomorrow. I have sat on the front porch here watching many storms since moving to the …