March 12, 2017 – “Easter Before and After: Take a Step,” Genesis 12: 1-4, Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17

You know those days where things just don’t go plan?  Last Saturday was the first time in weeks, probably since the big snow storm, that Meghan and I didn’t have anywhere we needed to be that day.  We weren’t going anywhere, we weren’t meeting anybody, the day was completely wide open.  I had big plans.  The DVR was getting full, we were gonna blow through that, once that was done we had some Netflix binge watching to catch up on, it was going to be the perfect wasted day.  Nothing of merit was going to be accomplished, we weren’t going to get the recommended amount of Vitamin D from the sun; my goal was for there to be an imprint when I left the couch, that was the plan.  Then Meghan got a phone call from her uncle. Continue reading “March 12, 2017 – “Easter Before and After: Take a Step,” Genesis 12: 1-4, Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17″

March 5, 2017 – Easter Before and After: “Cause and Effect,” Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7, Romans 5: 12-19

When I was six years old I was playing t-ball and got hit in the face with an aluminum bat.  Here’s what happened.  We were pretty far into the season and I was growing tired of my established position in right field.  If you’re not aware, right field is where the children with a week throwing arm and questionable hand-eye coordination are sent to do the least amount of damage to the team.  Now generally as a six-year-old you don’t realize that, but around this same time I was participating in a baseball themed children’s musical at church which included a song with these lyrics: Continue reading “March 5, 2017 – Easter Before and After: “Cause and Effect,” Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7, Romans 5: 12-19″

February 19, 2017: “Lessons from Mema: Who Pays Their Rent?” Jonah 1:1-3 and 4:1-3

My grandmother owned rental property.  For Clinton South Carolina she was quite the real estate mogul, at one point she had two different trailer parks and somewhere between five and ten houses or apartments that she was renting out.  By all accounts she was a very good landlord, but she was not the best business person.  I believe the original plan for the rental property, back when my grandfather was living, was for it to be an additional source of income for the family, that’s generally why people own rental properties.  She didn’t do too well with that part of it though.  Continue reading “February 19, 2017: “Lessons from Mema: Who Pays Their Rent?” Jonah 1:1-3 and 4:1-3″

February 12 – “Lessons from Mema: Coke Costs a Dollar” – John 12: 1-8

I began to allude to this last week but I’ll just go ahead say it this morning: to understand my Mema and what made her tick you have to understand just how…thrifty she was.  I’ll say thrifty because I put these sermons online now and my family is reading them and would be offended if I said cheap.  She was incredibly thrifty, she didn’t like to spend money unnecessarily.  For the last, at least ten probably more, years of her life she lived on a dollar and thirty-two cents a day.  She would go to lunch at Burger King with her sister and order a ninety-nine cent chicken finger sandwich and a senior drink.  I was there the day they had to inform her that the senior drink was no longer free and would instead cost her a quarter: she walked out of the Burger King!  Continue reading “February 12 – “Lessons from Mema: Coke Costs a Dollar” – John 12: 1-8″

February 5 – “Lessons from Mema: A Day Old Honey Bun Tastes Just as Good” – 1 Samuel 16: 1-13

My grandfather on my dad’s side died young, my dad was only seven when he passed away.  There are seven grandchildren on that side of the family, none of us ever knew our grandfather.  My grandmother never remarried, she was a widow for nearly 40 years.  So she was our only grandparent on that side of the family, she was also the closet, physically, grandparent that I had so that meant we saw her a lot.  My mom’s parents were forty-five minutes away so she was the one who could consistently come to games and plays and awards days and things like that.  She was the one whose house we went to on Sundays for lunch, she was the one who kept us if we were sick or there was a teacher workday and we were out of school and my folks weren’t, she was the one who we stayed with if my parents needed someone to watch us on a random Tuesday, we spent a lot of time with her.  The cousin who is closest to my age and I probably spent the most time with her because we were in daycare and elementary school when she retired so once a week she picked us up and we had what came to be known as “Mema day.”  Continue reading “February 5 – “Lessons from Mema: A Day Old Honey Bun Tastes Just as Good” – 1 Samuel 16: 1-13″

January 29, 2017: “Made New: New Future,” Isaiah 65: 17-25

There exists in scripture and Christian tradition a certain tension, the tension between what God has already done and what has not yet come to pass.  We see that tension in the words of the disciples right before Jesus ascends to heaven in Acts, they ask “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom of Israel?”  Even though they have seen him resurrected they aren’t quite sure of what they’ve witnessed.  It is obviously an amazing thing, but even at that point he hasn’t done what they expected the Messiah to do.  This incredible thing had occurred, but their day to day lives hadn’t particularly changed – Israel was still occupied by Rome, Herod’s family were still the rulers – if we put ourselves in the shoes of the disciples, forgetting all that we have been taught about what the resurrection means, we would have also been hard pressed to explain the events.  Something had obviously happened, that was clear.  But there was something that hadn’t happened yet, something that was still to come. Continue reading “January 29, 2017: “Made New: New Future,” Isaiah 65: 17-25″

January 22, 2017: “Made New: New Rules,” Galatians 5: 1-6

So last week after we finished up here Meghan and I went out for lunch.  The restaurant had a fountain drink machine, and on the machine was sign that read, “if you get soda in a clear cup you will PAY!!”  All caps, underlined twice, three exclamation points coming after it, PAY!!!  Apparently, they are having or have had an issue with people asking for water, getting it for free, and then filling their clear water cup with soda.  What I especially liked was that the sign didn’t say “you will be charged,” or “you will be asked to leave,” or anything specific like that.  No, it said “you will PAY,” like it’s the beginning of a movie where the hero accidentally wrongs the villain in some way and they vow revenge.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it, Meghan accused me of that, but I’m picturing a much more sinister threat than just having to pay the extra dollar twenty-five and being shamed.  I’m picturing real consequences for stealing soda, like mob style consequences – breaking of thumbs, baseball bats to the knee, horse head in your bed kind of stuff.  You’re not going to forget the time you filled your plastic cup with soda, this is going to be a lesson that leaves scars, you will PAY!!! for this breach of restaurant edict.
Continue reading “January 22, 2017: “Made New: New Rules,” Galatians 5: 1-6″