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″

January 15, 2017: “Made New: New Joy,” 1 Peter 1: 3-9

I want to use a term this morning that I’m guessing will be unfamiliar to many of you although I may be surprised, the term is “Jesus juke.”  Anyone heard it before?  Are we aware of what it means to juke someone, like in football?  You make the person think you’re going one way and the quickly move the other way, hopefully sending them off in the wrong direction.  Well the Jesus juke is probably what you’d expect given that information and using context clues, it’s taking what is obviously not a spiritual conversation and reversing its direction into something serious and holy.  I’ll give you an example, this comes from stuffchristianslike.net.  The author of the site, a guy named Jon Acuff, was at an airport during a layover and noticed a man doing pushups outside of the airport Starbucks.  He tweeted something joking about the guy’s dedication to fitness and the first response he got was “imagine if we were that dedicated to our faith.”  Which is true, a lot of people are probably more disciplined about their fitness than they are their spiritual life but you don’t have to say it.  When I was in divinity school I got to go to several seminary student or young Baptist retreats and there would usually be a board asking things like favorite book, movie, tv show, things to let us get to know each other.  And it never failed that on the book list someone would write “GOD’S HOLY WORD,” all caps.  Not just, the Bible, “GOD’S HOLY WORD.”  And it never failed that it came right underneath where I had written “To be the Man” by Ric Flair so it seemed like a personal attack.  Because there’s an element to the Jesus juke that at least comes off a personal, right, its showing off how holy you are at the expense of someone else.

Continue reading “January 15, 2017: “Made New: New Joy,” 1 Peter 1: 3-9”

Jan 1, 2017 – “Made New: New Life,” Romans 6: 1-11

Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas and any other holiday celebrations you had went well, but I’m glad to see you this morning and glad that you’ve chosen to kick off 2017 in worship, beginning this new year by focusing first on the things of God.  Newness is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.  When the wise-men came before Herod they asked to see the new king who had been born.  In Mark’s gospel one of the first statements an outsider makes about Jesus is that he has a new teaching, and with authority.  Newness comes up over and over in the Bible, right up to the end, where in Revelation we hear these words, “behold, I am making all things new.”  What a great reminder, here in the new year, that God’s doesn’t give up, that God is always at the work of creation and recreation, always working towards an end goal of newness.

Continue reading “Jan 1, 2017 – “Made New: New Life,” Romans 6: 1-11″

First blog post

The suggestion for this post was to explain why this blog exists.  The simple answer is that I was looking for somewhere to put all the different things I’m writing and doing as a Pastor and this seemed like the best way to do it and make it available to those (probably a small group) that might be interested in it.  So I guess the answer is also a little bit of arrogance, I think there may be people out there interested in what I think and say.  If you’re one of those people (and I assume you are since you’re here), thanks for the ego boost!  If you somehow got here by accident, I hope you find something worth your time.  As for what this is eventually going to be, I don’t know.  Maybe beyond sermons and devotionals and things like that I’ll get into other thoughts on faith and culture, I’ve got some ideas.  Thanks for stopping by, hopefully you’ll finds something here worth your time.