Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015 – Call

Nine years ago I had the greatest Jimmy John’s sandwich I have ever eaten. No other Jimmy John’s sandwich has compared to that one. 

What made the sandwich so great had nothing to do with the sandwich itself. It was your typical delicious Jimmy John’s sandwich. What made the sandwich great was the conversation that took place during the meal. Nine years ago this month, I sat at a Jimmy John’s in Chapel Hill, N.C., with my sandwich and chips, to tell one of my pastors that I felt a call to ordained ministry.  Continue reading “Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015 – Call”

Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015: Follow

Since moving to Kentucky in 2007, there is a lot I have learned about our great commonwealth. I have learned that a Derby Pie is a unique combination that must be tasted to be appreciated. I have learned that Lexington is not only the “horse capital of the world,” but also the “traffic jam capital” as well. I have learned that you can tell when someone is new to the state by how they pronounce “Louisville.”

Yet of all the things I have learned about Kentucky, probably the most significant is this: we love our sports. Sports is part of the culture in Kentucky. From the youth basketball courts to the college basketball games, we love to take in sports and talk about them daily. Go to McDonald’s in Lawrenceburg on any morning and you are guaranteed to hear people either talking about the next Kentucky game or a recent high school contest. 

We love to get involved in sports. We love to watch the athletes and cheer for our favorite team. We get excited when our team wins and we get frustrated, for example, when a certain team dressed in Gold and Blue decides not to make a basket against Texas. We love our sports.  Continue reading “Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015: Follow”

Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015 – Love

One of the things that I have struggled with throughout my life is love. I have a hard time receiving it and, to be honest, there are times when I have difficulty sharing it with others. 

Much of my difficulty with love is rooted in some deep hurts in my life. It is hard to feel the sting of not being loved by those who were unwilling or unable to do so. I have felt the painful rejection of friends, and even family members. The loneliness of connection, for an extrovert, can be quite difficult. My own hurts and pains, throughout the years, have created a wall that makes it difficult at times to receive and experience love.

It is painful for me and, to be honest, a reality that we all confront. In one way or another, we have all been hurt by love. As a result, we all struggle with love at some level, either in its giving or receiving. All of us know what it feels like to be rejected. We have struggled with sharing our thoughts with someone close to us. We have been hurt, broken, saddened, and frustrated by our attempt to share love or receive love. Writer and theologian Eugene Peterson writes about our desire for love. He says, “In no other human experience do we fail so frequently, get hurt so badly, suffer excruciatingly, and get deceived so cruelly as in love. Still, we continue to long for it, dream of it, and attempt it.”  Continue reading “Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015 – Love”

What if We Prayed for the “Other” Political Party?

This morning, my devotional reading took me to one of the most challenging passages of Scripture. In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus invites those who seek to follow him to love our enemies and to pray for them.

It is a word that is as uncomfortable as it is challenging. No one is naturally inclined to love their enemies. No one really wants to even pray for them. Our natural inclination is to despise our enemies. We don’t want to show love or concern for them. Yet, Jesus calls us to the deeper and more difficult way of life that sees our enemy as our neighbor and calls us to see them as a child of God created in God’s very image.

That is hard to do. Many have reflected on how this passage calls us to care for the personal enemies in our lives, those people who just seem to get in our way or make life difficult for us. We’ve also reflected on how this passage calls us to find ways to pray for those who would do us harm. None of those things are easy, but it is the way of Christ who showed what this looks like when he prayed for those who crucified him on the cross. Continue reading “What if We Prayed for the “Other” Political Party?”