Like many Methodist pastors, last week, I followed from a distance the activities of the 2016 General Conference in Portland, … Continue reading The Church Should Not Be a Place of Polarization
One of my favorite things about parenting is finding out about all the new things Noah can do. It seems like every week there is something new he is doing, new words he is saying, and new facial expressions that bring a smile to our faces.
Sometimes, though, I do not see these new developments. When you are around someone as often as you are your own child, you don’t always see things like how much bigger he is or other developments. That’s why I am thankful for Sunday mornings. The time before church is often when I really get to see the new developments, because many of you lovingly point them out to us. I’m thankful when you tell us that he is getting taller, or when it looks like he has a new haircut when has never had one, or that he is interacting with some of you in new ways. That is a blessing to us, and it helps us to see how our little buddy is growing. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Hallowed Be Your Name”
At the beginning of the football season, the University of Kentucky’s Athletics Department sent out a notice about the biggest game of the year. Strangely, no one responded to the department’s announcement. Not a single ticket was sold for the game. The Athletics Department wasn’t too worried. They figured that once the big game arrived that it would be a sell out.
A week before the game the Athletics Department sent out another round of advertisements for the upcoming big game. This time they focused on the players, what would happen if Kentucky won, and how amazing a fan would have if they attended the game. Again, no one bought a ticket. Not a single ticket was sold for the game. Everyone responded back that they had better things to do. Some said they wanted to go to Simpsonville to the new outlet mall. Some preferred to stay home and watch another game. Some others were upset basketball tickets were not sale. Continue reading “Dressed for The Wedding Feast”
One of my favorite Scripture passages can be found in Luke 18:9-14.
There we see the story of two people who went to the Temple to pray. One of the people praying was a Pharisee while the other was a tax collector. What I like about this passage is that it is one of those stories that reflects on who we often are and who we want to be.
Jesus recounts the Pharisee’s prayer first. He looks around and prays that he is glad he is not like any of the other people who were around. The tax collector then prays. He prays for God to simply forgive him. Jesus doesn’t offer commentary on the two prayers, but allows the contrast to speak for itself.
I mention this story, because I believe it highlights how we often relate to our new life in Christ and the Good News of the resurrection. We know God has given us a new life through faith in Christ, but sometimes we respond to this new life by looking out into the world and being thankful we are not like some of the others. Thankful that we have it all together. Thankful that we aren’t like those who struggle. Much like the Pharisee, it is an attitude where we consider ourselves as “holier” than others because of this new life. An attitude often seen by the people we seek to love as judgmental, condescending, or dismissive. Continue reading “We Are Easter People: Living Holy Lives”
Jesus was busy at work.
It was early in Jesus’ earthly ministry and he was traveling throughout the Galilean countryside showing the depths of God’s love through his actions. He healed the sick and those who faced diseases. He taught in the synagogues and announced God’s kingdom had arrived.
Jesus was busy at work and the people were amazed. Matthew tells us a large crowd, which included his 12 primary disciples, gathered around him wanting to know more. They had questions and knew Jesus had answers. Of all the questions they possibly had for Jesus the one they likely wanted answered was this: What does it mean to follow Jesus? The crowd wanted to know more about God’s kingdom and wanted to hear from Jesus about how to be a part of it.
So, Matthew tells us, Jesus finds a hillside near the Sea of Galilee and takes a seat. In Jesus’ time, religious teachers would sit down when they taught. It was symbolic of having authority. Jesus sits and begins teaches with authority about what it means to be apart of God’s kingdom, because he is the Word and the One who is the way to truth and life. He looks out at the crowd and says if you want to experience God’s kingdom then your life must reflect God’s character and love. Followers of Jesus, he says, are those who live differently and take on the radical, counter-cultural, and challenging life Jesus offers and allow this life to inform their actions. Continue reading “Fan or Followers: Followers Live Differently”