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Showing posts from June, 2015

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B (Proper 8, Ordinary 13)

Readings for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, 6/28/15:
2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27, Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 8:7-15, Mark 5:21-43

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27:
David laments the deaths of both Jonathan, who he loved dearly, and Saul, who spent a lot of time trying to kill David. Could you give someone like Saul such a lament? Apparently, David was sympathetic to the obvious psychological distress Saul seemed to be in over David's rise to power."greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women" David and Jonathan are constantly expressing their love for one another. What was their relationship like, do you think? Today, we don't encourage such emotional expressions from men, especially directed at other men.Psalm 130:
A favorite Psalm. My favorite musical setting of this Psalm is the John Rutter Requiem.Out of the depths - what are the depths from which you call to God? Do you remember to call to God from your lowest low?This psalm shows a great faith …

Lectionary Notes for Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B (Proper 7, Ordinary 12)

Readings for Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, 6/21/15:
1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23) 32-40, Psalm 9:9-20, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, Mark 4:35-41

1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23) 32-40:
What's your Goliath? I read this passage, and see such a cartoon childhood-Bible-story image. But for the Israelites - terror. What would be a comparable image of terror for you?:39 - David removing the armor reminds me of a scene from the movie Contact - Jodie Foster, traveling in the machine, is strapped to a chair that wasn't in the specifications, for her safety, supposedly. But eventually she realizes that the chair is only holding her back, and once she unstraps herself from it, she floats calmly and safely. What kind of things do we try to add into our lives that are only holding us back?appearances - David's early story is all about appearances. Goliath thinks he knows what David is all about because of how he looks. What would your appearance say about you? Is that who you are? When do you let …

Sermon, "Apple Valley Dreams: Fruitful," Matthew 7:15-29

Sermon 6/21/15 Matthew 7:15-29
Apple Valley Dreams: Fruitful

            Many of you are probably familiar with the musical My Fair Lady. Eliza Doolittle, the unrefined flower seller with a heavy Cockney accent is taken on as a project, by a snobby professor, Henry Higgins, to see if he can convince others that she is an upper-class educated woman. Along the way, though, a thoughtful suitor named Freddy Einsford-Hill falls in love with Eliza, and serenades her outside her door. Freddy sings, “Speak, and the world is full of singing/And I am winging higher than the birds/Touch and my heart begins to crumble/The heaven's tumble/Darling, and I'm …” but what he is, we don’t find out, because Eliza, frustrated with the men in her life, cuts him off, singing: “Words, words, words! I'm so sick of words/I get words all day through/First from him, now from you/Is that all you blighters can do? Don't talk of stars, burning above/If you're in love, show me!/Tell me no dreams, fi…

Sermon, "Apple Valley Dreams: Missional," Mark 10:35-45

Sermon 6/14/15 Mark 10:35-45
Apple Valley Dreams: Missional

We’ve been talking about my dreams for Apple Valley over the past couple of weeks. The first week, our memory verse was, “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you, Search, and you fill find, Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” And I shared my dream that we are a prayerful people. That we’re comfortable praying. That we’re persistent, and full of expectation that God loves to hear what we have to say, and has something to say back. That we’re praying, everyday, for ourselves, and our congregation, and our community, and God’s vision to come alive in us. Last week, our memory verse, from the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus, was, “For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost,” and I talked about my dream that Apple Valley is Invitational. Not just that we wait for folks who cross our paths, but that we live out in the world an expression of the welcome of Christ, who is always on the move among the most v…

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year B (Proper 6, Ordinary 11)

Readings for Third Sunday after Pentecost, 6/14/15:
1 Samuel 15:34-16:13, Psalm 20, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17, Mark 4:26-34

1 Samuel 15:34-16:13:
What does it mean for God to be sorry God did something? I hope God is never sorry/disappointed over something done in relation to me! What weighty words.This is a classic story of God calling an unexpected person. David seems to be the last choice of all the brothers - except to God."how long will you grieve?" God asks Samuel. Sometimes we can get bogged down in bad decisions, plans gone wrong, etc., that distract us from following God. God says - Get on with it. There are other plans. Other ways I can work. You just have to keep moving, keep being open to God's creativity."for the Lord does not see as mortals see" - THANK GOD for that!!! God sees insides, not outsides. God sees potential, not past.Psalm 20:
This is a psalm that is a prayer of blessing for someone else: "May God do ____ for you." Do …

Sermon, "Apple Valley Dreams: Invitational," Luke 19:1-10

Sermon 6/7/15 Luke 19:1-10
Apple Valley Dreams: Invitational
            Last week I started sharing with you my dreams for our congregation. Do you remember the first one? Yes, I hope we will be a prayerful people – a deeply and thoughtfully and powerfully prayerful people! A second dream I have for you shouldn’t be too surprising: I dream of an Apple Valley that is full of invitational people. I want us to be inviting. This shouldn’t be surprising, because I’ve given you homework assignments before – invite someone to church – and at Advent and Lent I’ve handed out cards about our worship times for you to use to invite others to church, and I’m constantly asking you to share our facebook event invitations with others for whatever we’ve got going on in the community. So I’m sure you’re not too surprised that I think a lot about us being an invitational people.             But today I want to tell you about my big dreams about being invitational, and why it is so important to me. When we …

Lectionary Notes for Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B (Ordinary 10, Proper 5)

Readings for Second Sunday after Pentecost, 6/7/15:
1 Samuel 8:4-20, Psalm 138, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1, Mark 3:20-35

1 Samuel 8:4-20:
The people, who have been governed by Judges, demand of Samuel, the last of the Judges, a king. They want a king just like other nations, and thing Samuel is too old to continue leading them. God wants the people to understand that God is the ruler. Even so, God acquiesces to the demands of the people, and offers them a king, but warns them of the cost that come with getting their own way. I find it interesting that God is willing to give the people what they want. Things will not go smoothly, but God will still work with the people, even when they choose a path that is less than the best for them. How has God worked with you anyway, even when you have made less-than-the-best life choices? What kind of warnings has God given you when you were on the verge of making a bad decision? Did you change course? Do it anyway? What happened? Psalm 138:
Not surprising…

Sermon for Local Pastors Licensing School, based on John 15:1-12

I had the opportunity this week to preach and talk about preaching at Upper New York's Local Pastors Licensing School. I really enjoyed thinking about my preaching process and figuring out what I would most have wanted to know about and ask about as a new preacher. 
Sermon LPLS John 15:1-12

My grandfather was a gardener. He had a huge garden in his backyard, and in the garden is one of the easiest places for me to picture him, in his jeans and denim shirt, with a red handkerchief to wipe his forehead, and his garden hoe in hand, carefully tending his rows of vegetables, even on the hottest of days. As soon as I was old enough, my grandfather gave me a little corner of the garden for my own, where I would plant a mix of flowers, like my grandmothers, and a patch of vegetables, like him. And my garden always did well. It wasn’t until I reached adulthood, and had pretty consistent failure with my own gardening attempts that I realized how much work on my little plot my grandfather had d…

Sermon, "Apple Valley Dreams: Prayerful," Luke 11:1-13

Sermon 5/31/15 Luke 11:1-13
Apple Valley Dreams: Prayerful

            For the past several weeks, we’ve been studying passages of scripture where someone has a dream which God uses to communicate a message, a call, a purpose, a plan. We thought about Jacob, beginning to open his heart to God’s dreams, and Joseph, and his dreams that were sometimes too bold and audacious for others to understand, and Solomon, who had the good sense to seek God’s wisdom before anything else, and Daniel, who wasn’t afraid to speak out even to a king who could end his life, and Mary’s Joseph, who was willing to follow God’s dream even if that dream put other players at center stage. Last week, on the day of Pentecost, we talked about God’s Holy Spirit, God’s Holy Breath, the inspiration that helped the disciples believe it was possible that they could carry out Jesus’ dream and become messengers of the good news even to the ends of the earth.             And alongside our sermon series, many of us have been…