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Showing posts from September, 2016

Sermon, "Church Can Happen Anywhere: Church Happens...When Love Is a Verb," 1 Corinthians 13

Sermon 9/25/16 1 Corinthians 13
Church Happens … When Love Is a Verb
            “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”             Even if you don’t think you know your Bible very well, chances are, you know this passage of scripture – 1 Corinthians13 – the love chapter – even if you couldn’t have told me exactly where in the Bible it was from. You’ve probably heard this passage of scripture read at many, many weddings. I would guess, that out of all of the weddings I’ve officiated in my years of ministry, probably close to fifty percent of them include this passage as their scripture of choice. It’s hardly surprising. Although the scriptures teach us that the greatest commandments are grounded in love – love of God a…

Sermon, "Church Can Happen Anywhere: Church Happens … When We Run to Win," 1 Corinthians 9:13-27

Sermon 9/18/16 1 Corinthians 9:13-27
Church Can Happen Anywhere: Church Happens … When We Run to Win
All things to all people. When you hear that phrase, “all things to all people,” you usually hear it with this at the beginning: “You can’t be.” That is, “You can’t be all things to all people.” Thank goodness, right? Who would want to be all things to all people? Usually, we tell this to someone when they’re trying to (and failing to) get everyone to like them, to please everyone. Do you ever struggle with that? Being a people-pleaser? And finally, either you come to the conclusion yourself, or a friend or loved one who is trying to help you get a grip on reality tells you, “You can’t be all things to all people!” You can’t please everyone. Not everyone is going to like you. Don’t even try. It’s a lost cause! Last week I mentioned the Adam Hamilton book Half Truths, and we talked a little bit about some phrases that aren’t in the Bible that we think are, like “that’s just between me and …

Sermon, "Church Can Happen Anywhere: Church Happens … When Many Are One," 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Sermon 9/11/16 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Church Can Happen Anywhere: Church Happens … When Many Are One
            As I shared with you in the newsletter this month, one of my most challenging classes during my doctoral work was a class on ecclesiology. Ecclesiology is a fancy word that means “the study of the nature of the Church.” In the class, we talked a lot about what makes church church. Is it the music? The sermon? Reading scripture together? That we worship God there? Why do we think of some things as church and not others? If you and I get together and sing a praise song, are we having church? For our final project, we had to write a paper explaining our understanding of church. This is what I came up with: “I believe that the Church is the gathered Body of Christ, where the Word of God is proclaimed and enacted, where the people worship, serve, and engage in the mission of disciple-making, both within the church and in the world.” What do you think? How would you define church?   …

Sermon for Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, "Unfinished Business," Luke 14:25-33 (Proper 18, Ordinary 23)

Sermon 9/4/16 Luke 14:25-33
Unfinished Business

Some years back, United Methodist Bishop Will Willimon was serving as the Dean of the Chapel at Duke University. He got a call from a very upset parent of one of his students. "I hold you personally responsible for this," he said. "Me?" Will asked. The father was hot, upset because his graduate school bound daughter had just informed him that she was going to chuck it all ("throw it all away" was the way the father described it) and go do mission work with the Presbyterians in Haiti. "Isn't that absurd!" shouted the father. "A BS degree in mechanical engineering from Duke and she's going to dig ditches in Haiti." "Well, I doubt that she's received much training in the Engineering Department here for that kind of work, but she's probably a fast learner and will probably get the hang of ditch-digging in a few months," Will said. "Look," said the father, "…