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Showing posts from January, 2017

Sermon, "How Will You Measure Your Life? By How and What You Give," Luke 6:27-38

Sermon 1/29/17 Luke 6:27-38
How Will You Measure Your Life? By How and What You Give

            When I was little, probably between 3rd grade and 6th grade, I was a part of 4H. You can focus on a lot of different skills in 4H clubs, but mine was focused on cooking and sewing in particular. I remember gathering around the kitchen counter of my leader’s home, learning how to cook and bake. Only, there were a lot more rules involved in the cooking and baking than when I learned at home. In 4H, you learn how to do things the 4H Way. Seriously, that’s what we learned to call it. The 4H way of cooking in baking involved a lot of precision, and very careful measuring, and mixing things in separate bowls, and combining them carefully, and washing hands between every step, and making sure to use your level whenever you measured flour. And there definitely was no licking batter off the beaters at 4H. Every year, I would take part in a cooking demonstration at the Westernville Town Hall. I’d prepa…

Sermon, "How Will You Measure Your Life? By Who and How You Love," John 13:1-17, 34-35

Sermon 1/15/17 John 13:1-17, 34-35
How Do You Measure Your Life?
            Some of you may have heard of this little thing happening in our church right now. The RipIt Ministry, which just continues to blossom in new ways, has just kicked off its annual challenge. This year, seasoned mentors are pairing up with folks who are trying to reach some fitness goals to help guide and support them in their journey. I decided, with a little convincing from Amber Ormasen – have you ever tried to refuse a request from her? – to take part. One of the first things we had to do was get weighed and measured. It’s not my favorite experience, for sure. But it’s hard to measure your progress if you aren’t really sure where you started. I’ll be able to measure my progress in pounds lost, but also in changes in inches. Of course, those measures aren’t the only measures that are valuable. Folks might measure how many seconds they can hold a plank position before and after the challenge, or whether their c…

Sermon for Baptism of the Lord Sunday, Year A, "The Baptism of Jesus," Matthew 3:1-17

Sermon 1/8/17 Matthew 3:1-17
The Baptism of Jesus

            Many of you know that I spent this last week at Sky Lake, which is one of our conference camps, down in the Binghamton area. Pastors are supposed to take some spiritual renewal time each year, and this was mine. I spent the week doing some worship planning, thinking about the ministries of the church, and spending some time in prayer and reflection with God. While I was there, I was thinking about my own time as staff person at Camp Aldersgate, some 22 years ago now. As soon as I was old enough, I applied, and spent a summer lifeguarding and working in the kitchen. The staff was made up of young people mostly between the ages of 16 and 25, aside from some of the older year-round staff, which is pretty typical. And it’s a pretty intense experience. You’re with this group of people all day every day for a summer, and most of the people are, like you, at the stage in life where you are trying to figure out who you are and who yo…

Sermon for Epiphany Sunday, "Light of the World," Matthew 2:1-12

Sermon 1/3/16 Matthew 2:1-12
Light of the World

Maybe in my second or third Christmas at my first church appointment, I read about this great idea for a Christmas Eve service for children. I don’t remember where I read or heard the idea. But the gist was this: You take several warm Christmasy blankets and spread them all over the chancel area, and get a rocking chair to sit in, and then, during the Children’s Sermon, you read a book to the kids, while they’re all snuggled onto the cozy blankets. And the book serves as message for the adults as well. I just loved the idea. I bought several copies of a book I thought would be meaningful, and I had four people set up to stand with copies throughout the sanctuary, to turn the pages along with me as I read, so that the adults could follow along too – we didn’t have any big screens that I could project the images on in my first church. Everything was planned, and I was so excited about it, and could just picture how awesome the service was goi…