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Showing posts from July, 2009


Some of you know that I just returned from spending a week in Cape Cod with my family. One of the best parts of the trip for me was spending time with my 2 year-old nephew, Sam. I have to say that being an aunt is one of the greatest joys in my life. Sam is so precious, so wonderful. One night, my mom and I took Sam out to dinner so that my brother and sister-in-law could go out for dinner on their own. My mom and I took Sam out for dinner too – but after running around and playing and go-go-going in his new vacation home, a tuckered out Sam fell asleep before we even got to the restaurant. While we waited for our table, and for the first 10 or 15 minutes before our food arrived, I held a perfect sleeping Sam on my lap, and enjoyed all the smiles from staff and patrons admiring Sam’s sweet face. As I was holding him, I was just really overwhelmed with how much I adore Sam, and I was just thinking: “Sam is mine.” Mine. Not as in ownership, obviously, but as in connection. Deep, unbre

Sermon for Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, "Kings"

(Sermon 7/26/09, 2 Samuel 11:1-15, John 6:1-21) Kings As we begin our ministry together, my goal is, over the next several weeks, to preach on some key themes, some foundational pieces that I feel are important for you and for me to think about as we start out. What’s at the core of what we do? Why are we in ministry together? What does God want from us? We’ve already talked about Welcome, and what that means, although it is surely a theme we will return to in the Fall. Last week we talked about how we sometimes try to create God in our image, rather than letting God create us, plant us, build us up. Later this summer we’ll be talking about repentance, discernment, and setting priorities, and I’ll talk about the goals that I’ve set for my first year in ministry with you. This week, we’re looking at another key theme: leadership. What makes a good leader in the church? Who is our leader? Of course, we know from Children’s Time last Sunday that God is our leader, that we’re follo

Sermon for Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, "God in a Box"

(Sermon 7/19/09, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56, 2 Samuel 7:1-14a) God in a Box I told you last week that in the midst of this transition, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to say, “welcome.” Another thing that has been on my mind these days is the idea of “home.” Since I left for Ohio Wesleyan University a dozen years ago to begin college, I haven’t really had a lot of input over the place I called home. I lived in dorms through college, where I had a choice of roommates and a preference form for which dorm, but there were many limitations on where I lived. I lived in campus housing all through seminary. And in my first two pastoral appointments, I lived in parsonages. Lovely parsonages, for sure, but they were homes that were chosen for me, not by me. And of course, before I left for college, I was always living in my family home. When I was appointed here, and realized I would be receiving a housing allowance that would allow me to choose where to live for the fi

What We Believe

Henry Neufeld has a great post at his blog: "Do We Live What We Believe? " He's been editing a book called The Jesus Paradigm , and has been reflecting on a statement in the book - "The key to church renewal is very simple: every follower of Jesus is to live what is believed." Neufeld then reflects on this statement, writing, "What I do question is how God can be especially present at so many worship services with so little impact. People go back again and again to experience the presence of God and then leave and go on living in the same way. Either we are not experiencing the presence of God as much as we say we are, or that presence is having much less impact on us than it should. I’m afraid it may come back to belief. We need to practice what we believe. That’s true. But is there another dirty secret in many of our churches–that we don’t actually believe the stuff we claim. I’m not talking here about doctrinal statements or theological propositions. I’m

Sermon for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, "Welcome"

(Sermon 7/12/09, Mark 6:1-13) Welcome What does it mean to welcome someone? What do we mean when we say welcome, “you’re welcome”? It’s a word we use often, hopefully. My two year old nephew already knows how to say “you’re welcome,” although he occasionally confuses it in place with “thank you.” He has a sense that it’s a word he’s meant to use when he’s giving something, or that is said to him when he gets something, but I wonder what he really thinks it means. Do we know what it means to talk about welcome? “You’re welcome.” I had to look up a little history of the phrase. After all, in many other languages, when someone says “Thank you,” the response is not exactly “you’re welcome” but something more like “it’s nothing, don’t think of it.” “You’re welcome” is a relatively unique phrase. I discovered that something like “You’re welcome” has been used for hundreds of years, with Shakespeare using something close in his plays, but as a standard respon

from Dan Dick: "Cranky Christians"

It's been forever since I've blogged - in the meantime I've moved from Franklin Lakes, NJ to Fayetteville, NY, to serve a church in East Syracuse, NY. I will hopefully write about my transition soon! But meanwhile, here's another great Dan Dick post, called "Cranky Christians." Excerpt: How the worship bulletin is designed, where the baptismal font is placed, who gets to choose the hymns — these are only important issues to those who have no real understanding of the gospel. Those who reduce our faith to such insignificant issues are those who have no real desire to be the body of Christ — laity or clergy. How to make a difference in the world, how to save a person’s self respect and dignity, making sure a person has a safe place to sleep or a warm meal — these are the things our faith tells us God is interested in... The reason this came to mind is a short email I received last week that asked me the question, “Why are you so dedicated to helping people wh