Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

Readings for Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany, 2/2/14: Micah 6:1-8 , Psalm 15, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Matthew  5:1-12 Micah 6:1-8 : This is a passage that I think makes a lot of people's favorite scripture list. And with good reason. Good stuff here. I'm stuck on the word "require" in verse 8. I don't know Hebrew - I only got around to Greek in school. But  require -  that's a strong word. We're not recommended to do these things. We're required. What else are you required to do? How do you treat these requirements, as opposed to those God sets out for us? another good word in this passage - "the  controversy  of the Lord" - what a label! Who would want to be called God's controversy? another passage (like Psalm 51, among others) where the author recognizes that it is not the acts of sacrifice and ritual themselves God desires, but the devoted hearts that bring such things to God. God wants  us . do justice, love kindness, walk hu

Sermon, "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Disciples: Prayer," Nehemiah 1:4-11

Sermon 1/26/14 Nehemiah 1:4-11 7 Habits of Highly Effective Disciples: Prayer             Today we’re continuing in our series on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Disciples, and this week, we’re focusing in on prayer. Last, we talked about purpose, and I gave you a homework assignment: to think about your life’s purpose, and to actually think about, perhaps even write out, perhaps even share with me your draft purpose statement: My purpose is ____. I very much appreciate that several of you took me quite seriously, and I really enjoyed hearing from you this week, hearing about your hard work and thoughtfulness, reflecting on God’s purpose for you in this world. Don’t worry if you didn’t get to it yet – you still have time, and I’d still love to hear your thoughts.             We talked about how our purpose in life is like our thesis statement in a paper, and the prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness that we covenant to in our baptismal and membership vows are

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

Readings for 3rd Sunday After Epiphany, 1/26:14: Isaiah 9:1-4, Psalm 27:1, 4-9, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Matthew 4:12-23 Isaiah 9:1-4: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness - on them light has shined." Great Epiphany language, and ties in with language of Christmas as well - this text just appeared in part on Christmas Eve.  "the yoke . . . you have broken." Can you think/imagine that feeling when you are working with all your energy and then finally get to rest - like taking a break after a long run, or going to bed after a long, long day? This is the kind of image that pops to my mind here - the ultimate release/respite that God will give. Psalm 27:1, 4-9: "Whom shall I fear?" Here it is again, the fear theme, only now asked as a specific:  'who' . The Psalm suggests that we fear no one when God is our light, a theme echoed elsewhere in the scriptures, such as in the NT wher

Sermon, "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Disciples: Purpose," Philippians 3:12-16

Sermon 1/19/14 Philippians 3:12-16 Seven Habits of Highly Effective Disciples: Purpose             Today we are starting a new sermon series called: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Disciples. Last week we celebrated a renewal of our baptismal covenant, as we were reminded of God’s promises to us in our baptism, and we also reaffirmed our vows – vows perhaps someone else took for us once, on our behalf, before we could even remember, or vows we took for ourselves – maybe when you were a teen or maybe as an adult when you reached some significant point of decision in your faith journey. As we reaffirmed our baptismal covenant, we said these words: As members of the body of Christ and in this congregation of The United Methodist Church, we will faithfully participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.             For the next several weeks, we’re

Lectionary Notes for Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

Readings for 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, 1/19/14: Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-11, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, John 1:29-42 Isaiah 49:1-7: "The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother's womb [God] named me." Such conviction in Isaiah's words! Do you have this conviction about your own identity and calling? I think I'm there most of the time. I'm not perfect, but I know I'm called - that has been one thing I've been able to trust in my life. You are called. Named. Believe it! "[God] made my mouth like a sharp sword." Isaiah also identifies here some of his skills. He's not boastful, just direct, and not ashamed of what he can do. Why are we so embarrassed to claim our gifts? If we believe they are gifts from God, we should not hesitate to name our talents. See, though, even as Isaiah knows that he is called, trusts in his role for God, God asks of him more, gives him more to do. That's the trouble with God! :) We have to

Sermon for Baptism of the Lord Sunday, "Come to the Waters," Matthew 3:13-16

Sermon 1/12/14 Matthew 3:13-16 Come to the Waters “You can surely say in a certain way each and every day’s a new beginning. Starting out to see possibilities; you can hold the keys to happy endings. It’s all in how you look at it to get what you see! Cause day’s a new beginning if you want it to be.” When I was in elementary school my older brother gave me a cassette with some Christian songs on it, including this one. “Every day’s a new beginning.” It also had a version of “All Things Bright and Beautiful” on it, with a woman singing in a very operatic vibrato-full style, (example?) which, believe it or not despite that description, made it one of my favorite hymns as a child. I can’t tell you what the name of the cassette or group was though. Some years ago on my blog I posted the snippet of lyrics I could remember of “Every day’s a new beginning,” after finding zero results on google for them. Someone from Australia replied with the complete lyrics, but still no inform

Lectionary Notes for Baptism of the Lord, Year A

Readings for Baptism of the Lord, 1/12/14: Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 29, Acts 10:34-43, Matthew 3:13-17 Isaiah 42:1-9: "I have put my spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations" - Reminds me of another Isaiah (61) passage, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me..." both are marking the identity of Jesus, the task to which Jesus is called - at least that is how we interpret them, and to an extent, how Jesus interprets them himself - this is the roll he seeks to play, to fill, to be. "a bruised reed he will not break" - Remember Jesus asking about John the Baptist (Mt. 11) - "what did you come out to see - a reed shaken by the wind?" "I have taken you by the hand and kept you" - This is no God who sits back and watches from a distance. This is up-close-and-personal God. We are God's, and God wants us to make no mistake of that fact. We disobey, turn away, etc. But we are God's. "to open the eyes that are blind

My 2013 Reading List

Books I Read in 2013  My brother always used to post his reading list every year. Once upon a time, I actually wrote individual reviews of books I read. But this year, a list with mini-reviews will have to do. There may be spoilers. Sorry.  1. Shapard, David M. (Jane Austen), The Annotated Pride and Prejudice.   I loved this. I'm a huge Pride and Prejudice fan. ( Todd is going to be in P&P at Purdue this spring, playing Mr. Bennett. I read every bit of the annotated information, and found it fascinating, and nerd that I am, managed to incorporate some of the stuff I learned about life in England into my John Wesley class!  2. Kingsolver, Barbara, Flight Behavior .  Kingsolver is one of the best contemporary writers. I could read about any subject she chose to write about and find it fascinating. This book was beautiful, and she is one of my favorites.   3. Foster, Richard, A Celebration of Discipline . Used this for small group study at church. Walks th