Archive for November, 2009

Prayer for mission

November 13, 2009

From the Book of Common Prayer, p. 101:

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

Freedom, love, and… physics?

November 11, 2009

In my sermon on the Parable of the Rich Fool, Luke 12:13-21, I explored the theme that we are not ultimately in control of our lives. We are especially reminded of our lack of control when natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes strike. Insurance companies even use special language to emphasize this point: these events are called “acts of God.” I have theological problems with that description, but I get why they’re called that.

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Sermon 11-08-09: “The Giftedness of Life”

November 11, 2009

Sermon Text: Luke 12:13-21

I know we were stunned and horrified by the news out of Texas last week: On the Ft. Hood Army base, a man committed the most lethal shooting ever on a military base, killing 13 people so far, 12 of whom were fellow soldiers. Events like this have a way of vividly reminding us of how dangerous this world is; how fragile life is; how we could lose our life at any moment. Certainly, if we are tempted to feel invulnerable and secure and in control, this sort of event has a way of shaking us out of our complacency. We want guarantees about our life in this world, and the truth is that, at least apart from God, nothing is guaranteed.

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Here’s a funny video related to sermon on Luke 12:13-21

November 7, 2009

"Everything's great right now, and nobody's happy."

Tomorrow’s sermon is entitled, “The Giftedness of Life.” I’m probably going to refer to a portion of this video, which features comedian Louis CK, because I want us to think about all the good things in life that we so easily take for granted. I’m focusing on the bit about wi-fi on airplanes, but the whole thing is relevant. Hilarious!

More thoughts on “resurrection of the dead”

November 5, 2009

As I said in my sermon, some of the most thought-provoking discussions I had in my “Questions” classes surrounded the phrase, “I believe… in the resurrection of the dead.” In more than one class I pointed out that the goal of the Christian life is not simply heaven when we die, and some people seemed surprised by that. There was an Indian woman visiting the class, who was Hindu, and she was intrigued. She grew up in India attending a Christian school, and she thought that heaven was our goal. She seemed happy and relieved to know that it wasn’t. She explained that for her, this emphasis on heaven when we die robs this present world—which,despite its sin and evil, is still very good—and our present life within it, of so much of its meaning. I’m sure that’s true. One point I argue in my sermon is that if we understand texts like Revelation 21, we see that it affirms the value and goodness of this Creation: God loves it so much that God wants to redeem and renew it, rather than hitting the reset button and staring over.

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Online resources for guided prayer

November 5, 2009

I’ve mentioned both of these websites in previous sermons, but I wanted to link to them here. Since most of us spend at least some portion of our day in front of a computer, both of these websites are useful resources for weaving prayer into the fabric of our busy days.

daily_prayerThe first site is from Britain and is sponsored by many Christian churches there. It changes three times a day for morning, afternoon, and evening prayer time. It’s supposedly for “beginners” to prayer and the Christian faith, but perhaps when it comes to encountering God we’re all beginners.

The second site, from the Episcopal Church, is based on an ancient liturgy for praying taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (which is also a part of our Wesleyan tradition). It changes based on the date and the time of day. I like it because it includes all scripture, readings, and prayers in one place. As you use it, you are joining with Christians all over the world in prayer.

Sermon for All Saints Day: “The Other Side of Resurrection”

November 5, 2009

Sermon Text: Revelation 21:1-6a

Earlier this year, as many of you know, I taught a Sunday school class entitled, “Questions You’re Afraid to Ask in Sunday School.” We began each class reading the Apostles’ Creed out loud, and using that as a starting point for questions. I would ask, “What do you hear in this creed that raises questions in your mind?” And some of the most interesting and thought-provoking conversation centered on the phrase, “I believe… in the resurrection of the dead.” A few people asked, “What do we mean by that? Is that a reference to Christ’s resurrection?” And I would explain that, no, the creed discusses Christ’s resurrection earlier; this is a reference to our own resurrection, at the end of history as we know it, on the other side of eternity. Both the New Testament and the early Church witness loudly emphasize resurrection—rather than simply “heaven when we die”—as our primary Christian hope.

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