Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Sermon 02-14-16: “Living Water”

February 17, 2016

John Sermon Series Graphic

Biblically speaking, men meet their future wives at wells. It happened for Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. Jesus, of course, was never married, but he’s well aware of the symbolism of his speaking to this Samaritan woman at a well. He knows that throughout the Bible, God is often depicted as husband or bridegroom to his people, Israel, his wife or bride. In the New Testament, Paul and the Book of Revelation also pick up this theme. So on Valentine’s Day 2016, we’re studying a scripture that points to the greatest, most romantic love story ever told: that Jesus, God the Son, left his Father and his home in heaven in order to cleave to his bride—the church, those of us who believe in Christ—and “become one flesh” with us.

Sermon Text: John 4:1-18

[To listen on the go, right-click here to download an MP3.]

I am directionally impaired. In other words, I’m terrible with directions. I always have been. I confess that my sense of direction gotten even worse in this age of GPS. I use Google Maps almost all the time now! But I use it, not just to know how to get from Point A to Point B, but also how to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Google Maps does a nice job of directing me around traffic.

Even this past week, I was taking my son Ian to his elementary school, which is just a few miles form our house. You just make one left turn out of our neighborhood. This past week, however, there was an accident blocking the entire road 50 yards from my intersection. I had to make that one left turn, but that one left turn was blocked. So how do I get around it, so that I can get to my son’s elementary school?

Beats me, because, remember, I’m directionally impaired. But not to worry! Because I have Google Maps, which tells me how I can get there by making a right-hand turn instead of a left-hand turn. Only problem, of course, is that by making that right-hand turn, and going around the accident, it took an extra ten minutes to get to the school. But… I got there O.K., so that’s all that matters. Read the rest of this entry »

Theologically questionable Facebook posts, Part 1

October 5, 2012

Francis Chan inspires fierce loyalty among his readers, viewers, and congregants—and strong reactions from his detractors. Me, I only know him by reputation. I never read Crazy Love when it came out. In retrospect, I should have read it for the same reason I read Heaven Is for Real—because so many church people were reading it. Maybe I’d love it, but when Chan says things like this—as he did, apparently, at last night’s “Catalyst” conference—it makes me wonder.

I understand Chan’s sentiment. By all means, our credibility as disciple-makers hinges, in large part, on the extent to which we ourselves are being made into disciples. I’ve preached the same myself. But Chan doesn’t leave much room for the Holy Spirit. The good news is that ultimately it isn’t up to us to “multiply” God’s kingdom; that job belongs to the Spirit. The Body of Christ doesn’t grow like a human body: Christians don’t duplicate in the same way that cells do, such that if a cell has defective DNA code, that code will get passed on to the next one.

Chan seems to be saying that we need to get our act together before we can begin doing the work of the kingdom. To which I would say that doing the work of God’s kingdom, by God’s grace, often helps us to get our act together. Besides, how sufficiently does Chan believe that he has his act together? Apart from grace, we’re all hopeless sinners. And we’re all in need of God’s grace at every moment.

Picky, picky, I know. But what can I say? This blog exists in part to be picky about theology, because it matters a great deal to me.

Someone might accuse me of taking Chan’s words out of context. To which I say, of course I’m taking them out of context! It’s Facebook! The words were posted without context. Were the many people who chimed in their agreement with his words sitting in the conference, hearing Chan speak them in context? Who knows? All I have to go on is this Facebook post. A pastor friend who was there, however, tells me that I fairly represented what Chan was saying.

For graduating seniors

May 8, 2012

As some of you know, we blessed and recognized our graduating seniors last Sunday. With that in mind, you might appreciate this post from author and pastor John Alan Turner. My favorite line: “Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.”


Speaking of graduating seniors, I prayed the following prayer for them on Sunday (from The United Methodist Book of Worship):

God of truth and knowledge, by your wisdom we are taught the way and the truth. Bless these young people as they now finish this course of study. We thank you for those who taught and worked beside them, and all who supported them along the way. Walk with these graduates as they leave and move forward in life. Take away their anxiety and confusion of purpose. Strengthen their many talents and skills, instill in them a confidence in the future you plan, where energies may be gathered up and used for the good of all people; for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Inspiring Facebook posts, Part 3

December 5, 2011

This one comes from my friend Kevin, a Presbyterian pastor in Ireland. The aphorism is not original to him, but he’s so brilliant that it ought to be. [Click to expand.]

The 75 percent

November 4, 2011

I’ve been thinking, writing, reading, and even preaching about evangelism recently. I’m not sure what’s gotten into me. I hope the Holy Spirit! But I feel convicted about it. I feel convicted that I’m not doing enough in the area of faith-sharing. I feel convicted that I’m not providing enough leadership in the area of evangelism for my parishioners.

One impetus for this conviction, I’m sure, is some demographic information that Larisa, my fellow associate pastor, shared in staff meeting recently. The data showed that fully 75 percent of people living within a 10-mile radius of our church do not attend any religious services. So without even needing to get into difficult questions about proselytizing people of other religions (like, for example, how do we reach the relatively large Hindu population surrounding our church?), the fields are “white already to harvest.”

So our work is cut out for us. What will we do about it? And will we do it with a sense of urgency, eagerness, and enthusiasm?

I’m preaching this week on Matthew 22:1-14, the Parable of the Wedding Banquet. This is another discomforting parable about the expansiveness of God’s grace, to be sure, but also the judgment that we all face for our efforts on behalf of God’s kingdom. Consider the urgency with which the servants in this parable went about their task of inviting. How do we measure up?

With all this in mind, consider this Facebook post from a United Methodist pastor friend of mine. What do you make of it? Do you agree with it? Does it bother you? Why or why not?

Cool new Facebook feature

August 13, 2011

… but also kind of depressing. It goes to prove that I am a person of great faith.

As we approach another season, “Go Jackets, anyway!”

How many fans does Jesus have on Facebook?

April 14, 2011

Well, yes, I like Jesus too, but I don’t know… This doesn’t quite say enough—or it sets the bar a little too low or something.