Posts

Growing Up

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I'm in a strange season in my life where all of my boys are celebrating milestones--all within a couple of weeks of one another.  My oldest son just finished law school, my middlest boy is graduating from high school, and my youngest will be a middle schooler in the coming year.   There are sixteen years between my oldest and youngest if you are wondering how all of that is possible.   Unlike most of my friends whose kids are all leaving the nest, I'll be that old guy on the sidelines of his kids' football games for some time to come.  I'm doing my best to wear that well, though.   These kinds of transitions are bittersweet.  As difficult as it is to realize even my littlest guy is growing up,  it's kind of a gift to be seeing all these transitions happen at once.   It's also been humbling to see how they are growing up to be kind, empathetic, thoughtful humans, who genuinely want to make a positive impact on the world, and who seem to care deeply about making a

The Way - Week 3: Lydia's Story

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Two thousand years ago, a gathering of people in a middle-eastern city began a movement that would circle the globe and leave its mark on individuals and cultures on every continent. This movement would eventually become known as The Church. The early members of this movement were first called “Followers of the Way”—a direct reflection of their desire to follow “in the way” of Christ.   Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be journeying through passages from the book of Acts in the New Testament as we learn some valuable lessons from the early Church.   Whether you consider yourself a church person or not, you are invited to join us on this journey as we find out what mattered to those early followers, and why what mattered to them, still matters to us today.  Today we’re going to hear the story of Lydia, a woman who became a leader in the church—an unlikely convert, and a powerful witness.  I read this week that Lydia found the God who was finding her.  I think that's just abs

Silence Doesn't Bring Peace

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Fr. Anthony de Mello once told this very short, humorous, and very pointed story...  A tourist to a town hired a guide to show him the sights.  At one point during the tour, the tourist said to the guide:   "You have a right to be proud of your town.  I was especially impressed with the number of churches in it.  Surely people here must love the Lord." To which the guide replied:  "Well, they may love the Lord, but they sure as hell hate each other."   If you're like me, that last line probably drew a wry smile from you, or maybe a chuckle.   Whatever you felt was all due to the juxtaposition of the phrase "...they may love the Lord" against "....they sure as hell hate each other," which is a bit jarring, and also pretty funny.   It most likely didn't make you laugh out loud, though, because it hits a little too close home for most of us---especially those of us who claim to follow Jesus, and who attend church on a semi-regular basis.  Be

Sunday School Lessons

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  This past Sunday my youngest son "graduated" from the 5th-grade class in the kids' ministry at my church.  His official graduation will be next week, but this one was significant.  For the past nearly six years, Jacob has grown up in our church's kids ministry, for more than half of his life.  As the pastor of the church,  I couldn't be prouder of what our kids' ministry stands for, and what we teach.  But as a parent---I'm unbelievably grateful.  One of the "parting gifts" my son received from the leadership team of our kids' ministry was a book entitled, "The Circles Around Us," a book about love, acceptance, and community.   It's one of those kids' books that really isn't a kids' book if you know what I mean, and at first, he acted like he wasn't impressed with it, but I caught him reading it when he thought no one was looking.    He also received a jar full of notes from his teachers, team leaders, and frie

The God of Second Chances

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How many second chances do you get in life?   I think in some aspects, we get more than a few of them.  But there are some things that once missed, never come around again---at least not in ways that we once hoped they would.  I've had more than a few redemptive, restorative, and resurrecting second chances in my life.  Some have even been of the variety that I mentioned earlier---the kind that you thought would never be possible.   And there are some things that seem lost to me forever.   I believe that we all experience this in one fashion or another.  Maybe as you are reading, you find yourself in a space in your life where you are longing for a second chance.   You want to fix the relationship that got broken.  You feel you need to prove yourself at work after a setback.  You made a mistake that you feel you've been paying for.  You got a bad diagnosis, and you need a new way forward.  You feel like you've done things that God can't forgive you for--but you long for

Seeing The Beginning For The First Time

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It doesn't take much to send me off on a tangent of imagination, memory, or both.  I've always been that way.  I can get sidetracked easier than a puppy, or an eight-year-old kid in an arcade.  This was the word I saw the most on the progress reports of my grade school years:   "Daydreamer."   Before there was a widespread understanding in the fields of education as to different learning abilities, kids generally were affixed with a label and deemed to be an annoyance.  To be fair, there were good teachers, though.  There were teachers who got it.  God bless them for being kind and doing the best they could to help me learn how I needed to learn.  When I was a kid, I didn't understand how to harness the energy and the voices in my head to do whatever it took to excel.  That knowledge came later when I was in high school, and I learned to use it to my advantage.  I can get some stuff done if it needs doing. In fact, I  often measure the quality of my day by how muc

The Way - Week 2: Stepping Through The Door

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Two thousand years ago, a gathering of people in a middle-eastern city began a movement that would circle the globe and leave its mark on individuals and cultures on every continent. This movement would eventually become known as The Church. The early members of this movement were first called “Followers of the Way”—a direct reflection of their desire to follow “in the way” of Christ.   Over the next several weeks, we'll be journeying through passages from the book of Acts in the New Testament as we learn some valuable lessons from the early Church.   Whether you consider yourself a church person or not, you are invited to join us on this journey as we find out what mattered to those early followers, and why what mattered to them, still matters to us today.  Today we're going to dig into a fascinating story from Acts chapters 10 and 11, and we're going to learn about just how big the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is---sound good? Before we get into the sermon today, though.