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Using The Right Words

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Today we'll conclude our exploration of a single passage of Scripture from the Gospel of John 12:1-8: the story of Mary anointing Jesus feet in the middle of a dinner party.

Here's the passage once again:
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone…

How Do You Smell?

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This week we're exploring a single passage of Scripture from the Gospel of John 12:1-8: the story of Mary anointing Jesus feet in the middle of a dinner party. 

Here's the passage once again:
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she…

When You're "All In" With Jesus

Today we'll continue exploring a single passage of Scripture from the Gospel of John 12:1-8: the story of Mary anointing Jesus feet in the middle of a dinner party.  
Here's the passage once again: 
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so t…

When Judas Went Wrong

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One of my favorite moments from the New Testament is found in the Gospel of John 12:1-8: the story of Mary anointing Jesus feet in the middle of a dinner party.  

This week I thought that I would use the devos each day to examine this passage of Scripture.  I don't often do this, but for some reason, I feel like it's right for this week. 


Here's the passage: 
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he c…

Re:Solve - Week Three: Vision

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Are you at a point in your life where you need some direction or a new vision?  Would you like to learn how to stop trying to figure all that on your own and discover how to align yourself with God's vision for your life?  With God's direction and purpose?

That's at the heart of this sermon series, Re:Solve: Aligning Yourself with God's Vision.  We'll be spending the next several weeks studying the Old Testament book of Nehemiah--the memoirs of a man who sought to be aligned to God's vision and pursued it with all his heart.

Today we'll be exploring another important step toward aligning your life with God's will... having a clear vision.  But before we dig into our text, let's take a moment to talk about Walt Disney, Bricklayers, and Helen Keller.

First, Walt Disney...

When Epcot Center was finished in 1982, Walt Disney had already passed away. Disney executives asked Walt’s wife to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. When she was called up to the …

If God Feels Far Away, Who Moved?

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Many years ago, I read the following question that was posted in some sermon or another and eventually made its way to the internet:

"If God feels far away from you right now, who moved?" 

I admit that I've used that question in the past during sermons or talks.  It's a pretty church-y question, but there's some depth to it, despite that fact.  The question implies something about the unmoving and annoyingly present presence of God all around us. 

It also implies that whatever we perceive as the absence of God is most likely formed and informed by our own inability to see God at work around us. 

And so many Christians spend all of their energy trying to perceive God on their own terms.  They lift up all sorts of man-made doctrines, dogmas, rules, and regulations that they falsely believe will usher them into the presence of the Divine somehow--as long as they can adhere to them. 

Some Christians spend so much time doing things in order to experience God that they lose…

Blobs Of Glue & Perfectionism

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Artist Stefan Sagmeister once reflected on how in his hometown in Austria there was an annual event called the Bregenzer Festspiele.  The Festspiele featured the performance of operas, concerts and theater productions, which were presented from a floating stage on Lake Constance. 

One year, an Italian production company designed the stage set for a performance of Mozarts Magic Flute.  The designers created a scale model of the stage, along with the drawings and instructions, and then left for Italy. 

When they returned, the Italians discovered the set was perfectly created as they had specified, with one exception.  They were flummoxed by the presence of several large "blobs" on the stage---none of which were part of the original design. 

What they eventually realized was that the contractors had so meticulously followed the plans they were given, they actually recreated the blobs of glue that were visible in the model. 

After I read that story, I couldn't help but think abo…