Showing posts from September, 2011

It's All Good Week Two - Good Discipline

This Sunday I am continuing the sermon series, "It's All Good," as study in Titus. This week I was having a conversation with my teenage son.  He attends a Christian school where Bible class is a requirement for every grade, every year.  I don't mind this, honestly.  In my opinion, the more opportunities that you have to interact with the Bible, the better. But he had a bit of a confrontation with some of his classmates the other day when they were studying some of the Apostle Paul's writings.  My son had the gall to ask aloud in class, "Do you ever wonder why Paul was so angry?  He seems like kind of a jerk."  Some of his classmates, who attend conservative churches couldn't believe that my son would actually say such a thing about the author of half of the New Testament. So as he is relating this to me, he goes on to elaborate on the reasons that he doesn't like reading Paul's writings.  "He's always yelling at someone,&quo

It's All Good Week One - "Good Leadership"

This week I am starting a new sermon series on the book of Titus entitled, "It's All Good." This little book in the New Testament began it's journey as a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to his "go-to-guy," a man named Titus. I'm going to spend some time on the purpose for Paul's letter, and on Titus himself in just a bit. But first, let me begin this study with a few questions. Have you ever asked yourself, "What's really good about being a Christian?" Or maybe you've wondered what sort of good comes from being part of a church. Or obeying all of the commandments that are in the Bible. Or sharing your faith. The answer to all of these questions, according to the Apostle Paul in his letter to Titus is "It's All Good." Hence the name of the series... Did you know that recent surveys indicate that only 4 out of 10 Americans indicate that they are a member of and/or attend church semi-regularly. And by s

Westboro Baptist Church Gets Owned

I've not been all that shy regarding my feelings about the Westboro Baptist Church , and it's congregation of nutjobs. This group of misguided souls has done more damage to the Gospel than just about every other televangelist---even Ernest Ainsley. They spend most of their time picketing things while waving signs like "God Hates Fags."  They picket the funerals of soldiers who were killed in Iraq with signs that read, "God loves dead soldiers."  In their muddled brains a dead soldier is evidence of God's judgment on America for being so tolerant of gay people.  They picket Jewish events, high profile funerals---pretty much anything where they can get some press. The pastor of this wonderful group of loving folk is a man by the name of Fred Phelps .  The church is largely made up of his rather large family.  Westboro recently won a case before the Supreme Court where their presence at high profile funerals had been challenged.  Phelps' daughter,

Preaching September 11th - It's Not About Flag Waving

I've been reading tweets, blog posts and the like from pastors who are preaching tomorrow on the 10th Anniversary of September 11th.  Many of us are struggling with these sermons.  I've more than a few friends who have decided to basically let the anniversary go, and give it a cursory mention in their worship services tomorrow.  I've also noticed a few others who are using the opportunity to preach sermons about how awful America is.  That came out a bit harsh.  I think I'll leave it though.  It's true. When I saw that the 10th anniversary of 9/11 was falling on a Sunday this year, I knew that to ignore it would be a huge mistake.  For the past few weeks there have been countless documentaries, news stories and the like on the upcoming anniversary.  It's made all of the memories of that Tuesday morning come rushing back for both myself and my parishoners.  When pastors make the decision (out of hubris) to completely ignore what's happening in the w

"An Enemy Has Done This" - A September 11th Sermon

This Sunday is the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th. Most of us remember vividly where we were on that Tuesday morning ten years ago. There's something about the tragedy of that day that was---I don't know--- more tragic than anything most of us had ever experienced before. It haunts us, and we live with the reality of the new world it created each and every day. On Tuesday, September 11th I was working at my desk in the church where I served as the Director of Christian Education. For some reason, there was no one else in the office with me that day. I think the secretary had a doctor's appointment and our very part time interim pastor wasn't there either. We shared office space with the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes branch, and the secretary who worked there came to office with an ashen look on her face to tell me the news that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We didn't have a television in the office and our interne

In the Meantime Week Seven - "The Kingdom Is Coming"

This week I will be concluding the sermon series that I've been working on with my congregation for the past few weeks: In The Meantime: Living the Christian Life in A Time of Uncertainty.  This study of the book of Habakkuk has been a timely one.  The past few months have been filled with a lot of uncertainty in our world and in our community.  Lately, I have had more conversations with people who are struggling with issues of faith, doubt, fear, loss, you name it. Habakkuk is a book that was written for faithful people in any time or place who find themselves living in the meantime between redemption and fulfillment. Habakkuk was a prophet who went to God with some serious questions about God's motives and actions.  He wanted redemption.  He wanted things to go back to the way they were when people were worshiping God faithfully, justice reigned and all was right with the world. Who doesn't want that?  I want that about a thousand times a day.  Only going back isn&#