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Showing posts from December, 2014

In The Beginning - Week One: And God Said

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I was looking for some information on New Year's Resolutions on the interwebs and I found one linked to usa.gov.  It touted the top New Year's resolutions that people make--quitting smoking, losing weight, starting a new career, furthering education  and the like.  It also provided links for each one of those resolutions to government websites where you could find help on how to keep those resolutions.

Tax payer funded help---to keep your New Year's resolutions...

Perhaps a less cynical person would see this as a creative way for the U.S. government to connect people with government services that might help make their lives better.

Unfortunately, I am not that less cynical person.  As I read through the site, I was reminded of that old punchline, "Hi, we're from the government and we're here to help you."  How bad have things gotten in our society when you have to go to the government to help you keep your New Year's resolutions?

Pretty bad, I…

Making Room For Christ - Week Five: "Nunc Dimittis"

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Christmas is over.  
The day came and went in a flash.  After all of the preparation, the scrambling, the shopping, cooking, baking, driving to and fro, family gatherings, office parties, church services and late night wrapping sessions...

It's over.

And now comes the weird bit of time between Christmas and New Year's Day--A time when it seems like Christmas only it isn't.  It's a time when you don't really want to take down all of your Christmas decorations because you labored so long to put them up--but you also can't really stand hearing any more Christmas songs so there's that...

The child was born, and now we'll move on...  at some point the decorations will be put away, the lights snuffed and everything will be stored in red and green rubbermaid boxes, which we'll heft up into the attic.

If you think about the story of Christ's birth, though, it's not that dissimilar.  Sure, there was a ton of awesomeness that happened on the night …

Fourth Sunday of Advent - Making Room for Christ: "Song For People Who Can't Sing"

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It's almost here.  Christmas that is.

It feels like we've been waiting for a while, doesn't it?

Some of us have been waiting in expectation--the kind of expectation that we used to feel when we were small.  For whatever reason, this year seems different, this year feels--special.

Some of us have been waiting in deep grief.  It's the first year without the loved ones we lost last year.  Or maybe it's the tenth.  This season brings none of the expectations and excitement that it used to.  We might feel snatches of joy, and perhaps a smile or two.  But our grief is always there, like a familiar unwelcome burden that aches our shoulders to carry, but we can't set it down.

Some of us have been waiting with dread.  Nothing has worked out like we planned.  Families are at odds, perhaps and we're dreading that dinner or that get together.  Maybe we plodded through everything we experienced so far checking things off of our list--just getting through everything w…

Why I Give To My Church

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Every Sunday I stand in front of roughly 450 people plus a bunch of people watching church online and I ask for money.

I don't come right out and say, "Give us your money," but I imagine if you were looking for that sort of thing, you would probably find it.  You would have to look hard because I spend less than two minutes of a 60-70 minute service talking about money.

I shouldn't be hesitant about this, honestly.  It's a shame that I feel like I can only briefly mention the fact that without the generosity of our church members and friends our church wouldn't be able to share the Gospel with our community in amazing ways each and every week.

Jesus spent more time talking about money than he did talking about heaven or hell.  So there's that.

Even so... I am not going to beg, bribe or berate people into giving money to my church.  But I do feel like this needs to be said:  Why would anyone be upset about being asked to give in order to support somethin…

Third Sunday of Advent - Making Room For Christ: "I Am The Lord's Servant"

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Today we're going to continue the sermon series that we started a couple of weeks ago--a sermon series entitled, "Making Room for Christ."  The basic premise behind this sermon series is more of an exhortation than a premise: "Don't become so consumed with the coming of Christmas, that you miss the coming of the Christ."  In other words,  even for those of us who think we know better--it's far too easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas in a culture that seems hell-bent on ensuring we do. 
I'm going to begin today by reading the passage of Scripture we'll be studying--Luke 1:26-38:
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words a…

Making Room For Christ - Advent Week Two: "Straight Paths"

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I recently read about a new trend that is starting to gain some traction in our culture--it's not a huge, widespread movement by any means, but it's still out there, still happening.

It's called sologamy or same-self marriage.

Nadine Schweigert, a thirty-six-year-old-woman from Fargo, North Dakota, who was interviewed by Anderson Cooper after marrying herself in front of some forty of her closest friends. “I, Nadine,” she said to herself, “promise to enjoy inhabiting my own life and to relish a lifelong love affair with my beautiful self."

Then, in the words of the immortal James Brown, she jumped back and kissed herself.

I'm not sure why anyone gathered here today would be surprised by this kind of thing, to be honest.  It's the logical extension of a culture that is immersed in the self.  No one in our culture wants anyone to take credit for whatever success they might enjoy.

Seriously, when have you ever heard a brand new CEO of a huge corporation say s…