Post Tagged as ‘Uncategorized’

Finding What We Look For

Finding What We Look ForMaybe you saw it: the brief video clip, on the Weather Channel, of the flooding in Brookshire, Texas, which included good Samaritans rescuing a semi driver from the rapidly rising water.  Attached to a rope–held by several men yards away on dry ground–one of the volunteers swam to the truck driver.  “By the time the driver was pulled from his truck, the water was already up to the headlights,” the flow “so powerful that six grown men had difficulty holding fast to the rescuer and the rescued.”  The thing of note in this incident was not so […]

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The Kingdom of Heaven…

The Kingdom of Heaven . . . How would you finish this sentence, “The kingdom of heaven . . . ?”  In Matthew 13, Jesus says the “Kingdom of heaven is like,” then he defines six different similes: a man who sowed good seed; mustard seed;  yeast; treasure hidden in a field; a merchant looking for fine pearls;  the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures.  Some place such things in past tense, when Jesus was physically present, prior to the resurrection and his ascension. Some say that Jesus, using “Kingdom of heaven” analogies, was referring […]

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Which Comes First

Which Comes First On the steps of the temple, Rabbi Tarfon sat conversing on serious matters with other learned men. The question was raised: “Which is more important, learning or action?” Rabbi Tarfon replied, “Action is more important. Of what earthly use are fine words, exclamations and preachments unless they are put into practice?” Rabbi Akiba upheld the contrary viewpoint: “Learning is more important,” he said.After much further conversation, these sages decided that both were right: “Learning is more important when it leads to action.”In the course of being High School Camp Pastor at Crooked Creek Christian Camp in Iowa, I raised […]

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Into The Wilderness

Into the Wilderness On the surface, it didn’t make sense for Jesus to enter the wilderness. He was God’s son!  Lane Miller, a pastor at Kern Road Mennonite: “I wonder if Jesus wanted to enter the desert?”  In Matthew, Jesus was “led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (4:1).  In Mark, “At once the spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan” (1:12).  Luke has Jesus “led by the spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil” […]

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Current Realities

  In a November 22 sermon, I framed some of NM’s current circumstances by using a series of “wait-a-minutes”: “Wait a minute, what does it mean to say that we are a nurturing, caring, growing community of believers who are following Jesus.”  “Wait a minute, the Boy’s/Girl’s Club, the Elder Haus and Crossings school are right across the street.”  “Wait a minute, we’re meeting budget because we’re generous with our money.”  “Wait a minute, there are empty chairs in worship and empty classrooms in Sunday School.”  “Wait a minute, our average age is increasing.”  “Wait a minute, nearly half of […]

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The Holidays: Take Time for Stories

Creation was complete.  There was day and night, the separation of water and sky, fish in the sea and creatures on the land, the first human, Adam.  God said that everything he had made was very good.  Except . . . that Adam was alone, not such a good thing.  So, Eve was “born.”  Adam and Eve needed one another to complete the human equation.  Moses needed Aaron to speak for him.  Ruth needed Boaz to survive.  Elijah needed Elisha as a successor.  Jesus needed the twelve to begin his mission.  Jesus needed a boy with bread and fish to feed […]

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Always Something to Be Thankful For

11-1-15Matthew Henry, the prolific Bible commentator, was accosted by thieves and robbed.  His wallet was stolen.  So was his watch.  Later that evening, he wrote, in his diary, that he was thankful that: he had never been mugged before; while they took his wallet, money and watch, the men did not take his life; although they took everything of value on his person, it was still not much; “it was I who was robbed and not the other way around.”  Seneca was a Roman philosopher around the time of Christ.  He believed that nothing was more honorable than a grateful heart.  […]

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Thank You!

Cleopas and his friend were walking to Emmaus.  Jesus joined them.  They didn’t recognize Jesus: maybe because it was evening and they were walking into the sun;  maybe there was divine intervention, God preventing them from seeing Jesus; maybe they were too busy discussing “all these things that had happened” (Luke 24:14), which included an empty tomb and a missing Jesus.  Whatever the case, they didn’t recognize Jesus–until later, during supper,   “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; […]

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Immediately Jesus…

It was an amazing thing to see, there in Matthew 14.  There were only five loaves and two fish.  Not exactly a feast.  But by the time Jesus was done, there was enough to feed 5000.  Men that is, not including women and children.  With some leftovers.  No need to order take out or phone Martin’s for catering or contact those in charge of the church kitchen.  Jesus took “the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds” (Matthew […]

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