Prayer Note #48 — A Preachers Prayer to Be Used Rightly by the Word of God

[Yes, that’s what I meant to say: “to be used rightly by the word of God.”] Your word, Lord, is alive and powerful in the ears of faith. Grant me believing ears, so that I will hear your word clearly and welcome your word warmly into my mind, my heart, and my life. My calling … Continue reading

Sermon #50 — Then, Now, and Forever: Refreshing Times — Acts 3:11-23

Astonishment is an emotion that modern Americans have very mixed feelings about. We’re mostly quite comfortable about other people’s astonishment.  We’re generally less comfortable  with feeling astonishment ourselves.  I don’t mean simple amazement at some entertaining stunt making the rounds of the internet. The kind of astonishment that I’m referring to here is the feeling … Continue reading

BIBLE NOTE #18–Matthew14:22-33: Adventures in Water-walking with Jesus

ADVENTURES IN WATER-WALKING WITH JESUS   I love this passage – Matthew 14:22-32. But I’m still not sure I understand what Peter had in mind (v.28). It all happened one dark, windy night out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. It’s typically called a “sea,” but really it’s a large, freshwater lake. Still, … Continue reading

Sermon #39 — Words from the Beloved Apostle: Living through Jesus — 1 John 4:1-6

The confession of faith, “Jesus is Lord!”, is a life-giving affirmation.  The faith that is reflected in that a statement is the pathway to life, because the faith that lies at the root of that declaration opens the way into a life-giving communion with the living God of heaven and earth.  The Christian faith is … Continue reading

Prayer Note #45 — The Arithmetic of God

  Where do I find hope, except in you, Good Father?  Yet, I continue to look in other places.  I continue to behave as if I expect to find something better, more pleasing than you.  Of course, I never find anything remotely approaching you.  Everything I find is cotton candy, sugar water, candy corn.  You … Continue reading

Prayer Note #43 — Fleeing My Pursuing God in the Dark Before Dawn

Lord Jesus, I’m scared.  I’m far from you in my heart, and I persist in the things that will keep me far away from you.  And yet, I feel you pursuing me. Your pursuit both comforts me and scares me.  I know that because you still pursue me, you have not given up on me. … Continue reading

Pastor Note #49 — Living in Time, Living with God, Part 5 — The Future Tense of Faith

            Ebenezer Scrooge, when he met the Spirit of Christmases-Yet-to-Come, said, “Of all the spirits I find you the most dreadful.”  And when he says that in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, we all somehow understand what he means.             The thought of that which is yet to come can … Continue reading

Pastor Note #48 — Living in Time, Living with God, Part 4: Obedience–Faith in the Present Tense

            We human beings live within time very much the way fish live within water.  One way to think about the relationship of faith to the passage of time is to think about the tenses of faith.  I’ve described it this way.  Faith oriented toward the past faithfulness of God is gratitude.  Faith oriented toward … Continue reading

Sermon #29 — True Truth, Real Reality, and Discipleship — 1 John 2:18-25 (& Psalm 19)

Is the Christian faith like eating ice cream?  Or is it more like the physics of flying aircraft?  Is the truth of Jesus Christ a matter of personal preference?  Or is it a matter of the fundamental nature of reality beyond the control of my own predilections?  In this sermon, I begin by warning people … Continue reading

Pastor Note #45 — Living in Time, Living with God: Part 1–Introduction

  Living in Time, Living with God             I do not have a good natural sense of the passage of time.  Some people are very good at estimating how long an activity will take to complete.  Some folks almost never lose track of how much time has passed between when they sit down to work … Continue reading