A Children’s Sermon for all of God’s children, no matter your age.Read More
Being a Disciple - Blog
The beautiful dark eyes of a little girl smile at the camera as she plays shyly with her braided hair. Those eyes are the first thing you notice in the most recent Week of Compassion Report. The whole report centers on our church’s efforts over the last weeks to give at least minimal assistance to the thousands of refugees pouring into southern and eastern Europe from Syria and North Africa. We, through our Week of Compassion offerings, are there helping people like the family of the little dark-eyed girl.Read More
I have for some time now joked with my friends, that I go to “the church with beer bottles in the parking lot.” Of course, the bottles are there because we are a downtown church, who does not own the parking lot next to our building. So, they are not really in our parking lot, but that does not stop our custodian from having to pick them up on Sunday mornings.Read More
The last two weeks I’ve talked about greed, lust, sloth and pride. There are three more from the classic list of 7 Deadly Sins. Remember, we’re applying them to the church, asking about the ways churches are tempted to the seven, and how we might avoid them and develop healthier life together? Pride, I said, becomes doctrinal certainty and exclusion. Greed becomes focus on institutional needs to the detriment of mission. Sloth in the church is lazy work with the Bible that ends in fundamentalist rigidity. Lust is viewing members, rather than God, as the source of all our solutions. This week we tackle the final three—envy, gluttony and wrath.Read More
Greed, lust, envy, sloth, gluttony, wrath and pride—the classic list of 7 Deadly Sins. I began last week to ask about “The 7 Deadly Sins of the Church.” In what ways are we, corporately, as individual local churches, tempted to these seven? And in what ways can we avoid them and develop healthier life together? I began with a biggie, pride, which I said takes the form of doctrinal certainty and the doctrine of exclusivity, counting others as “out” or doomed or less Christian because they differ theologically. Pride gives us a small God who can be captured in a mere writing or doctrine. This week we talk about three more: greed, sloth and lust.Read More
I happened to be flipping channels this past week and landed on one of those Real Housewives shows. I landed there because one the ladies was being baptized. The whole set-up was like a car wreck from which I could not look away. It appeared to me this was a party that included a baptism – including drinks before and after the baptism. They had rented a hotel pool for the baptism and the bar space around the pool for the party. Maybe it’s just a California thing, but this seemed to be quite a production.Read More
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I have always loved sharing the non-canonical Infancy Gospels with youth during Bible studies. I think they like to hear what Jesus might have been like when he was their age. The only story we have of Jesus as a teen in the Bible is of him in the Temple at the age of 12. I imagine Jesus experienced the same rollercoaster of emotions teens today face. I also imagine he went through the same physical changes in puberty. The hard part of Jesus’ teen years would
have been trying to control the whole “Son of God” thing. I would not be surprised if a scene just like this cartoon didn’t take place.
Here is one fun example from the Arabic Infancy Gospel:
One day, when Jesus was running about and playing with
some children, he passed by the workshop of a dyer called
Salem. They had in the workshop many cloths which he had to dye. The Lord Jesus went into the dyer's workshop, took all these cloths, and put them into a cauldron full of indigo. When Salem came and saw that the cloths were spoiled, he began to cry aloud and asked the Lord Jesus, saying: "What have you done to me, son of Mary? You have ruined my reputation in the eyes of all the people of the city; for everyone orders a suitable color for himself, but you have come and spoiled everything." And the Lord Jesus replied: "I will change for you the color of any cloth which you wish to be changed"; and he immediately began to take the cloths out of the cauldron, each of them dyed as the dyer wished, until he had taken them all out. When the Jews saw this miracle and wonder, they praised God. This story shows the inner conflict Jesus may have experienced. I can see him saying to his friends “Hey guys, watch this,” going and putting all the clothes in the one dye, and then realizing that was wrong – fixing it by performing a little “miracle”.
If you want to read more of these stories check out the Infancy Gospels.
It seems to me that the Bible reveals God’s people discovering over and over that God’s love and the circle of those included in it is ever widening. This is a critical principle to grasp as we try to deal with change or proposals for change. Change is truly the way of all things, the way of this dynamic God we know in Christ Jesus.Read More
I was once told that if the same things keep happening around me, maybe I should look in the mirror. Harsh words to hear, but I’m probably not the only one who has heard them or at least thought them. We live in a society today that is quick to point the finger at the other person in any situation. It is easier on ourconscience to find the fault in someone else. I think Jesus said something about this a time or two (Matt 7:1-5 for one example).Read More