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Worship

The Gospel According to Verbs

The Gospel According to Verbs

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is active. If you have not yet realized that fact, then I'd like you to see it this Easter morning. We get some measure of how action-packed the Gospel texts are by the preponderance of verbs.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Even the stones would shout
They’d cry your name aloud
Every bush, every tree
All the water in the sea

Even the rocks would sing
The coming of the King
Every brick in the wall
Would answer the call
Of the Savior who claims
All our fear and our doubt

Even the stones cry out
Even the stones cry out

That Old-Time Religion?

That Old-Time Religion?

Suddenly, a restless teenager stood up and shouted, “You can keep your old-time religion! It‘s boring! It all happened hundreds of years ago. So what? How does God bringing our great-great-how-many-times-great-grandparents out of Egypt do us any good now?”

The Unhelp of the Lord

The Unhelp of the Lord

Steve, I don’t believe that God wants me to have cancer, but what I have come to believe during these days is that God can’t do anything about it.

By God’s Grace, There’s Still Time

By God’s Grace, There’s Still Time

Churches have a tough time attracting young adults—they have so many other, more interesting things to do. In our conference we are closing several churches a year. I say that we are closing these churches, but actually, we are not able to close any church. For a good, long while, churches choose to receive hospice care, and sadly, that is all they seem to want. They think it is better than initiating any kind of change. And then we just become morticians. These churches eventually die. We didn’t kill them. They just die.

Jesus Weeps for Us

Jesus Weeps for Us

There is sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently then ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief, and unspeakable love.
– Washington Irving

The Problem with Promises

The Problem with Promises

Someone asked on Quora, “As a doctor, what should you never promise to a patient?” The answer came from an M.D. who has worked in an emergency room. He said a doctor should never say, “Everything is going to be fine.” He added, “I was told this in medical school, but for some reason I had to keep relearning this fact over and over again throughout my early career. You can say, ‘We are going to do everything we can.’ You can even say, ‘I think things are going to be fine.’ Just, never, ever promise that everything is going to be fine.”

Did the Transfiguration Change Anything?

Did the Transfiguration Change Anything?

I realize that many people in the United Methodist portion of the body of Christ are weeping tonight. Weeping because they no longer know what their place is in the church. Weeping because they feel isolated, excluded, abandoned, even demonized. Weeping because they believe that Jesus is walking with them but that his church isn’t.

Visiting Death Café

Visiting Death Café

Death Cafés are basically discussion groups, and they can be virtually any size and structure. About all that unites them is the presence of people, tea, and cake. Why would someone go to a Death Café?

The Purpose of a Sermon

The Purpose of a Sermon

Have you ever left church filled with rage because of what the preacher preached? Have you ever wanted to kill the preacher?

That’s rhetorical. I really don’t want to know the answer to that question.

The Ten Year Challenge

The Ten Year Challenge

My fear is that the picture of my faith today doesn’t look any bolder, any stronger, any more active today than it looked 10 years ago… 20 years ago… 30 years ago… Am I willing, regardless of the cost, to do justice… to love kindness… and walk humbly with God? Would I be willing to be arrested for civil disobedience in order to find that one lost sheep? Are you? Am I willing to stand firm in what I count as Biblical truths… and go against what may be written as church law elsewhere?

Signs Pointing the Way

Signs Pointing the Way

“They’ve run out of wine,” Jesus’s mother says to him. “Woman, what’s that got to do with you or with me? Not our party.”

God Didn’t Say That!

God Didn’t Say That!

When God says through the prophet Isaiah, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (43:2), God is not saying, “I will not give you more than you can handle.” Nor is God promising, “This too shall pass.” No, the message is really very different.

A Camel on the Roof

A Camel on the Roof

One night, the king was roused from sleep by a fearful stumping on the roof above his bed. Alarmed, he shouted, “Who’s there?”

“A friend,” came the reply from the roof. “I’ve lost my camel.”

Here’s something interesting…

Here’s something interesting…

Do those words pique your curiosity or fill you with dread? Do you expect to be feasting on fascinating facts or drowning in dull details? As we close out the year, we consider a few interesting (hopefully) odds and ends about Christmas and Methodists.

Lessons & Carols

Lessons & Carols

Return once again to that awesome night in Bethlehem as we tell the story and sing carols for the baby king. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

A Word in the Wilderness

A Word in the Wilderness

It’s kind of like when you sit in the airport and hear boarding calls for different flights. Most of those announcements don’t matter to you. But when the call comes for your flight, it’s time for you to get on board.

We Are Not Alone

We Are Not Alone

Imagine that you are on a voyage of discovery back in the fifteenth century. Your ship goes down in a storm. You find yourself as the sole survivor on a deserted island. Nobody knows you are there, and there is no hope of rescue. Fortunately, there is water and food available on the island, but the island is deserted of human habitation, and you are all alone. What would you do?

Positivity

Positivity

I was not always so negative, so pessimistic. Once, in my youth, my hay day, I thought better of people and their possibilities. I was going to change the world! I’m going to get out there and get those once-racist-sexist-materialistic, homophobic rascals to change for the better. And they can change, if they really want to change, and who better to tell them to change than me? But that was long ago. As a pastor, I got my nose rubbed in the human condition, was made to stare at the sheer ugliness of people.