Sunday, October 29, 2006

Random Thoughts II

I am not preaching next Sunday, so we’ll take a break from preaching texts for this week. I will post some more random thoughts. Respond if you want...

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Henri Nouwen, a wonderful Dutch theologian, who lectured at places like Harvard and Yale, but ended working with mentally and physically handicapped people, said this, "My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered the interruptions were my work."

Could it be that our best work is found in the interruptions?

Could it be your participation in the life and the mission of God is best accomplished in those times and moments that may not seem to matter, or worse, the moments that we consider interruptions?

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To the best of my knowledge I do not have any enemies. I am sure that there are many people who do not like me for a variety of reasons, but I don’t know of any one that I feel enmity toward. Is this good or bad??

Do you have any enemies? Why or why not?

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What makes you angry?

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I bought back my old van, Smokey, last week for $250. (I sold it to Pat Arthur 3 years ago.) Gonna sell the blue Bonnieville. I am not sure I am moving up on the "Cool Scale" but I am happier. I am going to leave the back seat out of Smokey and use it more like a truck. Why is called Smokey? Just watch me start it sometime, especially after it has been sitting for a while.

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What questions would you like to pose for me and the readers of this blog?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Marriage Matters & Matthew 5:17-20

What do you think of the Marriage Matters Seminar?

Here are some of my thoughts (feel free to respond to them):

What struck me yesterday was the call to radical commitment in marriage. If marriage is going to be what God designed it to be, then we must leave the way most of us do marriage. Lynn described it using the word reciprocity (>n. the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit). In other words we engage in a legalistic form of marriage where "if you take care of me and my needs, I will take care of you and your needs." This leads to score-keeping and trouble! God’s ideal in marriage is different; it is a relationship based on unconditional love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

It is interesting what Jesus says in Matthew 5:17-20 (preaching text for Sunday).

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

If you read what follows these words, then you understand that it parallels yesterday’s challenge (not only for marriage but for every area of life, right?). Jesus is calling his audience to leave "the way we have always done it" and move radically into a new (right, deeper) understanding, a new ethic, a new way of life. In the text it will take this form, "You have heard it said..., but I say to you..." Read Matthew 5:21-48; Jesus provides six examples of how he is calling his Kingdom subjects to leave a legalistic form of living to embrace a new way of living that reflects God’s heart. Wow!

What do you think about that?
As you read Matthew 5:17-48 what impact does that have on marriage?
What about other areas of life? Would last week's blog have happened if we could learn to leave the priniciple of reciprocity in all areas of life, including church?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Random Thoughts

I am not preaching this Sunday, so I won’t post a preaching text this week. Instead I will just post some random thoughts and see if you have any thoughts about them.


I really miss Wayne and gang.


I am looking forward to the Marriage Matters Seminar. Are you? Why or Why not?


I really like rainy days. Do you think that’s weird? I also like snow, and really look forward to winter. I like all seasons.


I wonder about our church a lot. Most of the time I think we are making good progress, and other times I think we are not. Our erratic attendance patterns bother me, especially when they seem to show a downward trend. I don’t understand it, but I am really trying to turn this over to God totally. I still wonder if we are missing something?? What do you do about apathy? How responsible am I for people who know what they should do but don't do it? What if they just need encouragement to do right and I fail to give it? [I know, I know - give it over to God.]


I am very excited about the changes we are making in our Leadership Team. Several are getting focused and excited about growing this church toward the heart of God.


What do we need to do with our flocks to make them more effect?


How would you design a small group ministry for our church?


Do you like our mission statement? We are baptized believers participating in the life of God for the sake of others.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Matthew 5:13-16 -- Salt and Light

Here is the text for us to consider this week:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Some questions to get us going:

What is your first impression?
What does it mean to be salt/light?
Are you/we salt? How?
Are you/we light? How?
What does this look like in our world today?
What does Jesus want?
What questions would you like to ask others regarding this text?
What about the Amish community vs. Westboro Baptist Church in the recent tragedy?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Matthew 5:10-12 - Personal Persecution

Tell me what you think about these verses:

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Has this ever happened to you?

What did you think and/or feel?

I am really interested in your thoughts.