Sunday, November 26, 2006

Random Thoughts III

Sunday is our annual Child Dedication Sunday. I will have some things to say, but I won’t be preaching from a biblical text. So this week’s blog will devoted to various and sundry things, and we will follow you anywhere you want to go.

Here are some things to get you started:

  • Any thoughts about the divorce sermon? [You can read it online, if you want. Just click on the link to the right. Written sermons are a lot different than preached ones, but you can review the content, if you want.]

  • What do you think about Wayne becoming an Elder? What do you want from your church leaders? What do you believe Elders and other leaders should do/be? What do you want from me? Go easy, now!

  • I finished reading A Travel Guide to Heaven last week. Kinda light stuff, but it made me think of how neat it will be to experience Heaven. There are a lot of days that I wish Jesus would return. "Come, Lord Jesus." While I waiting I have started reading The Company of Preachers – Wisdom on Preaching, Augustine to the Present. It is a fat book (about 500 pages) with no pictures, but I am really enjoying it, hoping to pick up a few things that will help me and benefit you.

  • What else is on your heart and/or mind?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Here is one of the more disturbing passages (Matthew 5:31,32) in the Sermon on the Mount:

"It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery."

What do think about this?
Tell us about your experience with divorce (anonymity is fine, maybe preferable?).
How would you describe divorce?
If your parents divorced, how did that affect you as a child (and beyond, if that applies)?
Should divorce people be treated differently in church community? Are they?
What do you want to say?
What questions do you want to ask?

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This is Thanksgiving week, so please continue to share thoughts and stories about gratitude. Do you have a "most memorable" Thanksgiving?

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Last week I read Henri Nouwen's little book, "The Return of the Prodigal Son." It is a nice, neat read. Nouwen tells about his life-changing encounter with Rembrandt's painting with the same title. He tells a lot about the painting and makes application to his life and beyond. Just for fun this week I am reading "A Travel Guide to Heaven" by Anthony DeStefano. What are you reading and why?

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What else is on your mind?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lust and Thanksgiving, Not Necessarily in That Order

Here is the preaching text for next Sunday (Matthew 5:27-30):

"You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."

As you read this what are the first things that come to your mind?
What do you think about this passage?
Is it for "men only"? Do women have this trouble also?
What responsibility do women bear for creating a lustful look from men?
* * *
We are getting close to Thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday.
What are you thankful for?
Who are you thankful for?
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What’s on your mind this week? Feel free to ask or mention anything you would like to discuss here in cyberspace where the motto is "What happens here... can be see anywhere in the world, if people happen to check this URL, which is probably not going to happen."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Golden Hemorrhoids and Anger Management

OK, now that I have your attention, let me explain the title. Our Sunday morning class has been discussing the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, including the placement of the Ark inside. The text of 1 Kings 8 mentions that the ark contains the tablets of stones given to Moses by God. Someone asked what happened to the other items in the Ark, specifically the golden jar of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded. (Truth is, we don’t know.) I then said that there was also a golden hemorrhoid in the ark at one point. Well, most everyone thought that I was crazy! Turns out that I am not so crazy after all! Read 1 Samuel 5 & 6, especially 6:4-8. The NIV translates it as "tumor." Here is a comment from the Expositor’s Bible:

Thus the Lord’s hand was against Gath (v. 9; cf. 7:13) and brought "an outbreak of tumors" on its inhabitants. The Hebrew word for "outbreak" is found only here and was apparently interpreted by the LXX as "groin," yielding the translation "tumors in the groin."

Enough of that!

I will say, however, that our Sunday morning class is my favorite "church thing" right now. We have a wonderful time, and I believe that we really are forming a community of love and learning. I am convinced this the right way to study the Bible. It is amazing how a community of people can have so many diverse yet connected gifts and thoughts. Reminds me of 1 Corinthians 12-14.

* * *

The second part of the title is this week’s preaching text, Matthew 5:21-26.

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."
How is this passage about anger management?

Other questions:

What makes you angry?

Do you practice this passage? Can you give us an example?
Do you think we should stop our worship assembly sometime and make everyone leave for reconciliation? (Kinda kidding)

Why is this passage important for the Kingdom of Heaven on earth?

* * *

Are you going to vote on Tuesday? Why or why not?

I have two friends in this election: Keith Dillman and Andrea McCord. They are both people of integrity and honesty and strong believers in God. I really hope both of them win. I think Keith will win big, and I think the judge race will be really close. What do you think?
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I finished up Rice’s The Embodied Word - Preaching as Art and Liturgy. It was more of a "high church" work, but I gained some things from it. He makes the point that preaching must be firmly connected to the (communion) Table and to the people. Got it.

I have started reading Kingdom Come - Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding by John Mark Hicks and Bobby Valentine. I think it is going to be a valuable read. It is probably interesting to read this during the week of elections, since Lipscomb and Harding were pretty much against involvement with government. Here is a little taste of their position:

God opposes the Satanic kingdoms of the fallen world and objects to any allegiance to things in the world. This vision is God-centered and mission-oriented. It seeks the goal of God’s fully consummated kingdom. It opposes patriotism, embraces a counter-cultural lifestyle, exalts the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading and caring for the poor, and values the weekly gathering of God’s people around the table.

What do you think of that?

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I really enjoyed the Polish Presentation this morning and look forward to the rest of it this evening.
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As I sit here in my home office I am watching woodpeckers and other birds eat at feeders that I have carefully place right outside my window. I also have regular visitors from raccoons, possums, and turkeys. I love watching them all. I like St. Francis of Assisi.
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OK, what do you want to talk about? Just present the thought or pose the question and we'll go from there!