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Showing posts from March, 2014

Shame on Us

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Five days ago World Vision U.S. made a change to its hiring practices, to include those in same-sex marriages.Two days later, it reversed it.
When the initial decision was announced, the president, Richard Stearns, said, in an exclusive Christianity Today interview,
"Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues," he said. "It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage."
"We're not caving to some kind of pressure. We're not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us," said Stearns. "This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We're an operational arm of the global church, we…

What she might ask us

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John 4:1-42
Don’t you sometimes wish you could talk to these people? About what it was like? About what happened to them?What if tonight we could talk to the woman who had a conversation with Jesus all those years ago?  The Samaritan woman– Samaritans, by the way, same God and same ancestors as the Jews – better translated Judeans because they were all Jewish - but different practices, different scriptures, different worship. Each one right, each one knowing the other to be wrong. Tense and distant, they avoided each other whenever possible. Which was often possible, and meant that despite the shortest route from Judea to Galilee being through Samaria, it wasn’t often used by Judeans.And if Jesus had taken the regular route, this conversation might never happened. They might never have met. But God so loved the world.And Jesus went through Samaria. So the conversation happened.
It’s the hottest time of day, lonely and dusty, and you come alone to the well.It’s just easier that way –y…

5 Questions

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The NEXT Church Conference is coming to Minneapolis March 31-April 2.

In addition to wonderful speakers and inspiring workshops, I will be sharing a bit of the story of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church, and our worship team will be leading a prayer service.

There is still time to register for this event.

In anticipation of the event, they are putting out a series called "5 Questions," interviewing the speakers of the conference.  Today they posted my interview.




As though born all over again

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John 3:1-17

There is no bible passage more known, recognized, beloved, despised and exhausted than John 3:16.  It was the first verse I memorized as a young child in Sunday school; it is held up on signs from time to time by zealots in clown wigs at the sidelines of football games and can be found on bumper stickers, license plates, and printed on the bottom of the disposable cups from In-n-out Burger.  “John 3:16” - as though someone would go home or to a library or on the internet after eating their burger and look it up in a bible and discover Christianity for the first time.   John 3:16 has become a kind of shorthand invitation to give your life to Christ, to have a conversion experience, so it comes with a lot of assumptions and baggage.
When I was 11 years old, I had my first outing with a friend and no adults to take a bus into the city and go shopping and out for lunch.  We were feeling quite grown up and proud to be on our own, and not a little nervous when we realized a group o…

A basket full of cell phones

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Last weekend a wonderful thing happened. A bunch of people took a 24 hour-long deep breath.For 24 hours they said no to things in order to remember that they are free, and they said yes to things that would give them joy.They did this on purpose, and they didn’t do this alone.
First, they gathered in a room and shared some hopes and hesitations about Sabbath, and learned a little bit about what sabbath even is, and why it’s worth doing and talking about. Then they gathered in worship, with others from Lake NokomisPresbyterian Church, sharing prayers, song, silence and blessing. In the middle of the worship, a cell phone rang. I stopped the sermon.   We acknowledged our discomfort, since most of our cell phones were sitting in a basket on the communion table and nobody knew which one was ringing.It could be any one of ours.  What important, pressing thing was happening that we were not privy to at that exact moment?  Tension.  Distraction.  Pause. Release the anxiety back to God, and …

Non-negotiable and permanent

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Matthew 4:1-14
When I was a kid I went through a phase where I would pause at the edge of a hotel pool and pray fervently to be able to walk across it on the water, only to sink like a stone every single time.And I used to kind of secretly wish that someone would try to kidnap me so I could “rebuke them in the name of Jesus!” and though it was some kind of magical talisman, a foolproof spiritual mace to disable any attacker. Thankfully, the car with the candy out the window never rolled up on me.
What’s happening in our gospel text tonight feels almost as absurd as that.It’s like a fever dream or drug trip, or, like the scene in the movie where the music and lighting change because the director is about to reveal something either about the character in front of you or the whole enterprise of life and living, and you’re supposed to lean forward and pay attention to the details and the words, the metaphor and deeper truth. Let’s assume there is something really important about this exp…

Being in on the miracle

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Matthew 5:1-12 (9-12) Beatitude Series - Part 5 (of 5)
The Hebrew word for Peace, Shalom, means “fullness” or “completion”.  So when you greet one another or say goodbye, with Shalom, what you are really saying is, “May you be completed.” Blessed are the shalom-makers, Jesus says, the peace-makers, the fullness-makers.
Peace is not a wispy idea or ethereal concept. It’s an actual thing.
Conflict and division – they are real, heavy and dark and sharp, a crushing and weighty thing. But peace is not just taking that away, leaving nothing in its place but a vacuum, a hollow restlessness, shallow emptiness where squashed down discord smolders or discontent breeds like mildew.  
Peace is not an empty, wasted space of enforced silence between otherwise foes.  No. Peace has substance and girth. It exists in the world. It is something you can hold and touch and smell; Peace is tangible and real wholeness. It’s what God’s kind of life tastes like and feels like in your hands.
We know the feel of peac…