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Showing posts from October, 2014

How Wisdom Grows

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1 Kings 3:3-28 There is something to be said for unflinching honesty that doesn’t sugar coat things.   There is a fascinating tension in this whole portion of scripture (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Chronicles and 1 and 2 Kings)– the people have been freed from Pharaoh, delivered from slavery, to be the free people of God. But it’s really hard to be free, and they have begged to have a king, like the other peoples. So God gives them a king, and they struggle after that with the political reality of having a king, as God said they would. But God bless their honesty, the scriptures are ambivalent about their kings – on the one hand they praise their achievements- we see how powerful and wealthy, successful and wise they were, how they ruled in righteousness or built up Israel and brought prosperity and strength, but on the other hand, they also blame the kings for breaking the covenant with God, for turning away from the promises and words of God and their ch

Guest Post: So Sorry

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This post is written by Lisa Larges , who preached this sermon on Sunday, October 19 at LNPC . 2 Samuel 12:1-9 , Psalm 51:1-9 (read in succession) We haven’t had a political sex scandal for a very long time, by which I mean at least a few months. For a while there they were as regular as rain. And just as regular was the whole way they played themselves out – beginning with the adamant denials, continuing with the exposure of the truth, proceeding to the press conference apology which is nearly simultaneous with the twitter and talking-head analysis, and then by the late-night comedy riffs, and ending either by the fade in to obscurity, or sometimes, by the attempted comeback and then the fade. In recent times those press conference apologies have seemed both more generic and more intimate. It’s pretty clear that public relations firms have focus-grouped various phrases and produced a handy formula to improve your chances of raising a sympathetic resp

Telling Stories, Choosing Who

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Psalm 46 & Joshua 24:1-18 One evening last week Maisy asked me to tell her the story of Andy's and my trip around the world. That happened the first year of our marriage, 15 years ago.   I began to tell her the story and both kids got really interested. They kept leaping from their seats and going to the art piece on the wall that has thumbnail photographs asking, Was that here? Is this a picture of that?    When I had finished they asked if I would fill in the time between then and now , with stories.   I started to talk, and they listened with laughter, gasps, shouts and rapt silence, we went on and on, through our time in New Jersey, our new puppy, longing for a baby, Owen’s birth and moving to Minnesota, getting a new home and making friends, and by the time I got to Maisy as a baby, an hour and a half had gone by and we all leaned back with a satisfied sigh.    I think that somehow Andy and I got cooler in their eyes ( You lived in California!? You’ve bee

The words that make us free

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Exodus 19:3-7, 20:1-17 Every few years we come again to the Ten Commandments.   And when we talk about them it feels like something we need to hear again and again, to be reminded of, which makes complete sense, because they are God’s description of how life with each other and God works best.   But like many “rules,” it’s easy to lose the heart of them and think of them as something only that limits, squashes, constricts, when in reality, the Ten Commandments set us free. I preached on the Ten Commandments when Owen was four, the day after he and I had a moment that made me realize what the Ten Commandments are all about.   In a fit of frustration with his baby sister, Owen threw a Star Wars action figure at her.   In our house, throwing something leads to an immediate time out, a rule we thankfully don’t have to employ much any more, but which was one of the biggies at that time.   After his grueling four minutes in the torturously boring time out chair, I knelt down i