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Showing posts from January, 2012

Sunday Sermon: Costs and Benefits

Reading: Mark 5: 1-20 Everything we do has costs and benefits. In each decision we make, we weigh the pros and cons, coming up with a little balance sheet. For example, it’s late. If we order pizza, we don’t have to cook and there’s only a little clean up afterwards. There’s a bonus, too, in that it comes to us. On the other hand, we have to spend the money, we’re not eating food we already have, and we always eat too much pizza when we order it. Even decisions that seem automatic have costs and benefits. Do I go to the bathroom right now or wait five minutes to finish this task? In all situations, we weigh costs and benefits and then make a decision. That’s what the people did in today’s gospel story. Jesus gets into a boat and he crosses over to the “country of the Gerasenes”. This means that he is expanded his ministry into Gentile territory.  How do we know that? The presence of pigs is a big clue. This isn’t one or two pigs- it’s 2000- the livelihood (and food) of most o

The Gospel I Need to Hear (Sermon for 1/8/12)

Sermon for Epiphany 1, Text: Mark 2:1-22           Sometimes I need a sermon myself. I don’t mean that I need one written for me because I’m tired or uninspired. I mean that I need to hear one.  Usually, I have four or five of you in mind and I hope that the Spirit speaks to all of you through the written and spoken words on Sunday. Yet, sometimes I ended up preaching the Word that I needed to hear and I hope something came to you as well.             Today, as we look at the stories of people who meet Jesus, I felt like I should be honest about what I want to hear. Perhaps you have the same plea as you listen to these stories. We have a story of friends interceding, a paralyzed man walking, doubtful scribes, uncertain disciples, and adoring crowds. These are the people Jesus meets and it's hard to decide which thread to follow. Healing, forgiveness, welcome, celebration, correction, renewal, restoration, resurrection- any and all of these are messages I want to

Friday Five: The A-ha! Moments

Over at RevGalBlogPals , kathrynzj spurs us along an Epiphany theme:  This past holiday season is not one I will soon forget, but not for the reason some may think. Certainly, it was a busy one for those involved in the life of the church. The 1-2 punch of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on a Sunday brought more than a few of us to our knees (or hopefully to a more comfortable napping position). In the midst of the holiday season I had one of those moments where a path suddenly was made clear - A-ha! This experience has prompted me to wonder what some of your A-ha moments may be. They can be mundane - a realization that you like/don't like a certain food or that you really look good in that color you never had the guts to try. They can be sacred - a way to better pace your day clicks into place or finally a devotion or meditation practice that really works for you. They can be profound - the moment you realized he/she was the one (or wasn't)or the moment you realized where

Books of 2011

In 2011, I read 155 new books. Here are my top 10 recommendations from what I read, in no particular order: 1. True Grit  I read this book prior to seeing the movie and I'm glad I did. Matty is the center of the book and her nerve, strength, and determination makes her better than a classic heroine. The biblical references, the smart writing, and the sharp dialogue moved this book into one of my all-time favorites. Each time I re-read it, I find something new. 2. God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America  This is a history of Patrick Henry College and some of its recent attendees and alumni. The details of this story reveal the sense of call certain people feel, through their faith, into public service. That lifestyle then impresses itself into the kind of lawmakers Patrick Henry students support and that they wish to be. The details of this book, the personal stories, will remain with me for a long time to come. 3. Bossypants  This was as funny and