Pastoral Series

Enough! – Show us the Father

 At the Last Supper, Jesus’ closest friends were mystified, maybe totally baffled. He had been with them for three plus years, interacting, healing, teaching, doing it all – and yet they were confused. They adored him but were a bit disappointed as things weren’t turning out well. And then the Passover was supposed to be…

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Enough! – More than Enough

   Often, if someone asks me which book of the Bible I find most alluring, wise, memorable and profound, I will say “Philippians.” Late in his life, having suffered much, and finally winding up in jail in Rome, Paul writes a tender, loving, challenging and comforting little letter to his friends at a church in…

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Enough! – Scarcity

   Years ago, I picked up a book that opened my eyes to stuff I somehow had never pondered. The title, God the Economist, caught my eye, as did the great reputation of its author, Doug Meeks, a theologian who taught at Wesley Seminary and then Vanderbilt. We tend to think the economy just is….

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Enough! – St. Francis

Like many people, we have a little statue of St. Francis of Assisi in the garden of our front yard. He’s the patron saint of… nature? Birds? Flowering things? St. Francis should be conceived as the patron saint of “Enough.” On this day, the eve of the feast day of St. Francis, let’s ponder what…

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Worship Matters – Shifting to “Enough!”

   We have been looking at various aspects of worship, and why they all matter, for months now. Enough for now! And so we transition to a little series for the rest of this Fall which coincides with what we’re doing in worship – and we’re calling it “Enough!” What a peculiar word. If you were…

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Worship Matters: In the Bulb

 The origin of hymns, the life stories of composers: these usually aren’t something I obsess over, maybe in the same way I enjoy watching ballplayers or listening to music without needing to know so much about a quarterback’s or a guitarist’s love life or partying. But sometimes circumstances within which a hymn was birthed can…

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Worship Matters: How Great

   When I was a boy, my mother tuned in to the Billy Graham crusades that were televised. I don’t recall much of what the preacher said, but I was always struck and moved (as much as a little kid can be “moved”) by George Beverly Shea singing “How Great Thou Art.” It’s a great…

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Worship Matters: It Is Well

   Back in 1873, Horatio G. Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” – and the backstory is stunning, and inspiring. Two years earlier, his four year old son had died of Scarlet fever. Then his family boarded the steamship Ville du Havre, bound for Europe. Disaster: the ship sank, and 226 people were…

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Worship Matters: While I Have Breath

   After a teenaged Isaac Watts complained to his father about lackluster music in church, his dad said “Well then, young man, why don’t you give us something better to sing?” One of his better-to-sing is “I’ll Praise My Maker While I Have Breath.” He had read and contemplated Psalm 146, and penned this hymn…

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Worship Matters: My Soul, My Life, My All

   When he was 18 years old, Isaac Watts left church one Sunday, complaining to his father about how deplorable the music in the service had been. His father replied, “Well then, young man, why don’t you give us something better to sing?” One of his best was “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” No…

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