Pastoral Series

‘Tis the Season #7

Thursday, August 18 ‘Tis the Season #7: SacrificeA thrilling moment from my childhood that has stuck with me ever since happened on January 20, 1961.  Newly inaugurated President John Kennedy’s words rang out: “Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”  Fast forward to 2016: it…

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‘Tis the Season #6

Monday, August 15‘Tis the Season #6: HumilityIn a presidential debate at Wake Forest back in 2000, George W. Bush spoke wisely: “I think the United States must be humble, proud and confident of our values, but humble… If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us.  If we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome and…

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‘Tis the Season #5

Thursday, August 11 ‘Tis the Season #5: How We Change PoliticsWhat is God asking of us during this season?  Clearly God is asking us to fix ourselves, to be different.  But there’s more: I am pretty much persuaded, while allowing plenty of room for the possibility I could be wrong, that God is calling us…

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‘Tis the Season #4

Monday, August 8‘Tis the Season: “Don’t know much about…” In one of his clever songs, David Wilcox tells about arguing with his wife, and it was taking her forever to see she was wrong.  Then they tried a different strategy:  he took her side, and made her case for her, and she did the same…

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‘Tis the Season #3

Thursday, August 4‘Tis the Season #3: Idolatry = Ideology Nobody I know bows down to statues of deities – but we are habitual idolaters.  Martin Luther said “Whatever your heart clings to, that is your god.”  And John Calvin said “the human heart is a factory of idols.”  Yes, we believe in God, but deep…

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Tis the Season #2

Monday, August 1 ‘Tis the Season: Set your mind on things aboveMy sermon yesterday was on Colossians 3, where Paul says “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”  At first blush it sounds like we should focus on “spiritual” things, not “earthly” things – like politics. But…

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Goodbyes

Monday, July 25Jesus’ Church: Goodbyes“Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace… Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints greet you” (2 Corinthians 13:11). Something lost in emails and texts is the kind of gradual winding up of things, making a summary request and expressing affection.  Paul’s…

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Test Yourself

Thursday, July 21Jesus’ Church: Test yourselfWinding up his correspondence to his Christian friends in Corinth, Paul rather pointedly says to them, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). John Wesley, taking Christianity seriously and caring deeply…

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Enough

Monday, July 18Jesus’ Church: Enough2 Corinthians 12 is one of the most startling, unconventional, life-giving passages in the entire Bible.  Paul continues with his lengthy list of spiritual credentials, moving from all he had endured for the cause of Christ to bragging of unimaginable spiritual things: he was “caught up” into the “third heaven,” where…

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Weakness

Thursday, July 14 Jesus’ Church: Weakness On Monday we investigated Paul’s wry thoughts about boasting.  In 2 Corinthians 11, he goes on a rant, as if reading off his own resume: “I am a Hebrew.  I am a descendant of Abraham.  I am a servant of Christ – and better than others! – with far…

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