The 5th Sunday of Easter
Love and Glory
Text: John 13:31-35
I think that my life would be at peace and I would still manage somehow to die a happy man if I never heard or saw a Kardashian again. It’s unbelievable. Those Kardashians are everywhere! TV shows, commercials, magazines. That means they have infiltrated our homes, our grocery stores, our doctor and dentist waiting rooms. But if that’s not enough, you can even get a little more Kardashian in your life as Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, and Kylie all have their own official apps you can download on your phone or tablet.
As ridiculous (or annoying?) as the Kardashian craze may be, you have to hand it to their publicists. They are certainly good at what they do. They put that unique family out there for the whole world to see.
Now you have to ask, “Why would someone want to do that? Why harness the powers of all these media channels? Why put yourself out there in front of the world?” The Kardashians have an entire staff of PR specialists because they understand a fundamental concept innate to every single human being: If you gain glory, you gain love. This is how our entire world—and especially our American culture—is set up. If you have glory, you will have love. Read the rest of this entry
Surpassing Glory Is Yours
Text: 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
’Tis the season for glory. Today is the big game that will let one team of players live in infamy for generations to come. Will young stud Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers achieve newfound glory, or will legendary Peyton Manning ride off into the sunset leading the Broncos to glory once again. Today is also the day when Americans flash some cash to have their share of this glory. Someone this year paid over a million dollars for a luxury suite at the Super Bowl. A million dollars for a couple of hours of fun! Of course businesses across the country will also race to chase down the glorious title of best and funniest Super Bowl commercial.
There’s more though at this time of year. Next weekend is the NBA All-Star weekend when the greatest players, both young and old, will put their skills on display in a hooper’s hoopla extravaganza.
Then at the end of the month the spotlight shifts to Hollywood when the 88th annual Academy Awards will air. Cinema’s best have their hopes set on raising that Oscar into the air as the best of their category and craft.
Those moments of glory are far beyond our little old lives. Those are lives and lifestyles that we will never know. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like glory. Over 1.5 billion people—almost 25% of the world’s population—clamor and claw for social glory with their Facebook accounts. “Look what I did! Look what my kids did! Look at me!” The other 5.5 billion people look down their noses and say, “Look at me! I don’t use that garbage!” Read the rest of this entry
A Glimpse of Glory
Text: Matthew 17:1-9
A few of you have heard this story before. I was in about 4th or 5th grade. My younger sister and I got pulled out of class to see the principal. We were leaving early that day. Shortly after, my mother was burning rubber down the street and came to a screeching stop at the school. “Jump in the car. We have to go get dad from the airport.”
My father had been on a flight from Oakland to Milwaukee. He saw a man he knew on the plane who was working for the Oakland Athletics baseball team at the time. You might know him—Hall of Fame baseball player Reggie Jackson. Fearless, he walked right up to Reggie and asked if he wanted a ride to his downtown hotel because he was the pastor of a church just down the street. Amazingly, he said yes.
I will never forget that 25-minute car ride from the airport to the hotel. My dad drove and Reggie Jackson was in the passenger seat. My sister and I were in the back with my mom in the middle. As a huge baseball and sports fan I was hoping my dad would take a couple dozen wrong turns to make the drive last longer.
After an awesome ride, with my dad even having opportunity to witness to Reggie and give him a Bible, we finally arrived at the hotel. I asked Reggie Jackson if he would sign two baseball cards for me. He said, “What was your name again, Scott?” I remember thinking, “You can call me Sally for all I care Mr. Jackson!” That was a glorious moment I never wanted to end. Read the rest of this entry
The Festival of Michael and All Angels
Join the Work of the Angels
Text: Luke 2:9-14
The fire was quietly crackling. The smoke was gradually gliding upward. The flames and embers gave a gentle glow on the campsite. It was restful. It was tranquil. It was peaceful. Just another night out in the country fields. But not for long. This normal night would go down as one of the most eventful evenings in history.
The quiet fields outside of little Bethlehem had been silent for ages. Nothing more than bleating sheep or shouting shepherds happened out there. But something incredible was happening on this night. Suddenly these shepherds were surrounded by the glory of the Lord. Like the pillar of fire leading Israel out of Egypt, like Mt. Sinai quaking and shaking, like Solomon’s temple filled with smoke, the glory of the Lord was brilliantly illuminating the night sky. And the shepherds “were terrified.” Read the rest of this entry
8th Sunday after Pentecost
Follow Christ and Live By Faith
Text: Hebrews 11:24-26
Are you a value shopper? I’m sure you are. The U.S. economy, and perhaps even the Flagler County economy, are both plateauing a bit after rising for a while. Yet how much America recovers remains to be seen. The cost of gas is still skyrocketing. The cost of cheese in Florida is ridiculous. If I weren’t from Wisconsin I would almost think twice about how necessary it is. In these uncertain times then, it’s important to be a value shopper.
Clip your coupons. Go to stores like Walmart or Best Buy that honor coupons from other stores. Shop the best deals. Get the “But 1, Get 1” deals at Winn Dixie. Buy in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco. Wait for the Black Friday super discount deals.
These days we are trained to find great value buys. These are the deals where it will never cost that low again. These are the deals when Mr. Loberger walks into Besty Buy to buy a TV, finds all school supplies on sale, and buys literally every school supply in the store—$3,000 worth of supplies for $300 (true story). That’s value!
There’s another use of the word value in our culture though. That’s when something is valuable. It might be small. It might be expensive. But that doesn’t matter if it’s valuable. The personally autographed photo my dad got from Mickey Mantle when my aunt was in the hospital at the same time is priceless and valuable. The copy of the red pew hymnal my family has signed by my grandfather who was on the hymnal production committee is priceless and valuable for a different reason. My wedding ring is modestly pricey, yet still priceless and valuable. The look on the kids’ faces when they found out we were going to Disney World a few weeks ago cost nothing but was priceless and valuable.
Almost everything we have we discuss in terms of value. We have Zillow and other web sites or appraisers to value our homes. Kelly Blue Book tells us how much our car is worth. The Antique Road Show on PBS tells us how much the ancient garbage in our garage is worth. The dollars flying out of our wallet tell us how much our spouse or our children are worth. We love things that are either a bargain value or things that are valuable. Read the rest of this entry