4th Sunday after Pentecost
How Big Is Your Debt
Text: Luke 7:36-50
Let’s say that you are the average American. As the average American, you have debt. Most people agree there are “good” kinds of debt and “bad” kinds of debt. Good debt would be your home or land mortgages, school loans, and possibly vehicle debt. “Bad” debt would be other kinds of loans and especially credit card.
Now, since you are the average American, let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt (which is about the American average these days). Some of you may gasp in horror at $10,000, others of you might say, “I wish!” But you are hypothetically an average person right now, so you have $10,000 of debt.
Most wouldn’t fret too much about that debt. Sure it’s debt and all, but it’s not too bad. It’s about 50 days of work, maybe a fourth of a year’s wages. Not too bad. You make some payments. Yeah, there’s interest, but you chip away. You know you’ll probably pay it off eventually (assuming you don’t spend more). As long as you make regular payments, the only penalties you suffer are a little lower credit score and lots of wasted dollars in interest. Read the rest of this entry
The 6th Sunday of Easter
Teach Us, Lord, Full Obedience
Text: John 14:23-29
This last week a boat was found off the coast of Bermuda by a Norwegian vessel ship. Quickly it was identified as the boat of Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, the two 14-year-olds who left on a fishing trip from Jupiter, FL 10 months ago and who have been missing ever since. The two boys are still missing and now some are wondering if foul play was involved.
Speaking of investigations, there are plenty of others going on. The FBI recently paid almost $1 million to unlock (semi-legally) an iPhone connected to the San Bernadino mass shooting. Investigations are also continuing 10 days after the music industry lost legendary musician Prince, as to what exactly was his cause of death. Then there was the tragic death of the two-year-old who drowned in her grandparents’ swimming pool in Port Orange Thursday night.
Also making the headlines this week was another baseball player, this one from the Miami Marlins, who was banned 80 games for steroids and the controversial football player drafted Thursday night by the Miami Dolphins who has found himself in a social media firestorm for past poor decisions. (Not a good week for Miami sports.) Oh, and who could leave out the headlines of the 20 arrested during the mini-riot at the Donald Trump rally on Thursday night? Read the rest of this entry
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
22nd Sunday after Pentecost
Ambition to Serve
Text: Mark 10:35-45
What a journey! The disciples had been on quite the road trip with Jesus. They were meandering their way south through Judea down toward Jerusalem for the final time. Jesus was making his last trip there to accomplish his mission and our salvation.
But even more extraordinary was the spiritual journey the disciples were taking along the way. Parents had been bringing little children to Jesus and the disciples rebuked them and tried to send them away. Jesus was indignant with them. Then a rich man runs up to Jesus and the disciples let him right through. But they were amazed when Jesus told them how hard it is for the rich to inherit the kingdom of God. Then Jesus began to teach them more specifically about what was coming, that he was going to suffer and die and rise again in Jerusalem. The disciples were astonished.
And now this. James and John approached Jesus and tried to secure seats of honor on Jesus’ right and left in the glory of heaven. That made the others indignant with James and John.
What is going on here? Up and down the disciples go in their journey of faith. Mistake after mistake. Wrong motives. Weak faith. Hidden agendas. What kind of faith did they have here anyways? Well they had a faith much like mine. That’s certainly true of the story today. Read the rest of this entry
15th Sunday after Pentecost
This is Christian Living
Text: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
Four hundred years of suffering. Four hundred years slavery. Four hundred years of subjection to someone else. Finally, after all those years of burden and bondage, the people of Israel were free. God had delivered his people from the rule of Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. He did so his by his majestic might and power, leading his people through the middle of the Red Sea on dry ground.
Yet even after such deliverance and freedom, the Israelites whined and complained and sinned against the Lord. But time and again God was patient and merciful and forgiving. He continued to lead them on to the Promised Land of Canaan. Finally then as God’s people were standing on the precipice of the Promised Land, Moses delivered a fiery farewell speech of encouragement and exhortation to the people. We know that speech as the book of Deuteronomy. A portion of that speech is our first lesson today.
Our story isn’t much different than theirs. We were in slavery too. We were suffering under the bondage and chains of sin. We were subject to Satan and doomed to the dungeon of hell. No person in this world is perfect which means that all of us are sinners who were bound by sin. Read the rest of this entry