Trinity Sunday, 2018
Today is Pentecost. 50 days after Easter. The day of the Holy Spirit. The day that makes Presbyterians a little nervous.
Seventh Sunday of Easter
This week's meditation is The Letter of James from The Message.
Easter V, 2018
Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2018
The second of our seven discipleship covenants is “Worship Weekly.” As you might imagine, I have been preaching on and encouraging folks coming to worship for over 30 years.
Third Sunday of Easter 2018
A recent cartoon spoke to the truth of 21st century life: A business man, suit on, briefcase in hand, stands outside a hut with the word “Guru” above the door. He looks at the bearded wise man and says, “What’s the meaning of life? But make it quick, I’ve got an important meeting in half an hour.”
For almost a year now we have been exploring significant words that speak to our faith. Our Easter word is serendipity. “The occurrence and development of events in a happy or beneficial way; The phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.”
Palm Sunday 2018
“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him…”
John tells us the most stripped down version of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Here there is none of the elaborate preparation found in the other gospels. There is really only one detail not found in the other three, John is the only gospel to name the tree branches used to celebrate Jesus.
As we examine words of scripture that bear on our faith, it is fitting on Palm Sunday that our word is Palms.
Lent V, 2018
They must have heard stories about Jesus. Word had gotten around about this Jesus who brought a man back from the dead. Maybe one of the Greeks was a friend of a friend who knew the man born blind who could now see. Maybe they had even been in the crowd that waved palm branches that morning, calling out “Hosanna!” at the top of their lungs. Or maybe they simply wondered what all the hype was about, and they wanted to see for themselves if there was anything to the wild stories about this man called Jesus.
Lent III, 2018
The wireless communication read “To Titanic: Ice report in Lat 42.n to 41.25n Long 49w to Long 50.30w saw much heavy pack ice and great number of large icebergs also field ice. Weather good and clear.
9:40 pm, April 14.”
Lent II, 2018
I once killed a black fellow…
Actually, my Brutus stabbed Rodney’s Caesar in our fifth grade production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Rodney was one of two African-Americans in the class. They took an hour-long bus ride from East San Diego to our elementary school. All told, probably about a fifth of the school made that long morning bus ride while I walked four blocks to school. It seemed normal.
Lent I, 2018
As we begin our Lenten journey this first Sunday, it is appropriate that our word for the day is Wilderness. In the starkest gospel version, Mark tells us the Holy Spirit “drove” Jesus into the wilderness. He was there forty days, tempted by Satan and “staffed” by angels. Mark does not tells us what temptations Satan used or how the angels “waited” on Jesus.
Transfiguration Sunday 2018
Well, with the Super Bowl tonight and the Winter Olympics starting on Friday, it seems appropriate that our word for the week is Champion. Tonight, either the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles will emerge as football champions. Next week hundreds of elite athletes will begin competing to become champions in their chosen sport.
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
This week our journey of significant words of scripture brings us to a potent word in the realm of faith. One that can get shunted aside as anathema to faith. The word is Doubt.
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
Third Sunday after Epiphany, 2018
Our word journey through scripture continues today. In these brief few lines, the word follow jumps out at us.
The dictionary defines follow as “To go or come after a thing or person; to move or travel behind.” What does this mean for a Christian?
Baptism of the Lord 2018
In our continuing year-long quest to explore significant words of scripture and faith, today we encounter the central word of our text, “Baptized.”
Christmas II, 2017
By Christmas 1982, it seemed everyone in Pt. Loma knew the Simpson family. Mr. Simpson was the gruff Health & Driver’s Ed teacher at the high school. If you wanted a driver’s license, you had to take his class. He scared everyone showing a movie called “Signal 30” which was the Ohio State Trooper’s radio call for a crash with fatalities.
Christmas Eve 2017
Again, welcome and welcome friends. For the past several months we have used words of scripture as the focus of the sermons. After listening to these traditional texts outlining the coming of Emmanuel, God-with-us, our word is Incarnation. From the dictionary the definition is a “living being embodying a deity or spirit.” For Christians incarnation is no less than God dwelling in Jesus. God-with-us!
Advent IV, 2017
Advent III, 2017
This week our word journey encounters the word, Nativity, naturally! The children’s pageant is in an hour or so away, the auction all around us, what better word than this could we explore.
Advent II, 2017
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” So proclaimed Isaiah. John the Baptist was Isaiah’s predicted messenger of the Messiah calling us to prepare for the Lord.
As we continue the journey of significant words in scripture, that’s our word this morning, prepare. The dictionary definition is straightforward, “Make (something) ready for use or consideration…”
Advent I, 2017
As we continue our year-long look at scripture words that are significant for our faith, on this first Sunday of Advent, it seems appropriate that our word is, well, Advent.
This year I have been preaching on significant words in scripture for our faith. Today, the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar year has long been known as “Christ the King” or “Reign of Christ” Sunday. These are fitting titles for the Sunday before a new liturgical year starts with the beginning of Advent. However, it can be awkward for a sermon series based on single words. “King” is not the best fit when trying to grasp gender neutrality and, well “Reign of Christ” is just plain awkward as a word
I am preaching this year on significant words in the bible. This week our word is forgive.
In the dictionary definitions you can see why the word can be tough to put into practice:
“To cease to feel resentment against an offender; to give up resentment; to grant relief from payment.”
“To cease to feel…” emotions can’t be turned on and off at will, so it takes something more to end the resentment we feel when we have been hurt by another.
Commitment Sunday 2017
As we continue our year-long journey through important words in scripture, our word this Commitment Sunday is “Gratitude.” Let me offer some background on our text.
Elim is an oasis in the wilderness. There are springs of water and palm trees in abundance. It is a welcome place to rest from the harsh realities of desert wandering. The Israelites enjoyed themselves there. But the time comes to move on, Elim is not the promised land and there is more journey to make. And like cranky children in the middle of the thirteen-hour car ride to Disneyworld, they are reluctant to get a move on.
Do you believe in God?...
OK, you’re here, so perhaps you do.
Maybe the real question is, do you trust God?
I ask these impertinent questions because as we continue our look at significant words in scripture, our word today is abundance. The essence of the word is “a large quantity of something.” The thing of it is, I am not sure we really like this word much. More to the point, we like having abundance, we are just loathe to admit it!
I am a worrywart!
As I continue to examine significant words in scripture, this week’s word is, worry.
Years ago I was struck by an exhibit at the Smithsonian. It was a large cross with words painted on it. The plaque said the cross came from a Tennessee roadside in 1966. The words said, “Let Go, Let God.”
It was a nice sentiment, but inside I was crying “How do you do that?”
The Rev. Gordon Lindsey
In that beloved children's story Alice in Wonderland, Alice comes upon a large mushroom on top of which a caterpillar is sitting. He is smoking a hookah pipe.
Alice tries to start up a conversation with him. He looks down at her contemptuously and asks, "Who are you?"
" I — I hardly know, sir, just at the present," says Alice, "At least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."
World Communion 2017
I have been working through significant words of scripture and faith. Today’s word is “Spirit.”
Truth be told, this is Spirit Redux! Our second look at the word.
In a recent book, “The Future of Faith” Harvard professor Harvey Cox delineated the unease in Christianity that has been written about for at least the last fifty years. Reflecting on the history of the church and where we are now, Cox identifies three eras: The age of Faith, the age of Belief, and the age of Spirit.
We continue with our journey through words in scripture and our faith that matter. Today the word is believe.
To get at this word I want to share a story about my first church in Massies Mill. Not far from the church was a notch of land along a tributary to the Tye River. There was a good strip of bottom land, a short dirt road separated it from three or four homesites on the hillside. The area was known as “Hippie Hollow” by the locals since the land had been bought and the homes built by young couples from the seventies who had moved to the county.
As our journey through significant words of scripture and faith continue we come to that word, yes, Faith.
Few of our words are as biblically defined as faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” says the author of Hebrews.
The dictionary summarizes: A confident belief in the truth, value or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
Loyalty to a person or thing or thing; allegiance.
So, fifty words in scripture and the bible significant for our faith and today’s word is Donkey! On our word wall, which asked what you might say to a donkey, someone noted, “Get out of my swamp!” If you know the reference, we’re not talking about that donkey! And we have BBQ for everyone today, not waffles!
So you might ask, what in the wide world of sports am I getting at with the word Donkey? Call someone a donkey, and well, we usually don’t hear it as a compliment!
We continue our journey through fifty or so words of scripture and faith that are (or should be!) significant for our lives. Our word this week is “Humility.”
Thinking about a couple of CPC folks about to go hike in the Canadian Rockies, I am reminded of the story of a young mountaineer making his first climb in the Alps. For the steep, hazardous ascent, the young climber had two guides. The fellow felt secure with one guide ahead and one following. They climbed for hours. Finally they reached for rocks protruding through the snow above them – the summit.
The epistle of First Peter was written to some Christians in serious trouble. In the land we now know as Turkey, their Christian faith and their Christian ways of living made them stand out as different in their culture. They aroused suspicions, sometimes the hostilities of their neighbors. These early Christians probably felt like some Muslims feel in America today.
These Christians dressed differently than the people around them. They prayed differently and people wondered if they were a threat to the Roman government.
After Hurricane Isabel, my neighbor Larry was anxious about trees on his property that could easily topple in future storms. He hadn’t lost any, but he was anxious so he had a tree company come out and consult on his trees. There were a couple of obvious candidates to be felled, another one that was selected looked fine.