Why I’m Not Posting Sermons

Posted on Posted in Sermons

So it turns out that there are lazy people in the world who think nothing of passing off someone’s work as their own.
I shouldn’t be surprised, but since I enjoy the crafting of a sermon for a certain time and place and group of people who will hear it, it is rather shocking that others do not find this same joy.
So, since intellectual property is a thing, and I value and love the work I do, I’ll only post the link to my recorded (preached) sermons here, and in another post that will live at the top of the list when someone clicks through to that page. Listen. I’d love for you to be a part of the community that hears me preach on a regular basis!

Why I Love Holy Saturday

Posted on Posted in Blog

This is the best worst day of the year.
Holy Saturday.
It’s the day after the worst thing happened.
It’s the day after everything fell apart.
But it’s quiet.
There’s no celebrations yet.
No empty tomb.
No risen Jesus to sing about.
It’s just quiet.
This day is so real life to me.
The day you wake up and everything is bad and dark and sad.
It’s a day we’d rather rush through in order to get to Easter quickly.
We don’t like to sit in the dark, sad, places.
But this day is important.
Because we will feel this way again.
The day after someone we love dies.
The day after a diagnosis.
The day after the worst day.
The day before the resurrection.
The in-between day.
It’s not as hard as yesterday.
It does not contain even a teeny bit of tomorrow’s joy.
But here we are.
So be in this day.
Trust that the worst thing is not the last thing.

Lastly – I want to share a poem from Jan Richardson.
She didn’t write it for this day, this strange in between day.
But I think it’s perfect…

Blessing for a Broken Vessel – by Jan Richardson

Do not despair.
You hold the memory of what it was to be whole.

It lives deep in your bones.
It abides in your heart that has been torn and mended a hundred times.
It persists in your lungs that know the mystery of what it means
to be full,
to be empty,
to be full again.

I am not asking you to give up your grip on the shards you clasp so close to you
but to wonder what it would be like for those jagged edges to meet each other
in some new pattern that you have never imagined,
that you have never dared to dream.

A New Abnormal

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There’s a phrase that people often say when they have gone or are going through something difficult:
“new normal.”
As in, “I’m just trying to figure out life in this new normal”
“We are taking it day by day in our new normal”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever said this yourself or to someone else.
It’s kind of a thing we all say in those moments when everything has changed, and yet you can’t make it change back so we are just trying to figure life out.
A new normal is what we say when we mean this is the way it is now and so we just have to adjust to the new way things are.
A new normal.

But here’s the thing.
I think all that crap that changes everything isn’t normal.
Cancer? Not normal.
Losing a spouse or child or friend? Not normal.
I mean it happens, but that doesn’t mean it SHOULD happen, or that it was supposed to happen or even that we are supposed to decide the life we have afterwards is the normal one and the way it was before is the way it wasn’t supposed to be.
This is the problem with bullshitty theology like “Everything happens for a reason” because what could the reason possibly be for cancer or heart attacks or losing loved ones? So we suffer? So we know how good it used to be?
So we meet someone else?
Um NO. All those options suck actually.
So I’d like us to all declare, together, a moratorium to the phrase “A New Normal”
It’s crap.

Let’s call it a new abnormal.
Things aren’t the way we thought they would go.
It’s not “normal.”
Nothing about life is “normal.”
There is no normal.
It’s all abnormal, really.
It’s just that sometimes our abnormal changes.
The only constant is change, so let’s stop pretending that all the crappy crap that happens is the way it’s supposed to go and call it what it is.

Uplift – June 16, 2017

Posted on Posted in Friday Uplift

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

As a parent, one of the things I try to teach my kiddo is that she can do anything.
Anything at all, if she works hard and doesn’t give up.
I try to live this way as well.
But man.
Sometimes life throws really hard stuff in the way.
I know you all know what I’m talking about.
There are days and weeks where we wonder if we really CAN do anything.
If we can make it through.
If we can take the next step.
If we can even get out of bed.
It doesn’t always seem like we can do “all things” as Paul says in this letter to the Philippians.
But, as it often does, the original Greek makes this verse even better for me.
Literally, this verse is translated as:

“I am strong for all things in the one strengthening me.”

You know why I like this better?
Because it puts my strength on God and not on me.
I’m one who likes to think about mind over matter and powering through and getting it done.
I like to try hard, push harder, go further,
And it’s really tiring.
But I am strong for all the things, not because I can muscle my way through them,
But because God is strong, and I am God’s.
So I don’t have to try so hard.
So I don’t have to work at being strong.
God is strong.
And I am God’s.
Say it with me: God is strong.
And I am God’s.

This means that when I’m at the literal end of my rope.
When I’ve got no strength left,
When it feels like I can’t go any further,
I don’t have to.
Because God is the strength I have, and I am God’s.
Now usually, I’m pretty averse to cheesy stuff, but this verse makes me think of the footprints poem.

I can’t believe I just referenced that either.
But really.
Those moments when we are the weakest, when we don’t feel like we can do anything much less “all things”
That’s when God carries us.
That’s when God’s strength shines.

I talked about God’s power being made perfect in our weakness a few weeks ago,
And this is why.
Because God is strong, all the time, but we feel it most when we stop trying.
So stop.
Stop trying to do all the things,
to be all the things,
You are strong for all things because of the one who is strengthening you.
So we can just let it go.
God is strong.
And we are God’s.