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Showing posts from January 18, 2015

"Deeply Moved" (John 11.17-29, 32-35, 38) - a Funeral Homily

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Deeply Moved John 11.17-29, 32-35, 38.
Often time this passage is rummaged through for its comforting words in verses 25-26. And then v. 35 is latched onto by others who want to sarcastically or humorously flaunt the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” But there is a great depth to this true episode in Jesus’ life, and this afternoon I want to draw your hearts and minds to three things: (1) The Accusing Voices; (2) The Anticipation; and (3) The Anguish.
The Accusing Voices (v. 21 and 32) “Lord, if you had been here,…”: You hear it in this scene – the same thing family members hear in their heads and heart; “If only you had been here…If only you had spent more time with them…if only you had only been a better son/daughter…if only you had…!” Even our Lord Jesus, at the death of his dear friend Lazarus heard those voices accusing him, admonishing him, accosting him! Remember this as you hear those voices in your heads, those whispers and jeers condemning you, shaming you, blaming you…

"Praying with the Church" by Scot McKnight. A Review

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Praying with the Church: Following Jesus Daily, Hourly, Today by Scot McKnight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Prayer. Sounds like a harmless enough word. People pray in all sorts of ways, whether in gasps of ejaculated cries for help in a crisis, or in planned "quiet time" moments, or in coordinated settings of congregational worship. Yet, in my years of being a pastor, I find that probably most Christians struggle with how to pray, how to generate enough energy, tenacity and creativity to sustain a "prayer life". In my experience part of the problem comes with the notion that all of my prayers need to be of my own crafting. I, personally, have only so much in the area of creative juices, and then I run dry. One remedial question to ask is, do I have to always concoct my own prayers for them to be real? Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, resoundingly says "No!" in his 176 page paperback titled, "Praying with …

1 Samuel 3.1-10, a Chapel Devotion

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1 Samuel 3.1-10 This story, like all of the stories in sacred Scripture, is more about God than it is about God’s servants; it’s more about God’s character than the characters of God’s story! So what does this true story about God tell us regarding God? (1) God knows us even when we don’t know him; (2) God’s patience; And (3) God’s kindness.
God knows: Though Samuel served the LORD, he didn’t know the LORD (v.1 and 7). And yet the LORD knew Samuel – 4 times he calls him by name! Just as we heard in Psalm 139, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (v.1-3), God knows us before we know him. Something that shocked the socks off of Nathanial when he met Jesus, and heard Jesus say, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” (John 1.48). This all leads us to think, then on:
God’s patience: The word “calle…

Congregational Prayer - 18 January 2015 PM

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O Lord God, as your servant Paul told Timothy, you desire us to pray, lifting up holy hands that are without anger or quarrelling (1 Timothy 2.8). And so we ask your aid to shore up our trust and to help us to come in peace: peace with you through Jesus Christ, and peace with others because of Jesus Christ. We come in the multitude of your mercies, in the name of Jesus and in the power of Your Holy Spirit.

We call upon you to aid and relieve those who are in pain and trouble, who need biological, economic and psychological healing….restore them, body and soul, and give them solid reasons to have hope in you when they feel all squeezed dry and irreparably ruined. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord God who gives life, in whose hand is the number of our days; on this Sanctity of Life Sunday we pray for those who are pregnant and afraid – worried about shame and fearful of the future; those who have just heard the news that they are expecting and find themselves pressured by parents or significa…