The context of today’s message from John 9:1-41 involves Jesus healing a blind man in an unusual manner. What makes the episode one of the strangest in scripture is how Jesus accomplished the healing. Jesus spat on the ground and made a paste of saliva and dirt, creating some sort of divine mud. Jesus then rubbed the concoction into the blind man’s eyes. Once the blind man followed Jesus’ instruction to go wash in Jerusalem’s Pool of Siloam his sight was miraculously restored. Just when you’d think that this wonderful feat would be praised, it all comes crashing down. The blind man was interrogated andRead More →

As I experience Faith Fitness I am reminded of the power of sharing. Each time we gather we share what God is doing in our lives. We convey both the challenges and the triumphs of God’s presence. Our recent meeting was no exception to this pattern because we fed our spirits with God’s love and truth. As a pastor, one of my chief priorities is the people I serve in God’s name. Leading the study group is a way in which I can extend my care into the congregation and beyond. When we met this past Tuesday each person contributed by praying and speaking. ItRead More →

The stakes are high because today’s lectionary theme is that of life from death, of the triumph of God’s spirit over desolation and destruction. From Ezekiel to Romans and on into John’s gospel we explore the pervasive power and promise of spirituality. Do you feel that you are a spiritual person? This is more than a casual question. The scripture selections elevate spirituality as the core of our Christian faith and we must not ignore the very essence of God. Ezekiel’s prose about dry bones coming to life joins with Paul’s talk about spiritual vitality to form a dynamic, parallel commentary to the gospel readingRead More →

What a neat group! We met as usual today and our discussion centered on creating a mission statement. Our church is making strides in strengthening itself for the future. Part of our task is laying a solid foundation upon which the church will reinvent itself and grow. Therefore, each member and friend of St. John church is invited to create a sample mission statement. The sample mission statements will then be reviewed in light of creating a new, official statement for the entire church. Accordingly, our Faith Fitness talk provided encouragement for how to envision our church and what message we want to send toRead More →

We’re Getting Serious Well, at least as far as getting close to spring. Seriously? Winter will die, and most of us are hoping that it will be sooner rather than later. Yes, the worst winter in our lifetime will probably, hopefully, be waning itself into oblivion. Okay, we’ve acknowledged our wintry struggles and we must move on. Indeed, we are waiting for more than just the bitter cold and deep snow to subside. As people of faith we have a spiritual spring to celebrate. Our dark night of the soul must give way to the hope of light and life. We are God’s children ofRead More →

Today’s message from John’s gospel illustrates Jesus’ boldness in speaking with a Samaritan woman. The context of this was Jesus’ visit to Sychar, a town north in Samaria. Tired from his journey, Jesus sat next to a well and spoke with the Samaritan woman who had come to obtain water. To fully appreciate this situation you have to understand the in general, Jews hated Samaritans. The animosity goes all the way back to when the Assyrians invaded Israel in about 721 B.C.  The result of the invasion was that the local Jewish inhabitants had intermarried with the invaders and, according to popular opinion, polluted theRead More →

Everybody who reads this has been born. Sure, we can playfully call attention to the obvious. But the next topic, spiritual birth, isn’t as obvious. John’s Gospel reveals a great story about Jesus meeting a man named Nicodemus, someone described as “a leader of the Jews” (John 3:1). Jesus spoke with Nicodemus about spiritual birth, and how it is God’s plan for us to receive a second, spiritual birth via God’s Spirit. Nicodemus didn’t get it at first because he was not able to see beyond the literal physical birth. However, we can grasp what Jesus meant if we can appreciate the power of hisRead More →

Jesus’ temptation is quite the scene. The up-and-coming Messiah had no sooner finished being baptized than he was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness. The text (Matthew 4:1-11)  indicates that Jesus ate nothing for forty days, a feat that would leave most ordinary humans emaciated or worse.   feel compelled to weaken themselves, as if inviting Satan’s temptation can elevate them in some sort of twisted spiritual hierarchy. A more common and accepted practice of deprivation involves fasting, such as during Lent, when Christians abstain from something that tastes or feels good as a way of spirit-strengthening. Many Lenten participants fast from harmful substances, orRead More →