Greetings friends! I trust that you had a blessed Thanksgiving. Things are going well at the church and we are having a special music Sunday on December 15th. This means that there won’t be the usual Message Supplement included in our Sunday bulletin (and also why there won’t be one included here). I’m working on the Message Supplement for December 22nd, which I’ll have posted soon. Meanwhile, let us continue to keep one another in our thoughts and prayers as we continue our journey through Advent and beyond.Read More →

As usual, we had a wonderful experience in Faith Fitness sharing our thoughts and ideas. The topic we’ve discussed for the past several weeks involves what’s happening in the American Church as it relates to styles of worship, spirituality, and what types of churches are growing–or not. One issue that arose today is that of a distinction between religiosity and spirituality, two interrelated concepts each with distinct characteristics. We talked about possible definitions of religiosity and spirituality how one is or is not dependent upon the other. Spirituality can be characterized as an inner frame of reference involving peoples’ subjective, personal connections to divine beingsRead More →

With the second Sunday in Advent, we consider lectionary scripture selections from Isaiah (11:1-10), Romans (15:4-13) and Matthew (3:1-12). The message for our worship service today is “Here’s Johnny!” This title summons more than a pun inasmuch as it captures the herald’s voice calling out from the wilderness. The Isaiah passages capture an expectation for the coming of God’s righteous teacher. Many view Isaiah’s words as describing and predicting John the Baptist, the one paving the way for Jesus’ ministry. In the highest sense, Isaiah narrates a vision of hope and peace, both for the world and for those who yearn for redemption in anRead More →

With the first Sunday in Advent, we continue a lectionary theme touched upon the past couple weeks. Today, selections from Romans (13:11-14) and Matthew (24:36-44) form the scripture basis for the Sunday message I’ve titled “Awaken!” Paul’s encouraging words in Romans highlight his concern that people be prepared for light, even in the midst of what seems like overwhelming darkness. Paul challenges those who have given-up on living soberly and instead have thrown their lives into disarray. He emphasizes living harmoniously rather than in the quarreling dissensions which plagued even the earliest Christian communities. Paul admits that the day of redemption is near, but notRead More →

My recent practice of expanding the Revised Common Lectionary readings continues today as I extend the selection from Colossians, adding an extra three verses at the end to cover chapter 1,verses 3-23. As with many of the New Testament epistles (or letters), the opening is a positive one. Paul the likely author has a splendid practice of giving the good news first by praising the efforts of his audience. The timing is splendid, and we’d do well to focus on the light and life he shares. Perhaps we, too, can help build people upwards before we introduce the challenges. This is a wonderful pattern becauseRead More →

Today’s lectionary lesson from Luke 21 and 2 Thessalonians 3 continue an end-time theme. In Luke, the scene is Jesus’ reply to someone’s admiration for the great temple in Jerusalem, whose beautiful hand-smoothed stones Jesus said would be smashed by besieging invaders. False prophets, false messiahs, wars, uprisings, and all such tumult would also occur as part of what to us can seem like an uncertain apocalyptic timeline. Yet, Jesus assured the faithful remnant that he would descend from the clouds and rescue the followers who had endured the carnage and clung to their hope. There is an overarching, troublesome issue underlying the apocalyptic portrayal.Read More →

Hello! On November 10 we are suspending our usual celebration service and replacing it with a service of music. One of our talented musicians, Jeremy, is designing and leading a requiem-type concert honoring our church members and friends who have passed in the last year.  Read More →

Greetings friends of the faith. We had yet another superb weekly meeting of our Faith Fitness group. We finished our topic about the two greatest commandments, those all-important , all inclusive verses Jesus emphasized about loving God and others. Our Faith Fitness group has shifted to a topic about the many varieties and styles of Christian spirituality. Everyone attending this meeting shared thoughts, many expressing personal anecdotes about different forms of Christian worship they had experienced over the years. Some remarked about lengthy, lively Sunday worship services that last two or even three hours and that are popular among certain minorities and ethnic groups. OtherRead More →

Have you ever thought about Jesus’ return to earth at the end of history? This question has proven itself a popular one ever since Jesus departed our round rock in the first century AD. Indeed, in one of the first letters written by the New Testament writer Paul (cf. today’s reading in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5), the issue of Jesus’ second appearing looms large. “What’s up with it all?” you may ask. Quite a bit, actually. A popular belief is that Jesus’ return hails the final age and the final judgment of each person, the righteous for heavenly bliss and the evil for condemnation. What happensRead More →

Greetings folks, The recent passing of my mother calls to mind how important is God’s constancy. Within this vast and beautiful universe we are faced with the ironic constancy of change. Not so with God our redeemer, whose loving embrace is constant and ever-ready to hold and comfort us. The stress of a passing, especially of a beloved mother, can leave us feeling torn asunder. I know that such a loss has brought sorrow to me and many others touched by my mother’s life and witness. I am thankful that the support of my wife, son, and many family members and friends have helped meRead More →