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March 29th, 2015

Thank you so much for being here today. Sienna’s Mom and Dad wanted this to be a special service, one just for Sienna. They especially wanted this funeral to be kid-friendly. They wanted it to be the kind of funeral CC herself could have come to. We decided to introduce kids to what a funeral is and give parents a chance to talk to their children about death.

A funeral is a time that we remember someone who has died. In the children’s message about Water Bugs and Dragonflies, we’ve already talked about how when someone dies, they change into a different form. Because Jesus died and rose again for us, that next form is so much better than what they were. So we’re not sad for CC, we’re sad for us.

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March 29th, 2015

In the darkness, he is the same Jesus they have learned to trust and worship.

Luke 22:47-53

Feeling Luke’s darkness

When Luke writes of Jesus’ arrest, I think he wants us to feel confused. I think he wants us to feel fear. I think he wants us to feel the darkness.

I have felt confusion this week. I have felt fear. I have felt darkness. This was a heavy week. I preach and believe that the death of a believer is a gateway to eternal life, but there are times when it’s so hard. After today in less than seven months I will have preached a funeral for Jake Robertson, a 17-year-old who died in an auto accident, and Sienna Houck, a 5-year-old who lost a courageous battle with leukemia. In between there was Tracy Hefner, a 45-year-old who had wrapped himself around my heart, and eight other funerals. That doesn’t count the funerals preached by Pastor Bill and Pastor Lori, or the deaths among your family members. Let’s agree with Paul that death is an enemy. It’s a defeated enemy through Christ, but it’s still an enemy.

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March 25th, 2015

This weekend at Corinth our elders will hold their annual retreat. As an ice breaker I will ask them which part of their life story deserves a book. My question emerges from our study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor in the 1930s whose resistance to Hitler has prompted many a book by him and about him. The one we’re reviewing this weekend is titled Life Together, which arises from his experience living in an underground seminary with 25 students preparing for ministry during the years where the world was focused on the Great Depression and Adolf Hitler was obsessed with domination and oppression.

A man named John in the first century knew that his three years in the company of Jesus deserved a book, so he wrote the Gospel of John. The revelations he received from God on the Island of Patmos toward the end of his life he also recorded in a book, and we will return to that book in a moment.

I suspect there was also more than one era of Nell Hood’s life that merited a book. Let me tell you about one of them – not as a book but as a short story.

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March 22nd, 2015

The bottom line is that I own my own flaws.

Luke 13:10-17

March 22, 2015

A few suggestions

You might be a Jeff Foxworthy fan if you know where I borrowed today’s sermon title from.

Foxworthy says you might be a redneck if your wife has ever said, “Come move this transmission so I can take a bath.” Or if your coffee table used to be a cable spool.” (We had two of those for years, even after we came to Corinth.)

He also says you might be from North Carolina if you’re fixin’ to go anywhere, if you live for basketball season, or if you think everyone who graduates from Duke goes back home to New York.

You might be from Illinois if last two governors met each other in prison or if you have ever worn a parka and shorts at the same time. Read more »

March 15th, 2015

Jesus is better. His way and his truth are superior to any false or incomplete religion.

Luke 11:14-28

March 15, 2015

I’m a little tired

How’s your week been? Mine’s been a little intense since we last gathered. After church last Sunday I preached a funeral, my second in two days for very special people, then hopped in my car and drove to Arlington, Virginia. I spent a good bit of the time in my car making phone calls – my mother, those needing pastoral care, and others.

Monday was a long day, but a good day. The theme of the Common Ground Christian Network gathering was religious persecution, and we heard from former Congressman Frank Wolf as well as a number of other speakers and writers. (I will admit to sneaking away for a really good midday nap!). Read more »