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April 11th, 2015

Tomorrow is Holy Humor Sunday at our church. On the Sunday after Easter we celebrate “God’s last laugh on the devil” when he raised Jesus from the dead. I’ve heard more than one comment this week that it just seems appropriate to have Ed Wiehrdt’s funeral on Holy Humor weekend. Ed loved to wear a t-shirt on Holy Humor Sunday that said, “Older than Dirt.”

Nobody loved a good joke more. Nobody had a better twinkle in his eye. Nobody won you over with a smile more quickly than Ed Wiehrdt. Read more »

April 5th, 2015

When you know Jesus intimately, you trust him instinctively.

John 11:17-27

April 5, 2015

Why Lazarus

You might find it a little strange to come to church on Easter Sunday and realize the sermon is about a man named Lazarus rising from the dead, not Jesus.

There are two reasons for this. First, for most of this calendar year we have been preaching on “the miracles of Jesus.” That sermon series will end next week, with Jesus’ third fishing miracle, the only miracle recorded after his resurrection. When I was outlining these sermons, I decided that Jesus’ resurrection technically did not fit the series. It’s not a miracle Jesus is responsible for. He was dead.

Second, the story of Lazarus rising from the dead is really about Jesus, not Lazarus. The Lazarus story occupies all of chapter 11 in John’s Gospel, plus 11 verses of chapter 12. Only three of those 68 verses are needed to tell the story of the resurrection of Lazarus. The other 65 are about Jesus. The pinnacle is John 11:25-26, when Jesus declares to Lazarus’ sister, “I am the resurrection and the life… Do you believe this?”

I can tell you that on this particular Easter Sunday, this is personal for me. Read more »

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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