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May 24th, 2015

We cannot worship lazily and passively.

Acts 16:25-34

Remembering together

Today is about remembering. More specifically, it’s about remembering together.

This is Memorial Day weekend. Even the name of the holiday has “remembering” in it. The holiday’s beginning goes back to a few years after the Civil War, when “Decoration Day” was declared to be May 30. This was originally a day to decorate the graves of fallen heroes with fresh flowers. In 1971, Congress declared the last Monday in May an official “Memorial Day” to remember the cost of freedom. Being Americans, we tend to celebrate this one like every other holiday – by doing our own thing, whether it’s beer and a cookout or launching the summer vacation season. That might be an appropriate way to remember freedom, but I like the newer tradition of a National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 PM local time on Memorial Day – because it’s about remembering together. This should be an “us” holiday, not a “me” holiday. Read more »

May 17th, 2015

Why Are We Here?

Confirmation Sunday

Acts 16:6-15

The Holy Spirit closed doors in Asia to bring Paul to a divine encounter in Europe.

The place

Many years ago (1976) Linda and I watched a made-for-TV disaster movie titled “Smashup on Interstate 5.” It was about a 39-car pileup on a busy California highway. The movie begins great special effects (for 1976) showing the crash, and then most of the movie tells individual stories of people who “met” on that interstate, with many of them dying. Al and Jane are headed to the beach to forget about her terminal cancer. Penny and Pete are crooks on the run. Erica is being hassled by bikers. In the movie you get all these individual stories before that spot on Interstate 5 joins their destinies forever.

I want to tell the story of Lydia like that. Read more »

May 16th, 2015

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is by far the best-known passage written by a biblical philosopher who identifies himself as “the preacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem.” I suspect that BuMae read the entire book of Ecclesiastes more than once, but I rather think this was about the only part of the book she related to. Most of Ecclesiastes is a collection of musings from a flamboyant and public figure who finds life meaningless. BuMae wasn’t flamboyant, didn’t like the limelight, and found her life to be full of meaning.

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May 11th, 2015

It might be helpful to say right at the beginning of the meditation today that I know what most of you know – that the last few years have been difficult ones for Lois, both in terms of her health and her family. I am very aware of the limitations of my role today. I can no more understand and solve difficult human relationships than I can cure cancer or explain why God permits suffering.

My purpose here today is first of all to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. As it relates to this service, I am here to give thanks to the Creator who gave Lois life and to the Savior in whom she put her trust. I also want to celebrate Lois’ unique life by tracing some of the ways she looked like God. Every human being reflects the image of God. That likeness in all of us has been marred by sin, but it’s clearly visible.

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May 11th, 2015

When we can eat with people we think are strange, we demonstrate the love of Christ.

Acts 15:5-21

May 10, 2015

Squeaker call

Only a few currently active Corinth members remember what it was like to be at this church in 1992. It was a transition year between pastors. My predecessor had been asked to resign. A retired Lutheran bishop was the interim pastor. The Search Committee was working in secret to find a new pastor, and was in contact with a 36-year-old bearded chubby guy with a wife and three kids, then serving a rural UCC church in Thomasville. He had a reputation for being conservative but loyal to the liberal UCC, and that seemed to be a good fit for Corinth. In case you don’t know by now, “he” was me.

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