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November 23rd, 2014

I will remember out loud the truth about who God is.

Isaiah 63:7-14

November 23, 2014

Depression and preaching

I could not sit down on Thursday of this past week to write this sermon without hearing Wednesday night in my head.  This fall I have been leading a marriage class each Wednesday evening, mostly video-based.  We’ve had a lot of fun talking about marriage with about 40 couples involved at various times.

Wednesday night was not our most fun class, but it might have been our best class.  A lot of times discussions about marriage – even in a class like ours – live on the surface level.  This week we went deeper.  The topic assigned by our video series was Depression and its effect on marriage.  One of the couples in our class was vulnerable enough to share their journey.  For most of their married life, life was so good they would say things like, “We have so much to be thankful for.  Life is so good.  So many people have problems, but we’re each other’s best friend, we have three great kids, we have good jobs and a great house and big enough plot for our garden.  God’s been good to us.” Read more »

November 18th, 2014

I would like to begin today with my own personal “Sara Bracewell” scrapbook.  Over the years I have kept a folder of notes and papers for each family in the church, although I will admit that I gave it more attention in my early years as pastor here.  But that’s perfect for Sara! Let me tell you just a little of what I found in my scrapbook.

Sara served on the Consistory (our governing board) when I first came to Corinth, and early in my time here I used a little Icebreaker exercise.  I passed around a bright orange sheet of paper titled, “What Do You Know About Me?”  Everyone wrote only their first name on the top of the sheet, and as we passed the sheets around the table everyone else was supposed to fill in at least one blank.  When the sheet came all the way back around, you would check their answers on your own sheet.

Here are some of the answers other Consistory members wrote about Sara – Read more »

November 16th, 2014

“Fear does not work as long as there is hope.”  (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)

Isaiah 61:1-11

November 16, 2014

A glimmer of hope

About a year and a half ago, I shared from this pulpit that Linda and I had gone to see the first film in a trilogy called “The Hunger Games.”  I should have realized this trilogy was not marketed toward me when the teenage girl who sold me the ticked gave me a senior discount, reserved for patrons 60 and older.  She saw my puzzled look and recovered quickly:  “It’s not because you look old, but you look very wise.”  The message was, “Not many people your age see this film.”  Since then, another young person at the same theater also gave me a discount, but I liked her approach better:  “Do you mind if I give you a senior discount?”

I knew little about the film before we went, and I hated the entire 2 ½ hours. Read more »

November 16th, 2014

One year to day before the day Tracy Hefner died, I spoke at the funeral of my own father.  I began my remarks with a legendary tale from India, where my Dad was born.  The story is called “The Blind Men and the Elephant.”  The story is about six blind men who were asked to describe what an elephant looks like.  None of them can see the whole picture, of course.  One blind man feels his leg and says an elephant is like a pillar.  Another grasps his tail and insists the elephant is like a rope.  A third feels the trunk and says the elephant is very similar to a tree branch.  The blind man who feels the ear says the elephant is like a handheld fan, only bigger.  The fifth man feels the belly and says the elephant is like a wall.  The final man touches the tusk says and says the elephant is like a solid pipe.

Preaching Tracy Hefner’s funeral puts me in the role of one of those blind men. I only touched a small part of his life.  You could say that I touched the tail, as in the tail end of his life. Read more »

November 12th, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:19 was stalking me last week.   Almost every day.

Wednesday night our marriage class discussed sex, and the video curriculum suggested 1 Corinthians 6:12-7:7 as our biblical text for the evening.

Thursday night I attended a lecture at given by Dr. Curt Thompson, author of Anatomy of the Soul, at Hickory’s SALT Block auditorium.  Dr. Thompson referred to 1 Corinthians 6:19, borrowing Daniel Siegel’s definition of the mind: “an embodied and relational process….”

Friday morning I opened my devotional guide, Encounter with God.  The text for that morning’s devotion was 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

“Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you,” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19.  Read more »