Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Top 5: Life is Good, 5/29/16

Sermon 5-29-16 favorites - Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 – it is good

There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,    
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,   a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will honor him

Why I love this passage.
There is a time for everything.
God is in the middle of it all.
It is good.
God made it and said it is good

Favorite Music
Fernando Ortega
Music is such a blessing

Eccl 3.  It is good!
The raft on the ocean in the river delta [awareness]

Life is a banquet. And the tragedy is that most people are starving to  death.
There's a nice story about some people who were on a raft off the coast of Brazil perishing from  thirst. They had no idea that the water they were floating on was
fresh water.
the river was coming out into the sea with such force that it went out for a couple of miles, so they had fresh water right  there where they were. But they had no idea.
In the same way, we're surrounded with joy, with happiness, with love.
Too many people have no idea of this whatsoever.

Spirituality is about waking up to what God is doing in this world
Repent and accept the good news.
Repent! Wake up!

Random times

A time to die
Paul mcclain
Richard rohr

A time to plant.  Mom and her trees and plants
How I morphed toward this
How I was not interested in the environment
Now I am a tree hugger
Because god speaks to us thru creation

A time to heal
I celebratet the miracles of woods chapel
Sherri swanson
Jerry Hedrick
Bob Spence
Pam Dittmer

A time to laugh
Jokes after softball

A time to mourn
Memorial day
Love hurts –a Russian soldier died, we felt nothing.  A father in congo died….
Weeping lasts for the night but joy comes in the morning- psalm 30

You can be in pain and suffer or you can be in pain and not suffer

The dancing gene
I got it
I saw the good thing at the dance
Now I look and see it.. usually
Bryan ferry sings the song- we need to dance with life

search praying for direction…. Should we buy that

Finally – Life is Good!
Romans 8:28, "And we know that God makes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

All you can see is the middle of God's work, not its end.
He knows the beginning and the end,
Just trust every day that you are in the palm of his hand
He loves you so much.

 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. 
It is good.  It is very good.
He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
It’s a gift!! It is good!! 

It is good!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Top 5: Into Every Person's World, 5/22/16

Sermon 5-22-16 favorites.  Psalm 23  make 3x5 cards

Favorite passages - Favorite songs
The passage that I was going to pick from acts…….. paul on mars hill acts 17
Amazing grace- blessed assurance Jesus is mine
Jeremy camp – everywhere I go you’re not far away
What a wonderful world

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever

This is a psalm of confidence………
We all have or need to have “go to people”

The lord is my shepherd……He is my shepherd
Kings were referred to in this manner.  Supposed to care for their people

I shall not want……….i will get everything I want
Or I will learn to stop wanting

Christianity asks us to change- to be transformed
The story is this: One commander of a battalion of Roman soldiers was caught up in a battle that took him into the territory that the mapmakers had represented with their monsters and dragons. Not knowing whether to forge ahead into the unknown, or turn back into the known, which would also be a retreat, he dispatched a messenger to Rome with this urgent request: "Please send new orders. We have marched off the map."

I shall not want. 
All great religions teach this
Desire is the source of all suffering.
          When we stop wanting things, we stop worrying
          When we get to the place that we only want God, we stop worrying about everything else

He makes me lie down in green pastures
We want the green pastures
We covet them
We can make them for others

We want the still waters
We covet the still waters
You can help others waters be still

When you look at the needy what do you see
I don’t see them at all, they are invisible
- something worth saving
- something worth restoring
- something worth the price of redemption and the cost of crucifixion.

The horse whisperer. Robert redford, 1998

We live here and we think that this is our life, but if we are all connected, then we are responsible for them as well.  We cant fix everything, but we can fix some things.
Maybe because we live here, we are more responsible….
But for the grace of god go I

Yea tho I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death
What is the time that you were the most afraid, the most alone?
·        Driving across the salt flats in 1977
·        Death of your parents
·        Loneliness
·        Dryness of the soul

Not if I might, but I will, we all will one day walk in the valley
          Of the shadow of death- times of sorrow
I will not fear.  I choose something different
I can do this because you are with me

He leadeth me beside the still waters restores my soul……….
Water in a desert area…….. flash floods, very dangerous
Then there are oasis, wells.   Lots of wells in the bible.  Jacobs well.

Shake the bottle of water
This is how life feels sometimes
And we get completely lost in it……….. lisa mcclean story

Shake the bottle…….do you think of some person or thing that is disrupting your life?
We get so lost in it
How can we stop this…………..
1.   Notice it, see it, name it.
2.   Observe it, watch it, think about what you know about it.
3.   Don’t assign a value to it, as good or bad, just see it.  Like it is someone elses, not yours
4.   How long has it been like this?  Will it be like this forever?
5.   It is likely not forever, but you are, and our shepherd is
6.   Get your eyes off of the thing that is temporal, and onto the one that is eternal

My true self is in him, not in this turbulence

True prayer is not me trying to get my problems solved, but distancing myself from my problems so that instead of the problems, I begin to see and focus on god.

Is there anything that you need to step away from?
Is there anything that you need to invite god into

Rabbi issac of Krakow had a dream.  In his dream he saw a treasure that was buried at the foot of a bridge in a distant city.  He travelled to that city and began to stake out the bridge so he could determine how to claim the treasure.  A policeman who guarded the bridge noticed him and asked him what he was doing there.  Rabbi issac told him about the dream he had had about the treasure.  The policeman said, oh, do you believe in such dreams?  If I did, I would have to travel to some city named Krakow, find a rabbi named issac and tell him that there is treasure buried under his bed.

The answer is not somewhere else, and it is not based on circumstance
The treasure you seek is right here….. because you are not alone
Christ in me, the hope of glory

This is a psalm of confidence………
The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Top 5: Conversion, 5/15/16

Sermon 5-15-2016- favorites – conversion gen 32:22-31
Favorite scriptures series
Music theme
Church music – it is well with my soul
Not church music – cool and the gang

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered.28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[f]because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[g] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[h] and he was limping because of his hip. 

jacob is a bit of a bully
My dad and the Charles atlas boy
You can think you are tough but there is always someone else tougher

What Jacob did wrong
Contending in the womb
At birth………….holding onto the heel
Steals birthright for a bowl of soup [not converted yet]
Deceives his father
          With mothers help
          Essaus clothes, hairy arms  [not converted yet]
Banished so essau wont kill him

On the way to uncle laban’s
Dream of Jacobs ladder-
          Sacred place 28:16-17
          Blessing remembered

Deceived by uncle…… 7yrs leah, 7 yrs rachel
Steals from his uncle- enhances his own flocks [not converted yet]
          Leaves to go back to cannan
Leaves without saying goodbye
          A disrespect to the patriarch

Goes to meet essau…..oh remember him? Now he has 400 men…
Sends flocks as a gift
Sends servants w more flocks
Then another group
Sends the women and children across first
Stays behind by himself
Still not converted [repeat this…………………………….]
Wrestles with the angel – not just 3 rounds [wrestling w scott]
          Conversion is not a friendliness with god
          It is not a “we are pals”
          It is not contained or controlled by the 4 spiritual laws formula
          It is not enough religion to appease my guilt
          Conversion is giving up to your own ways, your own self
          No matter what the outcome, I must have you

Brokenness- broken but persistent, hopeful
Blessed are the poor in spirit

Finally converted-

“The man who caused so much trouble, sorrow, and anguish is now transformed as he commits himself finally to God.”

God is not offended by this……. He will take you anyway that he can get you

Sometimes w have to learn the hard way before the give in to god
Hit rock bottom, find yourself at the end of your rope.
Tried it all and nothing else works.
Maybe that's what truly leads us into a trust relationship with God. 

Important piece of this story - Holds on, wont let go

Sometimes in life you have to grab ahold of god and not let go
Grabbing onto the horns of the altar 1 kings 1:50

Gets a new name from Jacob – supplanter to Israel -  contends with God

Goes to meet essau………. Sends all the groups out.  He goes before Rachel and Joseph
Warmly received and forgiven by his brother
Grace is a beautiful thing

He goes on to live a long and celebrated life………
The 12 tribes are his 12 sons

Looking back at his life, at some point he moved thru the ccraziness and landed in a better place

What is the story of your life?
          Have you had more than one spouse?
          Do you have children that you like better than others?
          Have you deceived your parents?
          Have you cheated your boss
Ever tried to manipulate others?
          Have you gave god lip service?
          Ever questioned the purpose of your life?

There is a gift here in the story of Jacob
God could have remembered him by his failures
          That is what humans do
God only remembers or measures, the better place
God always sees what we can become

Remembered………… Abraham issac and Jacob 30x
And Jacob?

Feeling far from God?
Own what you have done
Ask for forgiveness
Trust in god no matter what
Hang on to him and don’t let go.

Hang on to him and don’t let go.  No matter what.  Ever.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Top 5: God Calls Us, 5/1/16

Sermon 5-1-16 favorites-  god calls us 1 samuel 3:1-10

3 The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. 6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.  10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”  Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Favorite scripture series
I met this one in 1981 while as a counselor at a conference camp at Oklahoma’s, camp Egan.

Some of the most powerful words in the bible…….. speak lord your servant is listening……….

God calls us is
One of the most powerful concepts in Xity

In life we find many powerful words
1.   You won
2.   Youre hired
3.   Happy birthday
4.   I love you
5.   Mr brinkman, Im just going to give you a warning this time, put please slow down.

The thought that we are called by god is One of the most powerful concepts not just in Xity, but in life indeed
but it is also one of the most forgotten or ignored

If we are called, then we are are chosen
It’s a humbling thought.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 peter 2:9

Can you feel the special sense that you are requested by God???
John Wesley the brand plucked from the burning
Cheerleader pyramids are a Methodist thing

God calls us
When we forget this, life becomes about us.

But god does call us still
Great lives are built on this concept
Great churches are built on this concept.  The church is built on this concept
What is the church without this??

Something happened for you
Jesus came for you……….
John, jesus came for you.  What will we do about that?
How do we respond?

Not everyone hears the call.
Sons were wicked.  Cheated – took more to themselves than was the priestly share.
          Slept with the girls who came to the temple to worship

Eli himself, is blind and evidently deaf
Doesn't hear, doesn't recognize

Sometimes we don't hear
Story of alan anderson
The tug- that might be the holy spirit
·        Don't get all crazy, like god talks to you every day
·        I have heard of people who get paralyzed in life waiting to hear from god
·        But don't ignore a sense that you should do something

Some are called to ordained or licensed ministry.
But remember these categories did not exist in early Christianity.
Everyone just listened and engaged.
Not everyone will hear the call to be a nurse or a missionary or a fireman or a volunteer at Westport.

If you are not hearing…………..
Don’t expect an audible voice- few get it
          The light from heaven  -Paul
          The audible voice- Samuel
          The handwriting on the wall- Daniel 5 bellshazzar
          Hosting a feast w the golden goblets taken from the temple in Jerusalem
          As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
Words appeared on the wall
BIBLE TRIVIA  “mene mene tekel upharsin”
          You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Sometimes hearing the call is simply doing the right things because they are the right things.
·        Dear God what kind of a father should I be? Really?
·        Dear god how should I report my taxes
·        Dear god should I control my anger
·        Dear god should I open my heart and let the holy spirit sniff out selfishness?

1.   God calls us from our slumber

2.   From our stupor – from auto pilot

3.   From our comfort – the opening line of rick warrens book, the purpose driven life- its not about you!!!

4.   God calls us From our paradigm – do you even know that you have one?

He does not just call us away, he calls us toward something.
For his purpose- not just called from something, but called to something……..
·        To teach
·        To listen
·        To heal
·        To feed
·        To care
·        To love

Point of grace lyrics – all the world
All the world is a story
All the world is a stage
All the world is a canvas
All the world is a page
All the world is a horizon
All the world is a field of dreams
All the world is an open doorway
All the world is a place for me

To be Your voice
To be Your touch
To give an answer
To show Your love
To hold out hope
To offer peace
To shine Your light for everyone to see
In all the world

Friends, the most exciting part of xity is being in ministry. 
And god calls us to so many different things in so many different ways.  Don’t let the ministers and staff steal all the fun.

We are all called.  Respond to it and find the joy
Speak lord, your servant is listening.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Parables of Jesus: The Prodigal Son, 4/24/16

Sermon April 24 – the prodigal son          Lk 15:11-32

The context – vs the Pharisees
The Pharisees statement – tax collectors and sinners
Lost sheep, lost coin, lost son
They are cast as the elder son, the sinners as the prodigal

The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Series on parables
Prodigal son

Timely even in Jesus day
Even in Jesus day, people had trouble w their kids
The fact that Jesus told this story tells me that Jesus cared about this
He had no children, but he got it
People worried about their kids
People still worry about their kids
Don’t let your worry about your kids ruin your life

Side bar, he ignores the law……. Jesus was unscriptural [not a biblical literalist]
There is a new way, a new sheriff in town – focus on the law is gone, now we focus on grace

18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him,19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.  Deut 21:18

Retitle the story – the parable of the lost sons.  Both are lost.

Some of us have had the prodigal but we have all been the prodigal
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory romans 3:23
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way; Isaiah 53:6
The sons request means—he wants his father to die.
This is horrible……… you cant die soon enough for me… I want it now

And so we are all pulled by the voice of the world—where he found no consolation; only an empty longing for home;

We long for return - Henry Nouwen
To be united with our parents to be connected
Me and Dad – I didn’t even know what I did…………..

There is so much sadness in this story.
So much needless suffering.  Most of it self inflicted.
Whatever he had lost, be it his money, his friends, his reputation, his self-respect, his inner joy and peace—one or all—he still remained his father’s child.
When we cant see the grace- HOW SAD

But we have trouble returning because of the older brother
We have low self esteem
And someone is going to judge us
Older brother
Last week we talked about the unmerciful servant and how he focused on what someone owed him, instead of what the king had done for him.  Jesus wanted peter to think not about what was done to him, but instead to think about what was done for him by God

If you catch yourself being plagued by jealousy, anger, touchiness, sullenness, or a subtle self-righteousness.  If you catch yourself complaining and being riddled with resentment, you might just be dealing with older brother syndrome.

The sad proximity of virtue or sainthood and self-righteousness
Self-righteousness so easily becomes attached to our virtue and we are no longer virtuous
  the resentful “saint” is lost but it is so hard to see because it is so closely wedded to the desire to be good and virtuous.
Returning home from a lustful escapade seems so much easier than returning home from a cold anger that has rooted itself in the deepest corners of his being. 
 resentment is not something that can be easily distinguished and dealt with rationally.

Then there is the Father!  Thank God!  This story just took a turn for the better!
Many Xians would have the prodigal kneel and beg for forgiveness

Extravagant.  Wasteful!
·        Here is the God I want to believe in:
·        a Father who, from the beginning of creation, has stretched out his arms in merciful blessing,
·        never forcing himself on anyone, but always waiting,
·        never letting his arms drown in despair,
·        but always hoping that his children will return so that he can speak words of love to them and let his tired arms rest on the shoulders. 
·        His only desire is to love us.

Here lies hidden the great call to conversion:  to learn to look not with the eyes of my own low self-esteem, but with the eyes of God’s love.  As long as I keep looking at God as a landowner, as a father who wants to get the most out of me for the least cost, I cannot but become jealous, bitter, and resentful toward my fellow workers
or my brothers and sisters.

Party – a party was thrown
I realize that I am not used to the image of God throwing a big party.  It seems to contradict the solemnity and seriousness I have always attached to God. 

We can eat out any time that we want.
No big deal for us, huge for people that live in food scarce times

But when I think about the ways in which Jesus describes God’s Kingdom, a joyful banquet is often at its center.

We long for return, so do it
Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling, Come home, come home, ye who are weary

But the good news here is not just that we come home.
Jesus sets and example for the Pharisees and the sinners present…….

We are invited to Become the father