Sunday, February 19, 2012


Mark 9:2-9 and 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Transfiguration Sunday

• Sometimes you see in the newspaper or esp. online soldier’s surprise visit with family and it makes you smile… Josie’s pride over Christmas visit of soldier nephew Steve V. active duty – several folks in the congregation… joyful reunion that encourages and strengthens both family and soldier

That’s how I think of the transfiguration… Jesus has been on his chosen assignment for some time now – thirty odd years, let’s say, since he was deployed on his mission of salvation and reconciliation. And though he keeps in regular contact with father (and his commander), actual reunions are rare.

The pace of his assignment is picking up, he’s getting nearer his objective, and he’s told his company a bit about the mission and the company’s not sure what to think… takes a few squad leaders with him and goes on a little divine recon. Meets with Moses and Elijah and receives divine affirmation for the mission, God’s “atta-boy”, keep on keepin on, you got it. This is my son whom I dearly love. Listen to him! Don’t get distracted by other things, listen to Jesus! He’s the one.

And Jesus (I imagine) is re-invigorated.

Great thing to be reinvigorated, receive affirmation as you’re about to undertake something difficult. Set aside some of the hindrances, get past stumbling blocks, focus on the important.

• I’ve been at Ctown some thirty odd weeks, deployed on a mission, and recently reinvigorated. Not supernaturally but internally, in this body
with this infrastructure (people moving, visiting, leading), ability to examine and expand

• Mark 1:38 let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out… there are folks that don’t know Jesus, don’t know the gospel – Gordon L’s (he died last week) prayer was for them, and that is our purpose

• light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ…. How folks need Jesus now, how are we preaching it… how we continue to preach it… preach the gospel at all times, if necessary, use words.

My nickname is "Preach," given to me by some friends on the “fringe” (outside the church)... Be in relationship, invitational, attractive.

• transfiguration energized Jesus and benefited disciples, who were seeing beyond shadow of doubt that this Jesus the Nazarene was indeed something marvelous and wonderful.. that they would dedicate the rest of their lives to his service and celebration.

• be encouraged, be encouragement

• Hymn 512: My Savior’s Love
I stand amazed at the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how he could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean. How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be, how marvelous, how wonderful is my savior’s love for me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Than Chocolates, More Than Roses

From John 15, Exodus 16

• Singles Awareness Day is coming up…  (I shared statistics from

I asked the congregation for their responses:
Expressing love -- marital or friendship. In what ways? How often?
(responses included hugs, kisses, intentional time together)

For marriages lacking in the affection department Dr. Willard Harley (psychologist, marriage guru, author, owner of  ) recommendations… (

• How about expressions of non-romantic love? Love of children/parents, teachers, mentors, friends, neighbors… intentional time with. And whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not, there are a lot more people you can share non-romantic love with than one…

There are many ways to express love, and does it ever get old, really? 
Intentionality is key.

• Holy Communion (literally "with unity", sharing) is holding hands with God, intentional presence with. It’s an expression and celebration of God’s love. There is an element of communion, of course, that is sober and reflective as you consider your own sinfulness that drove Christ to self-sacrifice, but to dwell on just the penitential aspect of communion without celebrating the love in communion would be like recognizing a birthday by only recounting the pains of labor. Communion is holding hands with God, or intentionally spending time with someone who’s important to you.

I don’t know about you but I want that. I think it’s the sweetest thing to see a couple that’s been married for 65 years that wants nothing but to hold hands. It doesn’t get old.

• And as we looked at a number of ways to celebrate love, there’s more than one way to celebrate communion.

Picture the Last Supper, a dozen or so folks gathered at one table. Jesus passes the bread around, each takes a piece. Maybe their hands touch as they pass the bread. Jesus passes the cup around, each takes a sip. They’re sharing not only Jesus’ life but each others lives.

Fast-forward two thousand years and we have a few ways that we have changed how we take communion... intinction, where we receive from a common loaf and cup (as perhaps Jesus' disciples did), or in the pews with the individual cups and cubes, where we all partake at the same time...

• Communion is a gift of God. We read earlier from the book of Exodus. I included that today to show how God gifted the people with manna not once in a while but every day, and exactly sufficiently. Then I read from John 15, where Jesus adjures the disciples to stay connected to him (as the Dr. Harley love list).

• In communion we celebrate God’s love and we celebrate community. And it is good. Better than chocolate and roses.

• Proceed from message into The Great Thanksgiving

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Day in the Life

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday
Mark 1:29-39
1 Corinthians 9:16-23

• Today will be Super Bowl 46: the rematch. SB42 MVP Manning v. Brady (5thSB, 2sbmvps, 3rd would tie Montana’s record). A hundred players anxious to prove their worth. What motivates a player? Do best. Victory. Glory. Coach. A hundred players know that today is the day to do their best.

• Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift…

• I'm a fan of John Wesley, but it’s tough when you measure up to a workaholic… I read one resource that said JW thought little of the man who did not pray for 4 hrs a day… by the way, JW did not have any children and he married late, nevertheless…

• A day in the life of JW. Rise 4am for prayer. 5am preach the first sermon of the day. Expected fellow preachers and layfolk to be there. If not preaching then riding to next preaching engagement, or praying, or writing.
          If not engaged in one of these acts of piety, involved in acts of charity. Visiting sick and imprisoned, overseeing education of laborer’s children (& laborers), overseeing medical clinic for those who couldn’t afford it… Fasted twice a week, lived simply and gave away the bulk of his income. Traveled 4,500 miles a year by horseback, preached over 40,000 times, wrote 32 volumes of sermons and commentaries.
          An impressive man. A man driven by desire to save souls AND to better lives. Died at 87, did not know the meaning of “retirement”.

• A day in the life of Apostle Paul. Started to think about Paul and the passage from 1 Corinthians 9 about Paul wanting to relate to people of all walks of life so that he might reach them for Christ, and thought about my friend Billy, whose enthusiasm for evangelism rivals a sports fan’s enthusiasm for their team.  Billy (and I imagine Paul) hates to miss an opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus, why? That none may perish.

• A day in the life of Jesus. First chapter of Mark, Jesus has recently called four disciples to follow him, and they go to Peter’s home town. On the morning of the Sabbath Jesus teaches in the synagogue and casts a demon out of a man. After church they go back to Peter’s house, and after he heals Peter’s mom, the people of Capernaum bring the sick and possessed to him until after sunset.
          After a hard day’s work, get some rest, no? Some folks don’t even go to work tomorrow because of watching SB today! But no, Jesus, who was up until after dark, arises well before sunrise to pray. Jesus, the very Son of God, chooses to start his day on his knees before God, and then instead of taking it easy, heads off to the surrounding towns to do it all again.

• History, mystery, gift… only currency is present, spend it for the glory of God, guided by church’s mission to reach out to everyone with the love of Christ and to make living, growing disciples of JC… or personal mission, if you have one… or UMC’s if you don’t: make disciples of JC for the transformation of the world. Know mission, get to know people, that none may perish and that some may know God. This Is What You’ve Been Trained For…

• Margaret Clarkson, who was born in 1915, was a teacher in a gold-mining camp in northern Ontario, Canada. It was a lonely life for this woman, but she also knew that this is where God wanted her to serve Him. She had a great desire to be a missionary on a foreign field but because of her health was unable to go. One day she was reading again the verse John 20:21, "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." While meditating on this verse she wrote the words to a hymn that has become a favorite during missionary conferences, "So Send I You." Maybe after reading the words to this hymn a person would fear the call to missions. But, what a person must understand is that when God calls, He gives such a great desire that all else is unsatisfying and empty.

• Hymn 310 So Send I You