1/30/2015

10w for February 1st, Authority.

The following is a 10 minute worship for February 1st, Authority.   You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List.

1/26/2015

Poem based on 4th Sunday after Epiphany Mark 1:21-28

What are you doing here?
--came the scream of those who knew
--knew
----of this teacher
--------in fear
Why have you come
--at this time
--------and in this place
--to
the ones who know not who you are
or could care less?
Jesus.  You are wasting your time
--on these souls who come here only to play
-------at religion
-----------life
play
--as if they think they know what they are doing
play
--as if they think they care
with that look of astonishment on their faces
--they pay you honor
but we know
--we know
-----who
---------is in charge here
-----who
---------calls the shots
---------and controls the lives
---------and allows them to play at their games
-----------that they think is life
it all works so well
this game
----life
------religion
So what have you to do with us
--Jesus of Nazareth?
Would you destroy all this?
Would you destroy the life these people have built
------------just for your kingdom?
Jesus!
--you are getting too close
--this is not the game we expected
--(silence)
but where are we to go
------Holy One
do you really think they will follow you?
and the people were amazed
--at the new teaching
----and authority

------that even the unclean spirits obey

Opening Litany based on Psalm 111


Pastor: Praise the LORD. I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the presence of all the gathered saints.

Congregation: Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them, deeds glorious and majestic. 


Pastor: The Lord’s righteousness endures forever for the Lord has caused his wonders to be remembered by all people.

Congregation:  the LORD is gracious and compassionate providing food and remembering the covenant forever.


Pastor: The Lord has shown the people God the power of mighty works and has given them lands to work, enjoy and live on.

Congregation: The works of God’s hands are faithful and just and the Lord’s precepts are trustworthy and steadfast for ever and ever,


Pastor: In faithfulness and uprightness the Lord provided redemption for all people and ordained the covenant forever – Holy and Awesome is the name of the Lord.



Congregation: Walking in the ways of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and all who follow the ways of the Lord have good understanding.  To the Lord our God alone belongs eternal praise.  

more about profit than prophet

Sunday February 1st, Deuteronomy 18: 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. The prophet is one who comes from the people and is able to read the signs of what is happening around them and then speak truth into misguided perception. The special character of a prophet is that he or she is chosen by God and the words they speak are inspired by God. There have been many throughout the history of the world that claim to do just that. There are many today who in one way or another also lay claim to speak the word of God.  One must ask the question, do they speak a word of love and grace in the midst of power and greed? Do they speak a word of forgiveness in the midst of pain? Do they speak for the needs of the least, lost or lonely to the power structures that create the least, lost and lonely in this world? Or do they speak of power and maintaining the political status quo? If it is status quo they are after, they don’t speak for God. In the Gospel for today, God’s word brought healing into a hurting world. Most often that healing had social and economic manifestations that were not welcomed by all especially the ones in control of power and profit.  If it was only the body that Jesus healed, he would have lived to a ripe old age, but he also pointed out the systems that created those in need of healing and thus stepped on the toes of those in power.  Today is Superbowl Sunday, remember not even a prophet can predict the outcome of the game and all the ads and the game itself is more about profit than prophet. 

death is not always physical

Monday February 2nd, Deuteronomy 18: 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.' It even seems as if God has lightened up the threats in post resurrection times. Those who preach the prosperity gospel or the word of law and judgment on others not only live, in many cases they and their congregations prosper.  The world and large congregations are their reward.  The prophets of God have always spoken over against the powers that be, in favor of the needs of the least, the lost, and the lonely, and often find themselves on the outs with the rank and file of their communities.  But death is not always physical and sometimes the death of the soul is more painful to endure.  

we are the government

Tuesday February 3rd, 1 Corinthians 8: 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. The unfortunate tendency throughout history is for individuals to turn their focus inward toward their individual rights and away from the needs of the community. One could say it all started with that tree in the garden thing.   The whole “government is not the solution, the government is the problem” focus of the last several decades is an example.  It denies the fact that, in essence, we are the government and our abdication of that responsibility does not usher in some great society, but rather open the gates to the robber barons like those of the late 20th and early 21st century.  Our children may not exactly thank us as they pay off the debt of those who have gained so much.  In a true Christian society there would be no need for taxes because every individual would gladly give, to the best of their ability, for the needs of the whole. But we all know that doesn’t work in church and it certainly doesn’t work in society.  In reality everyone tries to get by with contributing the least they can get away with for the needs of the whole while padding the needs of old number one. In the midst of all the greed going around, personal, corporate, and governmental, we are called through scripture to set aside some of our desires for the sake of the whole. We are constantly being called to move from the needs of the “Me” to the needs of the “We.”  Christ gave his life so that “We” might have life. What are you willing to do to help bring this about in the world? 

slow suicide.

Wednesday February 4th, 1 Corinthians 8: 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. That which you do onto the least of these, you do onto me is the way Jesus put it.  We have seen how tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor may have been good for a few, but the other 99% of us didn’t do so well.  This last year, the richest 14 individuals saw an increase in their wealth greater than the cost of providing food assistance for the entire nation. Now is the time to go the other direction and the pushback will be mighty.  The occupy movement is just starting to make inroads into this Biblical reality.   The temptation is that we too can be part of the 1% is great, and many have succumbed to its allure in the past.  Christ calls us to a different reality.  Christ calls us to a world of “We”, not “Me.”   It is a call for all of us, rich and poor, to live our lives as the generous and grace filled children of God for all the children of God, anything less is only slow suicide. 

how much would God get?

Thursday February 5th, Mark 1: 21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Jesus was not talking about head knowledge; he was talking from heart knowledge. What Jesus presented in scripture is how we are called to love one another, not just with words, but with our deeds and social structures.  I can teach you about God but I cannot bring you into a relationship with God.  That one is up to you and Jesus. Like any relationship it takes work, and attending worship when convenient won’t make it any more than talking to your spouse whenever you get around to it will work for long.  We all know how it works, it is not rocket science.  We put our time and our energy into what is important to us.  If you did a time management schedule for one month, how much would God get?  What have you done today to build that relationship? If you put that amount of time into your love relationships, how long would they last?

The evil within

Friday February 6th, Mark 1: 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!" The unholy one encounters the Holy one in the Holy place.  Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves that it is not just “us and God” up in the heavens somewhere floating in a blissful relationship as the whole world goes to hell in a hand basket. There are others to contend with in this world, and we are called to love them also. The evil spirits knew who Jesus was long before Peter ever exclaimed; “you are the Christ the son of the living God.” The evil within each of us keeps us at bay with the Holy one lest we are tempted to be more than merely occasional worship attenders.  We don’t talk much about evil spirits in our day and age. We talk about personal responsibility; a person is bad because they choose to be bad, is how the common wisdom goes.  It gives us a little breathing room from the reality of our existence.  If only we can point the finger at someone else, perhaps Jesus won’t notice our own denial.  Jesus had a way of seeing a child of God in every person. Perhaps we should try that a bit more of that, starting with ourselves and extending into the world around us.

beyond healing.

Saturday February 7th, Mark 1: 25 "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." Jesus didn’t kick the evil man out of the synagogue; he kicked the evil spirit out of the man and welcomed the man into the community of faith. His concern was for who the person was, a child of God, not who he seemed to be, an evil possessed person. The small healing that day was the demon possessed man.  The larger healing was the community who had labeled him as someone who was beyond healing.  Perhaps our calling is to do the same in our congregations and in the world around us. In another place Jesus told us to love our enemies. Go and do likewise.  

1/23/2015

10w for January 25th, Blessed Be, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for January 25th, Blessed Be, NL.   You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List.

10w for January 25th, Imagine Discipleship, RCL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for January 25th, Imagine Discipleship, RCL.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List.

1/19/2015

Opening Litany based on Psalm 62

Worship Leader: I wait for God and for God alone, who is my rock and my salvation, the strength of my life that will not be shaken. How long will you beat your head against a wall, your only plan to get ahead is to bring someone else down?

Congregation: It is for God alone soul waits. It is in God alone I find my strength and salvation.   

Worship Leader: for it is in God we find deliverance and honor.  Put your trust in God at all times Oh People.  Pour out your heart before God who is your refuge and strength.  

Congregation:  Making your mark in the world is an illusion.  Whether you are on top of the heap or on the bottom it is but a temporary illusion.  Those who seem to gain, do so on the backs of others, it is an illusion, nothing but smoke.

Worship Leader:  For God has spoken and this I know, all power belongs to God.  It is to God I will show my love and thanks for all that has been done in the world. 


Poem based on 3rd Sunday after Epiphany Mark 1:14-20

The time is fulfilled
--into this world
--------ripped apart
--by timelessness entering in
comes the news
the time is fulfilled
(repent)
and with that this carpenter from Nazareth
reaches in into this place
--and time
and calls out to
come
--follow me
Simon and Andrew
--drop
--the net of labor
toiled over by so many
in favor of wonders
--at hand
(repent)
leaving behind a life
looked down on by some
--and admired by others
for one of joy
and lust for the many headed wonder of newness
out of the heat
(and believe)
--of this world
and into the perceived pursuit
-- of all that is wonder
-- -- -- joy
-- --- -- -- peace
joined by others
who only make
-- the fever pitch of excitement
-- -- closer to a reality only dreamed of
(in)
with little thought
to the demands
-- that would be placed on them by love
as they tried to present
(the Gospel)

the good news

rock and salvation

Sunday January 25th, Psalm 62: God is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. In the midst of difficulties that naturally come your way in life, there is one thing we can hold onto in the midst of the darkness, and that is Christ. All the advice, self-help, supplements and gurus, though not bad, never seem to cut the mustard when it comes right down to it.  That doesn't mean that walking with Christ will result in everything working out as we want it and that life will be a bed of roses. It does mean that where ever we are in life, whatever befalls us in life, Christ is there with us. There is common saying, "God never gives you more than you can handle."  This saying is a comfort only for the person saying it.  Those hearing it often see their life falling apart and when someone tells them this it leads them to believe it is all a dirty rotten curse, not gift, from God. The reality is that life sometimes hands us some pretty rotten stuff.  To be honest, there are times when we contribute quite significantly to the trouble we find ourselves in. In the midst of that, trouble from afar or trouble you created all by yourself, or something in-between (which is often the case), you are not alone. You are surrounded by the children of God and supported by God who is your rock and salvation. Let the people of God in and hold fast to message of God they bring. It won't make all the bad stuff go away, but it will keep you grounded on that rock, the foundation of love in this world and in your life. 

could only see

Monday January 26th, Jonah 3: The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.  Nineveh is an ancient city near the present town of Mosul in Iraq. Jonah did not want to go there. He even choose death and fish-guts over Nineveh. He did not like the people in Nineveh and they most likely would not have liked him. Sometimes God leads us to go to places and to do things we don’t want to do. It is not about being mean, it is about growth within the kingdom and within ourselves.  God had compassion for all of creation, including this little part of the world called Nineveh. Jonah could only see what he thought he saw and was not able to see the potential God could see. A people created by God and called good, in spite of their wayward ways, much like our wayward ways.  Sometimes we need to follow God’s leading in spite of our opinions. What if we say all of creation as a gift from God?  With that image of God, could you invade Iran? Iraq? Pakastain? Labor unions? LGBT’s? Lob missiles into Israel?  Our “God view” affects our “world view.”  Thus far in the history of humanity we have been a dismal failure in this area, perhaps hope is on the way. Perhaps we can learn this without ending up smelling like fish.    

experienced new life

Tuesday January 27th, Jonah 3: Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!  Keep in mind, Jonah was going where God wanted him to go whether he wanted to go there or not. Jonah got to Nineveh after three days of being up to his neck in fish guts and Nineveh experienced new life.  Jonah’s method of evangelism would not pass any mission committee in any congregation.  Basically, he walked into a large cite and announced in a soft voice, shape up or in 40 days you’re gonna’ get it.  But it was really God, not Jonah the people heard, and one can expect that it was God and not Jonah that Jonah heard.  In the end, even Jonah as well as the people of Ninevah experienced new life. Jesus rose from the grave after three days and the world experienced new life, the children of God experienced new life, and all of creation was revived and restored.  God does that. God brings new life, sometimes whether you want it or not. When you follow God’s leading you begin to see it all around you.  

same size

Wednesday January 28th, Jonah 3: And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.  Sometimes it takes an experience we can’t forget to experience the one who is with us always.  Some hear the still small voice of God and respond with here I am, send me.  Others require a 2x4 upside the head and sometimes it takes more than one time with the 2x4 before they start listening to the God who has never left their side.  It might take a lifetime, but eventually everyone goes in the direction God wants us to go. Sometimes these unforgettable experiences are thrust upon us as a gift.  Those are the times we respond with joy.  But most often we have a tendency to create some interesting predicaments for ourselves as we try to avoid going the direction God wants us to go. God works through these predicaments also. If we would just do what God wants us to do in the first place life would be a lot easier. Both Nineveh and Jonah learned that lesson. But as we look back over our life, we see that God can even take our detours and turn them into ministry as well as good story to tell. When you retell it, try to keep the fish the same size as the original.  

Don't smell like fish



Thursday January 29th, Jonah 3: 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.  Wow, Jonah did a great job……or perhaps was it God. We often tend to take the credit when things go well and place the blame on God when they do not go well. As we read on we see the Jonah was still not happy, in fact he was downright angry. God continued to work with him, just like God continues to work with us. What God seeks is loving relationships, between you and I, between us and our enemies, between humanity and God, and between humanity and the rest of creation.  We tend to pursue our kind of justice, which all too often smacks of revenge.  In the end, it is God who wins. We might as well go with it sooner than later. You will find that if you follow God’s plan from the beginning, you will smell less like fish when you get to where you have been called. You will end up where God wants you to go anyway, might as well smell fresh when you get there.  

fish snob

Friday January 30th, Mark 1 : 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. What is this, a new kind of fishing? A new kind of pocket fisherman?  This is not the kind of fishing with a hook and just the right bait to get people to bite and then pull them in where they get fried. This fishing is good for the fish, all kinds of fish, and above all, remember that the bycatch is welcome. I get a kick out of the fish wars on cars. One will have the Christian symbol for fish. Another car will have one with feet. Yet another one will have the Christian fish eating the one with feet. God’s version would have fish, fish with feet, fish with pierced fins, fish with scales and fish without scales, all kinds of fish swimming together in a great big sea of love. God calls for kissing fish (http://www.progressivechristianitybook.com/) Jesus loves all kinds of fish. Are you a fish snob?  

What have you told them

Saturday January 31st, Mark 1: 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. When you hear the call of God, it is time to get going. The followers of Jesus did not wait to figure things out, make plans, contingency plans, committee plans and procedures, they acted. When confronted with the love of Christ, we too are called to act. The act we are called to do is to share the good news with others. We all tell others about the love of our God every day, sometimes through our words, most often through our deeds. Who have you told today, and how?  What have you told them about your God?

1/15/2015

10w for January 18th, Come and See, Ep2.

The following is a 10 minute worship for January 18th, Come and See, Ep2.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is: Nothing Can Separate Us by Andra Moran from the CD Harmony Grove  http://www.andramoran.com/store

10w for January 18th, Stoned Temptations, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for January 18th, Stoned Temptations, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is: Child of the Water by Dakota Road from the CD All Are Welcome. http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1

1/12/2015

Poem based on 2nd Sunday after Epiphany John 1:43-51

The Joy, the Excitement was there that day
As they decided to come
And follow this Jesus on his mission
That was understood by none

With many wonders seen in that day
By those who would like to see
And the thrill of a new life to live
As Jesus said follow me

So Philip decided to follow
And Andrew and Peter too
Proclaiming this Jesus as the Son of God
And pledging his will to do

With a flurry of excitement
Of wonders n’er before seen
They set off to follow Jesus
And the dream that Israel dreamed

There will be many signs and wonders
As the heavens open wide
And heavenly beings traveling
From over the other side

You believe now because you see things
You do not understand
But life is not always wonder
For the followers of the Son of Man

So come now and follow me
Said Jesus to the three
In a life that is lived for others

And helping the world to see

Opening litany based on Psalm 91


Worship Leader: Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: who alone is my refuge, my place of safety; my God in whom I trust.

Congregation: For the Lord will rescue you from every trap and protect us from that which brings death. Our Sheltering God will cover with her feathers and shelter us with caring and protective wings. The faithful promises of God are our armor and protection.

Worship Leader: Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday for though a thousand may fall at your side or ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you for you are never alone. Open your eyes and see how those without the knowledge of God feel so alone at these times.

Congregation: If we make the LORD your refuge and the Most High our shelter, no evil will conquer us; no fear will come near our home for we will be surrounded by angels who will protect us wherever you go.

Worship Leader: They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. The LORD says, “I will rescue all whom I love and will protect those who trust in my name.

Congregation: The Lord says that when we call the Lord, the Lord will answer. “I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation,” declares the Lord.


God is listening

Sunday January 18th, Psalm 139: LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. When we are called to pray unceasingly we sometimes get the wrong notion that in doing so we will somehow get God’s attention with all our words and prayer. The truth is that God is already ever present in our existence. God is present not just with the words we say or the conscious (and sometimes semi-conscious) silent prayers we offer, but God actively knows our thoughts, spoken or unspoken, conscious or unconscious, the good, the bad and the ugly, our dreams, our limits, both real and imagined, all and every part of us. It is all there offered up to a God who actively seeks us out and loves us in spite of the good, the bad and the ugly, and some of our dreams and self-imposed limits. Our reaching out to God is not to get God’s attention, it is in response to a God who already knows us intimately and has already reached out to us. Often the answer to prayer is simply God’s understanding of us, every facet of us, and yes, that can be a bit scary from time to time.  It also opens up the possibility of what we can bring before this God who knows everything about us, in prayer.  Often, through prayer, we are the ones who are changed.  

Where can I hide?

Monday January 19th, Psalm 139: Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me. There is no place in the physical universe, no place in our mental universe, no place in our spiritual existence that is beyond the reach of God. Wherever we are at, God is there too.  God is calling you and has a path, a hope and a dream for you in your life. I have never met anyone who has not taken a few detours from this path in life, and there are many who avoid the path set before them altogether.  When we do find ourselves on that path however, we notice things like the days seem somehow brighter, (When we notice that we call it an Epiphany) life seems to have more meaning and others sometimes respond in ways that make you feel good inside, which is the same as feeling God inside. When we leave the path, it is not that things go wrong for us, it just seems like something is missing, and there is emptiness, a hole that keeps us from being whole in our lives. That is when God finds you in some faraway place and ushers you back toward the path, sometimes gently, sometimes not so gently. Consciously or unconsciously you can run from God, but you can’t hide. God loves you and will not give up on you.  

Listen to the Saints

Tuesday January 20th 1 Samuel 3: 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD : The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, 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.' The Lord may have spoken directly to Samuel, but it was Eli that helped it make sense of what was happening. So it is with us. God speaks to many, if not all of us, it is just that most of us don’t know it or don’t hear the voice of God. It is through the other saints in the world that we begin to make sense out of that calling. Listen to the saints in your life, what are they saying to you? Through their voices, what do you feel most called to do? Most of the time it takes a community to discern the voice of God in our lives. Solo Christianity is more about keeping your mind closed than your ears and hearts and souls open.  Solo Christianity is all about the “Me” in this world and could hardly be called Christianity.  True Christianity is about the “We” in this world and how we learn to get along and listen to one another and pray for one another.  So if you are a solo “Me” Christian, you might want to pray that God helps turn your world, or at least your “M” upside down.

Listen

Wednesday January 21st 1 Samuel 3: 10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening." After Samuel realized that it was God who was calling, Samuel responded.  Eli played his part by sharing a bit of wisdom about God.  That was when the magic started. Most of the time communication between God and us is a one way street. God is talking to us and trying to get our attention and we are walking through life as if nothing is happening. Sometimes it is two one way streets, God is talking to us and trying to get our attention and we are too busy talking past God, telling God and the world what we think God would tell us if God were as smart as we were. But then, once in a while, we open our hearts and say hello, I’m listening, and then even more importantly, we are quiet and listen. That is when the wonderful begins. The key is listening. And often, as in Samuel’s case, it takes a community to get it going.  Are you listening to your community today?

Holes

Thursday January 22nd, 1 Corinthians 6: 12You may say, "I am allowed to do anything." But I reply, "Not everything is good for you." And even though "I am allowed to do anything," I must not become a slave to anything. It is the American dream to be free to do whatever you darn well please. It is of course just a pipe dream. You can be your own person and there are still rules to follow. No one can make it all on their own.  We are all interdependent not independent.   In the end we all serve something in life whether that something be God, or money or power or order or job or security etc. In the end it is not a matter of if you are a slave but rather what or who you serve as a slave. Down through history there have been those who live the illusion of making it on their own for short periods of time but even the greatest maverick in the end, on their death bed, faces what life is all about. You are however free to choose. You can choose to follow God now and enjoy a lifelong loving relationship with the creator of all, or you can choose to fight that until the end, seeking your own self-absorbed substitute for satisfaction in life. Both lives end up in the same place, it’s just that one was surrounded by the love of God and the other was working feverishly trying to plug that empty hole while pretending it was not there. 

Is it Love yet?

Friday January 23rd, John 1: 43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me." 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, When you find the “way” you get excited about it and tell others. Philip had little preparation, no seminary, no Bible study leader, no proven skills, just a love of the Lord. When the call came, he could think of nothing else. When the Lord calls you, you can think of nothing else or is following Christ just one of many options you might do someday? Have you fallen in love with the Lord yet? If not, you might want to let go of a little of that control.  It is hard to let the Lord in when you are all wrapped up in yourself, for there is no smaller package than a person all wrapped up in themselves.  

Nazareth!?!

Saturday January 24th, John 1: 46 "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." 48 "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." 49 Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Nathanael didn’t much like the idea of anyone of importance coming from the little backwater town of Nazareth. Nazareth was a small town on the wrong side of the tracks, no matter what direction you came from.  It was a stone’s throw from the mighty and magnificent Sepphoris where anybody who was anybody had lived or visited.  He had some preconceived ideas about Nazareth and was not about to let go of them. God has a way of pushing us on the stupidity of our preconceived ideas most of the time. A great deal of Jesus’ ministry was pushing the world on it’s preconceived ideas.  What are your preconceived ideas that are holding you back from following the Messiah or letting the Messiah into your life? Which of your assumptions are simply disguised fears you don’t want to face?  Let God into your life and you just might be surprised at what you find, and how you grow.   

1/05/2015

Opening Litany based on Psalm 2

Psalm 2

Worship Leader: Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The movers and shakers of the world work together against the will of the Lord saying, “let us break free and do things our way.”

Congregation: The Lord of Heaven and Earth laughs and shakes his head.  One word and the movers and shakers are filled with fear. 

Worship Leader: The Lord will decree who is in charge and the Lord has chosen, saying, “You are my son and today I have chosen you. The nations are yours to the ends of the earth and all from the least to the lowly shall know of your power.

Congregation: Be wise therefore all movers and shakers and all people on the earth. Serve the Lord and heed his ways and remember that joy and happiness belongs to those who take their refuge in the Lord. 


Opening Litany based on Psalm 29

Psalm 29

Pastor: Give everything to the Lord all you heavenly beings. Give to the Lord all the glory and strength due the holy name of the Lord.

Congregation: We will worship the LORD in the splendor of the Lord’s holiness.


Pastor; The voice of the LORD is over the waters; full of glory it thunders over all the mighty waters of the earth.

Congregation:  The voice of the LORD is powerful and majestic able to break even the mighty cedars of Lebanon.


Pastor: And yet, the Lord brings joy. 

Congregation: The Lord makes Lebanon leap like a calf and Syria like a young wild ox.

Pastor: The voice of the LORD strikes like flashes of lightning and shakes the Desert of Kadesh.  The powerful voice of the LORD twists the mighty oaks and can strip the forests bare.

Congregation: At the might of the Lord all the people cry Glory!

Pastor: The Lord sits enthroned as King forever over all creation



Congregation: The LORD gives strength to the people and blesses them with the ability to live in peace.

Poem based on Mark 1

1st Sunday after Epiphany
(Baptism of our Lord)
Mark 1:4-11

As one possessed
----he stood there
in rags
----the mere shadow of what a man should be
Animated
----with no thought
--------as to what the world would say
--------about
--------this gaunt human form
Thundering
----the Message of Life
------------to come
----to a world in death
with all the water
------------swirling
--------about his feet
------------and the rocks
------------of this created
------------universe
Proclaiming the call
----not to himself
But to one
----vague
--------someone
----who was to come
------------someday
until
----Breaking through the reeds
----that separate
the Calm
----of the land living its own
from the Mayhem
--------of the future glimpse
--------at this rivers edge
Came
----no one of note
to heed the call
--------to come
------------to
----------------the water
--------and live
And As The Water Broke
------------With New Life
The Heavens Opened
With a Voice
--------from beyond time
“This Is My Son”
----Rippled Through The Existence of All That Was
----------------and Is
as
----the cooing harmonies of a dove
----------------descend
--------------------upon the shoulder
----of the Christ to be
“Whom I Love”
as the Heavens came crashing
-----------------back together
----on a world
----unruffled

that would never be the same

dance with God.

Sunday January 11th, Genesis 1:  1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. This is a statement of faith.  What follows in the rest of the first creation story in the first chapter of Genesis is the worship of the one who brought creation into being.  For some what follows is a litmus test for proper faith, pitting science against religion.  The real question being asked is whether what follows verse one is science or worship.  The fundamentalists would say they are the same, which means that scientifically they must dance around the view of earth as a flat land floating in a sea of chaos and covered by a dome around which the sun and moon traveled and light came through the holes in the dome at night (stars) and sometimes water came through the holes (rain).  I would rather see the whole thing as a statement of faith followed by the worship of the creator.  Letting science deal with the how does not shake my faith, it fills it with wonder.  The scientific view changes through time, so does the theological understanding.  Even in times of change and discord it is not a threat, it is a dance, and when science in its fullness, and theology in its fullness embrace one another, in their fullness, the dance is beautiful.   Scripture calls us to dance with God.

total chaos.

Monday January 12th, Genesis 1:  2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  3 And God said,  Another translation of “formless and empty” is total chaos.  Into this nothingness, this chaos, God spoke.  String theory tells us the all matter is made up of vibrating strings of energy.  Curious thing this, perhaps all we are observing is a bit of what happens when God speaks. John puts it this way, in the beginning was the word and the word was God and the word was with God.  All that vibrating energy, taking the shape of matter, taking the shape of our world and one another, is in essence, the word of God.  Perhaps when we grasp that, we will treat not only one another, but the world a bit better.  Out of the darkness that sometimes infects our lives, the word of God can also speak into existence, love.  

belief is not questioned.

Tuesday January 13th, Acts 19: Paul traveled through the interior provinces. Finally, he came to Ephesus, where he found several believers.  2"Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" he asked them.  "No," they replied, "we don't know what you mean. We haven't even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." OK, one would think they need to go back and take confirmation all over again.  What is interesting is that their belief is not questioned.  For Paul their belief was what was important, the rest, getting their systematic theology in order, was just housekeeping.  Perhaps we could benefit from such an open approach when talking about other believers.  There is this unholy tendency to think that we somehow have the "truth" and that others are wrong.  We tend to fight wars and commit unspeakable acts to maintain our view of the "truth" about religion; which really makes it more about us than about God.   In the kingdom there are many rooms, maybe we need to focus more on faith and take care of what we feel are important details later.  Perhaps in this world if we could see the spark of God in each individual we would start putting as much effort into getting along as we do into solving conflicts with war the world would be a better place.  The Mideast might be a very different place today should that happen and Hamas and Israel could work on building a better world rather than on building better walls, rockets and bombs. 

hang on

Wednesday January 14th, Acts 19:  5As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. 7There were about twelve men in all.  The Holy Spirit is manifest in many ways.  To the people of Ephesus, speaking in tongues was one of the important ways to manifest the Holy Spirit.  For others it may be in teaching, preaching, showing kindness, giving generously or any of the many gifts mentioned by Paul in 1st Corinthians 12 & 13.  When the spirit leads you, are you ready to just go for it!?!  Do you ponder and wander and wait for the second and third time to get tapped by the Spirit, or do you jump in and go for the full ride?  If you are the type that ponders and wanders, do you ever wonder what you have missed while pondering and wandering?  Ever wonder what opportunities have passed by while you are weighing the options?  Next time you get that spiritual tap on the shoulder, jump!  And hang on for the Holy Spirit ride of your life.  

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