Just had a sparkling moment. A seven-year-old knocked on my office window and asked if we had ashes for kids. I said sure we do. I went and got them, and walked out onto our front porch and imposed ashes for both the little girl and her mom, who told me they’ve been getting help at the food pantry for several months. It was simple, and felt profound.
The second of a three-part series on how to be an exceptional member of a congregation.
First of three sermons on the topic: “What Makes A Great Church Member.”
Based on Revised Common Lectionary gospel text for the 7th Sunday After the Epiphany - Matthew 5:21-37 (Jesus’ teachings about anger, lust, divorce and swearing oaths).
Katherine F. Brown’s “Jesus and Lamb” — one of my favorite drawings. Really captures the loving care available to us all.
Part 4 of a Six-Part Sermon Series: Making Changes That Last
(February 2, 2014) When Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs,” he raised a lot of questions. One of the most common is the most basic (and is usually accompanied by head scratching!): “What the heck does that mean?”
At first, we don’t have a clue as to what “poor in spirit” means, but it certainly doesn’t sound like something we should be happy about. And then when Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven will be ours if we’re poor in spirit, we just get that much more confused.
Luckily, it’s not that hard to understand. I’m convinced that he’s actually talking about something very common and pretty straightforward. And that makes it all the more powerful.
Part 3 of a Six-Part Sermon Series: Making Changes That Last
(January 19, 2014) This first few weeks of the New Year is the season of making changes. Maybe you’re having success with changes you’ve wanted to make. Maybe you haven’t. If you’ve been having trouble staying with your resolutions, don’t give up. I’m going to talk about a key – the third in this series – that can help unlock the door for you.
Two weeks ago, I talked about the first key: living into the faithful hope that the world around us really is good at its core. Last week, I talked about the second key: the importance of changing our thinking. Both are essential parts of becoming different and staying that way.
And today, I’ll add a third key to your key ring: becoming a faithful and committed member of a church community. I want to talk about how joining your personal purpose with that of the church can help you make changes that you want to make – and keep them made. Joining a strong and vital faith community is the third key to lasting personal change. There are six reasons why.
Part 2 of a Six-Part Sermon Series: Making Changes That Last
(January 12, 2014) Last week, we took a look at the first key to making positive changes in our lives, and making them last. That first key was to live into the faithful hope that there is an order underlying all things; that order has a face and a name: Jesus of Nazareth. To live into the faithful hope that he is the creative force upholding and sustaining all things. To live into the faithful hope about the way things are, at depth, whether we can see it or not.
This week we look at the second key to lasting positive change: It’s one of the most important ideas in the whole Bible, both in the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. You could make a good case that it’s the most important theme in the New Testament – and as such, the single most important theme of Christian life. It’s also profoundly misunderstood. John the Baptist just said it; it’s the Greek word often translated as “repent” or “repentance.”
Part 1 of a Six-Part Sermon Series: “Making Changes That Last”
(January 5, 2014) Sometimes, when we look around ourselves, it can seem like everything’s either going off the rails or close to it. As hard as we might try to keep a positive outlook, the world we see around us – a world presented by media that just thrives on crisis, conflict and chaos – a can really seem like a mess.
Stories from around the world – a world that’s presented to us in real time by the Internet – show that confusion and disorder are indeed happening all the time – and on a global scale. Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote the blockbuster Eat, Pray, Love, once called it “A world of disorder and disaster and fraud.”
With all that, keeping a positive and generally hopeful attitude can be a real challenge. How do we deal with the temptation to believe that chaos, randomness, confusion and disorder is at the heart of things?
The Hebrew Scriptures Reading for Sunday, September 8, 2013
(Jeremiah 18:1-11) The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
Jeremiah and the Anguish of God (Part II)
The Rev. Dr. Rob Droste
Sermons at All Saints