Archive for April 2011

A Change of Plans

April 18, 2011

This morning’s gospel reading contains John’s account of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the same story we heard yesterday on Palm Sunday. As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the people shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!” It’s interesting how devoted and excited people become when they think that Jesus is going to do what they want. For some time a lot of people had wanted Jesus to set himself up as King over Israel. When he came riding on the donkey, they thought he was finally going to do what they wanted. (more…)

God’s “Perfect” Will

April 15, 2011

I asked Janet G. if I could share her questions with the rest of you:

I don’t know if this qualifies as anger or wrath but I’ve been having a very big struggle with the disease of cancer.  Art and David and Brian are all having to stop and face this tool of the devil. Today a co-worker told me about his 3-year-old granddaughter who has had a brain tumor since she was 8 months old. She is on her 7th round of chemo because of this tumor that doctors can’t remove. (more…)

It Was One of Those….

April 14, 2011

It was one of those “interesting” nights. I was invited to a dinner yesterday evening with all of the national staff, regional Synod executives, and pastors from a few other churches in the Synod of Albany. Each pastor was invited to share something about their congregation and also communicate which steps forward we believed the denomination had made as well as challenges it still faced.

I came away from that event with my mind spinning. How incredibly diverse even our tiny little denomination is! And then there is the diversity and breadth of the whole, worldwide church of Jesus Christ. I was up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night thinking about all this, as well as my particular call and that of BRC. Thinking soon turned to praying. Sometimes I feel like I don’t “fit” anywhere. But as I thought about the folks that were at the event last night, I realized that others probably feel the same way, only often for different reasons. (more…)

Drum Roll…

April 13, 2011

I’m excited to announce the official launching of our new website. You’ll find it at www.bellevuereformed.org. I want to thank Noel and Tim for their help with the photos, and say a big thank you to Mike P. for his computer expertise and his many hours of work on the website itself. (Couldn’t have done it without you, Mike.) Sharon also helped with the writing and editing. It’s been a great team effort, like so much of what happens at BRC. I hope that you’ll take some time to walk through the whole website, and that you’ll invite others to check it out as well.

This next Sunday we’ll be looking at the last of the “deadly sins” — wrath. This is going to be a challenging topic to preach on, and so I want to encourage you to be thinking about it ahead of time, and even passing on to me any questions or thoughts you have. A lot of us struggle with “anger issues.” Maybe we can be praying that God will use this time to help and heal us. Like with all the deadly sins, there are no quick fixes, but there are some helpful ongoing remedies. (more…)

Disturbing

April 8, 2011

I have nothing particularly profound to say today, and yet it is the most profound thing that I could possibly say. Let’s keep it about Jesus, shall we?

The words in today’s gospel reading are meant to disturb us, I think; to disturb us into remembering why we are Christians and who is our life: “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). Jesus isn’t talking about making sure we show up every third Sunday of the month when BRC offers Communion. He’s talking about being “consumed” with him all the time. All the time. Jesus.

If you are someone who reads these words and doesn’t have the foggiest as to what they mean, don’t worry, we’re all just learning. But it’s important to be reminded in the midst of running hither and yon after who knows what, that he is the What or Who that ultimately matters and can ultimately give us Life.

Jesus.

In the Zone

April 6, 2011

Okay, it’s been awhile. There have been other priorities, including the creation of a new BRC website. We hope to officially announce the launch in a few days. So I think I’m back.

For anyone who is new to this blog, sometimes I share thoughts based upon the “lectionary” readings for the day. The daily lectionary consists of an Old Testament reading, a Gospel reading, and a New Testament reading outside the Gospels (plus a couple of Psalms for those who are up for it). This is just one way to read the Bible. It’s helpful for me to know that not only members of my own spiritual community but Christians throughout the world are reading the same passages.

Today’s New Testament reading is Romans 8:1-11 — definitely one of my favorites. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” What I hear Paul describing is how to live “in the zone:”  “…so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The zone is what athletes, artists and musicians (and others) experience when everything is clicking. Mind and body are extremely focused. The rim looks twice as wide, the finish line is yours for the crossing. (more…)