3/29/17

can these bones live

Here are some sermon notes for a sermon I am not preaching this Sunday ... if I was the sermon might go something like this. Ezekiel 37:1-14 is as fresh and new as ever ...

- Ezekiel is set down in a valley full of bones. It is a vision he recognizes. He and his contemporaries have been marched to Babylon and witnessed fields filled with the bones of dead soldiers. They are suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. “There were very many … and they were very dry”. This is a scene of carnage, without hope. The smell of death is everywhere. The LORD asks Ezekiel “Can these bones live?” The obvious answer is ‘No way’. But Ezekiel knows he is dealing with the LORD who has liberated an enslaved people from super-power Egypt. He turns it back to his questioner: “O LORD God, you know.”

3/27/17

to be a priest is to be a bridge

Once again this year University Hill Congregation is hosting forty seven texts on its Lenten pilgrimage to Easter. You can find the daily reflections here. I was assigned Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9. Here is my witness:

To be a priest is to be a bridge. Remember the priests of Israel standing in the Jordan river, holding back the waters, so that all the people (elders and infants, abled and dis-abled) can safely make the crossing to the other side. Remember that the Pope is known as “pontiff” from the Latin “pont” or bridge.

3/19/17

a prayer at my mother's funeral

Yesterday we held a Memorial Service for my mother, Anne Searcy. Her obituary is here.  The text for the service was Matthew 5:1-16 (The Beatitudes). My role in the service was to lead the Prayer of Thanksgiving and Supplication. Here is that prayer ...

3/13/17

pomalidomide (year three)

It has been ten months since my last myeloma update. That, in itself, is good news. This January I began my third year on pomalidomide. I continue to take this pill in conjunction with dexamethsone and cyclophosphamide and the results continue to be excellent. My monthly blood tests reveal that my free light chains range between 35 and 50. It means they are very low - nearly normal. This is good news for both my myeloma and amyloidosis. I am so very fortunate to have been diagnosed at an early stage before suffering any symptoms from my diseases and to be receiving such effective treatments. I could almost forget that I am living with an (at this point) incurable blood cancer ...

3/10/17

little well of sermons

I just re-discovered an online collection of sermons from University Hill Congregation that includes many that I preached between 1995 and 2008. That was a period in which I was changing the way I approached preaching in response to the newly missional location of the church. Big thanks to Jason Carlson who created and maintains the searchable site at Littlewell

10/3/16

cruciformity - life as a gospel rabbi "the video"

In April I had the privilege of speaking at the annual gathering of "Cruxifusion". At the time I posted some notes about that presentation here - "Life as a Gospel Rabbi (1)" and "Life as a Gospel Rabbi (2)". Recently a video of that presentation has been posted on the Cruxifusion website. In many ways this sums up what I learned in my life as a pastor. You can view the video at "Cruciformity - Life as a Gospel Rabbi".

preacher's notes on john 3:16-21

The following article was written to provide preachers with pastoral reflections for a sermon that proclaims the message of John 3:16-21. If you were preaching a sermon on this text ... or listening to one ... where would you want the emphasis to fall? What is the Word from God from these verses for our time and place? for you at this point in your life?

What an extraordinary announcement: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). We are accustomed to stories of the gods who are, at best, indifferent and, at worst, hostile to the world. We assume that if God loves anyone it will be those who love God. But the text does not read “God so loved the church” or “God so loved the faithful” or “God so loved the pure.” The focus is out beyond the horizon of the church. This story is about God’s deep and abiding love for the world. This is the missional energy, the “missio dei,” that is meant to be the heart and soul of the church’s witness. No wonder so many use the shorthand “Jn 3:16" as a signpost pointing to the new world of the gospel.