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.

preacher's notes on john 3:9-15

The following article was written to provide preachers with pastoral reflections for a sermon that proclaims the message of John 3:9-15. 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?

“How can these things be?” Nicodemus speaks for a wealth of insiders and outsiders who wonder at the impossible possibility of a new future. How is real newness possible? It is a question that saps the energy of lone souls in despair, of congregations in fatigue, of families in dysfunction, and of peoples in oppression. Nicodemus names Jesus “a teacher who has come from God” (John 3:2) but this teaching is more than he has bargained for. It is one thing to be taught to live a more faithful life. It is another thing to learn that the future calls for re-birth “from above” (John 3:7). Those who know too well what it is to endure cycles of abuse and those who witness the continued degradation of the planet by human consumption wonder with Nicodemus how anything truly new can be.

preacher's notes on john 3:1-8

The following article was written to provide preachers with pastoral reflections for a sermon that proclaims the message of John 3:1-8. 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?

Nicodemus comes to Jesus “by night.” When Nicodemus later appears at Jesus’ tomb John makes it a point to remind us of this: “Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came” (John 19:39). Is Nicodemus afraid of the ramifications of being seen with Jesus? Perhaps. Or perhaps the Gospel is providing us with a portrait of what takes place when an insider, a church member, a pastor comes face to face with Jesus, “the light of all people” (John 1:4). When read through this lens the story of Nicodemus’ darkened encounter with Jesus can open the reading community to an as yet unimagined future.