READ: 2 Kings 4:42-44 When I finally relented to God’s call into pastoral ministry, I was in a hard place.
I had just come off a separation and was living on my own,
the boys were still very young,
I had about sixth months before I was to begin seminary,
I had just finished a master’s degree in communications,
and as I was gearing up for ministry, I was working for myself as a freelance editor and writer.
Things were tight, and I got by with whatever I had and however I
Read: Ephesians 3:14-21 One of my favorite things to do is to walk along a path or trail in the woods and sort of meditate on all that surrounds me.
Not that long ago, a friend and I were walking on a trail in Bear Meadows in the Rothrock State Forest.
It was mid-summer, and it had rained the night before.
So you can image the lush greens of the mountain laurel that formed a canopy over much of the trail;
the tall hardwoods and spindly pines, whose roots overlapped with o
READ: Ephesians 2:11-22 Who is near in your life, and who is far?
I ask that question to open today’s message because it’s the same question Paul is asking his congregation in the Roman city of Ephesus roughly 1960 years ago.
The church in Ephesus was important to Paul and for the birth of Christianity.
Ephesus was on the southwestern tip of modern-day Turkey, across the Aegean Sea from Greece.
That whole area was called Asia Minor at one time, and Ephesus was a city of c
READ: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 If you were a fan of Christian Contemporary Music in the ‘80s and ‘90s, many of the songs that might have been lodged in your head for days were most likely written by Rich Mullins.
But while Mullins’s music was indeed a gift, the way he spoke and lived were even more impressive.
That’s because Mullins really had the love of Christ in his heart.
Jesus said, “But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart…” Matt 15.18.
READ: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19 In the 1996 blockbuster movie, Jerry Maguire — the story about a successful sports agent who seems to have it all —
the main character, played by Tom Cruise, almost overnight loses everything — his job, his clients, his respect, his fiancee and eventually, his wife (played by Renée Zellweger).
And it’s only when he loses everything that can he see what he’s really lacking.
The one thing that he’s pushed from being central in his life is true lo
READ: Ephesians 1:3-14 When I was a child, I often — and without realizing it — got the words and concepts of Heaven and Kingdom a little mixed up.
I thought of them as synonymous only —
that is, I believed that when you died, if you believed in God, you would one day end up in heaven.
or God’s kingdom…
See, they both meant the same thing to me.
But then I always got a little messed up when I heard things, like in the Lord’s Prayer and in several Gospel passages and in P
READ: Mark 6:1-6 One of my favorite books as a teenager was Watership Down, by Richard Adams.
I might have been 13 or 14 when I first read it, and it shaped the way I thought about the natural world in a profound way.
The book was written in 1973.
And the statement the book made clearly was against overdevelopment and rampant suburbanization, all at the cost of the natural world.
It was the 1970s, and this sort of growth and sprawl was becoming more and more prevalent.
READ: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 If we’ve ever been to a wedding or a funeral, chances are, we’ve heard this reading.
1 Corinthians 13.1-13.
At some point in my life, I had the well-known Bible verse in a frame hanging on a wall.
It was a gift.
Love is patient, love is kind…
We almost know this verse better than John 3.16.
It’s a little ironic that Paul wrote these poetic verses not to celebrate a life of love between two people or a life well lived;
He wrote it because the
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