Jibstay

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fan It

         Moving, transitions and graduations bring a whole set of challenges. Something is over. Something new is beginning. Change is in the works. Uncertainty is in the air. Accomplishments are celebrated. Tokens are conferred. Tributes are given. New challenges are now in front of us. For some that will be a new school, a new location, and a new set of friends to get to know. For others it means a bigger shift in responsibility: a career, a task, a boss and professional challenges.
         I recently talked with a friend who was promoted from a support position in an organization to becoming the head of that organization. In a quiet and unguarded moment he whispered to me: “It was a lot easier to be in the second chair than now!” When he was in a support role, he second-guessed the leader, thinking he could easily do a better job, until that day came and now the full weight of the organization was upon him.
         On Sunday we are going to recognizes transitions and promotions like never before. Heather Shennum, Pam Beebe, Jon Lemmond and Shawn O’Brien will be acknowledging school promotions in our church. But Sunday is also Confirmation Sunday, which is a promotion of sorts, but something else. Confirmation Sunday is the transition into spiritual adulthood. Four young people will be making personal confessions of adult commitment to follow Jesus Christ. They are moving from second chair into first. The text for these confirmands will be II Timothy 1:3-7 where Paul exhorts young pastor Timothy to step up and make the faith his own. The image Paul uses for Timothy is to call him to “fan into flame the gift of God.” As you prepare for worship on Sunday, reflect on how you keep the flame fanned in your life.
                                                     

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Gotta Love the Kids

I've tried it and it just doesn't work. I've tried to appreciate parents while ignoring or disliking their child. It just doesn't work. Parents pay attention. Parents really notice how I treat their children, like remembering their names and hearing their questions. Parents love it when I ask a genuine question about their child and listen fully to their answer as opposed to listening to them so I can use their answer as a prop for my story. Parents really do get it. That's why I John 5:1-5 so fits for Mother's Day. Mothers love it when we love their children, so do fathers, and so does God.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Abiding?

         Both of our sons (and son-in-law) are literate in the world of computers. They are the people who can fix my computer when things get messed up. But I do not understand their language. For example, Isaac sent me this text last week comparing an iPhone with old computers:“the 5s clocks in around 50gflops depending on operation. The Intel Core 2DUO  E4400 at 2Ghz which came out in 2007”
         What does that mean? If you are inside the computer world, that is a meaningful sentence, but not to me. The terms and numbers do not connect to my normal operating vocabulary. The same thing could be said about any specialty world like that of chemistry, sports, medicine, or law.  Jon Lemmond recently told me how he asked 56 Club kids about church words that they heard that make no sense to them. One young boy asked about why we sing about “the lion and the lamb?” And I’m sure church space-names like narthex, chancel and font are pretty unique terms as well. The word that our text (John 15:1-9) uses this week is “abide.” In talking with some young people, they agreed that “abide” is a pretty churchy word. They do not use abide in their normal conversations. They have other words for this term that I’ll share about in the sermon.

         As you prepare for worship this Sunday, reflect on what abide means to you. How do you know you are abiding or not? In what things do you abide? What does abiding look like in your life?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

John 4:4-42


Friday, April 17, 2015

Luke 24:36-49


Saturday, April 11, 2015

On Definitions: Disciple (Matt 4:19)

Recently definitions collided and crashed. It was a conversation about music in the church. After some careful research into the numbers of songs/hymns we sang during a year, I saw the total number of distinct songs we sang and was delighted. That's a really good number of songs representing a wide range of styles. Someone else immediately responded with disapproval. That's way too many songs for a church to sing. The list should be narrowed way down.
Clearly we had different definitions of what a good song mix should be in a church over a year. Neither one of us is on a moral high ground, but just have different definitions.
The same process works in areas like tithing and generosity, hospitality and outreach, worship regularity and devotional routines. We all have different definitions based on our experience and sometimes we defend them fiercely. The question I wrestle with this Sunday is when can our definitions be refined, challenged and changed...and by whom?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Entrances are significant. How we enter a place, stage in life, position or a relationship is very telling. Brides spend a great deal of time and energy on how they enter their wedding space. Sports teams carefully orchestrate how they enter the playing field or arena. Celebrities choreograph how they enter a gala performance. Politicians work hard at entering campaign events to get the maximum positive exposure.
         Sometimes we enter places and situations reluctantly; like a doctor’s office or outpatient surgery. People enter jail, courtrooms and prisons with all sorts of shame and apprehension. Some of us pause before we enter a hospital room with a very sick family member or friend.
         Palm Sunday is all about entering: Jesus entering Jerusalem just before the last supper, crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus was very intentional about how he entered, where he entered, and with whom he entered. In fact, a case could be made that Jesus’ entire ministry is about targeted entrances to places, groups and individuals’ lives.
         Sunday’s text comes from Acts 10:1-48. It’s about another fascinating entrance.  A Roman Centurion named Cornelius invited Peter (a Jewish believer in Jesus) to enter his home. Peter is initially very reluctant, and then, through the story experienced a sequence of surprises. As you read this story before worship, reflect on the major “entrances” in your life. Reflect on how God has been involved in those “entrances.” Expect God to remain active in leading you to some new “entrances.”

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