Oct 06

Your Church Is Too Small



I have good news for you this morning: your church is too small. Your church is too small! Now, I imagine you’ve heard that before, and I’m willing to bet that the last time you heard it, it didn’t sound like good news. Maybe you heard it in a meeting with the district superintendent: I’m sorry, she said, but your church is too small to support a full-time pastor. I’m sorry, but you’re too small to be on your own anymore.

Or maybe you heard it from a visitor one Sunday morning: I love your church, he said. The people here are friendly, and you obviously love to be together for worship. I wish I could stick around, but your church is too small. I’m looking for something bigger.

Or maybe you have found yourself saying it in at church council one night: It would be nice, you said, if we could do more for our community, but we’re just too small. We don’t have the resources.

“Your church is too small.” It doesn’t sound like good news, but today, on World Communion Sunday, at this Community Worship Service, it is the gospel, the good news, we need to hear. Your church is too small, but Christ’s church—ahh, that’s a different story entirely. Continue reading

Jun 20

Galatians: Baptized into Christ



When we are baptized, we die to our old selves and rise to life in Christ. Paul says, “As many of you were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.” Last week, we heard Paul say, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” Crucified to our old selves, adorned with Christ on the outside, alive by Christ on the inside, that is what it means for us to be baptized. As the church of Jesus Christ, life after baptism should be an intense focus on giving Christ free reign over our lives, so that we can be made more and more like Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

Feb 15

Mission and Discipleship 3: Mission Fundamentals



As Christians, all of us have been baptized into God’s mission. Baptism, which is for all of us, is the foundation of our calling to serve Christ in God’s mission, not some specialized calling into something called “the ministry.” As your pastor, I live out my baptismal calling in particular ways. The ways you live out your baptismal call to participate in God’s mission will be different from my own. What is important is what unites us: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one body, one mission. If I were not your pastor, if I weren’t a pastor at all, God’s claim on my life would be no different and no less than it is today. And in this series on mission and discipleship, I am challenging all of us to rethink God’s mission and to consider how—not whether—God is calling us in this new year. You may be someone who considers yourself very active in mission and ministry work, or you may be someone who has never really given that kind of thing a second thought. I am convinced that, in 2016, God is calling you to commit yourself new to the mission of God. Continue reading

Oct 05

Divorce Church



Divorce is a difficult topic in our modern era. All of us know someone who is divorced. Most of us probably know someone whose divorce ended a painful or even abusive marriage. And it is telling that so much energy is spent fighting over gay marriage, on which Jesus never said a word—on which Jesus couldn’t have possibly said a word—and so little attention given to divorce, on which Jesus speaks very clearly. It might be helpful to remember, though, that speaking against divorce in Jesus’ day was no easier than it is in our own; John the Baptist, after all, was executed for criticizing the divorces and remarriages of King Herod’s family. Continue reading

Apr 13

Easter People: A Common Bond

What was from the beginning concerning the Word of Life, which we heard, which we saw with our own eyes, which we beheld, which we touched with our own hands, which we saw and heard, we disclose even to you, so that you might share a common bond with us.

This is how the first letter of John begins. We’re going to be spending some time with this letter the next few weeks; I plan to preach on passages from 1 John just about every Sunday from now until the end of May. So I want to encourage you to read it for yourself. Each week you can see what section we’ll read the following Sunday right here in your bulletin, so you can make those readings part of your personal devotions. Or you could just read through the whole thing at once; it’s not very long. And if you’re a woman, you can join the women’s Tuesday night group. They’ll be studying 1 John together starting this week, too.

Continue reading