Friday, October 19, 2018


Sermon Summary, 10/14/18, “The Good Life and Generosity” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

We’re in the midst of a three part series on the Good Life.  Last week we reframed it in terms of gratitude, relationships and purpose beyond ourselves.  The latter bridges to generosity.  Money.  Ah.  The thing we never talk about in church yet one of Jesus’ biggest topic of his ministry.  Money, close to hedonism.  “The Love of Money” is the counterfeit path to the Good Life.  Our Scripture admonishes us to avoid the “love of money” and to “be rich in good works, generous, and ready to that they can take hold of the life that really is life.” (1 Timothy 6:18-19)  How is it that we can grab hold of the life that is really life?

Some notes on money in America: Since 1960 our real income has grown 15 percent while our life style has grown 30 percent.  Our houses have tripled in size and we’ve moved from one car to two and a pickup.  For those on credit their credit card debt averages $17,500; their car loans $28,000; student loans $75,000; mortgages $72,000, all on an average income of $75,000.  Easy to see that one of the biggest sources of stress in America is money!  It is the third leading cause of divorce and my hunch is that it leaks over into one and two.

I’m a Dave Ramsey fan who says we should all have an emergency fund of two to six months in case of a broken leg or lost job.  What a stress reliever.  Then take care of basic needs, shelter, food, and transportation (he suggests cars old enough to not need collision insurance).  Then, if you are in debt, take care of the debt.  When you are out of debt, you have discretionary income to pursue dreams and goals.  You have margin.  You are living within your means.  The Good Life is found in the margin.  You are able to be rich toward others, generous, ready to share; to grab hold of the life that really is life.

One of the most precious commodities we have to share is time.  And what if with our generosity of time we could lead a child out of poverty, break the poverty cycle of so many of our families?  What if?  What would it be worth to you? 

Lin Diekamp tells that many of the children in her elementary achoolcome from broken or damaged homes with inadequate attention to their children’s educational needs.  What if handful of us could commit to a class room to read to a second or third grader for minutes every two weeks.  What if a child caught hold of reading that for them lead to the life that is really life?  What if?  Talk to Lin, talk to me if about it.  Take hold of the life that really is life.  Amen.


Sermon Summary, 9/30/18, “Encounter with Martha and Mary” (John 11:1-44 selected)

I remember a talk I had with my pastor years ago.  I told him that I believed in God but I wasn’t sure about this Jesus.  I am amazed that he kept silent.  He must have known that grace would teach me what I needed to know.  In another conversation, I noted that Christ was 100 percent divine and 100 percent human (see the Nicene Creed).  My friend asked if that really made sense.  I didn’t have an answer, and what difference would it make?  We’ll find that it makes all the difference.

Our Scripture today is about the raising of Lazarus, but I’m most interested in in the encounters with Martha and Mary.  First Martha, beginning in verse 20, 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

In the face of death we get angry, we accuse God, “If you had been here, if you would have answered my prayers..” 

Jesus replies, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

The divine Jesus answers her, assures her, assures us that he is the giver of eternal life.  He is the source of our hope.

Martha then tells Mary that Jesus is here.  Beginning in verse 32.  32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

The very same accusation.  “Jesus, where were you?”  This time, the response is completely different.  It is a response of a very human Jesus.  33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.

Jesus wept!  In the face of death, Jesus, angry with death, wept.  He wept for Lazarus, he wept for Nancy, he wept for Rosemary.  He wept for Barbara.  He weeps for all of us.

It is through the Divine Jesus that we receive the assurance of eternal life, but without his humanity, we would never experience him.  We would never feel his love.  We would never experience his compassion.  I’m sure about this Jesus.  And I’m sure about his Divinity and his humanity.  So may it be with you.