Post-Sermon Reflection; Last-Minute Rewrite
2009-10-18 by David von Schlichten

My initial sermon, which you can read at the Sermon Feedback Cafe, I decided was too long and abstract. For most Sundays, the length would not be an issue, but this Sunday we had a healing service within the regular service, making the service run long. This Sunday's sermon, therefore, I wanted shorter.

So then, this morning, at 6:30, I rewrote the sermon. The result was something tighter and more focused. I concentrated on the idea that being a slave to others does not mean that we have to say yes to every request that comes our way. Indeed, part of serving others is knowing when to say no to them. I concluded by adding that Christ did not always say yes, although he often did, including and chiefly by dying for us.

One person said that the sermon was "awesome," but most people did not have any noteworthy comment.

How did your Sunday go?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





"Lectionary Homiletics" Highlight; First/Last Paradox
2009-10-16 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to our guest blogger. David Banks did a smart job of connecting the lessons. Scroll down to read his posts.

In Lectionary Homiletics, Craig Vondergeest's "Exegesis" article has much to offer, such as analysis of the Greek word for "ransom" in the passage. Vondergeest notes that, while, in the New Testament, the word is used only in this passage and the Matthean parallel, it is used in the Septuagint to translate several Hebrew words that together suggest propitiation and expiation. Thus, perhaps Mark understands Jesus' sacrifice according to such terms. 

This Sunday, my sermon will focus on the following: "If you strive to be last so that you can be first, then you are not really last, so you will not really be first."

Feel free to share your thoughts for this Sunday.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Jesus Learned Obedience?
2009-10-15 by David von Schlichten

In our reading from Hebrews the writer asserts that Jesus learned obedience through suffering. Why would Jesus have to LEARN obedience? Wasn't he already obedient?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Mark 10:35-45 by Rev. David Banks
2009-10-14 by David Banks

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."


Me First! I love spending time at the local elementary school.  Watching the children at play, in class and when they think no one is looking is truly priceless. When recess is over, there is this mad dash to be first in line. The kids that get "it", in my opinon, play as long as they can and are contend to be in the back of the line. Recently I watched as two kids asked a teacher to tell them when it was close to lining up. You guessed it, they wanted to be first. In fact, their desire to be first caused them to miss out on a chunk of priceless play time.  The story doesn't end there. You see, there are also the kids who try to make their way to the front of the line anyway. And I am here to tell you that behavior doesn't necessarily change. Two nights ago, Monday, October 12, 2009, I watched as grown men and women did the same thing at a U2 concert.They all wanted to be the closest they could to the stage. The concert was all about them.

For James and John, they are doing the same thing the children and adults do, they are saying "Me First." Think about a couple of things here. First of all, James and John are asking to be First at the table, front row. And secondly, James and John are thinking more about the end of the show, than the beginning. Being spat on, humiliated, crucified, these are the things Jesus had been saying all along, yet following it up with the heavenly vision of eternity. They want to be in charge too. And before we are too hard on these two, read a little more.

"When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John."
 
Right, they really are no different, they are probably just mad they didn't thik of it first. BUt Jesus is Jesus and he did His bes to straighten everyone out.  The first will be last and the last will be first. You've, no doubt, heard this before, but, like the disciples, you still clammer to be first. If you really want to be first, take the cup. Please. And as you do, when things are a little rough, remember what God said to Job in Chapter 38, "Gird up your loins". In other words man up, you asked for it.

An intersting compare/contrast will be Job 38:1+/Mark 10:35-45/Hebrews 5:1-10. Work in the image of the gift of faith(what James and John wanted) with the cost(How rough discipleship can be) and put a nice bow of encouragement from Job 38:1-7(34-41).




Job 38:1-7, (34-41) by Rev. David Banks
2009-10-14 by David Banks

"Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me."  

Have you ever heard God say "Man up?" Maybe you have, maybe you haven't, but rest assured, He has said it to you.  As a kid playing footbal in Jr. High and High School, I cannot tell you how often those words were spoken in some fashion or another. Now over 20 years later, I can still hear the words.  In fact, I say these very words, in one form or another, to myself. At least I did today. More often than not, it is because I am not trudging through new territory or trying to do something that hasn't already been done before. It is time for me to enter the human race, literally and figuratively.  How about you? Have you ever thrown your own pitty part to find out that it is pointless, fruitless and even unwarranted?  The truth is, this passage has very little to do with the pitty party Job is crying about.  And equally so, I don't thik it is so much about the magnitude of God. The gem, the nugget for us to take to the bank is this-God answered.

In the midst of Job's ceaseless whining, God responds. God aknowledges Job as well as Job's place. Mind you, this interaction has more about setting Job back in the spot where he needs to be, but, God responds nonetheless.
"don't question me, I'm the one who questions you." Sounds remarkably like a parent and a child interacting doesn't it? A parent that cares, that loves, that protects. If Job was nothing, would God have responded at all?




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