Thanks; "Lectionary Homiletics" Highlight
2010-02-05 by David von Schlichten

I am grateful to Guy Kent and Stephen Schuette for providing edifying blog posts once again.

Lectionary Homiletics Highlight:

Troy Messenger, in "Lesson and the Arts," describes the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which features common folk in a way that reveals their flaws but also their greatness. The paintings remind us of how God uses ordinary people to do great things.

I'm heading to Mississippi to spend a week helping Katrina victims. I don't know if I'll get to do postings next week. I will do my best.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Can…Can Not…Can too!
2010-02-02 by Stephen Schuette

In every instance the circumstances seem to be stacked against them.  For Isaiah the King has died and he personally lacks the credentials and attributes to inspire.  Furthermore, the times are just against it (v. 5).  For Paul, he is “last,” “least,” and “unfit” – a persecutor of the Church.

And Peter from the beginning is full of doubts, and he will face these doubts again and again.  The word of God that Jesus has just shared is still hanging in the air.  Practical Peter has been cleaning his nets, half listening while getting on with his work.  Maybe Jesus, the great Teacher, knows that Peter is a kinetic learner, has to feel it in his bones?  When Jesus tells them to put out and let down their nets Peter’s got no reason to believe…believe that the words that Jesus has shared will affect the reality of a whole night of chasing nothing.  And all the while Peter is thinking, “This son of a carpenter, what does he know about fishing?  Maybe he’ll just see it’s not so easy…”

But over and over again in scripture it’s been proved that all God needs is just a little room, just a little crack in the door, just the smallest of openings.  In Isaiah it’s the little word “yet” in vs. 5.  For Paul it’s that little inkling of light that grew into conviction, which is even now a conviction he cannot claim as his own but a conviction he continues to experience as God’s gift of grace.  And for Peter it’s the willingness to move in spite of doubt, the willingness to say, “Ok, if you say so,” making just enough room for God.

For if I can’t do it, how can it be possible?  In the settled, manufactured world of predictable expectations we remain convinced of what the limits are.  God says, “Can,” and we say, “Can not.”  And the crucial moment comes when God says, “Can too!”  In that exchange, if we’re able to listen even a little, to resist digging in our heels just a little, to give up just a small measure of resistance then God will find a way to leverage that.  Don’t you know that most of ministry is about getting out of the way just enough?

Jesus In the Boat
2010-02-01 by Guy Kent

Toward the end of the first half of the last century I went fishing. It was my first fishing trip. The trip wasn’t down the street. It was up in the mountains, way up in the mountains. It was my first trip, as least in my present memory, overnight, away from home without my parents. My grandfather was the guide.

We woke early the morning after our arrival. The lake seemed so inviting as I peered out the window into the chilly day.  But first there was breakfast. I was not treated as the child I was. I sat upon the stool beside my grandfather in that diner and beheld the eggs, sunny side up, the grits with butter melting in the middle, the sausage and bacon, the biscuits and the coffee, saturated with milk but coffee nevertheless, in the thick, white, heavy coffee mug. I can smell that breakfast to this day.

Actually that breakfast was the highlight of my first fishing trip. The rest of the day we spent in the boat, a small flat bottom rowboat. My line was in the water, stretched below the bouncing cork, with a worm on the hook. My grandfather’s line went into the water and then out as he would cast this way and then that. 

What stands out in my memory of the time in the boat was my grandfather saying, “Don’t rock the boat, boy. You’ll scare the fish. I must have rocked the boat quite a bit. I didn’t catch any fish and neither did my grandfather.

I love the fish stories that revolve around Jesus. Maybe it’s because since that day I seemingly rocked the boat, I’ve been in a perpetual hope of catching a real stringer full of fish. I’m a champion amateur at it, but the art of fishing fascinates me.

“Put out into the deep water,” Jesus told the disciples. 

I don’t think my grandfather and I were very far from the shore. Maybe that’s because I was along and we stayed close to the familiar shore for my “safety.” We certainly were not in the deep. Could my grandfather swim?

Jesus said, “Put out into the deep.” 

The deep is a scary place. It’s where the waves grow tall, the wind blows fiercely, and the little boat gets tossed about like a cork. The deep is where we do not want to be. The deep is unfamiliar. Eugene Peterson has Peter saying, “I’m a sinner and I can’t handle this holiness.”

I wonder if we’d have had better luck if my grandfather had ventured further away from the shore.

William Willimon, in his Christian Century article, “Get Out of Here!”  (1) points out this takes place following  Jesus’ sermon following his preaching in his hometown synagogue. Both of them, Willimon, observes were great sermons. And now Jesus demonstrates he is “master not only of the word of God, but also of fish.”

Is there symbolism in the fish of this story?

Bishop Willimon continues his article with a story. He was unable to attend the Finance Committee meeting. The Chairperson called the next day to let him know the committee had unanimously approved a budget for the upcoming year that was ten percent beyond the current year’s. He informed the Chairperson it would never work. The current budget was five percent behind. At a church service following the campaign, the Chairperson stood before the church and announced the budget had been fully subscribed for the first time in the church’s history. “Now, as I remember, there was somebody who said, ‘You will never pledge that budget’. Who said that?” she asked the assembled.

The bishop adds: “Sometimes I despise the anticlericalism of the lay people as much as I fear the unwanted intrusions of the Holy Spirit. It isn’t when are fishing with Jesus. Get out of here, Jesus.”


Post-Sermon Reflection
2010-01-31 by David von Schlichten

I preached on how God's love cares for us and sustains us, even in the face of horrible misfortune. I listed ways God's love does this. Read my sermon at the cafe.

I didn't receive much feedback. A few people said that the sermon was good.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Suicide and Love
2010-01-30 by David von Schlichten

A high school student in our community killed himself two days ago. I will be talking about this in my sermon for Sunday. I will invite people to think about how they deal with depression, about the ways we kill ourselves, figuratively and literally, and, most importantly, about how Christ welcomes all, including outsiders, to be part of the love of God that we are to share with each other. This love is crucial for helping people through crisis.

Thank you to our guest blogger Guy Kent for his thoughtful contributions, which you can enjoy by scrolling down.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

[First Page] [Prev] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 [Next] [Last Page]

Login - (This login is for administrators and bloggers. Usernames and passwords for GoodPreacher subscribers will not work here.)