Sermon for 2/25/18: A Death like His

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Psalm 22:23-31, Mark 8:31-38

Onawa Unfiltered, 2003

Onawa Unfiltered, 2003

If you depend on being emotionally inspired or newly motivated, you will need a new fix almost every day. If it is a true Gospel message, it will be more about regrounding, reshaping and redirecting you from your core.
— Richard Rohr

Sermon Notes

What kind of change does God want from us?  Well maybe that's not the right question. What kind of change is God doing to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ? That's the question we were trying to put answer on Tuesday night with our Lent series, How Men Change.  When God says change, what kind of change is at hand?  

I have found that is easier to talk about what real change is NOT.  And Richard Rohr helped us with this: it is not changing your friends.  Although sometimes real change means new people in your life.  But they are not the change itself.  Real change is not adopting new ideas or new dogmas or a new set of rules or new rituals or new denominations.  Change can bring those things to us...but again, they are not the change itself.  Change is something deeper, more destabilizing, more scary, more humbling, more transforming.  It is a whole lot more about admitting what we do not know than asserting what we do.  And that's the kind of change God does to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ.  And here's the kicker: we have no control over it. 

This is just a taste of the wrestling we have been doing together.  I hope it's challenging you; I hope it's confronting you.  But again, God is entirely responsible for that.  So it's my prayer that you should be confronted with a vision real change in this season. Amen

For a great discussion about change, read this article by Richard Rohr.  It's where I lifted this quote.  And this season, he's how I'm sharpening my understanding of the core biblical message.  Blessings, friends.

Sermon for Christmas Eve 2017 -- Wildfire, Hair Salons, and Mangers: Encountering the Word of God

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life,* and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
— John 1:1-5.....NRSV
xmas card.jpg

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas.  May love, peace, and joy be yours in the New Year!

Ask-the-Pastor: The Heavy Burden of Relationships

Zechariah 9:9-12, Psalm 145:8-14, and Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together

Sermon Notes

The story I told about Thistle Farms comes from this easy to read and lovely meditation by Becca Stevens -- The Way of Tea and Justice.  Check it out and order here.  Also check out their full work in Nashville too:

Sermon for 6/5/16: Getting Ready to Vote

Acts 10:9-16 and Matthew 9:9-17

Sermon Notes

Suggested scripture readings are drawn from the alternative lectionary outlined in Brian McLaren's We Make the Road by Walking (reference and public library).  The Matthew text was my addition.

I attribute my main idea in the this sermon to Arthur Brooks who gave a TED Talk on rethinking how conservatives and liberals work together.  He works for the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Wish I could claim these ideas myself for my sermon -- the idea of applying our family tendencies and needs to a broader spectrum are ALL his. I just put them into a Jesus context.  Totally worth listening to...Here is the link to his TED Talk as well as to the TED Radio Hour episode where I first heard his ideas.  His interview is the first segment. Please do not mistake this attribution of ideas as a political endorsement to a candidate or ideology.

Sermon for 5/29/16: A Basket of Galatian Fruit

Galatians 5:1, 13-25 and John 15:1-8

Fruits of the Spirit           Bethel, 2016

Fruits of the Spirit           Bethel, 2016

Sermon Notes

Suggested scripture readings are drawn from the alternative lectionary outlined in Brian McLaren's We Make the Road by Walking (reference and public library).

Here's a link to the proposed "Beyond Homelessness Camp" from the San Luis Tribune.  Make sure to call our state lawmakers to express your hopes for ending homelessness in our county. The article was printed before I started my Fruits of the Spirit Discipline, but I didn't actually notice it on the table until a few days ago.

Sermon for 5/22/16: A Trinity Sunday Reflection

Romans 5:1-5, Psalm 8, John 16:12-15

Trinity by Thom Shuman

While the theologians have gathered
for their annual
”Decoding the Mystery of the Trinity”

God is out early every morning,
Grace padding alongside unleashed,
stopping to chat
with the single mother
just getting off the 6am bus
from her night job;

Jesus is doing
with the “losers”
down at the skate park
and later hanging out at the video arcade;

Spirit pauses
from wiping the tables
down at the soup kitchen,
stretching her back
till it pops loud enough
to startle Catechism
drowsily purring under the stove;

in the evening,
while they mess up the kitchen
fixing dinner
they chat about their day,
laughing and shaking their heads
at all they have seen and heard;
then they draw straws
to see whose turn it is
to keep watch during the night,
while the others
stumble off to bed,
yawning and scratching their heads
at the mystery of humanity.

Usually our suggested scripture readings are drawn from the alternative lectionary outlined in Brian McLaren's We Make the Road by Walking (reference and public library). However, with Trinity Sunday here, we return for a day to the Revised Common Lectionary.

Sermon for 4/3/16: Avoiding Other People's Tombs Part 2

Acts 8:26-40 and John 20:19-31

Suggested Scripture readings follow the alternative lectionary outlined in Brian McLaren's book We Make the Road by Walking (reference and library).

A Post-Resurrection Faith Doodle

A Post-Resurrection Faith Doodle

Sermon Notes

This is very much an insider sermon in that I talk about the formation of the church.  I speak very specifically about the inspiration of Christian community. I say this because when I speak about the gifts of forgiveness and the peace entrusted to the first Christians and us by extension, I don't want it heard that these gifts are exclusively Christian.  Maybe it goes without saying, but too many have made that claim.  It's not an issue I take up in the body of the sermon.  However, it's worth stating here.

On my choice of words -- my use of the word "toppled" is a nod to Father Greg Boyle.  Oh my goodness, go out and listen to an interview or read his book.  Just so beautiful.  He has an awful lot of credibility when it comes to bearing up under what would otherwise be despairing. Here's the link to his book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (reference and public library).

Sermon for 3/27/16: Easter Sunday -- Avoiding Other People's Tombs

Acts 8:26-40 and John 20:19-31

Scripture readings follow the alternative lectionary outlined in Brian McLaren's book We Make the Road by Walking (reference and public library).

A Central Coast Collection

A Central Coast Collection

Question of the Week

When have you found yourself residing in another person's tomb?  When did you come out of it?  What happened immediately before your departure?  What happened after?

The Spaces In-Between

Genesis 32:22-33:11 and 50:15-21, Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 25:31-40

Suggested Scriputure Readings from We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren.

Recycled Robot Rendition                                             Bethel Sunday School, 2015

Recycled Robot Rendition                                             Bethel Sunday School, 2015

Bible Quotes come from two sources in this sermon: Matthew 18:20 - "Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (KJV).  Genesis quotes come from the NRSV.  Click on the initials for a link.

The Pillowcase of Not-Giving-Up: Genesis 18

Genesis 18:9-33, Micah 6:6-8, John 21:15-19

Suggested Scripture Readings from Brian McLaren's We Make the Road by Walking.  The passage from John 21 is my own addition to the conversation.  If you are reading along in the book, McLaren also assigns Genesis 22:1-14 and Acts 17: 19-34 which brings up a whole thicket of questions I don't take on this week: what does it mean when after persevering, God threatens the very thing God had promised in the first place? Gotta come to Bible study to hear my take on that one...

The Negev: Abraham and Sarah's Desert                Masada, Israel  2000

The Negev: Abraham and Sarah's Desert                Masada, Israel  2000

Sermon Notes

The Genesis 18 story of Abraham and Sarah read in worship comes from the Spark Story Bible...just about the best kid's bible ever, as far as I'm concerned.  Great for ages 4-7 with tons of vibrant artwork and fabulous interpretation.  Check out the details here:

The story of Owen and Mzee comes from the beautiful and inspiring book Owen & Mzee: the true story of a remarkable friendship from authors Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatcoff, P Khumbu, and Peter Greste.  More info. here:

To here Larry Ward tell his own story to Krista Tippett on the radio program OnBeing, go here:

The road for Isaac Lindsey will be long and the medical bills steep.  Donate here to help the Lindsey family: