Sermon from 3-26-17, Can you see with new eyes!

The reading we worked with from the Lectionary are:

1 Samuel

NT Ephesians 5:8-14

Gospel John 9:1-41 AWESOME!!!!!!

 

My handout “Random Thoughts” for the day:

 

Matthew 13: MSG

1.Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing.
Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears
so they won’t have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
so they won’t have to look,
so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face
and let me heal them.16-17 But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets

Galatians 5 MSG

2.How do we know if we are living in God’s light?:

22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

 

3.“…..Knowledge puffs up , whereas love builds up…”p103 Rohr The Divine Dance”

4.I am a hole in the flute that the Christ’s breath moves through—- listen to this music. Hafiz, 14th century Sufi poet and mystic.

5.One woman in a group I was working with was almost instantly able to turn around a very difficult standoff with an ultraconservative bishop when she realized that his resistance was not the problem to be solved but a given to be worked with. With an almost visceral “Aha!” she relaxed her sense of polarization and was stunned to learn the next day that he had miraculously softened his stance. While it was not clear to her who had actually been the broker of third force here, it was clear to her that the two relaxations were not unrelated.

One can only imagine how greatly the political and religious culture wars of our era could be eased by this simple courtesy of the Law of Three: (1) the enemy is never the problem but the opportunity; (2) the problem will never be solved through eliminating or silencing the opposition but by learning to hold the tension of the opposites and launch them in a new direction. Imagine what a different world it would be if these two simple precepts were internalized and enacted. CAC 3-19-17

  1. And in everything that I saw, I could perceive nothing except the presence of the power of God, and in a manner totally indescribable. And my soul in an excess of wonder cried out: This world is pregnant with God! —Angela of Foligno (1248-1309) (Paulist Press: 1993), 169-170
  2. 10 “The thief(most of the time the thief is us) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”. What are you doing in this life, does it feel abundant, at least some of the time. John 10:10
  3. Bill Hicks Life is a ride video has really engaged me in the last few months, he a Comedian, and I love this video. Google Bill Hicks life’s a ride or the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgzQuE1pR1w

 

 

Sermon for 3-19-17

The reading we worked with from the Lectionary are:

OT Exodus 17:1-7

NT Romans 5:1-11

Gospel John 4: 5-42

 

My hand out Random Thoughts:

The word of the day: SPIRIT

 

Developing Patience Romans 5:1-11 MSG

1-2 By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!6-8 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

9-11 Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

1.“Facts” are simply habits of thought we’ve been thinking so long that they now seem normal. When we invest in them over and over again, we validate them. We create more of them. “Facts” fill in around those beliefs.

Quantum physics has proven it’s impossible to observe anything without affecting it. Sadly, we’ve been seeking (and therefore affecting) things that no longer serve us. We’ve been seeking “facts” that were perpetuated long before we evolved to the place where we realized we have the power to change them. And, yes, they’ve picked up quite a bit of momentum. Pam Grout Blog 3-16-17

  1. In the United States our politics have devolved into divisiveness and partisanship. Think about it: You feel passionate about your party and your issues. Your co-worker or neighbor backs the other political party with equal passion.

The way we live so much of our lives stops right there. Someone takes position A, and someone else opposes them in Position B; they exist in rivalry and antagonism, world without end. This is precisely the behavior we’d expect in a binary system—a place of “two-ness” in opposition. At best, when we’re finished yelling at each other, we might try to compromise and form some kind of “synthesis” position out of our dueling dualisms.

If the universe is created in the image of the Creator and the Creator is a Trinity, it begs the question: What if we don’t live in a binary universe, but instead in a ternary universe? CAC from Richard Rohr Blog 3-?-17

 

3.As we “tune our hearts” [1] to greater perception, we’ll begin to experience God almost like a force field, to borrow a metaphor from physics. We’re all already inside this force field, whether we know it or not, alongside Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims and every race and nationality. God doesn’t stop or begin at the Mexico/U.S. border, the Israel/Palestine border, the border between North and South Korea, or any such line in the sand. The divine force field is all-encompassing. Rohr blog 3-10-17

4. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ONE OF MY FAVORITE’S and ties in with today’s message.

 

Sermon 2-19-17

Scripture for the day:

1st reading: Leviticus 19:1-2,9-18

2nd reading:1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

Gospel: Matthew 5 38-48

My handout for the week:

1.As Ken Wilber so brilliantly says, “Religion starts elitist, but ends egalitarian(s a trend of thought that favors equality for all people). Always!” Richard Rohr

2.Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached. Simone Weil

  1. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

 

  1. The word “prayer” has often been trivialized by making it merely into a way of asking for what you want or making announcements to God, as if God did not know (see Matthew 6:7-8). But I use “prayer” to mean any interior journey or practice that allows you to experience faith, hope, and love within yourself. It is not a technique for getting things, a pious exercise that somehow makes God happy, or a requirement for entry into heaven. Prayer is much more practicing heaven now. CAC Rohr 2-7-17

 

 

  1. “The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God.”
    Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

 

6.Every person has immense light and love inside them (no exceptions) and the only reason we cannot see it is because of the lens we laid over it. We covered it up with our beliefs and expectations, with facts that we just KNOW are true. We made a judgment and assume we know what that Republican is up to or that Democrat wants to do to destroy our freedom.

Nothing is as it appears. All we see with the limited five senses is a hologram of our beliefs and expectations. And it’s flawed and it’s getting us in trouble.

I heard about an amazing man yesterday who is doing his part to bridge the divide. His name is Daryl Davis. He’s a black musician whose early years were spent overseas in diverse classrooms. When his parents moved back to the United States, he, like most of the boys in his sixth grade class, joined Boy Scouts. One day, while marching with his troop, people started throwing rocks and sticks at him.

His first thought was, “They must not like Boy Scouts.”

At that point, his parents sat him down and had the race talk with him.

He was stunned.

“How could they not like me?” he thought. “They don’t even know me.”

Since that time, he has taken on the hobby of getting to know white supremacists and, instead of yelling at them, berating them, he sits down and asks questions. He genuinely wants to know what they think.

As he says about engaging his “enemies,” “When you are actively learning about someone else you are passively teaching them about yourself.”

In other words, he gets back to first generation reality. Some black activists call his methods crazy, but as he likes to say, “I’ve got dozens of retired hoods and robes in my closet. How many do you have?” from Pam Grout’s blog 2-14-17. How is that for a take on Matthew 5-44??????

  1. “Love is giving up control. It’s surrendering the desire to control the other person. The two—love and controlling power over the other person—are mutually exclusive. If we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all the desires within us to manipulate the relationship.” Rob Bell

 

Sermon 3-12-17

The scripture for today:

1st reading Genesis 12:1-4a

2nd reading Romans 4:1-5,13-17

Gospel John 3:1-17

My handout for the day:

1.Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not…Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now… Lent is a summons to live anew…Lent is the time to let life in again, to rebuild the worlds we’ve allowed to go sterile, to “fast and weep and mourn” for the goods we’ve foregone. If our own lives are not to die from lack of nourishment, we must sacrifice the pride or the sloth or the listlessness that blocks us from beginning again. Then, as Joel (2:12-18) promises, God will have pity on us and pour into our hearts the life we know down deep that we are lacking.~ Sister Joan Chittister

2.Translating Romans 4:1 is a bit tricky. The NRSV reads, “What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh?” The Greek, however, does not say “gained.” The word is “found.” We might think of Romans 4 answering the question, “What did Abraham find?” However, there is another option.

Both Richard B. Hays and N. T. Wright have argued that a better translation would be, “What then shall we say? Is Abraham found our ancestor according to the flesh?” To this the implied answer would be, “No.” He is not forefather according to the flesh (physical descent marked by the physical sign of circumcision). Instead, he is forefather because of his trust in God’s promise. This way of looking at Abraham’s paternity opens up the possibility that Gentiles(us) who entrust themselves to Israel’s God might look to Abraham as their ancestor just as much as Jews who are physically descended from him. From “The Working Preacher” for this week

 

 

3.At conference in 1998  the Roman Catholic Pope John Paul the Second wondered what needed to be done to reverse the prominent mis-understanding that heaven and hell are geographical places. Pope John Paul II insisted that both are states of consciousness – not places to be found somewhere in this great big cosmos. As told by Richard Rohr in the Hell No! MP3

 

4.“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

 

5.God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. The Serenity Prayer is the common name for a prayer authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr[1][2] (1892–1971), also adopted by AA

 

 

6.Who in their right mind would walk into a restaurant, take a look at the menu and order the dish they least desire?

Likewise, who would go shopping at Nordstrom’s and opt to carry the rack’s ugliest outfit up to the sales counter?

Yet, that’s what most of us do in our thinking, in our conversations. We focus on things we don’t want to happen. We focus on the fear, on the negative, on the lack.

And those decisions have a much bigger impact on your life than one ugly dress or a dish you can’t stand. You literally draw out from the universe(GOD) whatever you focus upon. Pam Grout Blog 3-2-17

 

 

 

Message from 2-12-17

The Scripture I reference today:

Old Testament- Sirach -15:15-20

New Testament-1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Gospel – Matthew -5:21-37

Today’s Handout:

Random Thoughts 2-12-17

1.Free Will-  from Sirach 15:11-20 Good News Translation Bible, written 200 to 175 BCE—11 Don’t blame the Lord for your sin; the Lord does not cause what he hates.[a]12 Don’t claim that he has misled you; he doesn’t need the help of sinners to accomplish his purposes. 13 The Lord hates evil in all its forms, and those who fear the Lord find nothing attractive in evil. 14 When, in the beginning, the Lord created human beings, he left them free to do as they wished. 15 If you want to, you can keep the Lord’s commands. You can decide whether you will be loyal to him or not. 16 He has placed fire and water before you; reach out and take whichever you want. 17 You have a choice between life and death; you will get whichever you choose.18 The Lord’s wisdom and power are great and he sees everything. 19 He is aware of everything a person does, and he takes care of those who fear him. 20 He has never commanded anyone to be wicked or given anyone permission to sin.

2.Pastor Bruel says “Everything is going God’s way? The interesting thing is that God lets the children run the circus!
From a Pod Cast I heard with Pastor Rob Bell: “We were raised in a culture and a time where the primary energies were spent looking for differences….if we don’t start using our energies looking for similarities, we are in trouble.”
The Buddhist have this saying , when the hand points to the moon(God), don’t fall in love with the hand(religion).
I think we need to find the moon again in our religion. We need to keep the best of it, and find new ways to reach out to others!
Don’t get caught up in dogma, or being right or wrong, be authentic, follow your path, it probably won’t look like anybody Else’s path, and that OK.
We are all loved children of the ONE GOD, it has to be….
It all has to fit….
It’s a LOVE story, keep it simple. From my blog 1-26-16

 

 

3.It seems we are all addicted to our need to make distinctions and judgments, which we mistake for “thinking.” Most of us think we are our thinking, yet almost all thinking—even among highly educated people—is repetitive and immensely self-referential. That is why all forms of meditation and contemplation are teaching us a way of quieting this self-protective and self-aggrandizing mind. After a while, we see that this repetitive process cannot get us very far, simply because reality is not all about us and our preferences! Richard Rohr CAC 1-30-17

 

  1. Francis of Assisi knew that if you can accept that the finite manifests the infinite and that the physical is the doorway to the spiritual (the foundational principle we call “incarnation”) then all you need is right here and right now—in this world. This is the way to that!Heaven includes Earth. Time opens you up to the timeless, space opens you up to spacelessness, if you only take them for the clear doorways that they are. There are not sacred and profane things, places, and moments. There are only sacred and desecrated things, places, and moments—and it is we who desecrate them by our blindness and lack of reverence. It is one sacred universe, and we are all a part of it. CAC Richard Rohr

5.Contemplation is an entirely new way of knowing the world that has the power to move us beyond mere ideology and dualistic thinking. Mature religion will always lead us to some form of prayer, meditation, or contemplation to balance out our daily calculating mind. Believe me, it is major surgery, and you must practice it for years to begin to rewire your egocentric responses. Contemplation is work, so much so that most people give up after their first futile attempts. But the goal of contemplation is not success, only the continuing practice itself. The only people who pray well are those who keep praying! In fact, the continued re-connecting is the praying, not occasional consolations. Take that as an absolute. CAC 2-6-2017

 

Here is the audio from today, I hope you enjoy.

Sermon from 1-29-17

This weeks texts are:

Micah 6:1-8

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Good Stuff

Matthew 5:1-12 Great stuff- the beatitudes, I used the text from the message Bible for this one, beautiful.

The hand out for the day:

  1. In Greek, the words are ho logos ho tou staurou. Alexandra Brown points out how curious the phrase would sound, both to Jews and Greeks. “For Jews, the logos was the law and Wisdom … For Greeks, the logos signified the reason behind the cosmic order and the advances of philosophy in understanding that order.”2Brown concludes, “This ‘logos of the cross’ constitutes a contradiction in terms offensive both to the reasoned and to the religious mind.” From working preacher for 1-29-17

You’re Blessed MSG- Matthew 5:1-12

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:3

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

3.Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

*****Our first book in book study this year is a book by Anthony de Mello. I thought a few quotes from him would be in order, to get things started.*****

  1. “To a disciple who was forever complaining about others the Master said, “If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth.” Anthony de Mello
  1. . “Suffering is a sign that you’re out of touch with the truth. Suffering is given to you that you might open your eyes to the truth, that you might understand that there’s falsehood somewhere, just as physical pain is given to you so you will understand that there is disease or illness somewhere. Suffering points out that there is falsehood somewhere. Suffering occurs when you clash with reality. When your illusions clash with reality when your falsehoods clash with the truth, then you have suffering. Otherwise there is no suffering.” Anthony de Mello

Meeting People where they are!

My dear friend and Mentor asked me my thoughts on how the Church is doing meeting us where they are, here is my response:

PB asked me to comment on how the modern church is meeting people where they are at in their lives. I would say the Church is not doing as good of job as he is and has been throughout his life. Reference his Caring Bridge post from 1-26-16.
To many of us “church” people get caught up in being right, having the only way to God, I have heard that there are 30,000 Christian religions, 30,000. I think that stat alone tells us how we are doing on meeting people where there are.
If your church believes in 7 points , and we only have 5, of course we are right and you are wrong, let’s start a church! We as Christians, can’t even agree with each other! Let alone have a meaningful dialog with people of other religions!
We hold onto things to tightly, we have the need to be right.Religion at its best is a support group of like believers gathering strength with each other, trying to understand this crazy world we live in, through Christ’s eyes. Jesus only real judgments of people were calling out the injustices he saw being committed in God’s name by the ruling body of his own religion! I am often struck by how we have turned the church( or have allowed it to continue) into many of the things he railed against. I wonder what he thinks about us, probably shakes his head and says not yet, not quite yet Dad.
I have noticed for years how Pastor B has included everyone, when I went to visit him, I asked him how many people had been to visit him, he said if I had to guess, 150 or so! 150, and that was 2 weeks ago! I was struck by that, but I guess it should not be a surprise, he is a lover. I still remember the day he said that during one of his sermons( he prefers messages), I still remember the look on his face as he said it, priceless!
I think we can see in a life lived as he lived his a model for how we all can live our lives, lose yourself in loving others, putting others ahead of yourself, meeting people where they are. Everything fits or nothing fits.

All work on the world starts with the individual, the only person you can change is you, you need to be the change you want to see in the world. There is No other way to create lasting change.
People are leaving the church in large numbers, the church seems out dated, out of touch with people of today. I think it’s in large part due to its reluctance to move beyond 4th century creeds and dogma, or literal-ism, it doesn’t speak to a modern ear, its jamming a square peg into a round hole.

People don’t need saved, they need to know they belong to something, something larger than themselves.
I was driving to church last Sunday and I passed 3 Amish Buggies, and I was struck with the thought that that’s much of the modern church today. We are stuck in the past, just as they are, most of us “English” look at the Amish as a novelty, outdated, interesting, but outdated. Is that how GOD see’s us?
I believe that God’s presence is a divine unfolding, it’s always a verb , an action word. God’s call to us is to move the story forward, always on the move, just like the universe, always expanding.
I think we hold onto the wrong stuff all the time, I think once the church got around to the 4 century and the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the “state” religion, things changed. Christianity was much more inclusive before that, had room for people at the edges of the faith.
We lost the Love and Forgiveness part of the equation, I think that’s Christianity boiled down to its core, is radical Love and radical Forgiveness. I think that’s most of what Jesus says.
I think we need to get back to our core, which is very inclusive, and we need to jettison the baggage many of us bring to our Religions! ITS NOT YOUR COUNTRY CLUB, YOU DON’T GET TO PICK THE MEMBERS!

God does, my mentor as says “Everything is going God’s way? The interesting thing is that God lets the children run the circus!
From a Pod Cast I saw with Pastor Rob Bell: “We were raised in a culture and a time where the primary energies were spent looking for differences….if we don’t start using our energies looking for similarities, we are in trouble.”
The Buddhist have this saying , when the hand points to the moon(God), don’t fall in love with the hand(religion).
I think we need to find the moon again in our religion. We need to keep the best of it, and find new ways to reach out to others!
Don’t get caught up in dogma, or being right or wrong, be authentic, follow your path, it probably won’t look like anybody Else’s path, and that OK.
We are all loved children of the ONE GOD, it has to be….
It all has to fit….
It’s a LOVE story, keep it simple.

Doug