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 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.

Do you know what love is, I want you to know.

So I was talking to a friend of mine a week or so ago, and she startled me by asking me to help her LOVE more, to be honest, we were talking about GOD and spiritual things, so it might not be as random as it sounds. I thought for a minute, and said you need to forgive more to love more. You need to start with yourself, it always starts with you- all this spiritual work, always starts with you.
You need to forgive yourself, for being you, for the harm you have caused yourself and others, and then let it go!
I decided to preach about my thoughts on Love Sunday, so I was pondering it all week, I spoke to a friend of mine who is a therapist, his first thought was , tell her to get rid of the anger! So I said isn’t that the flip side of the forgiveness card?
So I started re-reading Anthony De Mello’s “The way to Love”, it’s a awesome little book that I would highly recommend to everyone, to help refresh myself on the differences between Love and Attachment. See many, if not all of us , at least some of the time confuse Love and Attachment, if it has a condition to it, its attachment. That can be a very difficult thing to separate, we are conditioned in our lives to think they are the same thing most of the time, they are not. She didn’t do the laundry the way I like, he didn’t cut the lawn the way I told him to(the secret is ladies, we screw up on purpose, so you don’t ask us to do it again) she knows I like the house cleaned “my way”,  that’s Attachment.
Love has no conditions, to truly forgive and love, especially those who you persecute you, that’s the key, its also the hardest past for many of us. That’s the only way to Truly be free, is to get rid of your attachment to any out come, what ever that is. Let others be free to do as they wish without judgement or thought to outcome on your part. Love them enough to set them free.

 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 From 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 :Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I cant improve on that!
I also get into Revelation 21, where the author gets into the “New Heaven and a New Earth”, I love it, because like all scripture, you can understand it on many levels. Of course, I think he is talking about a new conscience, a new understand of God, of course God doesn’t change its our understanding of HIM\HER that changes. A great read on the subject is Eckart Tolle’s book, a New Earth, well worth the time to read .
Take a listen, let me know what you think.

 

 

My online response to why Christianity is loosing ground in the US.

Here my response to a article on-line to why American’s are leaving Christianity:

Most people get just enough religion to make them miserable, but not enough to show them a way to God.
I read many of the posts here, most of them might be true as to why many have left the “church.” We lost the mystery and awe that God can show us, we have everything, including God in a box.

S\he is energy(spirit) s\he can’t be contained in box.
Modern man, and I use the term loosely, have to make things fit, that’s what we are taught in school, we have scientific minds now. We have to be right because someone else has to be wrong…
God is more nuanced that that, there is beauty all around us if you can learn to see it.

Many\most people read the Bible as a literal book, but its much more than that, its not a history book either, but some how it describes the human condition very well, even 2100 years later. Literalism is not wrong, its just the lowest form of understanding. Literalist get caught up with the law, they quote a verse out of context and usually use it to hurt someone else or make themselves look good. Jesus saw a different God, not a law God, but a God of love.

The problem is Jesus was not a law guy at all, he was a love guy. Tough to build a religion on that, and the Catholic’s did what people do, they humanized it, and drug it to our human level. They have had a lot of help over the last several hundred years from a lot of different religions.

Why so many Christian religions now?

Our thought process has changed drastically over the last several hundred years to a scientific mind, we have to prove things , explain things, we have to “right” all the time. Where people of centuries past would be ok “not having to understand” everything, and I mean everything, in our modern minds we have to “prove” everything “all” the time. Somebody, thing or idea has to be “right” and by our definition – then somebody, thing or idea has to be “wrong.” If your not in exact agreement with them over a few ideas, “they” must be wrong, start a new Christian Religion.

God doesn’t work like that.
Seems to me science points to the unknown(God), more and more every day. Read about quantum physics or string theory. They find we know less and less all the time.
Isn’t  it wonderful.

We need to learn to sit with the unknown, revel in the mystery of it all, learn to see with new eyes. Know that we don’t know everything, and probably aren’t meant to, ever.
If you can dig a little deeper, sit with the unknowable, see with new eyes, its a marvelous adventure.

Peace

Let God back in, or turn the receptors back on!

So I was talking to guy I know through work , I really don’t know him well at all, but he is a good guy. We don’t get to talk that that often, but we had some time this week to get to know each other.

In the course of that conversation we got around to how I preach 3 Sundays a month. It always amazes me how that almost  always changes the conversation, usually for the better. I never know what I am going to get into, I guess that’s one of the joys in life, the surprise of it all.

So back to the conversation, he starts off by telling me of all the “things” he has , RV, motorcycle, boat, snow machine, etc. Also all the vacations he and his wife have been on, they have been blessed to see much of the country and the world!

I have to admit part of me was\is jealous of the life they get to live, and God Bless them they have earned it! On the other hand I was struck by emptiness of it all, I played that game for a long time myself, and truthfully I still struggle with how to be “of this world and not in it.” Sometimes I do it better than others, right now I am struggling with that part of me- quite a bit if truth be told.  That’s called Hell by the way. When you move away from God Grace, and make no mistake- we do it to ourselves.

When I preach about money, I like to quote Billy Graham “The wrong is not when men posses riches, it’s when the riches posses the men.” The riches use to ,and still try to posses me. More accurately, I allow them to posses my thoughts, again. That’s Hell , when we choose to move out of God’s Grace. That my EGO coming out again, to much of me and not enough God.

We are taught here in America, that more is always better, bigger is always better, achieving and pushing is “what” we do. If that’s  the American dream- then why are so many of us disillusioned with this “dream” and miserable? Why do so many of us end up asking ourselves, is this all there is, what am I about, what am I doing here?

So we think more of the same will “fix” that part of us that’s missing, that hole in us, but it doesn’t, we just try to get more. More of everything, more money, more toys, more neuroses, more addictions, more parties, more drinking, more travel, more house, more, more, more.

What we need is less, less of us and this world, and more of God. That hole we are trying to fill is the part in us that God should be filling in our lives. Make no mistake, God is always there, as constant out pouring of love, we just have to turn our receptors back on to receive her love.

Back to the conservation, this guy then proceeds to tell me how he is a regular at church , and where do I preach, etc . We talked a little more and he got emotional and tear’d up in his office, and told me he doesn’t think “he is good enough for God. ” That was not what I was expecting to hear from him, not in our first “real” conversation, but it was beautiful , the honesty of it, the purity of it.  I can I relate to that, that’s how I use to feel myself at times, when I had more pain and less of her Grace in my life.

I am glad he trusted me enough to open up to me!

I tried to help – “there is absolutely nothing you can do to make yourself good enough for God, nor should you try.”

It all comes from God freely

We are whole and compete with God, from the start, there is nothing you can do or say to make it otherwise, Nothing, Nada, Zilch.

To paraphrase Richard Rohr , “everything we need comes in the box from the MFG.”

William Sloan Coffin said ” we get just enough religion to make us miserable.”

Boy is that the truth for many of us! Or all of us some of the time.

The key is to know that we cannot do anything to stop God’s love “to” us, nothing, the rest of it comes from us, and  the noise we allow into our lives.

Know you are loved, you “are” love, and there is nothing you can do about it, just accept it as the free gift that it is, with nooooooo strings attached.

Fill that hole that’s missing in you, with the radical Love and Grace that passes all human understanding. Turn on you “receptors” and let God back in.

Peace