- Movies That Cook
- Things for Your Kitchen
- Walk to Emmaus- Luke
- The Unknown God- Acts 17
- Prayer for the Church
- Charlotte/ Acts 8:26-40
- Jacob/Prodigal Son
- Jacob/Romans 8
- Jacob Wrestling and Blessing
- Jacob learning to live with a limp
- FTF Timothy
- The Field is Ready, Genesis/Romans
- romans 8
- Philippians 2:1-13
- Ruth Dinsmore- Acts
- Philippians 3: 5-14
- 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
- 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-8
- 1 Thessalonians 2:9-20
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-19
- 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
- New Page
- Advent 1 Isaiah 64
- Advent 3 Isaiah 61
- Christmas Eve Isaiah 9: 1-7
- Baptism of Jesus Mark 1
- Mark 1: 14-20
- Breathe: Mark 1:21-28
- Backyard Basics 4: Belong
- Ash Wednesday
- Backyard Basics 5/Blessings 1
- Backyard Blessings 2: Generations- Genesis 17
- Backyard Bless 3-CreationPsalm 19
- Backyard Blessings 4: Healing Ps 107
- Backyard Blessings 5: Love-Jeremiah 31
- Easter Blooms John 20:1-18
- Backyard Blooms: Luke 24:36-48
- Vines- John 15: 1-8
- John 15:9-15 Blessings: Friends
- Bkyd Blooming: COnfidence- Acts 1
- Backyard Breeze! Acts 2
- Bkyrd Breezes:Isaiah 6/Romans 8
- Bkyrd Brz: 1 Samuel 3/2 Cor
- Mustard Seed Annointing
- Bkyrd Breezes: Courage
- Mark 6:1-13, Romans 12 Bkrd Breezes: Wisdom
- Bkyrd Bodybuilding-Core- Ephesians 2
- Bkyrd Bodybuilding- Cardio- Ephes 3
- Backyard Bodybuilding: Legs, Back, Chest, Arms!
- Bkyrd Bodybuilding- Nutrition-Ep 4
- Mark 10:35-45
- Mark 8:27-38
- Mark 9:30-37 Bkyrd Stmbling:Pride
- Bkyrd Stumbling Blocks: Patriarchy
- Mark 4 Combined Service
- Mark 12: 28-34 Backyard Bounty: Love
- Backyard Bounty: Value
- Backyard Bounty: Encouragement Mark 13:1-8
- Backyard Bounty: Abundance!
- Backyard Birthing: Speak- Advent 3
- Backyard Birthing: Sing! Luke 1:39-46
- Christmas Eve- Ressurection
- Luke 2: 21-40 A Once Over
- Epiphany- Matthew- Star of Wonder
- Beyond the Backyard: The Call-
- Beyond the Backyard: The Message- Luke 4
- Beyond the Backyard: Words Matter- Jeremiah 1:4-19
- Beyond the Backyard:
- Beyond the Backyard: Compassion
- Beatitudes: Imagine 1
- Imagine: Beatitudes- Meekness
- Imagine Beatitudes: No countries: Hungry, Thirsty, Filled
- Imagine Luke 15
- Easter Sermon: Mary- Through our Tears
- Imagine: Beatitudes- Mercy and Pure Heart
- Imagine Beatitudes: Peacemakers
- Imaging: Beatitudes- Persecution/Rejoice!
- New Page
- Say yes! (Fig Tree/Potter/Ps139)
- 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Things we leave behind
- Say Yes: What we Bring- Luke 14
- Luke16- Lazarus and the Rich Man
- Luke 17:1-10- increase our faith
- Luke 18- Widows, Judges, Labels and MIrrors
- Pharisee, Tax Collector, Mirrors, and Prayer
- Luke 19:1-10 -Zacchaeus
- Luke 20:27-38 Seeing Scripture Differently
- Seeing church differently Luke 21:5-19
- John 6- Obstacles:Seeing community differently
- Compassion Advent 2
- Advent 3 Compassion 3 Mary
- Advent 4: Compassion/Joseph Mt 1
- The Nice List- Christmas Eve
- Baptism of Jesus-Matthew
- No Matter What: 1. Abraham
- No Matter What: Jacob
- No Matter What: Jacob/Tamar
- No Matter What: Rahab
- No Matter What: David
- On the Road Again: Into the Unknown
- On the Road: Nicodemus
- Woman at the Well COVID-19
- On the Road Again: Man Born Blind
- On The Road Again: The Rest of Us
- Easter: Up and On the Move-Mt. 28
- Risen? Or Fake News? Mt. 28: 11-20
- How the Virus Stole Easter
- Emmaus, On the Road...Again?
- Interruptions and Upheavals 2: Acts 2
- John 14:1-14, 1 Peter 2:2-10
- Acts 17:22-31 Interruptions and Upheavals 4
- Know, Share, Go... Together- John 17
- Acts 2: For Such a Time as This
Interruptions & Upheavals, Pt 4.
Then Paul stood up before the council of the Areopagus and delivered this address: "Citizens of Athens, I note that in every respect you are scrupulously religious. As I walked about looking at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, "To an Unknown God.' Now, what you are worshiping in ignorance I intend to make known to you. For the God who made the world and all that is in it, the Sovereign of heaven and earth, doesn't live in sanctuaries made by human hands, and isn't served by humans, as if in need of anything. No! God is the One who gives everyone life, breath- everything. From one person God created all of humankind to inhabit the entire earth, and set the time for each nation to exist and the exact place where each nation should dwell. God did this so that human beings would seek, reach out for, and perhaps find the One who is not really far from any of us- the One in whom we live and move and have our being. As one of your poets has put it, 'We too are God's children.' If we are in fact children of God, then it's inexcusable to think that the Divine Nature is like an image of gold, silver, or stone- an image formed by the art and thought of mortals. God, who overlooked such ignorance in the past, now commands all people everywhere to reform their lives."
We've been in a sermon series called "Interruptions and Upheavals" which has focused on the ways that the Spirit, or, the Christ in Us, continually interrupts our lives in one way or another, encouraging us (sometimes gently, sometimes not so gently) to grow and deepen and widen our view of God.
Paul is in Athens- the center of Greek culture and thought- wandering the streets and the temple he cant help noticing all of the many shrines.
Paul is so passionate about Christ every time he sees one of these statues of yet another God, he gets more and more angry- and so he begins spouting off in the streets to the people going by and finally is invited to a formal debate.
And Paul is brilliant- he refers to one statue marked, "to an unknown God" and says, let me tell you about this God- and goes on to describe the God not able to be carved into stone or contained in sanctuaries or anything made by human hands. A God who resides in all of us, in whom we live and move and have our being.
This sounds a lot like what we've been talking about the past few weeks. That God is bigger than our our building- that God lives in each of us, this loving inclusive deity who lives and moves in and through us and all creation. And because of that we are the church, in or out of our building.
Someone posted a great picture on my Facebook wall of a city street with arrows pointing to different people- one riding a bike, another walking, or working- and by now we are comfortable with this image, amen? We are the church- not 19 W. Main St.
But...If I look back for even a moment, I realize God has been steadily preparing us for this time- there have been a series of interruptions that have happened in the life of not just our church, but the Church. Like the holy spirit tapping us on the shoulder saying, “look at this” or “why don’t you try that?” Some interruptions we've paid attention to and they have been so fruitful, and others well, we haven't.
Over the last several centuries Christianity has made a slow but steady shift from a movement, to an institution. We've gone from being followers of the way, to members of denominations. Remember the early Christians had no buildings- just small group or house churches. But soon those churches began to develop- next thing you know we bought real estate, we created congregational structures, we sent out mission teams in the name of one church or another, we wrote by-laws, we incorporated, administrated, procedure-ized, my gosh we even even wrote books of church discipline.
At the same time, we began filling our home sanctuaries; lining the walls of our temples with fixtures, customs, ways- things which we loved that enhanced our worship and mission- and so we held fast to them. Eventually they meant so much to us that they became our traditions... and hear me, I love traditions too- but in some cases, we have made some of our traditions and customs and styles so important that we've chosen them over some of the things the Spirit has been trying to tell us...
All this time, the spirit has been interrupting us, gently, and not so gently, to draw us back to our roots-back to a movement- and we've seen the signs- since the 60s the church has worldwide church has experienced steady and drastic membership decline, people turning their backs on the institutional church, some hurt by the church, some fed up with the politics of the church, or the exclusivity of the church- and/or not finding the time or need for the church... but when the sprit tapped us on the shoulder, we blamed society for changing- or Sunday sports, or technology.
The great disruption- technology- went largely ignored by our churches- we don't need it- we dont want it in our sanctuaries- we want face to face in person worship- screens in the sanctuary? oh may it never be. Change the music? I grew up with hymns- I want my kids to grow up the same way... Online? Someday…
And when the spirit tapped us on the shoulder and said: This is a great way to reach people- keep fresh- be creative- change- stop measuring attendance and engagement by how many people walk in the doors on Sundays... We chose tradition and architecture, and aesthetics…
But church we’ve been too stubborn, or what the scripture calls "stiff necked." We dig in our heals to resist change, but then we wring our hands worrying about the future.
And listen, I'm not shaming anyone here- believe me I love church so much I became a pastor so I could do church all week! Every single thing- every “shrine” in the life of our church has been important- and honored. But there is a fine line between honoring traditions and worshiping them. We need to take a hard look at what we’ve been so resistant to let go of, and what we, in our love for the church, have allowed to hold us back.
Because now- we are faced with a true upheaval. We may have dug our heals in before about change but now we are forced into it- we may have squawked about too much technology, but here we are dependent on it, and we will be reliant on technology from now on. Even when we get back into our building, we will need to learn to incorporate online connections into the life and worship of our church. No marginalized people at FBC. And I’ve said this a lot over the past few weeks but we need to hear it over and over-this means a reimagining of the way we do, and are, church.
And please, hear me- In leading the church through this time- and let me reiterate we will go through this time, amen? I recognize our collective and individual grief. This is not easy and its why God has given us one another- to help one another through this…
if I am totally honest with myself, I also feel so excited, energized and enamored with the idea of keeping in step with the Spirit to create and embrace and invite and imagine what church can be, what a movement- looks like. When I set my spirit free to dream and think about following God's lead into the future, not bound by anything made by human hands, and more- that we get to do this together- that God appointed that each of us should be here for this exact time- there is a fullness of joy that I cannot contain!
Join me church- We can be the whatever and whoever and everything and everyone God has designed us to be- we may be in an upheaval- but God’s purpose and plan for interrupting lives has not changed- the spirit will keep tapping us on the shoulder- urging, poking, prodding us to seek, reach out for, and perhaps find the One who is not really far from any of us- the One in whom we live and move and have our being. We are the church of Jesus Christ- a living, moving, growing and ever changing, ever fresh movement of the Holy Spirit. Praise God!