The God who wants us to be friends #sermon #podcast

friendsFor the second weekend of our sermon series “Love Actually,” we talked about philia, the form of love that is friendship. James 4:4 says, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.” When I was young, I presumed that becoming Christian meant most fundamentally leaving your old friends behind. You showed Jesus that He was number one by who you were willing to stop hanging out with. Since that time, I’ve come to understand James 4:4 differently. “The world” does not describe a group of people we’re supposed to stop being friends with but a way of perceiving people that does not allow for the authentic friendship that we learn from Jesus. My sermon audio is here, with more thoughts added below: Continue reading

The holiness of belonging to *this* world (with @BrianZahnd)

In Brian Zahnd’s May 26th sermon “New Creation (Not Evacuation),” he confronts the neo-Gnosticism of the evangelicals who think we can trash the Earth because God’s just going to blow it up anyway, taking on in particular the key prooftext of the rapture fan club, 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Zahnd uses the analogy of going to the airport to receive a relative who’s been away on a long trip, like a military deployment. People who read rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 are like someone who goes to the airport to pick up Jesus, except that they’ve packed their suitcases to get on an outbound plane rather than getting their house ready to receive Him. There’s a lot of good stuff in Brian’s sermon but the best part is a poem he wrote about the holiness of belonging to this world.

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The Son of Man, a Rave, and a Banjo

This Sunday, I preached on how Jesus’ call to take up our crosses is not an endorsement of a life of stress and overscheduling but rather a call to join the procession of condemned prisoners out of worldly expectations and into freedom. If we are “crucified to the world” as Paul says in Galatians, then we can be fully human like the son of man who leads us. If you want to know what this has to do with a rave and a banjo, you’ll have to listen to the sermon. 😉

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Living in two worlds

When strange things happen, it’s best to face them plainly. I took down the last post I wrote because I’m not sure what combination of Holy Spirit and dopamine was involved in its composition. If God does indeed possess prophets, then it would be impossible for that not to look like a psychiatric incident in our world today. But I am a pastor with a responsibility not to frighten people God has given me to love into discipleship. So I want you to know I’m okay and I need your prayers to try to make sense of what happened. Continue reading