The Sunday Sermon

The Sunday sermon, for many, is a relic of a bygone age that both faithless and faithful folks have just moved beyond. The irreligious and religion in general crowd hold little desire to sit and listen to things they do not believe, or do not believe matter. And those who claim the name of Christ have managed to frequent the religious marketplace, yet leave sermons to sit quietly on the shelf. As you might expect, this reality is grievous to us preacher types, left to question the value of both craft and office deemed increasingly irrelevant in the eyes of the masses.

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These Three Things

“Faith, hope and love abide, these three…”

Calling on these three sacred commodities, Paul put a heartfelt exclamation point on one of the most loved, beautiful and referenced words of scripture. This triad of virtue makes a clear and succinct statement about what matters, what has great value. They are our most trusted spiritual possessions, and when understood and treasured, they change our lives and those around us. With all the truth and wisdom of the Bible to gather, a clear focus on and commitment to these things has great power. And great potential.

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Joining the Effort

Years ago I served on staff of a church whose slogan was “The Place of New Beginnings”. It was on all the printed material, and as I recall, there was even an personalized anthem commissioned to sing the theme. (Now that I wrote that, I know there was. The refrain has begun circling in my brain and who knows when it might stop.) The idea was that it could be New Year’s everyday for people who needed a fresh start. And the church was a safe place of grace where all sorts of souls could move beyond and move ahead. That idea has guided my ministry for many years. Still does. I am convinced that the currency of the church is changed lives. And most significant changes will point to a day when a marker was put down, a tipping point reached, a conversion experienced. Those are the kind of things we rightfully celebrate, and on occasion, deeply long for.

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