Speaking of Sin: Sin Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 Welcome to the first Sunday of the season of Lent. In the liturgical calendar of the church year, Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to the celebration of resurrection, Easter Sunday. It is characterized in churchy circles by frequent conversation about giving something up or taking on some spiritual practice, and worship involving more than your usual opportunity for confession (and no… Read More
Blessed Ash Wednesday, all. Today is one of those days that weighs heavy on many. I see people in church on this day whom I don’t see the entire rest of the year. Every year, I think about why. I think is has to do with the burdens we all carry as the very reality of being a human being, alive, on this planet. I wrote a few reflections about this here…. Read More
The following is a sermon delivered at Woodbrook Baptist Church in Baltimore on March 2, 2014. Woodbrook’s pastor, Dr. John Ballenger, is part of a dear group of clergy colleagues who have met annually for sermon planning and support for over ten years. This group, called Preacher Camp, has been one of the greatest gifts of my own vocational journey. Every year John and I swap pulpits, just to share a little bit… Read More
Our children reminded us during the children’s sermon today.
The Value of People Matthew 5:21-31 For the last five weeks we’ve been talking in worship about the different values of our congregation, what it is we’re doing here these days at Calvary Baptist Church. We try to do some version of that at the beginning of each year, because the lectionary—the three year cycle of passages that a large part of the Christian world reads all together each week—takes us during… Read More
The Value of Practice Matthew 5:13-20 A letter, to you: “Calvary is the place where I learned I could be Baptist again. A place that taught me there was an expression of my faith tradition and denomination where I was able to worship authentically. It is a group of people who connected me to tough questions which deepened my faith and experience of community. From a personal development standpoint, it was the… Read More
The Value of Prophecy Matthew 5:1-12 We continue this morning our series on the Identity, Values, and Mission of our congregation. Around here we usually like to take a few weeks at the beginning of the year to think about who we are together, what it means to be part of this community of faith, and what we’re here to do. It seems like a good way to start off the year—thinking… Read More
The Value of Place Mission, Vision, Values Matthew 4:12-23 Last summer at a conference I was randomly assigned a roommate who turned into a new friend. Stacey is a pastor in upstate New York, but she hails from Minnesota. You can tell she’s from Minnesota because, well, of the way she talks. She also talks about hockey. A lot. This week on her Facebook page she listed 25 things Minnesotans do that… Read More
I wrote a bit this week about the constant tension in the church between hard core discipleship and watered down Jesus. In the piece (which you can read here), I talked quite a bit about my boot camp teacher Tyrone. Just to prove I wasn’t over exaggerating, I snuck a picture of him today. Before he yelled at me to stop messing around and get back to work.