Month: May 2011
We need to break through the paralysis of inerrancy and break down the idolatry of biblical infallibility which have been spread over us by fundamentalism like a tent of darkness. It is far easier to take the Bible literally than it is to take the Bible seriously.
From Kirby R. Godsey’s book, diagnosis “Is God a Christian?” (chapter 4)
Scripture: Matthew 3:1-2 (the Message)
While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called “the Baptizer,” was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.”
Thought for the Day: I remember the train pulling into the Paris, France, station. It was after midnight, and outside of a few scattered lights along the walkway, it was quite dark. I had traveled all that way to visit Paris, and my first impression was to say, “Really? This is Paris?” Of course, by the morning light everything looked different and wonderful. I hear John the Baptist (and Jesus will later say similar things) speak about the Kingdom of God being present in the here and now, and there is a part of me that wants to say, “Really? This is the Kingdom of God? If so, why is there so much suffering and violence and darkness?” The question is tough, yet wherever the light of Christ is present (and that includes the body of Christ known as the church) the Kingdom of God is present. I don’t know about you, but it makes me rethink how I approach any gathering of the faith community.
Prayer: Open my heart, O Lord, that I may experience your reign of grace being revealed in this time and place. Amen.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, prostate Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thought for the Day: America has created some very independent human beings, shop and in some ways that has served our nation well. It also makes it difficult for us to ask for help or accept a gift. Fellowship with Jesus is something we do not ultimately control. We didn’t initiate the relationship. We must let go of the power and simply receive the gift of grace. God is the One who called us into fellowship, and all we can do is say, “thank you!”
Prayer: In your faithfulness, O Lord, you have gifted me with a blessing I cannot earn or payback. May I live a life worthy of this amazing blessing. Amen.
Scripture: 1st Corinthians 1:2
To the church of God that is in Corinth, sick to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, sildenafil called to be saints, view together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours…
Thought for the Day: The word ‘sanctified’ has always intimidated me. To be sanctified sounds so holy and righteous, and I’m not too sure if I can reach those standards. That’s where it is helpful to see that the word sanctified is a passive verb. I’m not achieving or accomplishing this sanctification. The word describes those who are set apart, not by their own doing, but by the grace of God. All of a sudden the word is a little less intimidating as it is no longer my doing, but the grace of God at work in me.
Prayer: O Lord, I give you thanks for your patience as you continue to move me toward the person you believe I can be. Amen.
Scripture: 2nd Corinthians 8:23
As for Titus, mind he is my partner and co-worker in your service; as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
Thought for the Day: I love the way Paul speaks of those who are the messengers of the churches. They are the ‘glory of Christ’. The word glory (Greek: doxa = brightness or brilliance) describes an indisputable radiance that shines forth for all to see. In the world today, how bright are the messengers of Christ (you and I) shining? I think we are definitely shining, but my concern is that we are no more than a 25 watt bulb, and God needs at least 200 watts.
Prayer: Your grace shines brilliantly, O Lord, and I pray for my life to be in the best position to reflect it to others. Amen.
Scripture: 1st Thessalonians 5:12
For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
Thought for the Day: I recently watched some videos of what some people described as the World’s Worst Thieves. My oh my! These folks were bad. My favorite was the surveillance video of the guy pulling the revolver from his jacket only to lose his grip and toss it into the hands of the guy he was attempting to rob. I’m sure the police have many stories describing some really bad thieves, no rx but I believe there are people who are attempting to put God into that category. They read the words from 1st Thessalonians about the Lord coming like a thief in the night, yet they make bogus predictions of his return – shouting their ideas on the street corner and buying billboards along major highways. Either they believe the Lord is the world’s worst thief, or they simply don’t understand the metaphor of one that comes like a thief in the night.
Prayer: May I be living the life you have called me to live, O God, so that whenever I meet you, I am found doing the work of grace, justice and peace. Amen.
Scripture: Mark 13:32
[Jesus said,] “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Thought for the Day: There has been a lot of talk in regard to the end of the world which supposedly occurred last weekend. Harold Camping, the individual who started all this recent nonsense (that probably gives away my opinion on the topic), has suggested that his calculations were off and he will soon be presenting a slightly modified schedule of the end times. A reporter asked Mr. Camping about his mistaken calculations, and he responded, “I don’t have any responsibility. I’m only teaching the Bible…this is what the Bible says. I don’t have spiritual rule over anybody …except my wife as the head of the household.” I don’t want to be mean, but it is time for common sense Christians to call a nonsensical spade a spade. This is an individual whose ideas insult the intelligence of faithful people. Though he believes himself to be taking the Bible seriously, he dismisses every ounce of good scholarship in pursuit of ‘insider knowledge’ that gives him power over those who are easily swayed because of their own insecurities and fears. Let us be a collective voice that points out the absurdity of such people as we honor a Jesus who never wanted his followers to spend even one minute of life asking, “When will the end happen?” Those who do so end up wasting their life away and missing the essence of Jesus’ teachings.
Prayer: Lord, ground me in the faith of Jesus who called me to live fully in this moment for the sake of the Gospel. Amen.
Scripture: Roman 12:12
Thought for the Day: On this day back in 1787, sick a quorum was finally reached and business could begin for the delegates gathered in Philadelphia to write a Constitution for the United States. Until that time, the Colonies had been working under the Articles of Confederation. I can only imagine the spirit of hope among the delegates who begin the arduous task of hammering out a document that took seriously the idea of unifying the diversity, while respecting the freedom of each person. It may not be quite as dramatic or historic, but we are often called upon to find a healthy balance amidst difficult circumstances. Those moments need hope, patience and prayer.
Prayer: When needed, O Lord, call me to be an agent by which peaceful understanding and respect are created. Amen.
Scripture: 2nd Corinthians 5:17
Thought for the Day: I’m really enthralled with the closing line of the Semisonic song, Closing Time. I’ve heard the song dozens of times, but I guess I hadn’t really paid that much attention. It says, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Now some might say they are stating the obvious, but I strangely find it comforting when I’m standing on the ‘other beginning’s end.’ New beginnings assume an ending, and though it is often painful, the new beginning cannot begin until that previous beginning comes to an end. Scripture is full of such events, but the ascension of Christ which we celebrate this coming Sunday might be the most dramatic. It reminds us of how one beginning’s end creates the opportunity for the next beginning to begin.
Prayer: Help me to grieve the endings that come my way, O Lord, so I am better able to embrace the new beginning you send my way. Amen.
Scripture: Psalm 27:7
Hear, sale O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
Thought for the Day: Yesterday in worship, our Call to Worship was loosely based upon the words of Psalm 27. Too often on Sunday morning everyone enters the sanctuary with a smile etched on their faces because worship is supposed to be a happy time, and I do think worship should always claim the joy that comes from a relationship with God. At the same time, I wonder if we really take seriously the many people walking through our doors who silently echo the words of this Psalm. How many active members within our community do not publicly acknowledge their emptiness and spiritual loneliness? I desire worship to be a celebration of God’s unmerited and unconditional love, but I hope it never loses its authenticity among a people who want nothing more than to cry out, “Hear me when I cry aloud. Be gracious to me, O God, and please answer me!”
Prayer: May I always show true honesty before you, O God, while also encouraging others to be vulnerable and real. Amen.