Based on 2 Samuel 5:1-6, 6:1-5 I’ve been wondering how to define the word “church.” The dictionary definition is “a building used for Christian worship.” Or “a particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrine.” And the Urban Dictionary, my favorite, says that church means, “to strongly agree, as if it is law.” As in, “Wake Forest Baptist Church is awesome!” to which the reply is “Church!” The Bible defines an ecclesia, or assembly, first, as the body of Christ, and it is often defined as a local assembly or group of believers. It is also referred to as theRead More →

Based on Ruth 1:1-24 The book of Ruth is found just after the Book of Judges. In the first sentences, the book of Ruth places itself in the time of judges during a time of famine. Naomi, her husband and sons, move to Moab, where the sons marry. Then the father dies, the sons die, and Naomi, Ruth and Orpah are left together. You know, many people believe that the Hebrew people of our Bible were not an evangelizing group. That there was a matrilineal aspect of Judaism that could not be circumvented. But they’d be wrong. There are lots of examples of just theRead More →

Based on Deuteronomy 6:1–21; 6:4–9 I was talking with a friend of mine this week. She’s the pastor of a congregation in a situation like many congregations. It’s a congregation in danger of dying. With an aging population, a neighborhood around them where the demographics are completely different than the families who are members of the church, and they have a huge, old building that’s dark and has lots of deferred maintenance hanging over them. They called my friend three years ago, thinking that with her progressive theology and young family, that she’d save the church. The first year was full of hope. The second year,Read More →

Based on Mark 10:17-31 I read an article in Christian Century by Craig Barnes, the President of Princeton Divinity School. In it, he said, “I can still smell the wet canvas and sawdust of my father’s revivals. Like many old-school country preachers, he believed that any self-respecting revival was held in a tent.” Do you remember revivals? In your tradition, I believe you still have them. In fact, your Pastor Aaron told me recently he was preaching one. I remember revivals. Ours didn’t have tents. But they were always in the summer. And I remember what they didn’t have: air conditioning. And they didn’t haveRead More →

Please do not consider this sermon an endorsement of the Urban Dictionary. But have you ever looked up any words in the urban dictionary? On their homepage, they have daily definitions, just to keep you hip. One day this week, it was the phrase, “more issues than Vogue,” as in this conversation: a young woman says, “Oh! Too much homework and errands,” and a young man answers, “You have more issues than Vogue!” to which the young woman replies, “I know right!” You know, it takes a lot of determination to be my age and to still try to stay cool, so cut me someRead More →