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Category: ultimate

06/26/07 11:17 - 80ºF - ID#39818

So tired

I played ultimate today. I am too old and too out of shape to play ultimate, but hopefully I won't be as out of shape soon. Right now, however, everything hurts.

So, I don't really feel like posting, but I will anyway, because its been a while.

In other news, the painters started on our house. It's becoming yellow (and blue and brown). Our neighbors seem to appreciate it--it was pretty crappy looking before. Funny side note: our neighbor (well, the guy that spends way too much time in our neighbors yard) asked the painters for money. I think I know why we got our house for such a good price. I suppose I should thank the guy, but I don't think I will.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: tickets

06/20/07 07:56 - 73ºF - ID#39746

Free Baseball Tickets

Free tickets to the Bisons game this Saturday. No strings. We have enough to give away many. Let me know and I will hook you up.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: sermons

06/19/07 04:46 - 83ºF - ID#39734

Last week's sermon

Some people liked the sermon from the week before. Here's last Sundays. In the future, I may try to post ahead of time, so that it can be a collaborative effort. We'll see.

Oh shoot. I just remembered I promised pics of the falls. That will come later when I have my phone set up. I promise. Really.


The sermon comes from these texts:

1 Kings 21

and Luke 7:36-8:3


"The Gospel According to Spiderman."


Sometimes, a question is more than a question.

For example:

"Don't you think you've had enough potato chips?"

"How fast are you going?"

"What's THAT going to cost?"

"Are you going to leave the house wearing that?"

Here's a question that we guys are especially sensitive to comes from people that are selling something:

"Why would you have to check with your wife?"

Now, what the salesman is really saying is, "you need to make this decision before your wife helps you realize how stupid it is and ruins my commission."

But what we hear is,"Aren't you a man? I thought you were a man! I guess I was wrong. I guess somebody else is the decision maker in your house, and you are a helpless little kid who has to ask for his allowance from Mommy."

We don't like hearing that. So we normally buy the item in question.

In todays texts, we hear to similar questions.

The first one is to a king, and the question is from the King's wife. She asks:

"Aren't you the king of Israel?"

She knew he was the king, of course. She wanted to get him to act the way she thought a king should. She thought he owned the whole country.

However, the king of Israel was called to maintain justice on behalf of God himself. His job was to uphold God's law, and he KNEW that the land in Israel was to stay forever in the families to whom God had given it. That was the law of Israel.

(This by the way, sounds harsh, but what it did was make sure that everyone always had access to a way to make money. The Old Testament can be harsh in some ways, but it is really socially progressive in others!)

Anyway, the King was thwarted in his attempt to buy the land, and became frustrated. His wife, however, appealed to his power, and to his pride.

Aren't you the King of Israel?

Aren't you the man of the house?

Don't you deserve to get what you want?

You deserve a raise

You deserve a vacation

you deserve better car

You deserve a break today

Doesn't your dog deserve Alpo?

Maybe I don't deserve a break today! Maybe my Dog doesn't deserve Alpo! Maybe I've been taking a break all day, and my dog made a mess on the rug!

But we don't like to think that way. We always believe a person when they tell us we deserve something.

And all of the sudden, Ahab, the king, because he had power, thought he deserved land.

Aren't you the King? Jezebel asked Ahab.

"Yes I am," Ahab should have said, "and so my job is to protect Naboth's land. I can't believe I even tried to buy it."

This story teaches us the principle that Spiderman lives by, "With great _______(power), comes great __________(responsibility)"

And it also comes with temptation. Ahab didn't handle that temptation responsibly, and it was his downfall.

In our Gospel reading, Jesus faced the same kind of dilemma, and the same kind of question. The Pharisee asked, "Aren't you a prophet?" --Aren't you supposed to have a special kind of connection with God? Shouldn't you KNOW what kind of woman this is TOUCHING YOUR FEET?"

"If you ARE a prophet, than you will use that power you have to get rid of this bad person in your midst.

Wow. talk about a temptation. Wouldn't it be good to get a KNOWN sinner, not just out of a neighborhood, but out of this man's home? Think about the good that it would do for everybody.

Most of us know better than to be tempted by bad things. We get tempted by things that seem good.

One temptation that we all face is the temptation to place the blame on somebody. Republicans blame democrats, democrats blame republicans, fundamentalists blame liberals, liberals blame fundamentalists, white people blame black people, black people blame white people. Younger people blame older people, older people blame younger people.

Pharisees blame sinners.

Sinners seem like as good as any group to blame, right?

But this quote from the Bible just sticks in the back of my head.

"Jesus didn't come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it"

So Jesus chose NOT to blame this woman.

He had the power.

He had the temptation.

But his job was NOT to condemn, but to save.

So Jesus exercised his power in line with his responsibility. The temptation was to humiliate. The responsibility was to celebrate.

That's what he did. He celebrated the good gift that this woman gave. This woman practiced the most basic and most important of all spirituals disciplines: She practiced hospitality. welcome.

The Pharisee, on the other hand, had forgotten welcome because he was focused on who's in and who's out.

Does that ever happen in churches? (PAUSE)

Holiness is important. But its not more important than welcome. And its never gained by humiliation. We find holiness through forgiveness.

Do we have the big point of the story? Good. Let's make it real. We've got three things at work in these stories, and we can break them down according to the Gospel of Spiderman.

Power Responsibility

What goes in the middle? Temptation!

So here's our task. What's our power? What's our temptation? What's our responsibility?

We're going to start by reviewing the Biblical stories, and then we'll sit where it hits our own story.

With Christ, in this last story. Power came from holiness. The temptation was to humiliate. The responsibility was to celebrate.

What about the King?

Power: office Temptation: wealth Responsibility: Justice

(I wrote all of this stuff on a whiteboard, by the way, and solicited answers from the congregation. So it came out a little bit different, but these are my notes)

How about that woman? Power: jar. Emotions. Passion. Faith.
Temptation: Greed. Sinful living. Passion for self.
Responsibility: Worship. Humility. Self Giving.

Ok, now what about our church?

power.temptation.responsibility =

money. greed. generosity.
self-preservation, selflessness.
location. destination. depot.
people. country club. welcome wagon.
loaves and fishes. charity. change.



There's on last thing I want to do with this chart. Let's lose this word. Because we don't really like responsibility. I mean responsibility to me sounds like changing sheets and cleaning the bathroom and picking up dog poop. I think we DO like all of these things (the things in the responsibility column). These are things that shape us. So responsibility works for the Spiderman quote, but lets make these things our identity. When we live in Christ, we practice these ways, and they become who we are.

Friends, that's our good news for today. God has given us the power in Jesus Christ to be free from THIS (temptation) and BECOME this (identity).


ps. IF you like this stuff, please consider linking to elmwoodjesus.org (my previous post) Right now we are WAY low in Google's index.
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Category: religion

06/18/07 03:21 - 85ºF - ID#39718

elmwoodjesus.org

I'm going to have a real post soon. (I took pics at the falls last weekend), but until then, look at my church's website (I made it using wordpress, despite not knowing too much about computers.

elmwoodjesus.org


Thanks to Mr. Deadlier for the link help
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: houses

06/15/07 10:58 - 70ºF - ID#39672

Houses

An article on clergy housing.
For the record, my wife and I love our house. It is more than we need, yes, but we made that concession because we wanted to live around Elmwood, and you just can't by something small here.

Or maybe I'm rationalizing. But we did think about this when we bought our place.


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Words: 57
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: thursdays

06/14/07 09:29 - 73ºF - ID#39663

Thursday at the square

Tonight was my first Thursday on the square.

We didn't remember that it was happening until around 8, so things were well underway when we got there.

I didn't check to see what band was playing, but I quickly learned that they got their break on a WB show, and are very big with the 14 year old girl set.

Nonetheless, there was still quite a line to purchase beer.

We had to push through a lot of people to see the band. The band sounded like they REALLY liked Counting Crows, but I like Counting Crows, so while I would not particularly recommend this band, I still had enough fun.

I really like big outdoor shows. Even when I miss 30 Rock. I will watch it online later.

Mom and Dad and two brothers visit this weekend, so I get to look at the falls again.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: sermons

06/13/07 04:27 - 86ºF - ID#39644

What does Hopeless look like?

So I don't feel like writing new thoughts down today because I've been working all day. Instead, I'll share the sermon I wrote last week.

It comes from

1 Kings 17:8-24
Galatians 1:11-24
and Luke 7:11-17

I don't feel like copying those texts in, or making links, but the sermon really does make more sense if you read them first. So, if you put the texts in Google, then you will find links to the text. Forgive my lazyness.

Here it is:

What does hopeless look like?

What does hopeless look like?

Hopeless looks like a widow, saying, "I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die." (from the Kings story)

Hopeless looks like a preacher so sure of himself that he goes as far as to kill anyone who disagrees with him. (Paul, the author of Galatians)

Hopeless looks like a widow's only son, being carried out of the city, dead. (Luke story)

Hopeless looks like an abused kid, who never learns how to love.

Hopeless looks like a mental hospital closed, with all its patients left on their own.

Hopeless looks like a chronic illness, and a lifetime of being cared for.

Hopeless looks like Christians shouting at the people they are supposed to love.

Hopeless looks like a world where over half of the people live on less than $2 a day.

Hopeless looks like an entire generation of Africans lost to AIDS.

Hopeless looks like environmental devastation, spiraling out of control.

Hopeless looks like war.

What does hopeless look like to you?

Write it down. Just for yourself. Name it.

Where have people given up?

Do you see hopelessness on a global scale? Where?

What about in our city?

What about in your family?

What about you?

Is there an addiction that you cannot break?

A fear you cannot defeat?

A sadness that will not pass?



Don't you wish there was a formula to make it all better?

Wouldn't it be nice if there were three simple steps?

We know that often our efforts aren't enough.

But even when we have given up hope, God is not done.

God changes murderous people.

God changes selfish people.

God feeds widows and prophets both.

God heals sick people.

God comforts lonely people.

God raises dead people.

God is redeeming the whole world.

And God sends healed people back into the world.

So that no widow goes hungry.

So that God might be revealed.

Even among those for whom we had given up hope.

Especially among those for whom we had given up hope.

And then people see how good God is.

And someday,

there will be no more wars

or poverty

or illness

or hunger.

Someday, there won't even be any more death.

The whole world will be made right.

and we won't even know what hopeless means,

because our being will be taken up in the love of God.


Until then, we pray, and wait, and work, and hope--even in the situations where there seems to be no hope.



Then we prayed for those situations.

Not my normal style--I normally joke more and have more interaction, but it seemed to come out ok, doing something a bit more meditative.

I'll get back to writing more normal posts later.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


06/11/07 06:05 - 80ºF - ID#39612

disorganized

Ft. Niagara: It was a fort in a strategic location that nobody could ever hold. Maybe it wasn't so strategic, eh?

Visit this place if you like forts. Go somewhere else if you don't.

As for the falls, I didn't even get out of the car. I circled while my wife and her parents looked. I'm cheap, and that kept me from paying for parking. I'll probably park next weekend when I take my parents.

My brain is kind of scattered right now, so here are some unconnected (or barely connected) thoughts:

-Idiocracy is a good movie. Rent it and laugh/cry hard.

-The art festival was great, but it would have been better with music. And yes, it is a lousy place to take a dog.

-While I love my church, I hate meetings. Tonight is a meeting night.

-I like the General Store on Lexington. Cheap ice cream cannot be beat.

-Wife and I played Othello today. The man tried to keep me down, but black came out ahead this time!

-Seared fish tastes good. That's what I had for dinner when father-in law was buying.

-I play ultimate tomorrow. That's good. Any other players on Estrip?
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: weekend

06/08/07 10:07 - 67ºF - ID#39586

touring and cooking

Time to do tourist stuff. My wife's parents are visiting, so tomorrow we visit Ft. Niagara (father in law is all about history stuff) and the falls. I cook for them tomorrow, too.

We cooked out today. If anyone is good at grilling, we can use the help. We couldn't get the stuff burning, and then it didn't stay hot enough to cook the chicken. And then the storm came. The oven rescued us.

Looking forward to the art festival. (And to Monday, which is unusual)

Two last comments: I am totally addicted to estrip--what a great idea!

And yes, the creation science museum is a TOTAL waste. Even if it represented the faith OR science well (it fails on both counts), most of the exhibits also seem to be boring, static posters! I know that they didn't blow all the money on research--you can get all of the stuff they shared from fundamentalist websites!

and now I am rambling, but if anybody wants to know the Biblical argument against creationism, just let me know.
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Category: religion

06/07/07 03:03 - 73ºF - ID#39570

Irony and Faith



I like her thinking.
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Permalink: Irony_and_Faith.html
Words: 12
Location: Buffalo, NY


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paul said to mike
You are welcome!...

mike said to paul
i'm glad you documented this. I was actually looking for a picture but came across this and am glad ...

mike said to paul
i'm glad you documented this. I was actually looking for a picture but came across this and am glad ...

mike said to paul
i'm glad you documented this. I was actually looking for a picture but came across this and am glad ...