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Showing posts from October, 2008

Sermon for October 19, 2008 -- Stewardship Sunday

A Letter from Home
2 Corinthians 9:1-15

Dear Matt,
Tragedy struck The Jerico Springs Progressive Church of the Ozarks last Sunday afternoon. It was the day of our church’s monthly potluck. We were looking forward to some of our favorite recipes: Adelaide’s Tuna and Sardine Casserole, Bea Jimsons Baked Frito and Velveeta Pie (You remember Bea Jimson, Woodchuck’s wife?), Lucille Collins’ Squash and Ritz Casserole, and Willadoll Broadfoot’s Baked Peekabeef Muffins. I was planning on fixin’ my usual recipe – your Grandma Beydler’s famous Honey Lamb Biscuits. But, I decided that Sunday was a day for change, and I had a hankerin’ for green bean casserole. I guess I wasn’t the only one. As we arrived for Sunday dinner and uncovered our dishes, every one of ‘em to the bowl was a green bean casserole. Marilyn Perkins, supervisor of the potluck committee, watched in horror as family after family arrived with the same side dish in tow. By the time grace was said over the meal, there were over twe…

Sermon for October 12, 2008

Our Core Values: Generosity
2 Corinthians 8:1-9

Whatever happened to the African killer bees? Remember during the mid-1990s, television news reported on the looming invasion of aggressive killer bees that would come from Central America and Mexico to take over the Southwestern United States. A few headlines from the Arizona Republic and The Arizona Daily Star told the story: “Africanized Bees Found at Interstate 8 Rest Stop.” “Killer Bees Blamed for 3 Attacks.” “Pit Bull Dies of Nearly 2,000 Stings; Killer Bees Blamed.” Hollywood produced a made-for-TV horror movie about the bees -- A small town sheriff grapples with a swarm of killer bees in an effort to protect his town and family. We don’t hear much about them anymore. After September 11, we all forgot about the killer bees. Instead, we heard about Al Qaeda terrorists, anthrax, dirty bombs, avian bird flu, global warming, Iraq, high gas prices and a sluggish economy. Some of these issues were legitimate concerns. Others began as legi…

Sermon for October 5, 2008 -- World Communion

Core Values: Embracing Diversity
Isaiah 44:6-8, Romans 5:1-5; 12:1-8

Imagine going to a performance of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. As you listen for those familiar opening notes, you realize that there is no harmony. All of the instruments play the exact same notes just the same way. And all the instruments are - no offense, Adam - tubas. It would be awful. The fact is we love diversity. We want what diversity produces in something like a symphony. We love diversity when it comes to grocery stores and TV programming, and vacation options and restaurant menus, and of course, financial investing. Don’t forget to diversify that portfolio.

We are sometimes blinded to the fact that diversity is a fact of life, deeply embedded not only in humanity but in natural systems and in the very fabric of the universe. Diversity makes life interesting. If every house on the block looked the same, if every restaurant served the same food, if everyone talked at us for hours in a monotone about things we alr…

Sermon for September 28, 2008

Core Values: Hospitality
Genesis 18:1-7; 19:1-3

When I think about hospitality, I think about the lessons I learned from my family. My Grammy Braddock always had people in her house. It was inevitable – she had 16 children. Every Christmas Eve we would go to her tiny apartment at the senior living complex. Every room would be stuffed with Braddocks. Our family overflowed into the sidewalks and parking lots. She never had much money, but she always put some food out – mashed potato salad with peas sticks in my memory for some reason. And she always had gifts for her 55 grandchildren – a pair of mittens or a box of chocolate covered cherries. She would go into her room and pick something from her stockpile of gifts, wrap it up, and hand it to you as if she had seen this gift in the store and thought only of you.

My mother’s mother was also famous for her hospitality. She had more money and lived in a bigger house. It was also stuffed with people – and animals. Holidays were not just for th…