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Showing posts from May, 2009

Sermon for May 17, 2009

Christians on the Margins
Matthew 28:18-20
May 17, 2009

Marybeth Hicks once wrote a great piece in the Washington Times. Listen to her description of a meal at her house:
The mashed potatoes sit in stiff, icy peaks on the plates, thin moats of beef gravy surrounding their starchy edges. A while ago, the combination of boiled potatoes, butter, sour cream and milk spun on the whirring whisks of the electric mixer, promising the tasty comfort of carbohydrates. But now, the steam long dissipated, dinner mostly consumed, there remain two lumpy mounds of glop — as appetizing as papier-mache, or perhaps wet lint from the dryer. After 15 years of parenting, the dinnertime battle rages on. Besides the mashed potatoes, tonight’s menu is pot roast and a medley of frozen peas and carrots -- a reliable meal, nothing fancy. Earlier, the lingering scent from the crockpot had everybody salivating like Pavlov’s dog, subliminally suggesting a tasty dinner — except that two of my children won’t eat mashed p…

Sermon for May 10, 2009

The Watchers
May 10, 2009

“I will take my stand to watch, and station myself on the tower, and look forth to see what God will say to me.” Habbakuk 2:1

People watching is fun. It just is. At least I think it is. My wife gets embarrassed when I watch people, probably because I lack discretion. She was taught to watch people by giving quick, diplomatic glances that won’t embarrass others or draw attention to yourself. Not me. I full on stare at people, like I’m watching TV. Chris will say, “Matt, stop staring at those people.” I’ll say, “What?! I’m not staring. I’m just watching someone else without turning my head or blinking.” There is probably some kind of rule about how long you can look at someone before it becomes staring. I’m sure that I’m straddling the border of propriety, but I learn a lot.

I like to make up stories about people Io watch and then categorize them. For instance, there was the elderly woman I saw who carried a shopping bad of white gloves, riding the T in Boston. Eve…

Sermon for May 3, 2009

Singing in a Strange Land
May 3, 2009

Psalm 137
By the rivers of Babylon—
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
we hung up our harps.
For there our captors
asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’
How could we sing the Lord’s song
in a strange land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand wither!
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy.


Last week, I presented the case that the Christian church is entering exile. Many of us grew up in this world of American Christendom, a world where church and culture were interwoven in ways that we were mostly unaware of. For example, many of you can remember times when stores were closed on Sunday. No youth sports, no college sports, no shopping at the Mall. Public schools opened each day with the pledge of allegiance and a prayer – sometimes even a reading…