Archive for December, 2017

Text:  2 Timothy 4:2-5

Everyone in who serves God as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has a keystone verse or passage in which the rooting of their ministry is best expressed.  Mine is noted above, and is paraphrased here:

Preach the Word of God whether people want to hear it or not.  If necessary, get in people faces, but do so gently and with compassion.  A time is coming when people will settle for believing what they want to believe, ignoring sound teaching and rejecting truth. Regardless, bring the Good News with all you’ve got!

God didn’t drag me out of a rewarding and lucrative IT career and into ordained ministry so I could soft-pedal the Gospel.  Like the prophet Elijah, I am inspired to speak truth to power, prevailing myth, and the cultural and market forces that manipulate us into worshiping the false gods of our world.  And like the prophet Elijah, I sometimes hack people off  (thankfully, I haven’t needed to hide in a cave . . . yet).

At the core of my being and ministry, I believe in the love, compassion, wisdom, and healing power of God expressed most clearly in the Jesus Christ.  If I have to kick someone in the ass to get their attention so I can convey these core beliefs, then so be it.

There is immeasurable joy, encouragement, and comfort in God’s Word to us, but it comes to us at the price of letting go of all our attachments that distract us from Jesus Christ, and it can be difficult but healthy to be confronted with letting go.  For we are not Republican, Democrat, independent (whatever that is), White, Black, Gringo, Latino, American, Russian, Zambian (or any other nationality), rich, poor, or mythic middle class, Baby Boomer, Gen-X or Y, Millennial, or born just yesterday, L, G, B, T, Q, or I . . . we ARE in God, in Christ, in the Spirit.  You’re all in or gettin’ off the bus.  I’d rather we all stay on the bus!

Text: Isaiah 41:13-20

Peterson’s version, The Message, puts it quite well:  “Do you feel like a lowly worm? . . . Feel like a fragile insect?”—Acknowledgement of the powerlessness and helplessness we feel when our lives are under the control of others.  For those whom Isaiah’s message was first given, that control was a foreign power who had dragged them into exile far from home.  For us today, it is a complex of factors, from the aches and pains of age that constrain us, to the labyrinth of health care management that dictates the care we receive, to governing politicians enacting legislation most of us do not want but which they need to feel like they have scored a win, to a president whose use of social media is frequently exasperating and may be dangerous.

To the Israelites, Isaiah delivered God’s message of encouragement—“I, God, want to reassure you. . .” followed by a litany of promises to the poor, homeless, and thirsty adrift in the wilderness.  This is fascinating right now because it both compares and contrasts with the campaign promises that continue to be made by our president (who not only won the election but has been in office for a year).  Who will lead us out of the wilderness?  Too often, I feel as if those whom we have invested our leadership in this world are leading us further into the wastelands, and I have no confidence that they know where to find the manna, quail, and water.  So, my confidence is in God who has not and will not abandon us and has shown time and again his faithfulness and ability.

Let God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done . . .