Predestination

Water and Spirit

Jesus says in John 3:5 that we come into the Kingdom of God by water and spirit. This makes me think of baptism, both the water kind that is common in worship, and the baptism of Pentecost that is less common these days. Water and spirit, here might also be related to the birth process. Water surrounds a baby for nine months. It gives way at birth to the spirit — in greek the same word also means breath and wind. When a child takes that first breath, they are inspired.

Lent 2
Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wasted Seed

Anne Dillard whacks us on the side of the head when she says, “Nature is, above all, profligate. Don't believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is…  Extravagance! Nature will try anything once.” Jesus likens God’s evangelism to a farmer who throws most of his seed away (Matthew 13:1-9). The profligate sower throws his precious seed out on the path, where the Devil and the birds whisk it away. Then there is the story of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-34). We would like to blame Esau for wasting his birthright, but it’s God who puts the red-headed man on the stupid path where the Devil steals his soul.

Pentecost 10
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Family Conflict

The story of Abraham in Genesis 21:8-21 is impossible to preach, so why not take it on this week? In it, God is criminally negligent, Abraham guilty of attempted murder, and the notion of predestination affirmed. There are few places in the Bible more open to controversy. There are some great truths, however, that you can teach using it. You can talk about the sacredness of family, marriage, and the grace of God. You can also preach the great lesson of Scott Peck, that life is painful and we can not grow as people until we embrace the emotional difficulties of our current situation.

Pentecost 3
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Predestined, Maybe?

The idea that my life is like clay in the potter’s hands is both wonderful and scary. The scary part has to do with predestination. Jeremiah hears the Lord say that his country is destined for either good things or destruction. What they get depends entirely on God’s plan (Jeremiah 18:1-11). We have no more power over our own fate than a lump of clay does when a great hand chooses to squish it. Is our nation predestined to get involved in another Middle East conflict? Is Ben Bernanke powerless to set our economic sails and bring us prosperity? In my own life, am I predestined to get cancer or Alzheimer's or end up with Tupperware bottoms that don’t fit my Tupperware lids?

Sunday, September 8, 2013
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