All he said to you was, 'Wash, and be clean.' - II Kings 5:13

So many stories teach simplicity. Jesus says, “Live the Gospel; heal, teach, love.” How about beginning with something as simple as praying with or for each person we know?

For: 
October 13, 2019
2 Kings 5:1-14
Luke 10:1-11
Pentecost 18

I think we have to value compassion, character, and the heart for justice as core biblical values. If we advocate for these things consistently, then entering into the political fray is both necessary and within the pastor’s role. We must support politicians who: 1)Have actually made things with their own hands, or brought healing to the sick, or acted against their own interests for justice to be done...

Unscrupulous people now invite us to believe that hidden cabal or deep state is conspiring to take away our guns, jobs, or daughters. Once we accept one lie it is easy to believe another. This death spiral has ruined the brilliant minds in the past and now may take ours.

If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. - Jesus

Faith is Bilbo Baggins in Mirkwood Forrest or one of the servants in Downton Abbey trudging along but knowing that they have been placed on that path by a God who loves them and impowers them to go on.

For: 
October 6, 2019
Luke 17:5-10
Pentecost 17
World Communion Sunday
And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores... - Luke 16

For fun do this: take an empty chair and put it out in front of the congregation. Say, “Here sits the invisible man. Jesus tells us that his name is Lazarus, but none of his neighbors know that. He sits here hungry, but no one notices his situation. Lazarus is homeless, living in the street near the rich man. Since he lacks an address, the census doesn’t count him, he can’t vote, and his congressman doesn’t see him as a constituent, and his president considers him a loser... 

For: 
September 29, 2019
Luke 16:19-31
Pentecost 16

It outrages us when a company chooses profits over life. Yet most of us, in our day-to-day choices, will honor money above relationships. We will cut off the neighbor or family member who borrows from us and fails to return the money. We will balance our checkbooks to the last penny and yet do not find time for daily devotional reading or weekly worship.

For: 
September 22, 2019
Luke 16:1-13
Amos 8:4-7
Pentecost 15
"[Jesus] welcomes sinners and eats with them." - Luke 15:2

A young married couple find their money disappearing and their credit cards running amok, until they draw up a budget and measure where it’s all going to. So much in life doesn’t count unless you count it carefully.

For: 
September 15, 2019
Luke 15:1-10
Pentecost 14
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” -Matthew 19:19

Today we see “good” church-going people supporting systems that lead to human bondage. Often, undocumented immigrants are held as slaves, that is not permitted to decide their own future or leave a certain location, or paid for their labor, whether it be at a farm, a chicken processing plant, as landscapers or maids, or in a sex trafficking ring. Slavery still shapes our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools. Until recently, the banking and real-estate system of our country prevented people of color from owning certain homes, thus denying these families the opportunity to build equity. Segregation is a denial of freedom and unloving.

For: 
September 8, 2019
Philemon 1
Matthew 19:19
Pentecost 13
Week after Labor Day
"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." -Hebrews 13:2

Jesus says that at the end of the world he will divide the nations according to how they treated the lowest and most marginalized among us. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” will be his greeting of those nations that show hospitality (Matthew 25:35). But, I have been wondering lately if our nation’s shift away from showing Christian hospitality towards refugees and immigrants didn’t begin in the church. Is your church intentional about hospitality? 

For: 
September 1, 2019
Hebrews 13:1-8
Luke 14:1-14
Pentecost 12
"Shouldn't this woman be freed on the Sabbath?" Jesus asked.

The current moment is what matters most. The Pharisees were only asking that Jesus delay his healing of this woman for one day. What is the value of one day of suffering? How can we make the gospel immediate?

For: 
August 25, 2019
Luke13:10-17
Pentecost 11
By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace. -Hebrews 11:31

The 11thchapter of Hebrews is a long catalogue of saints and what they did to earn our remembrance. David made the list, but Solomon did not. In fact, David is the only king mentioned, a grim reminder that for early Christians those with political power were always respected, but rarely considered righteous.

For: 
August 18, 2019
Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Genesis 19:1-17
Pentecost 10

Simplistic solutions rarely shift a culture away from violence once it gets headed down that path.

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

What do we do if we lose our preacher, our organist, our choir? How will we go on if our church building is torn down, or worse yet, made into a beer hall? (which is what often happens in Pittsburgh) How can I worship God in without my holy stuff?

For: 
August 11, 2019
Hebrews 11:1-3
John 4:1-26
Pentecost 9

I looked up the word stubborn in the dictionary this week and found my picture next to the definition. In Hosea 11, God accuses his people of being like undisciplined teens – the more you love them the further they pull away. 

For: 
July 30, 2019
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Ps 85:10

What do you need to get out of your worship experience? I think religion is all about living right and being at peace. Or to put it another way, doing day to day the things that prove us to be godly, principled, people of integrity – and, at the same time, having an inner peace.

For: 
July 28, 2019
Psalm 85
Pentecost 7

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