Category Archives: Studies

The End Revealed

This is the first Sunday of my Lent 2015 sermon series called Revealed: What Once was Lost can Now be Found. The main goal of this series is to take a look at the book of Revelation, and not read it like we’ve been told to, but to read it for what is actually there.  It should be a book of hope and promise, not one of judgment and despair.   Continue reading The End Revealed

A Talking What? When Animals Go Crazy

WeirdScriptureStart by reading Numbers 22:22-35 and 2 Kings 2:23-25

Another title for this post would be, don’t shoot the messenger.  I say that because one of the things that becomes very apparent in this story is that it’s easy to take out our disapproval on who or what brings us the news that we don’t like.  That’s one of our problems.  We like the immediacy of exactly our displeasure on who it is that is giving us news/info that we don’t like.  We do that because we don’t like things that are different than us. and a lot of times we only realize the message when we are presented with folks who are different from us.  We like it when things come to us from the places that we expect. Continue reading A Talking What? When Animals Go Crazy

London Bridge is Falling Down: Overlooking the Strange

WeirdScriptureStart by reading Numbers 16:25-35; Joshua 6:6-21

Do you remember some of the games that you used to play when you were a kid? I remember one, it was London Bridge is Falling down. You remember how that goes don’t you?

But, I started thinking about it some more, and did you ever think about what it was that you were saying? There’s a lot of children’s Songs and children’s rhymes that we use, and remember, but have you stopped to think about what it was that you were saying?

Continue reading London Bridge is Falling Down: Overlooking the Strange

Jeremiah’s Unmentionables

WeirdScriptureStart by reading Jeremiah 13:1-11, 15-27

Actually, I would start by reading second of those scripture passages first.  It does some explaining of what’s going on in the first passage.  That being said, if it still doesn’t make sense, or you’re struck by a sense of weirdness, then you’re on the right track.

This is the first in a series of posts devoted to weird scripture passages.  I can’t take all the credit for this, but its a collaboration with my friend Andy.  One of the things that we noticed is that in the lectionary (it’s a three year cycle of scripture passages that covers most of the Bible) and in the ways that we preach, and read the Bible, that we skip over some things.  Continue reading Jeremiah’s Unmentionables

Les Mis 3: Valjean – Who am I?

Start by reading Romans 8:1-6, 10:5-13

So we’re getting into the last Sunday of Les Mis. And we’re getting at one of the most important parts of this story. This is the part of the story where Jean Valjean really comes into his own, and he really gets it. This is the point where he risks everything because it is the right thing to do.

Before this, he’s been hiding for a long time.  He had started the journey towards new life with the Bishop, but he wasn’t there yet.  There were still things that were holding him back.  These are things that we all have, hopefully not to the degree that Valjean has, but we still have to deal with them.  In this clip we see Valjean struggle, but he finally deals with things. Continue reading Les Mis 3: Valjean – Who am I?

Les Mis 2: Javert and the Law

Start by reading Romans 7:1-6 and 7:13-26

In this session we’re taking a look at Javert.  We’re continuing in this larger theme of the law and faith that we find running throughout the story of Les Miserables and how that same theme plays out in the book of Romans. One of the things that I love about this story is that he helps us wade through Paul’s dense writing.  I’ll be one of the first to admit that he can be a challenge to read.  A lot of that is because he is trying to explain a very complex, but also personal topic for him.  There are lots of us that are like that.  Our ability to explain things decreases when they get to be more personal because all of the emotions that surround us get in the way.  So, Victor Hugo does a great job of explaining that through his story.

We start off by remembering who it is that we’re talking about in Javert.  He is a lawman.  Not only is he a lawman, but he is someone who holds a very high view of the law.  The law has become his God.  Everything that he does is based on what the law says.  And that makes sense for Javert because of where he came from. The law was what provided the structure he needed in his life. Continue reading Les Mis 2: Javert and the Law

Les Mis 1 – Faith and the Law

Start by reading Romans 2:1-1, 12-16; 3:9, 19-26

This series is based on the recent Les Miserable movie. Reading the book helps, but isn’t necessary. If you want to follow along in the movie, watch from the beginning to the point where Valjean rips up his papers.

There are a lot of big themes that come out in this movie. There are so many that it’d be hard to follow all of them, so for this series, I’ll be focusing on one of them.  For me, the most important theme is the role of faith and the law. Continue reading Les Mis 1 – Faith and the Law

The Simple Life: Stay in love with God

Start by reading 1 John 4:11-21

This is the last lesson in this series, and I think its the most important.  When John Wesley was talking about this rule he said to “attend upon all the ordinances of God.”  That may not be an exact quote, but its pretty close.  In his book Rueben Job changes that last rule to something more familiar to us.  For that third rule he says, instead, “stay in love with God.”

I like this statement of it.  There’s not many of us that use words like ordinances in that context on a regular basis.  But love, that makes sense to us. Continue reading The Simple Life: Stay in love with God

The Simple Life: Do no harm

Start by reading Galatians 5:13-15 and Matthew 5:38-48

Another one of my favorite songs is called “Spinning Wheel” by Blood, Sweat, and Tears.  It’s one that I like the sound of, but the lyrics also have a certain message to them.

You can find the lyrics here

One of the main points of the song is about being stuck in a cycle, and trying to get out of it. But being in the cycle is just spinning, and more spinning. Continue reading The Simple Life: Do no harm

The Simple Life: Do all the good you can

Start by reading 3 John 1:9-11 and Romans 12:6-21

So we all know that we’re supposed to do good things, right?  I think that’s probably something that we can all agree on.  What we may disagree on is in the ways that we do those good things.

The other thing is that we work really hard to fit those “good things” into our already busy schedules.  And there’s not anything wrong with that, but that also means we have to figure out why we do good things.  Any time we have to fit something into our schedule, then it means that we have to have a good reason for it.  This is why so often we pass up opportunities to do good because it doesn’t fit with our lives. Continue reading The Simple Life: Do all the good you can