Showing posts from February, 2017

Down from the Mountain

Exodus 24:12-18
Matthew 17:1-9

You'll probably think I am obsessed with mountains; we just finished examining the Sermon on the Mount the last four Sundays, and here we are again. Firstly, I am not a mountain guy, so I have no particular obsession with them. Secondly, we're following the Lectionary, the assigned readings for churches, and I don't pick those. But since we are on the subject of mountains, I do remember one trip we took with friends when Christy and I lived in England:

That's Mount Snowdon in Wales. It's the highest peak in the British Aisles, south of Scotland. None of us are climbers, but there is a fun option there: a rack and pinion train, built in 1896. It takes an hour to make the 4.7 mile trip to the summit. Wales is a stunningly beautiful country, and the views from Snowdon were breathtaking. But here's the thing: you ride up the train, you check out the scenery, walk around. But eventually, you have to get on the train. There's only so…

The Season of Lent at Grace

The Season of Lent, a 40 day time of spiritual preparation before Easter, begins Wednesday, March 1. We will offer a special worship service that night in the Celebration Center at 6:00 p.m. We will burn the palm branches from last year's Palm Sunday service, and then impose those actions on the foreheads of everyone. The ashes are a symbol of our brokenness and need of divine grace. This year at Grace we'll have several different opportunities to participate in:

Our sermon series will be from Paul's Letter to the Romans. Romans is a complex book. It is especially important to read during Lent, because one of its key themes is overcoming the power of sin to live a life of righteousness God offers us in Jesus Christ. I invite you to read along as a devotional time during Lent.I'll offer a Lenten Bible study: “The Death of the Messiah.” We offered a similar study during Advent. We will explore each of the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ passion: his betrayal, arrest, trial…

Heart for Heart

Matthew 5:38-48

A few days after the 9/11 attacks, a white supremacist, Mark Stroman, shot three men at a gas station in Dallas. He was seeking revenge for his half sister, who was killed when the Twin Towers fell. Two of the men died; a third, Rais Bhuiyan, survived, even after being shot in the face. Stroman was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to death. A remarkable thing happened during the process from the murders to the scheduled execution: Rais Bhuiyan forgave Mark Stroman. A devout Muslim, Rais did not believe in returning violence for violence. He advocated for the man who shot him in the face to have his sentence commuted to life in prison. The State of Texas executed Mark Stroman in July 2011.

We're wrapping up our brief sermon series on Chapter 5 of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount with some of the most difficult teachings Jesus ever shared:

 ‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. Bu…

The Founder

Matthew 5:21-37 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

A couple of weeks ago I saw The Founder, starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc. It's not playing here in Sherman; I saw it in Plano. It's the story of how Ray Kroc took a hamburger stand in California and make it a global phenomenon. Ray Kroc did not start McDonald's-- Dick and Mac McDonald did. But Ray was a visionary and saw its potential.

The movie starts with Ray as a traveling salesman in Ohio. He's driving to small restaurants and drive-ins, trying to convince them to buy his milkshake machine: it can make six at a time, instead of the usual one. He can't sell any to anyone. He calls the home office to check in, and the secretary tells him a place in California just placed an order for six. Assuming it's a mistake, Ray calls McDonald's. The owner says, "Yeah that was a mistake. Better make it eight." Ray decides to drive out to California to see this place. He is amazed at what he finds.

McDonald's a hamb…

Yo Yo Effect

"Baby it's cold outside!" That's one of the creepiest "holiday" tunes played during December (have you ever paid attention to the lyrics??), but it's certainly the case today. Cold is normal for February, not the warm temps we had earlier in the week. Check out this tweet from Pete Delkus of Channel 8 in Dallas:

Where did the 80s go!!?? The coldest morning we've seen in about 2 weeks!! It's been since late January since we've been in the 30s!! — Pete Delkus (@wfaaweather) February 9, 2017
And here's the ten day forecast:

Don't like the cool? Much warmer tomorrow and 80s by Saturday on the 10 Day! Rain and cooler temps return next week. — Pete Delkus (@wfaaweather) February 9, 2017
So... cool today, warm and sunny tomorrow and Saturday, cold and rainy (thank you, Jesus) Sunday through Wednesday, then warm and sunny again. I am a cold weather guy. But the bouncing around…

Signing Day

Today is National Signing Day, when high school football players from across the country declare their intentions to play for colleges. Throughout the day on Twitter I've seen students declaring for SMU and Austin College, among others. Part of me can't help but wonder if in three years James will tweet something about his next destination! Then again, who can predict the future...

Signing Day is about claiming an identity. I am a Longhorn. I am a Mustang. I am a Sam Houston State Bearkat. This afternoon I'm thinking about Signing Day from a different perspective. Tonight our middle schoolers will begin a new spiritual journey toward faith in Christ. Confirmation Sunday, June 4 (also Pentecost Sunday) will be their Christian Signing Day, where they will publicly claim their identity in Christ.

We'll explore these themes together:

CreationSinRedemptionThe Holy SpiritChurchThe New CreationDiscipleshipSalvationThe Wesleyan QuadrilateralWorship and the SacramentsLiving a H…