& i know the lights have all gone dark on you

still i will love your shadow

Third sermon in our Revelation sermon-series, from Revelation 5:

Today’s scripture from Revelation begins during one of those times.  And you know them. We’ve all had them… Those times after the joy of worship. When you go home, and suddenly the comfort you felt in the sanctuary is gone. Or those times after Bible study. How all the answers that came together during the discussion, start to unravel afterward.
And that, that’s what happened to John of Patmos here in the fifth chapter of Revelation.  The joyful worship at the throne of God has simmered. The service is over. As John is catching his breath, taking it all in, he notices something.A scroll. The scroll that God holds. A scroll containing God’s will.
As the praise at the foot of God’s throne winds down, John sees that scroll. The scroll that will make sense of why. Why John, after working so hard among the seven churches had his call revoked with the stroke of a pen, sentenced to exile. Or why John, who …

i didn't know i was lonely 'til i saw your face

i wanna get better

Second Sermon in our Revelation Sermon-series:
John’s revelation means to wake us up to all that’s going on.  Today, as the Revelator takes us before the Throne of God, we’re shown what’s really going on when the pastor, some anxious parents and a squirming baby come up to this font. Today, as we see God on the Throne, the Throne at the center of all things, baptism is shown for what it really is, what it actuallydoes
And in case the setting of God’s Throne in the center of creation wasn’t enough of a clue; baptism is so much more than an initiation ritual or fire insurance…
In baptism we are brought into the very heart of faith.  What it means to be claimed by the God who raised Jesus from the dead. What it means to be marked by the one who after three days in the grave, was raised to new, eternal life. 
We always talk about something being a matter of life and death; but today we see that it’s actually a matter of death and life. In that order.
Today, John the Revelator …

he will take you if you run

he will chase you because he is the lord

First sermon in the series on Revelation
Last summer or the one before, I’m not sure anymore; during one of those hot, dog days of summer, I was making a visit at the Burlington Care Center.
The member and I chatted for a bit, but it was stuffy in her room, and I could tell she was getting sleepy. So after a few minutes, we had communion.  As I was saying the words of institution, I noticed she was nodding off…  …Truthfully, it was a little discouraging. I couldn’t help but think that it certainly wasn’t what I imagined when I took the vows…
But then I noticed two things; an employee, a woman in the hallway vacuuming; and the sound of the birds chirping, coming in through the window.  And then I was suddenly filled with this knowledge that there was more happening that I had known. Then, it was as if the light falling in through the doorway came alive. And everything around me had it’s own energy. The air seemed to tremble. That’s the only way I ca…

don't need no butterflies

when you give me the whole damn zoo

A Pentecost sermon on the fruit of the Spirit:
Remember that week before Lent began when I went to Des Moines to talk with other pastors about leadership? Well, one of my extracurriculars was to join Dr. Jones in his “Life and Thought of Martin Luther” class.  That’s where it all began for me
Well, they were working through “Freedom of a Christian.”  Dr. Jones asked about the famous claim; ‘although a Christian may be perfectly free and subject to none, a Christian is also a perfectly dutiful servant, subject to all.’ He asked the students how could that be. One earnest, young man offered the theory that, when you do something good for someone else you feel good about it. 
Conventional wisdom at its finest, but not what Luther was after. 
As I’ve thought about that, I’ve come to realize the profound challenge Luther and his ilk put to us.  Paul once put it like this, “I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infant…

in praise to the eternity of Jesus

We’re all a bunch of sinners free-riding on Jesus

Revelation has to be one of the most misunderstood books in the Bible. One we’re certainly not very familiar with.  And that’s too bad. Because the truth is, we’re the one’s missing out.  Revelation has a message we would all benefit from hearing.
Between the years 65 and 250 A.D., being a Christian was like being a part of a criminal conspiracy. The official charge brought against Christians was “atheism.” But the real threat they posed, was their worship.  These Christians refused to give their devotion to anyone or anything except the God who raised Jesus. For that kind of exclusive fidelity, Christians were a threat to the way things were. The status quo. (Side note, Revelation is a form of protest writing!) These early Christians were accused of atheism because the way they insisted on being faithful to God alone, made them just too different. For this kind of refusal to fit in, others tried to find ways to force them. Revelation 2:11 r…

& i can't get back without you

be my love

A sermon from Paul's Letter to the Galatians:
Have you ever tried to change some big part of your life? (Now be honest) And how’d that go? (Anyone have any stories they want to share?) No? Lately, every morning, I find myself praying to be more joyful and less judgmental.  And I have to pray, because nothing else seems to be workingAnd I bet you know what I mean
I began college studying journalism. It was a fluke. I was an okay writer and a better reader, so I had potential. And it turns out, I had ambition, too… So it made a good enough of match. At Kirkwood, I became an editor and wrote a bunch. We even managed to win some Iowa College Media Association awards. Beating out four-year colleges. The kind I would end up transferring to; like Grand View
I transferred there with a big enough of a head. I had managed a paper that won more awards, written some good stories too, and even interned at a daily newspaper. So when I came, I pushed them to do things the way I envisioned. A…