What does JOY look like in a suffering world?

Last Sunday’s services followed the 6.12.16 shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. We began a new teaching series, The Heart of Worship, a bit different than originally planned. The music and liturgy reflected our collective lament and our common humanity. You can listen to the sermon here. It’s called, Worshiping in a Broken World.   We explored […]

O Lord, Hear Our Groaning!

An acrostic poem with Lament in its name; that groans off the page with agonizing intensity. That would be the Old Testament book of Lamentations. Our series, Lament: Talking with God through Pain and Suffering continues.  We ‘tag-teamed’ this sermon, with Cheryl Lavornia giving us the gripping context of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC, and the importance of  giving […]

Joy amid Sorrow & the Atheists’ Dilemma

“Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian!” (G.K. Chesterton) In a sermon, Joy amid Sorrow – in our Advent series at Christ Church – I began by quoting Philip Yancey’s introduction to Chesterton’s famous apologetic work, Orthodoxy. You can listen here. I suggested 4 “Disciplines” that cultivate […]

Will we Suffer Well?

I preached on  Suffering Well last Sunday.  I later heard that upon hearing my sermon theme, my daughter whispered in my wife’s ear, “Wow, ‘Suffering Well‘ – –  Happy Mother’s Day!” Suffering is indeed part of the joy of Christian Discipleship. It is, as Luther said, a way we grow – along with the Scriptures and […]

Making Sense of Suffering?

On vacation, I was getting ready to add some resources to the sermon on the Tough Questions of ‘Suffering’ when the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy hit the news. The question sadly rages again as we groan and weep and pray. Here are some important resources from the viewpoint of our Christian worldview: Some books I often recommend: Philip Yancey […]

Poetry Monday – Lament and Peace

A Psalm and a poem by Wendell Berry in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy. from Psalm 5 (NIV) Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay […]

Poetry Monday – Jesus Loves the little children of the world

Poetry has a way of capturing what can’t be easily put into words. Here are two poems that give voice to the voiceless children of poverty; children loved by Jesus. One is by a poet, the late Anne Porter.  The second is by one of our church elders, who doesn’t often write poetry, but was […]

How to Pray for the Persecuted Church

Each second Sunday in November  is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. The recent attack in a Baghdad church is a brutal reminder that there have been more religious persecution deaths in recent decades than ever in history!  Here is the update from Open Doors. Two Sundays ago, as faithful Christian believers gathered […]