How do you cultivate JOY?

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Being a joyless Christian is a contradiction in terms! Yet we all go through drought or letting people and things “rob” our joy.  My short definition of joy is Gladness in God!  Jesus offers a joy that no one can take from us! (John 15:7-11) For the third Sunday in […]

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 […]

Jesus’ Method or Ours

It would seem like a “no-brainer” to ask HOW Jesus did ministry and made disciples. Alas, we often take Jesus words and read the stories and then form our own methodology.  Looking at the encounter with Zacchaeus in Luke 19, this sermon (listen here) challenges some of our attitudes and practices. It points us to be faithful to […]

Mary: Mother of Jesus; Disciple!

In Advent and Christmas this year we are teaching in Luke 1 and 2 around the theme of Hope for Everyone. Week one was Zechariah: Despite All Odds. Week two was a fresh look at the announcement to young Mary: Let it Be! (You can listen here.) Our view of Mary is one of those places where the history of the church is […]

The Why (and How) of Solitude + Silence

Our Executive Pastor, Neil Botts, just preached on “Loving Others Better Through Solitude and Silence.” Inspiring and intensely practical! You can listen here. Be sure to download his great resource, Practical Steps into Solitude and Silence.  Here is a summary from Neil… We are bombarded daily with the demands and expectations to be “productive” whether at work […]

Breathe!

The person of the Holy Spirit has been called the “neglected” member of the Trinity! (God doesn’t suffer from neglect – we suffer from neglecting!) The Spirit is described in many wonderful and vivid images, using all the senses – things we know best by experience rather than explanation: *the force of wind, *the intimacy of breathing; *the instincts of a […]

Hope that overcomes Despair

The Anchor, which is the RI state seal, was the ancient Christian symbol of Hope. The hope of Christ that is the anchor of our lives (from Hebrews 6:19.) Our Advant series, A Light in the Darkness, ended with an amazing experience of worship focused on “Hope amid Despair.“ The poignant story of a couple’s journey through […]

Psalm 119 ~ Bonhoeffer’s Unfinished Book

I have three of the 17 volumes of Bonhoeffer’s Complete annotated works translated from the German over a 20 year span. They include background notes from scholars and often fascinating detail from the margin of his Bibles, letters previously unpublished, etc. One gem in Vol. 15 is the notes he began on each verse of Psalm 119 – […]

Beauty and the Beast

In an earlier post, “Beauty will save the World,”  I highlighted the last section of the poem by Czeslaw Milosz called One More Day. Milosz lived through the horrors of attrocities in 20th cent. Europe. He draws attention to the reality of moral absolutes built in by God. In light of the current raw evils that […]