Posts in Mount Olivet UMC
Epiphany

Like the magi, we approach the manger not knowing all of the answers. We approach the manger not having all of the junk in our lives we continue to carry with us not quite figured out. We approach the light of the manger still struggling to over come the curse of sin that we fall back into no matter how many times we think we have overcome it. 

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Let All Creation Praise Emmanuel

The reality of what happened in Emmanuel laying in the manger is found in those who had forgotten or ignored the promise made by G-d. The good news changes the reality for all people, and invites all of creation to enter into the grace of G-d regardless of what the powerful say. Regardless of what the darkness of sin says. 

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Let All Creation Praise the Particular

This is what makes the Good News different from the promise of security and peace offered to us by empires and the elite. The Good News of Emmanuel is a particular promise available and revealed through particular yet unlikely means, in particular yet unlikely places, and at particular yet unlikely times. We can expect the Good News to be revealed to us through powerful kings and prophets but also through those we are told are not capable of bearing such a promise and those who had forgotten the promise all together. 

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Let All Creation Repent

The preparation John is calling for is a change in orientation, not pointing to guilt or shame, but instead facing in a new direction. A direction that allows the refiner’s fire to burn away the damage sin has done to creation and then live in the hopefully light of the coming Christ.

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Let All Creation Praise the Paradox

While we look at this season of anticipating a birth we have to also remember that Christ has already been born, and we now live as a Church awaiting his return and with his return the fullness of the Kingdom of G-d will be made known to us.

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Christ is King

When we are baptized, named and claimed as beloved by our Creator, we proclaim Christ as our Savior and promise to serve Him as Lord. That was a bold profession to make 2000 years ago and it continues to be so today.  It is a declaration that Christ is Lord and everything else is secondary. Our allegiance lies with Christ, because of the promises made at our baptism which means the truth for our lives looks different from those who do not make the same proclamation.

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All We Need is Love

The saints of the past and us today have flaws. They, we, fell short of what Christ describes as the greatest of the things we are supposed to do. But in Christ loving us as himself, the saints and each of us are made righteous. What once was thought to separate us from the love of G-d is no more and Christ invites us to join him and the saints around His table. Clothed in the righteousness of Christ through our Baptism into His life, death, and resurrection, and not our own self-righteousness, we are declared holy. The greatest commandments, loving “the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” and loving your neighbor is a little less daunting knowing that before we ever attempt to fulfill it, Christ first loved us. Christ fulfilled it for us.

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Moving Forward | Responding to God

Much of what we do as followers of Christ is based upon mystery. From the basics of how exactly did Jesus turn water into wine or how the feeding of the 5000 actually happen to the sacraments - Baptism and Communion - there is much that we claim to know but what we think we know pales in comparison  to the mystery that still remains. 

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Divorce & Children Are Not The Trap

Quoting Genesis instead of echoing Deuteronomy, Jesus told the Pharisees that the Kingdom of G-d, G-d’s disruptive reign, will empower those previously without power. Social structures designed to keep people groups in their place will be disrupted. This point is driven home further when Jesus double-down, using children, a segment of the population viewed as property, to illustrate what kind of dependency, reliance on G-d, will be necessary to be apart of the Kingdom building work Jesus has begun in his own ministry. 

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Earn All You Can

How we earn money is a clear and accurate indicator of our priorities. We might speak out in favor of honest work that others should be doing but do we follow the same prescription in our own businesses? We can earn by following the footsteps of someone else but at some point we have to begin living into the calling G-d has place on our lives because what you are called to will look different than what your mentor has been called to. We can preach about Sabbath and ethical practices but if we are not observing them ourselves our true commitments become more apparent.


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God Bless America... Said Jesus Never

More often than not the phrase is used in a cavalier manner. I do not doubt the sincerity of the hymn being sung in worship and prayed corporately or individually. The problem with this phrase arises when it is used without the acknowledgment of the blessings G-d has already given to America.

Hasn’t G-d already blessed America?

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The Bible Says It, I Believe It, That Settles It... Said Jesus Never

The Bible says a lot of things. It is a collection of books telling the story of the people of God. It is a book of covenant, heartache, promise, lament, renew, and hope. But “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it,” creates a problem.

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Preach the Gospel and When Necessary Use Words

The Gospel is not a habit or practice. It is not a list of mission trips must-dos or daily prayer journal habits, but instead, the Gospel is a history. Proclamation of the Gospel is the declaration that something happened on a tree on a hill over 2000 years ago and that three days after that something happened something even greater happened.

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Half Truth of Pentecost

What we proclaim is unmerited and irresistible new life and that we are not the source of that new life. There is nothing we can do to help ourselves corporately or individually experience the unmerited and irresistible new life given to us by through the promise of Christ and by the Holy Spirit.

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