Sermon: Lost –> Found –> Party

43397 Let's Party Brand Logo FINAL

Sermon Text: Luke 15:1-32 Sermon Excerpt When I was first starting out in ministry I did my best to avoid preaching on certain types of holidays.  I especially tried to avoid preaching on holidays that were not a part of the church/liturgical calendar, but were popular enough that some people expected their celebrations to carry into the worship service. There were the patriotic ones: Independence Day, Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. And, there were the family ones: Mother’s Day and Read More …

Death of the Sermon?

preach

Christianity has always been growing, changing, and evolving.  In recent years the rate of change has accelerated.  Here in America the shift toward a less religiously affiliated population is well underway.  Recent research has led many experts to speculate that it is reasonable to think the nones (those with no religious affiliation) will grow even more rapidly in the next few decades. For those who have chosen to remain a part (or who have opted to become a part) of Christianity, corporate Read More …

Sermon: The Good Hamas Member

goodsamaritan

Sermon Text: Luke 10:25-27 Sermon Excerpt Jesus’ parables should grab our attention! When I shared with one of you that my sermon title was “The Good Hamas Member” your response was “please don’t put that on our sign. We don’t want those driving by to think we support Hamas in any way, shape or form.” If the idea of a Good Hamas Member sounds like an oxymoron to your ears know that this is exactly what Jesus intends. Today, you won’t find Israeli Jews talking about a “Good Hamas Read More …

Cities with the Most Religious Venues

USA

New research by PropertyShark.com provides insight into the religious real estate found in American cities. More specifically, the findings of their research were published as a list of  American cities with the most religious venues per capita.  The top 10 are Indianapolis, IN Seattle, WA Jacksonville, FL Washington, DC Memphis, TN Columbus, OH Dallas, TX Charlotte, NC Houston, TX Boston, MA So What? The presence of real estate venues designated for religious usage Read More …

Sermon: A Radical Recipe

Jesus Said

Sermon Text: Luke 13:20-21 Sermon Excerpt A few months ago I shared with you how in recent years my wife Susan and I have been intentionally downsizing - moving to smaller and yet smaller residences.  While I was truthful about the significant decrease in square footage, I omitted an important part of the makeup of our current home.  Even as the overall size of our house shrunk to less than half of the size we had once known, our kitchen remained large.  And, even more importantly, our Read More …

June 2015 Book Recommendations

June Books

My reading the last month has included a number of texts published this year (2015), including (5) Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents by Gary Scott Smith (Oxford University Press) (5) Contemporary Churches: Spiritual Transformation of Congregations by Louis F. Kavar (Louis F. Kavar) (4.5) My Church is NOT Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century by Greg Garrett (Morehouse Publishing) (4) Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the Church by Pope Read More …

Sermon: Responsible Earthkeeping

earthkeeping

Sermon Text: Genesis 1:26 Sermon Excerpt Dominion is one of those words that makes me cringe. I cannot hear the word in any context without having some kind of reaction.  There are many reasons for it, including a very troubling experience with a rather unconventional church. This church practiced Dominion Theology and took this task so seriously that it shaped every aspect of their identity.  They understood that it was their role – along with other churches that held Dominionist views Read More …

Evolving Religion is Growing Religion

self-evolving.system

I have read hundreds of blog posts and articles reflecting on the latest edition of the Pew Research Center's U.S. Religious Landscape Study  (and I even contributed one such post in the days after the data was released).  Since this body of research includes so much data with significance for my field of endeavor, I have benefited from the richness and diversity of these writings. The Texas Faith Blog of the Dallas Morning News asked several faith leaders whether these findings suggest Read More …

Millennials are #1 Overall & Mainliners #1 Growing Edge

US Population by Generation

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, sometime this year Millennials will overtake Boomers as the largest generation in America.  The Millennials are projected not only to remain the largest group for the next several decades, but also to widen the gap between their group and that of the next largest generational cohort  (Boomers ranking second through 2028 then being overtaken by Xers). So What? Shortly after the Pew Research Center released the report on their latest U.S. Religious Read More …

Sermon: Life-Giving Wind

Unity

Sermon Text: Acts 2:1-22 Sermon Excerpt Wherever the Life-Giving Wind blows, the church is about unity not uniformity . . . Journey with me into the story. . . Step back and ask yourself, “If I had all the power in the world and wanted to enable a huge crowd of people from different parts of the world to speak to one another, wouldn’t I just give them a common language?”  And, if I foreknew that the occasion was to go down in history as the birth of a religion, wouldn’t I choose a brand Read More …