Friday, January 30, 2009

Sermon Audio - Why you need the Prophets (Like John) in your life.

In the Bible, the Prophets were a very strange bunch. But you need them in your life. You really do. But you need more than the Prophets.

Frederick Buechner, Presbyterian minister and author once remarked:
There is no evidence to suggest that anyone ever asked a prophet home for supper more than once. The prophets were drunk on God, and in the presence of their terrible tipsiness, no one was ever comfortable. With a total lack of tact, they roared out against phoniness and corruption wherever they were found.
That is, the Prophets made a living out of unsettling the comfortable. They railed against the flab of spiritual arrogance. They railed against Full-blown Sin and Half-baked Faith.

They didn’t want friends. They wanted converts. They wanted people to swap sides. They often looked crazy, dressed crazy, and even ate crazy. And, as far as many were concerned, they spoke crazy.

But they were mesmerizing in many ways.

John the Baptist -- from our gospel reading today -- is just like that. He is the last of the Old Testament Prophets. If you saw him in the subway, you might be tempted to give him a dollar. Until you heard him speak, then you might take it back...

Here is the question I have in this sermon:

Do I want a John the Baptist in my world? Do I want the prophets in my world? Or in my church? Or in my city?

I’d say: "Well, I do and I don’t"

A part of me does not want the Prophets to come near to my life, for I might have to change. But another part of me does want the Prophets to draw near because I want to change. And I know that the repentance he calls for liberates and frees.

There are at least two reasons I don’t want him in my world, and at least two reasons I do.

This sermon explores those two reasons. Click HERE.

Pic on Flickr by LJ.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

An Invitation to my friends (February 12 at 7PM)

Join Dr Laurel, the kiddos and me for a commissioning at York St. We begin our new ministry to the city of Sydney with prayer. The Invitation comes from the Wardens of St Philips' York St. And Bishop Rob Forsyth will be present and preaching.
  • February 12, 2009 7PM
  • Service at St Philips' Church Hill. 3 York St, Sydney, Australia.
  • RSVP by Feb 9 to Doreen by emailing her HERE. Or by calling: +612 9247 1071.
Supper and Jazz at 1 York Street foyer after the service.

Here is what we are doing:

We are moving from ├╝ber-urban to urban. From the city of Manhattan, to the city of Sydney. We are swapping the Lower East Side for Downtown Sydney. From New York to York St.

Leaving Manhattan has not dampened our enthusiasm for the city. Sydney and New York are different, but the city is still where extraordinary things happen. It is where people live and come to work and play, day and night. The city is where the homeless find anonymity and perhaps shelter. The city is where government sits and art is displayed. There are 38,000 people who live near St Philips. There are more men living there than women, and the average age is 29. From this central place, there could be a central faith.

This will be neither church planting, nor missionary service, but at times it may feel like both.

So we value your prayers and support.

Don't forget to RSVP.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jessica Simpson on God

I know that this is a cheap shot, but I read this quote in a Marie Clare article called '40 Things You Don't Know About Jessica Simpson'. Says Jessica Simpson:
I've been contemplating taking a college course in religion. I love religion. I remember whenever the book The Da Vinci Code came out, the Discovery Channel did this three-night piece on it that I Tivoed and then watched eight times.

H/T Christianity Today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

E.B. Reames: Art on Friday (#11)

UPDATE: We have just now moved from NYC to Atlanta, where we are finally catching our breath. We are spending time with Dr Laurel's family, before flying en route to Sydney via San Francisco next week for a weekend break. Then we arrive into Sydney, God willing, on February 4th. In the meantime, this is E.B. Reames Art on Friday Number 11, for your viewing pleasure.

This one is called: "Aspen Autumn."

Email Beth if you wish to ask any questions, or buy her art: HERE.
See all the other posts: HERE.
Or visit the E.B.Reames website: HERE.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

E.B. Reames: Art on Friday (#10)

This is E.B. Reames Art on Friday Number 10, for your viewing pleasure.

This one is called: "Hon Fleur."

Email Beth if you wish to ask any questions, or buy her art: HERE.
See all the other posts HERE.
Or visit the E.B.Reames website: HERE.


Friday, January 09, 2009

An update on our Move to Sydney

So many people have asked, so I thought I'd provide an update on our comings and goings. We are, as you know, moving to the Antipodes. You can read the Sydney Anglican Media article as well.

This Sunday (Jan 11) is our official farewell from Christ Church NYC. We will be farewelled in the morning and evening services. I am preaching my last sermon at Christ Church at Evening Prayer. The topic will be Jesus. Nice. (From Mark 1:4-11). I can't think of anyone better to talk about in my final sermon in NYC. Better than talking about yourself on your last week!

It's John the Baptist pointing away from himself, and onto Jesus his Lord, 'the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie'. And calling for repentance.

Then we begin the process of moving. It may take some weeks. So I may be at Christ Church for a couple of Sundays after that. But we hope to be in Sydney in the last week of January. But there are no guarantees as yet. As James says, this is only if the Lord wills it.

(People have asked about the lease on our apartment: we are still looking for someone to take over our lease. This is something that is easier to resolve if we are still in NYC, rather than in Sydney. But we trust God. You can pray about that!)

I'll keep posting 200 Words when I can...


Thursday, January 08, 2009

...the man exploded...

I ended up at Redeemer Presbyterian last Sunday night. The family was walking past Hunter College with our friends Nathan and Mira. Nathan and I stayed for half the service. Dr Laurel went home, and The Little Man was with me, so we couldn't be there until the end...

But there was enough time for this to take place:

The preacher mentioned Adam's song, from Genesis 2, in which Adam sang with joy when he was shown Eve ("This is now bone of my bones; flesh of my flesh etc").
Preacher (with The Little Man listening):
"And when Adam sees Eve, he explodes into song!"
The Little Man (after a minute):
"Daddy, can you tell me again why the man exploded?"
I hope he wasn't picturing someone like Mr Creosote...


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

200 Words #6: Promote Preaching with Gravitas

DNA of a Maturing Church #6: Promote Preaching with Gravitas
Dear preacher,

Never start with a ‘little joke’, or a ‘little story’. Your message is too weighty. Learn from the Prophets, not Toastmasters; from the Apostles, not Self-Help; from Jesus, not your Top-5 downloads.

The world needs gravitas (like the Prophets), theology (like the Apostles), and truth-telling (like Jesus). We need truth and insight, not just grammar and information.

Yet, you must hug the text, like a 'bus hugs a road, or you will veer. Worse, you may crash the bus. Be expositional and exegetical. It’s not enough to cook the meal-- show your hearer’s the kitchen.

The Bible says little about assessing your 'skills'. Instead, it urges ‘doing’ (over merely listening) obeying (over appreciating); weighing-up truth (over down-loading giftedness).

We need more stethoscopes to our hearts, not MP3's to our ears.

Your task, says Buechner, is to "Tell the truth."

Preach Christ crucified and victorious. Trace the Narrative of Grace. Rail against sin and injustice. Preach a good God. The Spirit convicts sin and decants God’s love, not you. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Live deep in the world, speaking deeply to the world. Walk by grace: you struggle like us all.

Preach Jesus. He is never 'little'.

For further reading:
MPJ's 10 mistakes
JMM's Modus Operandi for Preaching.

For Scripture references, either click on the links, or see all of them by clicking HERE. (James 1:22, Ezekiel 33:30-33, 1 Corinthians 14:29, 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, Jeremiah 17:10, 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, 2 Timothy 2:8, Luke 24:25-27, James 4:8, James 5:1-6, John 16:7-11, Romans 5:5, 1 Timothy 4:16, 1 Timothy 1:15, Ephesians 3:8.)
Pic on Flickr by a.drain.


I'm out tonight to visit a couple, then back tonight to post '200 Words: Promote Preaching with Gravitas'.

But before I do:

A. You probably need to read Michael Jensen's two posts: Preaching like Peter Roebuck and The Ten Worst Habits of Preachers.

B. And Kudos to the RodeoClown who fixed up my yellow link issues. (If you using a reader, click through to my blog, and you'll see the yellow links as usual! And they change to orange after you've clicked on them). Tell me if this is better.

Kudos all around.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Links in Yellow...

New 200 words coming soon.

But your advice first: As you know, I put my links in yellow. I do it, because I want people to follow through with some of the links, and I like it to be striking. But a good brother Face-booked me with this note:
I read your blog on google reader, but I normally don't end up reading your blogs because all your links are in a yellow font, making it really difficult to read. It hurts my eyes so I stop reading. I thought you may be interested to know, because maybe other people have the same issues, or maybe you would just like to change it on account of me ;-)
Are there any others who don't read my posts because the links are in Yellow? Get rid of the yellow? What color do I replace it with?


Pic on Flickr by Katrina 2353.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

York Street Logo

Suffering in Times Square

OK. I've been very busy lately. But my friend Michael Winram is in town, and he wants to do Times Square for New Years. I've told him that is snowing (which he knows), and that the temperatures are are guessed to be 21F (but with wind will feel like 5F). Now, if you are from the Antipodes, that's -6C (and feels like -15C).

The last time I did this was with Ed Spinger on December 31, 1997. That pic is 11 years old. And it was cooold then.

I'm going to join him. And Winram says he's committed to the end.
  • Should I stand by him until the bitter end?
  • And have you been to Times Square on NYE? Or anywhere colder?