In Company

On the wall of my study hangs a poster-sized picture of my confirmation class. It’s a game for my church members to come in & try to find sixth-grade-Josh. Not a hard game, actually. I keep it even though I can’t remember everyone’s name—it was a big class, and not everyone was a regular at … Continue reading

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Holy Week is a bit of an exercise in futility for some of us liturgically-minded pastors. While the Sanctuary may be full on Palm Sunday and overflowing at Easter, the empty pews at our midweek services beg for some attention. I urge my congregations yearly to appreciate the joy of Easter by attending to the … Continue reading

Collect for Spy Wednesday

Last Supper, Church of Saint Martin

A prayer for today’s Community Holy Week service at which I am serving as the liturgist, based on the lectionary reading (John 13:21-32). It’s called Spy Wednesday to remember Judas conspiring to betray Jesus. Glorious God, in your Incarnate Word you name the truth of our existence, and through the cross, Christ Jesus emancipates the … Continue reading

Sparing

Coming out of the morning showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with Christie, we discovered that in an elementary school in Connecticut, a school like the one our oldest son and daughter attend here in Texas, dozens were killed in a shooting, many of them children. Already, the condolences are pouring out, as well … Continue reading

Blogging for Jesus

I missed the weekly #chsocm Twitter chat last night, but (par for the course) I learned greatly just by hearing after the fact from a variety of folks who are blogging. I’ve been a blogger since 2006, but a mediocre one. I’m a case study for Chris Brogan’s points in his Primer for Blogging, especially … Continue reading

Do You Know What I Have Done To You? A Sermon

This sermon was preached at First United Methodist Church, Orange, Texas, on Maundy Thursday 2011. The Scripture is John 13:1-17, 31b-35. The camera pans out, and we see our hero, paralyzed, perhaps strapped to a chair. No escape. The James Bond villain, or perhaps an antagonist from CSI or some other police or mystery drama … Continue reading

Signs, Wisdom, and the Cross: A Call to Worship

A Call to Worship based on the epistle reading from the lectionary this week, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (CEB). Feel free to use this in your church on Sunday; just remember, this piece of liturgy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Where is God? Show me a sign that God … Continue reading

Collect for the First Sunday in Lent

Your Son, O God, fasted in the wilderness forty days, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: grow us in obedience to your Spirit, so by observing discipline we may be truly disciples, and that in our weakness we may know your power to save; through our Brother, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Enigmatic Messiah: The Bible in 90 – Day 69

This Jesus guy is tough to figure out. His teaching is full of “You have heard it said…but I say to you…” He’s demanding! “Do not be like this…do this instead!” Trying to get healed? You’re going to have to do something first, I bet. You certainly won’t get to talk about it after, he’s … Continue reading