Just wanted to let folks know that I have written a short book of short stories. Most of them come from sermon illustrations I have created over the years. Some are just explorations in what it means to be human. Sorry, it’s only available on Kindle right now.
Refreshing, renewing, resurrecting Lord of the waters,
Forgive that I have become so
in my spiritual life that what once was living waters
has now become
Forgive that I rush the rapids so violently from one task to the next and never see the scenery
nor hear your voice above my own foam and roar.
Forgive that overflow my banks
taking on too much much much much
threatening to drown those around me
with all my selfish, self-serving surf.
Forgive that I do not return to you, my source
and so I dry up,
in between the dusty dry cracks of my bed.
Fill my dead pools with life again. Refresh me.
Slow my rapids to the pace you intend. Renew me.
Train my tributaries to pull from you and not the chaos of stormy life. Restore me.
Show me where you want me to go. Redirect me.
Resurrecting Lord of the waters, hear my repentant prayer!
…silence…then turning to one another…
The Good Lord of the waters has heard your prayer. Peace of Christ be upon you now.
“Sometimes you have to disconnect to stay connected. Remember the old days when you had eye contact during a conversation? When everyone wasn’t looking down at a device in their hands? We’ve become so focused on that tiny screen that we forget the big picture,
the people right in front of us.”
– Regina Brett,
“I don’t know how people do it without church.” I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve heard this. I heard it as a child growing up in a community where we thought everyone went to church (they didn’t). I heard it as an adult struggling to find a path for my life. I heard it as a parent looking far off at my children’s future and my prayers that they will be people of faith. I’ve heard it as a pastor at the grave with a family who lost a child.
What I hear us saying is that we need to be connected. God designed us to be with each other. And people do survive without being disciples in a church. They survive by creating pseudo-churches within friends at work, family, social networking, and sometimes going to a bar like Cheers where everybody knows your name. I say pseudo-church because it isn’t the same. Sure people ask about one another, look out for each other. Yes, there is a connection, but this connection is limited to space and time and the physical world.
Church, when we’re not just going to church but being Church, is getting connected to God and being connected to one another through the love of God in a deep and vulnerable way. You’ve heard it said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, right? In our broken world, each of us is the weakest link. But through Jesus, through this amazing experience of forgiveness, resurrection, and recreation – we become connected, and we become the strong chain of change the world needs. Without worshipping God weekly, without being with God’s people often, without living in prayer: our lives tend to fall apart. The Spirit keeps us connected to the Divine and to one another.
I don’t know how people live life without church. I do know how people live life with church. We live it fully. We live it connected to our Creator. We live it connected to one another in a fellowship that the world doesn’t understand. We live it with purpose, and meaning in our lives and hope for future generations. We live life connected. God is in the Connections.
“But if we live in the light in the same way as he is in the light,
we have spiritual connection with each other,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.”
- 1 John 1:7
This applies to worship as well.