Well, it’s official! While it is hard to say goodbye to family, dear friends and our church community in Frenchtown NJ, Caitlin and I are excited to announce this new call to Asheville, North Carolina. In December, I will begin a new chapter in ministry as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Asheville. We feel such a sense of call and excitement for this next season of life and ministry, and thank you for your good wishes and prayers. The church’s announcement is at the link below!
A couple of weeks ago, a pastor in Pennsylvania emailed a question after reading The Mission of Preaching. (By the way, getting emails like that is a huge thrill and I’m so happy to be in conversation about missional preaching.) He was intrigued by the idea of a communal preaching ministry, and asked what specific things I had done at the church I serve to develop that. Great question! Here’s my answer…Read More »
In October, after we celebrate World Communion Sunday, I’m moving into a series of sermons on stewardship. These few weeks are stewardship season for my church, and the theme verse is 2 Corinthians 9:8. Paul writes, “God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work.” (CEB) In that small verse, Paul provides an outline of a economy of grace that supports all of life.
The reading today is from Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth. Before I share these few verses, some background may be helpful. Some call this letter, Paul’s “foolish letter.” They call it that because Paul was accused of being a fool by the Christians in Corinth, and he took that name and wore it like a badge of honor. He could have boasted in his accomplishments and his mystical experiences and his spiritual maturity, but he would not. He would rather, he said, be weak so that the power of Christ would be perfected in him. Perfected power.
In this week’s lectionary gospel reading, we read that Jesus invited the disciples to come away to rest. I’ll comment more on that text in another post, but first I want to tell you about the “rest” and joy I’ve experienced over the past few weeks.
First, I attended a conference sponsored by my denomination called CREDO, which is intentionally designed to offer clergy both rest and life-reflection to promote wellness and well-being. It was all they said it would be and more! Then, Caitlin and I went on a three-day trip to the stunning mountains of North Carolina where we enjoyed terrific meals, hiking, and lots of time together. And just last week, we went on a family vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia, which concluded with my mother’s wedding and a big family celebration.
I can’t say it was all rest; there was often little rest! But it was restful and joyful, and I am grateful. And… that is why there has been no posting the last three weeks! I did preach once in that long interlude, and I’ll post that sermon soon. I hope you too have a chance for joy and rest this summer!
In this week’s gospel reading, we have two parables about the reign of God. Alongside the story of an unlikely king (1 Sam 15:34-16:13) and a discussion of new creation (2 Cor 5:6-17), the lectionary gives us two engaging stories that fire our imagination for how God is working now to bring new creation from what seems so insignificant.
The lectionary gospel text for this week is Mark 3:20-35, which as often happens in the gospel readings picks up right in the middle of the story. Jesus has called the first disciples, healed multitudes, preached around Galilee and challenged the Pharisees. And all of this landed him hungry and in trouble. Read More »