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Compassion, Chutzpah and Raising Chickens

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17Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20But that is not the way you learned Christ!-- 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

ephesians 4 17-32 (ESV)
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On Floods, Fear, and Finding a Home

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25"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

matthew 6 25-34 (ESV)

24"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."

matthew 7 24-27 (ESV)

Sing: Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for You.

Last Tuesday was the anniversary of 9/11 and I remember the huge Sunday worship attendance following that awful Tuesday 17 years ago. People came from…(read more)

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Seeds, Weeds, and Good Dirt

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1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9He who has ears, let him hear."

matthew 13 1-9 (ESV)

18"Hear then the parable of the sower: 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

matthew 13 18-23 (ESV)

My mother liked to tell the story about me as a six-year-old walking into the kitchen to ask her, “What’s a phiz-a-can”? Apparently I’d been reading a story…(read more)

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Lost and Found

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1Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 3So he told them this parable: 4"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8"Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' 10Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

luke 15 1-10 (ESV)

Have you ever been lost? I preached at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond on Mother’s Day several years ago, and I told them that when Mimi was a little girl I lost her at Mervyn’s. One minute she was right next to me and…(read more)

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Faith, Resilience, and Eleanor Roosevelt

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1And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' 4For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'" 6And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?

luke 18 1-7 (ESV)
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Breathing In and Breathing Out

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1O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

psalms 15 1-5 (ESV)
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Scandal, Grace and Tennis Shoes

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Psalm 126 (The Message Translation) Read in unison
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion’s exiles. We laughed, we sang, we couldn’t believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations – “God was wonderful to them!” God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people. And now, God, do it again – bring rains to our drought-stricken lives. So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest, so those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

The Gospel according to Luke 15:11-32
Then Jesus said, “Once there was a father with two sons. The younger son came to his father and said, ‘Father, don’t you think it’s time to give me the share of your estate that belongs to me?’ So, the father went ahead and…(read more)

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Dayenu: It is Enough

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Psalm 105: 1-6
A Psalm about God’s faithfulness to Israel
Everyone: Give thanks to the Lord; call upon God’s name; make God’s deeds known to all people! Sing to God; sing praises to the Lord; dwell on all God’s wondrous works! Give praise to God’s holy name! Let the hearts…(read more)

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Who is my neighbor?

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25And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" 27And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." 28And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

luke 10 25-29 (ESV)
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Love Courageously!

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20Then David said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.

1 chronicles 28 20 (ESV)