Monday morning for a pastor

Sunday Morning postmortem at Restoration

I usually run or swim on Monday morning.  I usually listen to music really loudly to try and drown out the commentators and arm chair quarterbacks that are talking about Sunday morning in my head.  Sometimes I win.  Sometimes the voices win.

Give this morning to the voices…  Three things I want to say about my sermon yesterday:

1.  As someone astutely pointed out, I really preached 3 sermons, yesterday.  That’s like the cardinal sin for preachers.  I wanted to talk about all three means by which we imitate God:  walk in love, walk in the light, walk in wisdom.  I could have spent a week on each of them and then followed it up with a fourth sermon (or sermons) on ‘be filled with the Spirit.’  But that would have kicked us to Dec 20th without having talked about marriage, parenting, or the armor of God.  So, instead I plowed through it.  Maybe after I’ve been doing this for 10 years, I’ll have the capacity to decide, ‘lets linger here for a bit’.  Maybe even put off the end of the series until February…  just thinking out loud here.  So thanks for hanging on tight while i talked about lots of stuff yesterday.

2.  I really wish I had nailed the illustration I gave about Laurel’s eye and walking on rocks in a stream bed.  The point of those 2 stories was to agree with v. 15–  ‘look carefully how you walk.’  But to also emphasize the end of v. 16–  ‘because the days are evil.’  We need to walk in wisdom, with careful steps, because there are branches and slippery rocks all over our work sites, our neighborhood, the culture, our day to day life…  We never want to run into a branch or slip in the water (hey let me try and scratch my cornea…), we just step wrongly.  So be very careful how you step–  walk in love, walk in the light, understand what the will of the Lord is.  Honestly, I think I was mushy on those illustrations and not as crisp as I would like.  I also missed a chance to give a big shout out to Dr. George Patterson who totally rescued Laurel–  picked her up after a sleepless night, took her to his opthamology office and helped her eye speed towards recovery–  it was the beginning of a great Restoration friendship!

3.  I totally forgot to talk about coarse joking at the 10am.  We’ll post the recording from the 8:30 on our podcast.  But I can’t believe I missed the third counterfeit to walking in love.  Paul gives three counterfeits:  sexual immorality, covetousness, and coarse joking (filthiness, foolish talk, crude joking).  Why does Paul include coarse joking as a counterfeit to real love? By definition crude joking is a joke that because of its language or its subject matter is not appropriate.  (totally fine to tell jokes, this is a specifically forbidden category).  When two people laugh about something that they would not want to broadcast to everyone around them, there is a secretiveness that could feel like intimacy.  It is the intimacy that develops between 2 people when they know they are doing something wrong.  However, it is false.  It isn’t REAL vulnerability.  Paul is encouraging this church to walk in love, to live in true intimacy.  So the contrast he makes is between love and sex outside of the marriage covenant; between intimate conversation and coarse joking.  In the heat of the moment sex outside of marriage can feel like love.  In the shared laughter of a coarse joke, it can feel like friendship. But they are not.

A lot of my friends were particularly disappointed that I forgot this part of my sermon–  because we all struggle with it to one degree or another.  We long for authentic friendship and we want to be careful with our words.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!  Psalm 141:3

So thanks for letting me do a public post-mortem on the message from yesterday.
I love our church.  My commitment to you is, by the grace and mercy of God, to discharge my calling to lead and teach as best I can.  You all are so encouraging to me.

I love this job and living this life with you.

November 8, 2009

Be Careful How You Walk (Ephesians 5:1-21) by David Hanke

How in the world??? Ephesians 5

Picture 3
There are over 19 commands in verses 1-21 of Ephesians 5. Paul is just getting all up in that little church’s grill.

What do you think I’m going to say about this on Sunday?

List of Commands/ Imperatives in Chapter 5: 1-21

  • Be imitators of God
  • Walk in love
  • Do not even name sexual immorality, all impurity, covetousness
  • No filthiness, nor foolish talk, nor crude joking
  • Let there be thanksgiving
  • Let no one deceive you with empty words
  • Do not become partners with the sons of disobedience
  • Walk as children of light
  • Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord
  • Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness
  • Expose the unfruitful works of darkness
  • Look carefully how you walk
  • Do not be foolish
  • Understand what the will of the Lord is
  • Do not get drunk with wine
  • Be filled with the Spirit
  • Address one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs
  • Give thanks always and for everything to God…
  • Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

should be fun…

October 25, 2009

Grow Up (Ephesians 4:1-16) by Dean Miller

October 11, 2009

Have you heard this story? (Ephesians 3: 1-13) by David Hanke

October 4, 2009

Where are you living? (Ephesians 2: 11-22) by David Hanke

September 14, 2009

“Who are you?” by David Hanke
Ephesians 1: 1-14

A Place and A Time

Picture 10One of the key applications of our series from Exodus was creating a deliberate time and place to interact with God.  Moses did it outside the camp in a tent of meeting.  We can do it almost anywhere–  a park bench, a specific chair in our home or office, a closet.  So choose a place and choose a time!  Check.

Once we are there, then the question becomes, what do we do?  For hundreds of years, faithful Christians have followed plans to read through the Bible and pray their way through Scripture.  You can google Bible Reading Plan and find scores of them.  My favorite is from Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne.  You can read a quick bio here.

His plan gives 4 readings a day (takes about 20 minutes) and takes you through the NT twice, Psalms twice, and OT once, every year.  I love it.  It’s nice to just show up in my place at my time and not have to figure out–  what do I do??

May Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne be a gift to you as well.

August 30, 2009

“Up! Make Us Gods Who Shall Go Before Us…” by David Hanke

The Attraction of Idols

Restoration Anglican Church sermon on Exodus 32-34; IdolatryOver the next two weeks, we will be digging in to Exodus 32-34.  Here is some helpful background on why Israel (and we) love idols.  The information is from one of my favorite professors at Gordon-Conwell, Dr. Doug Stuart.

Idolatry is attractive because it is:

1.  Guaranteed: Presence of a god was guaranteed by presence of idol.  The idol image was like an ancient cell phone.  People believed that the offerings they brought before an idol of a god and the prayers they said the idol’s presence were fully and unfailingly perceived by the god.

2.  Selfish: Idolatry was an entire materialistic system of thinking.  The one ‘hold’ or advantage that humans had over the gods was the ability to feed them.  If you fed the god, it was obligated to use its power on behalf of the worshiper.

3.  Easy: Frequency and generosity of sacrifices were the sole significant requirements of faithful idolatrous religion.  Idolatry minimized the importance of ethical behavior.  As long as you kept the food coming, you could do whatever you want.

4.  Convenient: In contrast to the Lord’s command to come up to Jerusalem three times a year, idol shrines were erected on every hilltop and street corner.  You could drop by to offer a sacrifice at your convenience–  virtually any time of day, any day of the week, at a location of your choosing.

5.  Normal: everyone did it.  If an Israelite asked his Canaanite neighbor how to farm in these parts, the Canaanite would begin with an explanation for how to worship the local idol.  If you want to fit in, worship the idol.

6.  Logical: idolatry was polytheistic, syncretistic, and pantheistic.  It made sense to have a multiplicity of gods, each one covering a different facet of life.  It was enormously attractive to think one could gain assured access to those gods who had power over your greatest need simply by being in the presence of an idol.

7.  Pleasing to the senses, indulgent, erotic: The images of divinity were ‘beautiful’.  The worship ‘services’ were huge feasts.  The more frequently one ate meat and the more meat one ate, the more likely one could curry favor with the gods.  Heavy eating and drinking were encouraged.  Temple prostitution was common because it was believed that if you had sex in the presence of the idol, it would encourage the gods to have sex and provide what you need–  fertility, more crops, more cattle.  Ritual sex would stimulate things to be born on earth.

It is important to remember that Israel never struggled with belief in the Lord or even worshiping the Lord.  Their struggle was always to worship ONLY the Lord.  Even today, many of us would say that Jesus is Lord, but find it challenging to say no to the idols that compete for His worship.

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