3rd Sunday of Lent Collaborative Message Prep

This Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Lent so here is the link for Google Doc file that I have setup for my preparation. If you are up for it please consider going by the Doc, reading the scripture, and writing down your thoughts in the Doc. I would appreciate if you mark your thoughts with your name somehow, but you don’t have to do that. You are welcome to write anonymously.

For the 3rd Sunday of Lent we are reading John 3:13-22.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

InterVarsity God & Science Discussion Tonight

I stole this photo from Jamie M but I am fairly sure she won;t mind. If you do Jamie I’ll gladly remove it.

If you are in the Point area I encourage you to go to the InterVarsity God & Science Discussion tonight.

I’ve been to this many times before and it always seems to be enlightening and enjoyable. Tonight Tapestry‘s own Conor H will be a part of compiling and organizing the questions that the professors will address. I find that the professors involved in this always do a great job of grappling with the discussion and they do so in a very humble and open manner.

The God & Science discussion will be held in the Dreyfus University Center (DUC) theater (1015 Reserve St, Stevens Point) from 6 to 7:45 pm.  I plan on being there.

50 Degree Day

I smiled when I looked at my weather app today.

Today the temperature hit 50º for the first time in 2018!

One of the things I love about Wisconsin is that it actually has four seasons. Being raised in Alabama we didn’t really have four seasons. There are a ton of great things about Bama that I love. I love the food I was raised on. I loved seeing peanut and cotton fields and dogwoods blooming in the woods. I love seeing and smelling the marshes and waterways of Mobile. I love driving down Government Street in Mobile Alabama with the road canopied by the live oak trees. I love being able to buy boiled peanuts at a gas station.

BUT the lack of real changing seasons wasn’t one of the things that I loved about Alabama (specifically Lower Alabama – the southern part of Alabama for all those not actually from LA).

It was (and is) hot in Alabama! Bearably hot in the Spring, unbearably hot and muggy in the Summer, back to bearably hot but still muggy in the Fall, and mainly hot, with a brief moment of cool humid weather in the Winter. So my Alabama self moved to the MidWest and learned the joys of true changing seasons.

C.S. Lewis has a great passage in “The Screwtape Letters” concerning God (The “Enemy” in the Screwtape Letters”) creating humanity to love the changing seasons. He wrote:

The humans live in time, and experience reality successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating pleasurable. But since He does not wish them to make change, any more than eating, an end in itself, He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme.

I love the consistently changing seasons.

When Pam and I moved here we were informed of a wonderful, unofficial holiday that used to be celebrated by the students and professors of UWSP. The first day to reach 50º classes were unofficially canceled (i.e. the students and professors both just winked and nodded and didn’t show up for classes) and everyone just enjoyed the outside by cooking, sitting around outside, and doing what they do in Wisconsin (this usually means drinking). I didn’t understand the big deal at first. After my first Winter I realized how glorious the first 50º actually is. I walked around without a coat for most of the day and found myself thinking how hot it was.

It was a glorious 50º day! Yeah! Spring is coming!


2nd Sunday of Lent Collaborative Message Prep

Last week I posted concerning doing some collaborative message preparation during the Lenten season. Here’s the link to the Google Doc I have set up for sermon research and thoughts for this Sunday’s (February 25th) message.

Sunday we will be talking about Mark 8:31-38

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Babylon Bee Article – Calvinist Comes Forward During Altar Call To Correct Pastor’s Theology

I’m just posting this joke article right here (Calvinist Comes Forward During Altar Call To Correct Pastor’s Theology) in an attempt to say two things:

  1. I am thankful that I don’t experience this much in Tapestry. It happens but it is very rare.
  2. It isn’t just Calvinists that do it.

Anyhow the article gave me a chuckle. Especially the last paragraph:

At publishing time, Johnson had spent several hours laying out a Calvinist view of soteriology before finally leading the pastor in a prayer to receive the doctrines of grace.

See Curling is a Real Sport

Every now and then I get picked on by my friends concerning being a curling. Yes, along with Adam H, Brian O, and Marc M, I am a proud member of the Stevens Point Curling Club. Anyhow the times when I get picked on for curling the general tone is that curling isn’t a real sport. “Anybody can curl.” “No real sport involves a broom.” That’s bogus.

Two days ago a Russian curler at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics failed his drug tested and has now been accused of taking performance enhancing drugs. Here’s an article concerning the accusation.

Now taking performance enhancing drugs is bad and I in no way want to encourage such wrong behavior. I will, however, say that I feel that an athlete getting caught doping in order win proves that curling is a real sport. 🙂

Collaborative Lenten Season

What I am about to suggest is late for the first week and that’s entirely my fault. I didn’t think of this in time.

Let’s collaborate on the Tapestry Sunday morning worship gatherings. We’ve done this before and it was excellent.

Here’s what it will look like.

  • I’ve created a Google Doc for each Sunday (and Good Friday) in the Lenten Season. That document has the scripture for the week and an overall theme. Here’s the link to the overall Google Doc (which has each week’s Doc link within it) and here’s the link to this week’s specific Google Doc.
  • I will put my sermon preparation notes into each document and add a few questions that I would like us to consider.
  • I would encourage every “thread” who would like to participate to to put down their thoughts, questions, and anything else that you believe connects with the passage and them.
  • Specifically I would love to have some image and song that relates to each week theme. Something that we could display on the projector (or in person) and play on the sound system while everyone is coming into the gym.

I know this is late for this first week but it definitely isn’t for the weeks following. I’m not asking anyone to put more time into this than they can. If merely a fifth of the people involved in Tapestry put one thought down each week that would be awesome. If it was more that would be even better.

All I ask is that no one makes fun of my invariably bad spelling. I am a work in progress.

My Prepared Self’s Day Was Made

Here’s my possible’s contents.

I have written before about my possibles bag (here) and the four things that I typically have on me for problem solving (here). My friend Eric G tends to laugh at me because of my possible and my band-aide in the wallet, but you see, I like to be prepared. Today I was the one laughing because of my preparations.

Sometime during setup for Tapestry‘s Sunday morning worship gathering Eric & Natalie’s youngest child hurt her finger. Nothing bad, just a small scrap that left a small skin tag. I learned of this because Natalie walked up to me and said she needed my wallet band-aide. That’s right, she knew me well enough to know that I would have a band-aide in my wallet. Day already made right there. So I grabbed my wallet and gave her a band-aide. That’s when I saw how small the cut was, so I asked if she would like a smaller band-aide because I thought I had one in the small first aide kit I keep in my possible. She said yes so I grabbed it.

Here are my four things. Upper Left: a knife, Lower left: a bandage, Upper Right: a quarter, Lower Right: a pen

That’s when Eric, a trained RN, walked over and examined his daughter’s wound. He said, “If only I had a pair of tweezers I would remove the skin tag before dressing the wound. You don’t have a pair of tweezers do you?” He asked this last part with a smile. Why yes I do Eric. Bam! I pull out my keys and the Leatherman Style 5-n-1 key chain tool (which they unfortunately don’t make anymore). There are your tweezers. He started to cut off the skin tag when I thought to ask if he would like an alcohol swab to wiped down everything first. Why yes he would. Bam! I had a smile across my entire very well prepared face.

Who’s laughing about my possible and band-aide now Eric? 🙂

Discipleship = Being With Jesus

Every now and then there is some small, cool point within the passage that I am studying for Sunday’s message at Tapestry that I am fairly sure will get lost in the rest of the message but I feel is fascinating. Tomorrow’s passage (Luke 8:1-15) has one such element that I thought I would quickly post concerning.

In regards to verse 1b-2a of the eight chapter of the Gospel According to Luke “The Twelve were with him,  and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases” Joel Green writes in his New International Commentary of the New Testament “The Gospel of Luke“:

As a summary, this text also introduces more blatantly what has only begun to be apparent in the narrative—namely, the ongoing presence of traveling companions “with” Jesus. Being “with Jesus” connotes “discipleship” 3—an implication immediately born out by the identification of Jesus’ companions as “the twelve” and as women who (as we will see below) embody the meaning of discipleship for Luke. (emphasis mine)

I love this description of discipleship (the process of growing as a follower of Jesus Christ), being with Jesus. Far too often discipleship gets turned into a program. Do this for this, then this, then this. I’ve discussed my struggle with discipleship program before here. When these programs work properly they are a means to helping us to be with Jesus. When they aren’t working properly they become a end themselves, rather than being something that helps us to be with Jesus. We just have to always remember that “being with Jesus” is the means and the end of discipleship.