The Tale of Two Churches

In today’s readings neither Paul nor Matthew shy away from strong  emotions and conflict. Writing from prison, Paul calls the church he planted in Philippi, Macedonia his “joy and crown.” But, as we read on we clearly sense that something in the Philippian worshipping community causes him irritation and perhaps pain as well. Likewise, Jesus’ […]

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Scandalous Grace

There’s a good reason why the religious elite of Jesus day regarded his teachings as scandalous. Their teachings had lost the spirit of freedom in the knowledge of God’s steadfast love. Shackles of pietistic observances and a raft of religious rules replaced the kind of delight in the way of the Lord that King David […]

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We are Lifeguards

It was the fourth watch of the night …the time between 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock in the morning according to the Roman and Israelite … the time when we lift our heads up off the comfy pillow, look at the clock, and decide to sleep for another two hours…

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Giving Yourself Away

Growing up as the only Jewish boy in Sheridan, Wyoming presented its own set of unique consequences for Max Wachtel. One of them was learning how to keep a low profile in the schoolyard. As you can well imagine Max experienced his share of uncomfortable moments in the classroom, but the playground was even worse. […]

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When We are Sent

Prayer is a dangerous thing… I find it a bit humorous, or at least ironic, that the disciples prayed for workers to be sent into the harvest fields only to find out that they were praying for themselves and didn’t know it. They were the ones Jesus wanted to send. Sometimes the answer to our […]

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Bandanas and God

Today is the celebration of The Pentecost. It’s what we might call a Transition Holiday because it is the day that the early believers in Jesus Christ began to make the transition from being Jewish to being Christian. In fact, Pentecost began and still is a Jewish holiday as well as a Christian holiday. In […]

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Writing the Next Chapter

Christ’s ascension reminds us that his resurrection was not the end of the story. At his ascension, Jesus initiates the next chapter of God’s unfolding revolution of grace in a qualitatively new way, and gives a commission to his followers to spread the good news. The disciples would have work to do. Lots of it! […]

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Bonnets and Blue Laws

Times, they are a change ‘in. I grew up on a small farm in a small town. I remember Sunday mornings growing up. I would put on a pretty dress, girls were not to wear pants back then, occasionally I would sport a bonnet and white gloves and a little purse. We were poor, but […]

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The Busboy

The main character in our story today from the book of Acts is Stephen. Stephen, as many of you know, is known far and wide as the first Christian martyr. I don’t know that anyone in Stephen’s day would have labeled him as such, because Christianity had not yet emerged from the cradle of Judaism. […]

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