Sunday is coming! “Have you come to destroy us?”

Mark 1:21-28. Epiphany 4B

Have you come to destroy us?” (Mark 1:24)

At some point every leader faces this question. Sometimes it is asked by detractors. Other times it is asked by a leader’s most supportive constituents. Implementing and sustaining change can be incredibly difficult, and most people resist it even when it good for them. That is probably why most New Year’s resolutions have already failed and it isn’t even February yet.

I wonder why this is.

1. Perhaps the goals of change are so far out of reach they seem impossible to achieve. For example, we often say things such as, “This year I am going to lose 50lbs” without a tangible incremental plan to get there. Rather than do what we need to do to lose the weight – we instead lose interest, undermine our best intentions and get discouraged by our inability to follow-through on what we know would be beneficial to us.

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Who are you Following? “Follow Me”

Mark 1:14-20, Epiphany 3B

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1: 17- 18)

This passage becomes a rallying cry in many congregations.  Jesus went to ordinary people doing ordinary things and he calls them to follow him.  The amazing thing is they don’t even think about it!  Immediately they drop everything and they follow Jesus.

When we read this passage we imagine ourselves as the disciples.  We picture ourselves hearing Jesus’ voice and then we drop everything we have and we follow Jesus.  The thought of acting like the disciples and following Jesus makes us feel faithful and committed to the mission of God.

But Jesus is not the only one who says “Follow me.”  There are many people, organizations, and obligations calling out to us to follow them.  Because of this we become confused and we don’t know who we should follow.

We have a choice, we can follow Jesus, and we can become excited and committed to our faith.  Following Jesus gives us a mindset of abundance and we learn a practice of welcome and acceptance.  Or we can follow outside influences that exclude others, have a mindset of sacristy and can tear others down.

Who are you following?

PJ

Sunday is Coming! “Are you From Nazareth?”

John 1:43-51, Epiphany 2B

“Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46)

It is easy to disparage somebody else’s hometown or neighborhood. It is a way to knock people down and not take them seriously without attacking them directly. People believe highly in their heritage, pedigree and credentials. We tend to rely on these things as a way of proving our worth or bolstering ourselves ahead of others. Rather than look to the content of people’s character or cultivate our own, we find it much easier to be destructive.

Jesus shows up on the scene…from Nazareth of all places. Why would anyone take him seriously? Nazareth was a small overlooked town in the backwater of the empire. It was a place no one would expect to produce anything significant or worthwhile. Nothing was expected to come from Nazareth, at least nothing good.

Yet there he is: Jesus of Nazareth.

What will people do when they encounter him? Listen? Follow? Ignore? Dismiss?

What might it take for people to take this Jesus seriously in their lives?

What might it take for us to take him seriously in ours?

PGS

 

 

Episode 09: Interview with Pastor David Hansen

Call to Ministry, Spirit of Joy! Prayer and Preaching

Today we offer you our interview of Pastor David Hansen who serves Spirit of Joy! Lutheran Church in The Woodlands, Texas.  David is a blogger and social media guru.  He is a creative and passionate pastor and in his spare time he is a celebrity blogger for Lent Madness and a facilitator for Church and Social Media #chsocm, a weekly Twitter conversation founded by his friend and mentor Meredith Gould.  You can learn more about David’s and his work in The Lutheran, Church Marketing Sucks, and Church Leaders.  You can connect with David on Twitter, and Facebook.

We talked with David about his call to ministry, his church,  his prayer practice, his view on preaching and much more. We hope this episode inspires you to connect with God, the church and to learn more about yourself.

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