Category "Video"

What A Wonderful World

For the past 8 weeks, our church has been in a sermon series called “Unchained Joy” – looking at the book of Philippians, half a chapter  each Sunday. The most cheerful book of the Bible was written from a first-century prison cell—and it reminds us that despite our difficulties, there is a joy that runs deep.

We have God’s joy in our blood. —Frederick Buechner

The series has come at a particularly “good” time for me personally (good, not in the sense that all is well, but in the sense that the timing is good because all is not well). While walking through some difficult things—betrayals of friendship and painful losses—the “Unchained Joy” series has allowed me to preach to myself as I am sharing with the church.

The most helpful discovery of today has been that right in the midst of my sorrows there is always room for joy. Joy and sorrow are sisters; they live in the same house. —Macrina Wiederkehr

We often create what we call… Read More

Advent Day 5: Deliver Me

Singer/songwriter Audrey Assad has a song that she wrote as a meditation and personal application of the twenty-third Psalm. The song is called I Shall Not Want and is on her 2013 album Fortunate Fall.

From the love of my own comfort

From the fear of having nothing

From a life of worldly passions

Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood

And from a need to be accepted

From the fear of being lonely

Deliver me O God

Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, no, I shall not want

When I… Read More

Lent Day 6… the wind (Spirit) will only rattle you if you’re hoping to stay right where you are

Today’s Lent post is a video. It’s from a series I did last summer—13 weeks of preaching on the wild and untamed ways of the Holy Spirit. This particular message is titled, “Sails Up, The Wind Is Blowing.”

I hope you’ll take the time to watch it. The opening sequence (a prayer) is absolutely beautiful. And I think the message is timely, challenging.

Nobody in the audience says “Amen” during this sermon. In fact, everyone is quiet throughout the message (with the exception of a baby or two). The quietness might be the result of the opening lines of my sermon…

We pastors crave, we want “Amens.” Sometimes we joke about it and ask for them. Sometimes we just straight up plead with the people to give us “Amens.”

There is something encouraging and affirming about it. It’s nice to know people are with you—listening, and affirming what you’re saying…

And there’s also something about it… like, when I’m listening (to a sermon) and I say “Amen,” it’s quick. I mean ya gotta get that out there quickly right after the thing was said—and basically, what it means is, “I already knew that, I already believe that.” That’s something I recognize and it registers right away in my brain, “Yeah, that’s true.”

So, that’s what amen is saying. Like, “Yes, that’s true. Amen. Let that be.” It’s a very fast reaction that essentially means you didn’t learn anything new… because if you’re hearing something you’ve never heard before and you’re processing something that strikes you like, “What???” you’re not gonna shout out “Amen!” because you’re not really sure if you believe that thing yet.

And so part of my desire in this series is to have a few less “Amens,” and a few more, “Whaaaaattt???? What the heck?” I actually want that to be some of our reaction.

I wonder if we can we be open? Is it possible? And will we be?

Is there anything new we can learn? Or do we already… Read More

Crickets

Crickets. That’s what you hear when you’re sitting around a campfire late in the evening. Not the sound of Fox News or CNN. Not the firing of weapons from Call of Duty. Just the joyful song of crickets.

It’s also the description we give when there is absolutely no response to something… when people are quiet. Pastors talk about this often: “When I preached on ______________, it was crickets out there.”

I suspect the subject of living a quiet life with less is one of those cricket-inducing themes in the American church today.

The shouts and hanky-waving and “Amens!” are gonna come with statements like… Read More

Becoming Human Again

The other day I stumbled across a video of Martin Greenfield, “Tailor to the Presidents,” and fell in love…

martin greenfield cufflinks for post
You see, I have a thing for craftsmen and women—people who make handcrafted stuff: rustic Italian bread, wine, skateboards, pottery, whiskey, furniture, cabins, letterpress printing, whatever.

martin greenfield scissors for post

And I also think old men are… Read More

Maybe We Should Talk To Strangers

I’m a typical Seattleite—polite, but in a distancy-kind-of-way. Definitely not chatty. Socially cocooned.

Whenever I read about the Seattle Freeze, I get it… I mean I really get it. But maybe we should talk to strangers.

That’s the conclusion I’m arriving at after watching Kio Stark’s TED Talk.

Here are my favorite lines from Why You Should Talk to Strangers:

“There are… huge benefits to using our senses instead of our fears. The first one is that it liberates us. When you think about it, using perception instead of categories is much easier said than done. Categories are something our brains use.”

When it comes to people, it’s sort of a shortcut for learning about them.

“We see male, female, young, old, black, brown, white, stranger, friend, and we use the information in that box. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s a road to bias. And it means we’re not thinking about people as individuals.”

Also—that description she used, “civil inattention,” um, wow. And ouch.

Her line about how “a dog or baby is social conduit” is funny and true.

I especially loved the part about how “we tend to meet disclosure with disclosure, even with strangers.”

Basically, I’m thinking the Seattle Freeze could use some… Read More