Posts Tagged: "moses"

Coming Home Sermon

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Some background on that song… Coming Home

It was written by J.Cole, Jay-Z, Alex da Kid, and Skylar Grey… produced by Jay-Z and performed by Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy, aka P. Diddy, aka Diddy, aka Puffy… and Skylar Grey in 2010 and by 2011 it was certified as 2x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (which means it had sold over 2 million copies in that year).

In the words of Ali G, RESPECT.

Jay-Z and Kid had gifted the song to Diddy for his album, Last Train to Paris. “Coming Home” is a biographically written hip hop and pop ballad inspired by moments in Diddy’s life—including the loss of his close friend, the Notorious B.I.G.

As it was performed today, the rap lyrics were left out…

However, here is a rather profound line in the rap lyrics…

“It’s easy to be Puff, but it’s harder to be Sean”

It’s easier to be who I’m trying to project myself as, than it is to actually be me.

Dang. There’s some truth.

Benedictine nun Joan Chittister wrote:

Better to walk through life simply and without masks, than to lose ourselves in the pursuit of identities that are purely cosmetic and commercial. Then, at least, we will be known for what we are rather than for what we are not.

Lose the mask, not your true self. Amen!

I love what Father G says… “You are exactly what God had in mind when he created you.”

Today, we’re going to be talking about coming home. Shari and I were traveling in the month of July and it was wonderful and there’s just nothing like coming HOME. That personal habitation, that familiar and familial place where we started and repeated celebrations of the milestones of our lives. Home, where you know where everything is and how everything works. Home, where you communicate in your shared primary language. Home, where comfort and help and healing is normative. Home, where we are most truly and in every way ourselves.

I’m coming home, I’m coming home

Tell the world I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away—all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits—and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home

Our Psalm this morning is quite unique among all the other Psalms because of its noted author… Moses.

Yes, that Moses. The one from lots of pages to the left in the Old Testament. Like 581 years worth of pages earlier. See why it’s so unique to be included in the Psalms that were written by David and the people who served and worked with him?

Unique is good, right?

OK, here we go… Read More

God is at work in your enemy’s heart (do you have room in your theology for that?)

How blue is the sea, how blue is the sky, how blue and tiny and redeemable everything is, even you, even your eyes, even your imagination. —Mary Oliver

This past Sunday I preached a message entitled The Princess And The Basket. Yes, it was the story of Moses and the circumstances surrounding his birth, but I told it with a primary focus on the women in the story… Jochebed, Miriam, Shiphrah, Puah, and Bithiah.

Bithiah (Pharaoh’s daughter) was the one who found the basket in the river with baby Moses wrapped up in it. Knowing he was a Hebrew child (and that her father had signed an executive order requiring the killing of all newborn Hebrew boys), she decided to adopt him as her own and raise him in the Egyptian royal palace.

At this point in the sermon, I said:

God is at work. God is at work in your life. God is at work everywhere. The Spirit of God is everywhere. God’s Spirit is wild and untamed. I mean, you can try to box God up all you want, but… good luck with that.

God was at work in Bithiah’s heart before baby Moses floated down the river. Do you see the significance of this?

It’s crazy. God is at work in your enemy’s heart.

Do you have room in your theology for that?

God is at work all over. Everywhere. God is working down the street, in the bad part of town, in the gang member and the drug dealer, in the embezzler and in the tax evader, in the bigot and the racist and the prostitute. God is working in the heart of the up-and-coming and the… Read More

Something Burning Inside Me

The sermon series “Untamed” I’m currently teaching is about the Holy Spirit. Each week we’re taking a look at one of the metaphors Scripture uses to help us understand the work of the Spirit… breath, wind, dove, oil, water, fire, etc.

This week the metaphor was fire.

There’s something in your heart and it’s in your eyes—it’s the fire, inside you. Let it burn. —John Legend and The Roots, The Fire

Of course there is the famous Acts chapter 2 story of the day of Pentecost: believers gathered eagerly expectant, a mighty rushing wind blows through the room, and tongues of fire appear on their heads. It’s a good thing this fire burns but doesn’t destroy, because, well, you know… church hair contains lots of hairspray.

And then there is the story of Moses in the wilderness doing the humble work of tending sheep for his father-in-law. He’s gone from being a big somebody to a nobody. The destructive fire of vengeance and violence once burned in him—and Moses killed a man because of it. Moses failed, miserably. He lives in hiding, haunted by memories of what was, what could have been, what should have been.

In this place—the place of lowly obscurity—the… Read More

Fumbles, Flops, And Faith Overflowing

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I love how the Bible doesn’t give us heroes of the faith all monochromatic, with Photoshop touch-ups and filters applied—looking all shiny and perfect.

Instead, the Bible gives us heroes portrayed in full color, with every blemish, crack, and stain left in plain sight. These heroes are known as much for their fumbles and flops as they are for their overflowing faith.

They have patina—that green tarnish that forms naturally because of exposure to the elements.

Hebrews chapter 11 lists some of the great champions of the faith…

Heroes like Noah—who trusted God, built an ark, saved his family, and was used by God to start things over. He’s a champion of the faith.

And Noah had a drinking problem—not way back in the day, but actually, this is one of the last things the Bible tells us about Noah. Fumbles, flops, and faith overflowing.

Heroes like Abraham who followed God’s call to pick-up and launch into unknown territory. He went—he trusted God. He’s a champion of the faith.

He also lied to save his bacon. Twice. And this wasn’t years before he trusted God and stepped out in faith—it was deep in the middle of it. Fumbles, flops, and faith overflowing.

This list of flawed heroes goes on: Sarah, Jacob, Moses, Rahab the prostitute, Samson, David…

Their portraits aren’t shiny and perfect. Instead, they are displayed as they are: imperfect and marked by patina. Fumbles, flops, and faith overflowing.

So, what about us?

Are we shiny and perfect?

I won’t speak for you, but I’ll be quick to identify my own patina. I don’t just have fumbles and flops from days long-ago—I have them now, consistently, predictably, repeatedly. I’m a piece of work, and I’m a man of faith. How ya like that?

The book of James encourages us…

Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. —James 5.17, 18 NLT

I hope you caught those first few words of that verse.

Elijah was as human as we are.

Covered with patina.

Fumbles, flops, and faith overflowing.

This so encourages me. God’s not looking for shiny, perfect people.

Instead, He uses the ordinary, the flawed, the scarred, and the stained. He uses people…

People like us.


imagine life overflowing 2013 work no 2