1/17/2016 Sermon: Resume

The video for this sermon can be found here. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 Last year, when I applied to go back to school, I had to do something I hadn’t done in fifteen years: Write a resume. And do you know, resumes have changed a bit since the last century?  The last one I wrote was to be a strictly one-page deal.  Now it seems to be a manifesto of unlimited size. And what goes onto this mega-resume of the 21st century?  I’m glad you asked.  Open up your Word processor so I can coach you in updating your resume.  I’m serious, y’all – you want to be ready for your next employment opportunity, don’t you? The first part is super easy:  Your contact information.  Name, address, phone number, email.  See?  This isn’t so bad. Next comes your education.  Where did you go to school?  What degrees did you get?  If you graduated with a good GPA, be sure to jot that down.  If you barely scraped by, well, let’s just “forget” to include that part. Then is your work experience.  Rather than go back to that babysitting job you had in high school, you might restrict yourself to the stuff that’s really relevant.  As for me, I left off my stint as a sales rep for REI and focused on my ministry-related positions. After that you can include a list of awards and certifications.  Since most of us don’t get a certificate every day this section can be kind of daunting.  Don’t worry, after this comes the most fun section… …Extracurricular activities.  Some people will advise you to be...

Winter Retreat Sermon: Trash

This is the talk I gave at Winter Retreat with our youth.  You might notice some similarities to a sermon from early December… so “thank you!” to Andrews UMC for being a part of this message!  – Rev. Mary   Let’s talk about forgiveness. Specifically, let’s talk about how we all need some. I’ll admit to you, there was a time when I didn’t really think I needed it.  I grew up going to a church where the first Sunday of each month was “Communion Sunday.”  As we got ready to take communion we’d confess our sins; we’d read something out of the hymnal together that went like: “God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart… …we have not done your will, We have broken your law… …we have not loved our neighbors, And we have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray.” As a little kid I’d sit there and feel annoyed that I was supposed to read this along with everyone else.  Because what if I had been perfect that month?  What if I didn’t have anything to ask forgiveness for?  Sometimes I’d even feel so confident in my non-need for forgiveness that I’d sit there quietly while everyone else read that part – my own little quiet protest.  They might need forgiveness, but not me.  I’m all good. But I was not all good.  I was just unaware; I didn’t see ways in which I was falling short.   That became quickly apparent the older I got and the closer I got to God.  I started to see a lot...

1/10/2016 Sermon: Difference

Luke 3:15-22 What’s the difference between John’s baptism and Jesus’ baptism? John’s baptism is a traditional reading for Advent, so we covered that a few weeks ago:  “He [John] went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…” (Luke 3:3).  In short, repent and be forgiven. Then there’s Jesus’ baptism.  It’s recounted for us later in Luke 3, but many of us have a personal experience with it through a baptism in Jesus’ name – either our own or ones we’ve seen.  At a baptism in a Methodist church, we hear words like this from the pastor: “Pour out your Holy Spirit to bless this gift of water and those who receive it, to wash away their sin and clothe them in righteousness throughout their lives, that, dying and being raised with Christ, they may share in his final victory” (UMH 36). There’s that same forgiveness of sin.  Baptism in John’s name sounds a good bit like baptism in Jesus’ name – and vice versa. So maybe there isn’t a difference.  Maybe John’s baptism and Jesus’ baptism are the same.  You probably know that’s not the case because it’s far too early for this sermon to be done, but let’s pause and consider it hypothetically.  And when we do, we’ll find some clues that tell us that there is a difference to look for, both in Jesus’ baptism by John and in our baptisms in Jesus’ name. First, John was sent to “prepare the way,” as Luke’s quote of Isaiah 40 tells us.  John’s purpose was to get the people...

1/3/2015 Sermon: Baby Shower

Matthew 2:1-12 Thank God for baby showers. During our first pregnancy, Alan and I made the illogical plan to move away from our home and two stable jobs a month before our due date.  As the trimesters passed we anticipated both a baby and becoming a one-income household with a negative cash flow.  It was increasingly obvious we’d never be able to afford all the carseats and cribs and diapers on our own. So imagine our prayer of thanks (and sigh of relief) at the first offer to throw us a baby shower.  I’d be showered with gifts for our daughter, and all I had to do was show up!  Well, that – and make the guest list. This was not an open-invite situation, so I had some work to do in deciding who would be there.  About 90% of this task was so obvious, the guest list practically built itself:  grandmas, aunts, sisters-in-laws, cousins, and best friends (both mine and my mom’s).  The final 10%, though, was surprisingly complicated.  Since every guest is expected to bring a present, a friendly invite can be misinterpreted as an “unvitation.”  If I include Jill, do her sisters want to come?  What about that childhood friend that I haven’t seen in person since my sophomore year in college – will she think it’s weird if I add her to the list? But that’s just 10%.  Before long we got the guest list finalized, excited about all 100% who would help welcome our daughter to the world with clothes, toys, and pacifiers. When the big day arrived I was overwhelmed with gratitude and...