God is great, God is good

God is great, God is good

Exodus 20:1-17 There’s a prayer we say together before dinner at night.  I bet you can guess which one.  I’ll even give you a hint:  we have two small children. Yep, you got it: God is great, God is good, Let us thank him for our food. By his hands we all are fed; Give us Lord our daily bread. Amen. (Optionally followed by:  Dig in!) I’ve said this prayer my whole life… but I don’t think I thought about it until recently, when Anna Carter Florence made mention of it in a book I’m reading.  All of a sudden I stopped to wonder: What does it mean that God is great and God is good? Do we only say that because it conveniently rhymes with “food”? I don’t think so; I think we say it because it means something.  Our God is not small and bad; God is great and good.  And that has consequences.  Consequences not only for our basic beliefs about the Creator of the Universe, but for the way God’s creation (that’s us) is supposed to behave. Do you want to know what those consequences are? Then let’s turn to Exodus 20, more commonly known as the Ten Commandments. To set the stage, God has rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  God has led them across the Red Sea.  God has given them manna from heaven to eat and water from a rock to drink.  Now they’ve arrived at Mount Sinai.  God has descended in a dense cloud, and spoken loud enough so that Moses and all of Israel can hear. And here is...

Why We Go To Church

Revelation 7:9-17 Today I want to talk about why we go to church. I mean, seriously.  What do we get at church that we can’t get at home?  Most weeks, I listen to a sermon on my iPhone.  I can get almost any preacher I want.  Adam Hamilton?  No problem.  Andy Stanley?  You bet.  Barbara Brown Taylor?  All day long.  Even those not tech-savvy enough for podcasts can get a good sermon from the comfort of their own TV rooms.  Preachers like Harry Emerson Fosdick and Billy Graham have been delivering sermons over the radio and television waves for almost a hundred years. Sure, there’s other stuff we do in church, too – but we can do most of that in our living rooms, as well.  We can pray.  We can read our Bibles.  We can sing (and if not, we can listen to music).  And let’s be real:  it’s work to get up and go to church, and sometimes we just don’t want to do it.  We’ve been getting up and getting dressed for our obligations all week long, and we just want a day to throw on a ball cap and go to brunch. Why bother going to church? I’m a preacher, so you’re expecting me to make a case for church.  And you’re right.  I’ve been convinced that church is important for a long time.  But just recently I did something that convinced me all over again that actually going church is worth the extra time and effort. I went to a college football game. Wake Forest was playing Appalachian State on their home turf in...