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Archive for March, 2014

One of the things that makes the NBC’s televised singing completion THE VOICE so popular and unique is the first round of competition called the “Blind Auditions.”  This is where the judges are seated on chairs that face away from the singers competing so they can’t see who is singing.  Their judgment on the performance cannot be based on appearances.  If they like what they hear and want to mentor the singer to the next stage of the competition, they push the large button in front of them and their chair turns around so that they can finally see the person belonging to the voice. (more…)

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Normally we think of wearing a mask at Halloween, right?

 

But many global celebrations in the spring involve wearing masks as well.  Mardi Gras masks were originally worn so that people could escape the constraints of society and class and be whoever they wanted to be and mingle with anyone they wanted to.  Other cultures celebrate Carnival in the weeks before Lent with masks — sometimes very elaborate ones.  Lent and Holy Week celebrations in Spain and other Latin countries include penance processions and passion plays in which participants wear masks.  Some of these celebrations are Christian; some are pagan.  In any case, a mask can be a festive prop or a dramatic way to portray another character.

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Today’s Gospel contains the very familiar . . . perhaps the MOST familiar . . . verse in the Bible.  John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Because this verse really summarizes the Christian message, it is often used as a shorthand way of identifying Christian faith. (more…)

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tree

Have you ever wondered why God planted the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden?  He created a beautiful paradise – and placed his freshly formed unblemished man and woman into it.  He gave them the Tree of Life and all the other trees in the garden for food. They could eat as much as they wanted!  But he just had to plant another tree – with forbidden fruit – smack dab in the middle of the garden and told them NOT to eat from it.  To make matters even more enticing, we find out later that its fruit was visually appealing and tasty.

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I’d like to begin by sharing with you some crosses I wear . . .

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These crosses mean a lot to me.  I wear them when I am on worship or preaching duty because they remind me of what it is all about and what God wants to be foremost and evident in my ministry and what had better come out of my mouth.  It is all about the cross. (more…)

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The story of the transfiguration is filled with some amazing details.  It practically bursts with elements of surprise and wonder.  The story begins with Jesus taking three of his disciples on a high mountain.  That in itself signals something big is about to happen.  Think of some of the mountain-top experiences that preceded the transfiguration.  Noah’s Ark landed on Mt. Ararat.  Moses received the law amidst cloud and thunder on the top of Mount Sinai.  Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal in a fiery show of divine power on Mount Carmel.  And Mount Zion in Jerusalem became the home of the temple where God’s presence was made known.   Mountaintops provide some awesome experiences.  (more…)

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