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Kingdom of God

Rules and Values

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Rules and Values

Jesus does not come to give us a list of new rules, instead he tells stories, he speaks in parables, setting up his teaching in such a way that there aren’t hard and fast, black and white, rigid lines. Instead, he tells us stories about how to have values, values that are rooted in love for God and love for people. And here we see, here we hear from the mouth of Jesus that more important than the law of Sabbath is the core value to save life. That’s at the heart of his mission, to love God and love others.

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Here Am I, Send Me

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Here Am I, Send Me

This week we put our hope in political candidate. As a pastor, I spend a lot of time listening.  I have listened and I have learned from those who find themselves afraid and in deep pain. And I have listened and leaned from those who found a reason to celebrate because they have been heard. I have listened to friends and family and colleagues and mentors on both sides of the aisle. And I’ve watched the distance between the two sides grow impossibly wide and the desire to understand the other all but disappear. This week we put our hope in a political candidate. This wasn’t the first time we’ve done this.

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Tension

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Tension

Last Sunday was supposed to be a day of celebration for our community. We received a piano in memory of a member, and it would have been her 100th birthday. Her entire family came for the celebration, and I had the service all planned. I wrote the sermon early in the week. The cake was ordered. The decorations were hung. 

And then two black men were killed by police officers.

And then five police officers were killed.

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Shalom

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Shalom

Of course, no one was surprised last week when Donald Trump said that his favorite Bible verse was “an eye for an eye”. It’s the perfect example of how little people understand Jesus. Last night someone told me that Christianity feels a lot like playing follow the leader, and no one actually knows what they’re following. It’s really felt like that a lot lately, hasn’t it?

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Gender Roles & Pizza Night

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Gender Roles & Pizza Night

I'm a female pastor and people often ask how that plays out in our home. Jeff and I do not live into traditional gender roles. I worked hard to earn a master’s degree and pursue a full time career/vocation, while Jeff has made many sacrifices to be the full time caregiver of our four children. Trading and sharing and mixing our gender roles isn’t always easy for other people to understand, nor is it always easy for us to navigate.

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When All We Hear Is Bad News

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When All We Hear Is Bad News

One week ago, we woke up to the news that terrorists had attacked Brussels, killing and injuring people just beginning their vacation, on the subway to work, just going about their every day lives. We can’t escape bad news.

It’s everywhere.

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Sheep or Goat?

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Sheep or Goat?

It’s the last week of Jesus’ life, and when you’re reading through the book of Matthew, you can sense the weight. The urgency. The clarity. He tells his disciples, “you are either a sheep or you are a goat.” It’s as simple as that, isn’t it? 

Except, it's not.

Who is a sheep and who is a goat?

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Time to Remove the Filter

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Time to Remove the Filter

Reyes. Inkwell. Nashville.

I love to capture the ordinary moments in life, and enhance their beauty with an artsy Instagram filter. The filters are good at hiding the blemishes of everyday moments and softens the wrinkles of the mundane. They blur the lines in just the right way so that everything glows and everyone who views it will be envious.

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Take and Toss

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Take and Toss

The way our economy works today, it’s much easier to be a minimalist. I don’t have to hang on to things, because everything is replaceable. There’s no sense in paying for a repairperson, no reason to buy expensive parts, or to store things away for a rainy day. It’s trendy and admirable to be a minimalist. And part of the reason it’s so easy for us all to get on board with this, is because goods are cheap. It’s easier to toss things out, than it is to take the time to repair them. 

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Why It Doesn't Matter What Will Happen

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Why It Doesn't Matter What Will Happen

It doesn’t matter what you believe will happen to this world in the end. Maybe you believe God will destroy the earth, or maybe you believe God will restore the earth.* Really, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t want to talk about the dispensation or tribulation or Revelation or any version of millennialism. I don’t care about your political affiliation, whether you’re a democrat, a republican or a libertarian.

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Wineskins & Blue Jeans

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Wineskins & Blue Jeans

When I was a kid, there was always a man waiting inside the church’s double doors. I knew he would be wearing a Christian t-shirt with something about the rapture, and he would be shouting, “Abby, are you on fire for Jesus today?” As he jumped up and down he’d yell, “I’ve been born again, have you been born again? Tell me you’re born again!” I was horrified.

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White Noise

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White Noise

Looking back, I’m not sure how I survived the baby years. I’m just coming out of the throes of 24/7 parenting after five years of caring for babies. My youngest is 18-months-old and all of the baby gear is officially gone. There are no more swaddles or swings, bouncers or binkis. There is just one item I’m hanging on to, because the sleep and sanity of our family depends on it. Each and every one of our babies required a sound machine to fall asleep at night. The crackling static, like a radio dial between stations, signals my brain that the day is winding down.

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