131020 – Foot LIghts

Yr C ~ Pentecost 22 ~ Psalm 119:97-105; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

We’ve been working on discerning the Needs of Faith United and renewing our vision for the future all through this year. We’ve done workshops, surveys, interviews, and discussion questions. You have generated a wealth of great ideas and a wonderful body of positive feedback. No great surprise, we all tend to like it here – that’s why we come! Our challenge though is to figure out how to serve the folks who are already here better, and discern what avenues of outreach or focus are the right ones for us to pour our passion into in this season of Faith.
Here’s what we’ve learned in a nutshell (keeping in mind that glorious bit of wisdom that says anything you can successfully put in a nutshell probably belongs there!). In the area of Needs you identified two key areas that need additional support and resources of some kind: children and youth, and pastoral care. That’s the nutshell. Figuring out what to do with that information is the challenging part.
Let’s start by saying that the current groups ministering to kids and offering pastoral care are doing wonderful work. What a gift it is to have the passion and dedication of the Joyful Noise teachers and the Pastoral Care team offering themselves in faith. What you identified is that you perceive a need for still more.footlights-title
Our seniors tend to be the ones who have given their lives to the life and work of the church so it’s imperative that we support them when the need arises. We have a great group of visitors. Perhaps we need more of you to take up that ministry? Perhaps we need to create a position of responsibility around that area? Perhaps we need to hire or call additional staff? The need is there.
Same goes for our children and youth programs. Surely we know by now that in order for them to really thrive we need to nourish them with sufficient resources. And to grow and attract more kids we need to invest more resources into that area of our church. But will that be human resources in the shape of many more of you committing to children and youth ministry? Should we create a position of responsibility around it? Should we hire someone? Do we need a second minister? Can we afford it? Can we afford not to? What’s the best way to go about meeting the need? Answering those questions will be a critical part of where Faith United goes in the future. read on

131013 – A Habitude of Gratitude

Yr C ~ Thanksgiving ~ Philippians 4:4-9

“You’ve got a great attitude. His skill isn’t bad, but his attitude is excellent.
That girl’s got attitude! You need an attitude adjustment.”
Sound familiar? Ok, now what about this?

“Man, you got a great habitude! You need a habitude adjustment!”
Have you ever heard that word? As many of you know I love making up new words. When I was trying to figure out how to make a clever message title for Thanksgiving I was playing with the word gratitude, but I didn’t want to use the old “attitude of gratitude” line. Plus I wanted to underline from the Philippians reading that the spiritual life requires an ongoing effort on our part so I came up with the word habitude! Awesome new word! Except it isn’t! It’s an actual English word! I’d never heard it before but it’s a real word! It’s so great; I wonder why this word didn’t catch on?habitude-sermon

Your habitude is your customary way of behaving or acting. It’s the usual activities in your day. It’s your ongoing practice of something. You’re in the habit of doing it. It’s a regular thing you incorporate into your life. A habitude is not just an inkling or a thought about something, it’s the actual doing of it.

An attitude is an orientation, or outlook – your way of viewing or approaching a situation.
A habitude is an expected action – expected because that’s what the person usually does.

Your spiritual attitude might be just fine – you might think good thoughts, and have a solid theological lens to look at the world through, and be generally positive and hopeful in your faith, but if your spiritual habitude isn’t rocking your faith can’t grow. So how’s your habitude? read on

130929 – Storms- Into the Wind

Yr C ~ Creation 3 ~ Psalm 29; Luke 8:22-25

This is the third week in our Season of Creation. We began with exploring the ocean, then turned to addressing the animals, and now we’re going to think about storms. Today’s message is kind of in two parts as we delve into two aspects of what storms are, but I hope by the end the two will have come together to reveal some helpful things about God and our faith journey. We’ll start with the psalm.

The Book of Psalms is more or less the ancient Jewish hymn book which covers a fairly wide chronological time (but isn’t in chronological order) and their many themes speak to vastly different contexts and times. Psalm 29, which we’re beginning with today, was probably among the older ones and it’s suspected to have been written when the Israelites were a minority amid many other ethnicities and religions.praying-kneeling-arms

Many of the surrounding cultures were polytheistic, meaning they acknowledged and worshipped many different gods within their own tradition – things like fertility gods, and gods of the harvest. The Canaanite god Ba’al was known as many things but one of the prime metaphors was that Ba’al was the “storm god.” Ba’al was pretty much the biggest thing going in that region.

Now imagine you are an ancient Jew and you have this unique insight that there is actually only one god, and of course this god happens to be yours! Convenient! Anyway, the suggestion is that Psalm 29 was probably written as a way to express that the Jewish God (YHWH) was the one and only god, and therefore was supreme. Yes, it’s a little bit of “our God is better than your god.” That sentiment continues to this day with “our steeple is taller than your steeple!”

If you were going to write a hymn about God’s supremacy what attribute or characteristic of God would you use?

read on

130922 – Fauna- Into the Wild

Yr C ~ Creation 2 ~ Psalm 104:1-2, 10-31(MSG)

What’s the difference between poetry and prose? How about saying that one tells a story (prose) and one paints a picture (poetry)? Text books are written in prose. Songs are written in poetry? Now the kicker: Which one is true? We may be tempted to answer that text books are true because they’re all factual and proven. But I hope you would admit that songs and poems are true as well—possibly even more true!

Did you trip on that? More true? Can truth be truer than facts? I believe it can! Facts tell us what something is or is not. They are true or untrue. Poems invite us to look beyond the factual. They offer layers of meaning—they offer depth (and if you’ve been around here the last few weeks you know all about how important depth is!). And where there is depth there is more depth, and more depth, and more depth.

Here’s something else to consider. If I gave you a text book and asked you to rewrite it could you do it without changing the meaning or the truth of it? As long as you didn’t alter the facts you could indeed rewrite it and still come out with the same truth.God-Provides

Now think of any song or poem you know and rewrite a stanza. As you change a poem’s words you can profoundly change the depth of meaning—sometimes for the better, and sometimes you destroy it.

Why the English lesson? Because today we’re looking at Psalm 104, and we’re using a unique bible translation called The Message. The Message is a paraphrase meaning it attempts to translate thought for thought rather than word for word like the NRSV that we usually use. read on