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The Weekly Word for June 26, 2016

Luke 9:51-62

51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53 but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 Then they went on to another village. 57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”


Sermon: “Give up, people!”





As my family and I return from our road trip,


it’s great timing that we as a congregation begin a new road trip together.


And our tour guide is Jesus Christ.

Weekly Word for June 12, 2016

Luke 7:36-8:3

7:36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” 41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”


Sermon: “Do You See What God Sees?”

Let me start off this morning by talking about my dad.

My dad loved people.

In all my life, I never heard him say anything bad about anyone.

Except one person.


In the early 80’s the Braves had an announcer named John Sterling.

Sterling now works for the New York Yankees, but back then he was part of the Braves Radio and Television team.


And my dad could not STAND him!


“This guy is lousy.”

“This guy is horrible.”

“This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

And this was still during the pre-game!


Well one night, my dad was on an extra long Sterling tirade when I finally spoke up and said, “But, Dad. At least he’s trying!”


After that, my dad never said a bad word about John Sterling.

He may have THOUGHT of it, but he never said it.


Since then, on more than one occasion my dad told me how much those words helped him SEE John Sterling in a different light.

My dad no longer saw an announcer.

He saw a human being.


You know, we base a lot of our opinions on people on first sight.


If they LOOK dangerous, they ARE dangerous.

If they LOOK crazy, they ARE crazy.

If the LOOK evil, they ARE evil.


This morning in my opinion, our Gospel is addressing how we see people.

And how God sees people.


This week we are invited to a dinner party.

A very interesting dinner party.


The guest of honor is Jesus.

Over the past two Sundays Jesus has been on a roll.

He healed a Roman Soldier’s slave.

He brought back to life a widow’s only son.

He has preached, taught, and shown the people in different towns what it looks like to be a disciple of God.


So now Jesus is invited to a dinner party by of all people, a Pharisee named Simon.


I have always found this dinner strange because when we read of the relationship between Jesus and the Pharisees, it’s not a real good one.


The Pharisees are Jesus’ harshest critics.

They don’t understand what Jesus does.

Or WHY he does them.


They can’t believe the number of Jewish laws Jesus breaks.

They just don’t get this guy!


And clearly Simon doesn’t as well.

Now I don’t really know if Simon was a friend or a foe of Jesus.

I don’t know if Simon genuinely wanted to hear more of Jesus’ teaching, or if he wanted to trick Jesus.


But one thing I do know about Simon.

He could be a jerk when it came to other people.


The way he talks about the woman and Jesus shows says to me that Simon had trouble seeing others as actual people.


Now, if Simon were here to defend himself, he would point out the reasons why he was talking down to the woman.

First off, she was a party crasher.

She was not invited to this dinner.


Then the woman pours oil over the feet of Jesus, unbinds her hair, and uses her hair to wipe his feet that are now saturated with oil and her tears.


She weeps and kisses the feet of Jesus.


The whole time, the woman does not give us any indication of why she is doing this.


Whether or not this woman was a sinner, her actions were considered scandalous.


Aside from the fact that she crashed the party, a woman would never have uncovered her hair before strangers. Nor would she have touched a stranger’s feet.


I can only imagine what was going through Simon’s mind when this woman enters his life.


And yes he is appalled.

But he’s appalled not only by the actions of the woman, But by the INACTION of Jesus!


“How can this man call himself a prophet and let THAT kind of woman touch him?!”


Simon says this to himself, not out loud, but Jesus being Jesus addresses Simon’s complaints.



Jesus asks a very simple yet DEEP question that we all need to ponder:

“Simon, do you see this woman?”


Now Simon is probably expecting Jesus to go to town on this woman.


After all, Jesus is a Rabbi. He knows the law.


But Jesus doesn’t talk about the woman’s sins or her offenses.


Jesus talks about SIMON’S offenses.


The proverbial shoe is on the other foot.


Jesus says:


“The woman gave me water.

Did YOU give me water?

She gave me a kiss.

Did YOU give me a kiss?

She anointed my head with oil.

Did YOU anoint my head with oil?”


These three acts were normally performed by the host of the dinner party.

The woman did what Simon was supposed to do!


She acted more like a host than SIMON did!

And it’s SIMON’S house!


I wonder how many times Simon saw a woman, or a person, like this in his life.

I wonder how many times Simon saw a sinner and then ignored that sinner.


I wonder how many times a sinner WANTED Simon to see them, to help them,

To forgive them.

And yet Simon never did.


But Jesus did.

Jesus saw this woman.

And he saw more than a sinner.

He saw a forgiven sinner.

Someone is living out a forgiven life.

Someone who showed great love.


While Simon only saw PART of the picture, Jesus saw the WHOLE.

Which is what makes him Jesus our Savior.

He can see us for all we are.

And all we can be.


And for us today, I want us to work on the times we act like Simon.

The times we see and judge without knowing the full story of the person or people we judge.


I want us to listen and hear when others help tell us the full story.


Others like my wife, Kristen, who helped tell a better story years ago.

The two of us were out shopping one night, and I happen to see someone park in a handicap parking space.

Now, this person had a handicap tag.

But then he got out of his car and walked into the store.

And I got mad.


Growing up with a parent who had polio, a man who had to work at every step he took with the help of crutches and then a scooter, I know how precious those spots are.

And here was someone who looked healthy in that spot.


I said to Kristen “How dare that person park there?!”


But thanks be to the Good Lord Kristen rebuked me.


In a very loving way.


She said, “Just because that person can walk doesn’t mean he isn’t sick. He could be undergoing rehab or maybe chemo. You don’t know.”


She was right.

She was absolutely right.


I SAW someone who looked healthy.

And I SAW someone who looked like he didn’t deserve that tag.


But Kristen saw that person in a different light.

And then so did I.


I had a chance to share that story with my dad and I could tell he was thinking back to the night I stood up to John Sterling.

And he was smiling at me saying, “Aha! NOW you know how I felt!”


Since that rebuke of love, I have seen and met a lot of people who have tags that can walk and move, but they are in pain, they are battling other illnesses.


I got to hear their stories.


It doesn’t take long before we sound a LOT like Simon.


And sometimes…well a LOT of times…we need to hear some Jesus.


We need to hear some correction.

We need to SEE who Jesus sees.


And today I invite all of us to look at people the same way God looks at them.

Not as sinners but as people.

People with stories.

Stories filled with hurts




Let us learn these stories.


Let us learn to see again.







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Weekly Word for June 5, 2016

Luke 7:11-17


11 Soon afterwards[a] he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12 As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus[b]gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” 17 This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.


Sermon: “The God Who Cares…Even When We Don’t”



This morning our Gospel lesson is another story that can only be found in Luke.


It is another story where Jesus heals someone. (more…)

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