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Showing posts from February, 2017

Why Follow Jesus?

When I was getting ready to graduate from college and go off to seminary, my father sat down with me one day and offered me the chance to take over the nonprofit ministry he had started almost thirty years before. I would have had a steady income, the opportunity to lead a significant Christian ministry, and the freedom to take it in new directions. But I wasn’t sure that following in my father’s footsteps in that way was what God wanted me to do. So I told my father I wasn’t sure. After graduating from seminary, I started into parish ministry and have never looked back. I do not know how many generations in Simon and Andrew’s, or James and John’s family were in the fishing business. However, I imagine it was quite a few. There must have been great pressure on them to carry on the family tradition, if only to make a living. But they did not. They chose to follow a different dream, the dream of God’s kingdom. Mark tells us about that in Mark 1:14-20…. Now after John was arrested, Jesus c…

Identification

Funny things sometimes happen in church, especially surrounding special ceremonies like baptism. When I baptize young people or adults, I usually like to use a lot of water because it is supposed to be a visible sign of invisible grace. I remember one time when I was baptizing a group of four siblings. When I came to the youngest, whose name was Ryan (meaning “little king”), he had already seen how much water I could hold in my hand and pour over the heads of his brothers and sister. Therefore, when I scooped a big handful of water out of the baptismal font and poured it on his head, he quickly moved his tie to one side so that it would not get wet as the water descended. He was smiling as he did this and it brought a big smile to everyone in the congregation. Baptisms are joyous times. I think Jesus’ baptism also must have been a joyous time. Let us see what Mark has to say about it in Mark 1:9-13…. In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jorda…