(Click here to watch a video of the sermon.)
In 1577, British explorer, Martin Frobisher, made his second voyage across the ocean to the New World, landing in Canada. While there he discovered what he thought was gold. After mining 200 tons of the gold ore, he placed them on his ships and returned England. The initial assessment of his discovery was positive. He made a third journey across the ocean. This time he brought back 1,300 tons of the gold ore. However, after years of smelting, it was realized that what he had discovered was not gold. Rather, it was iron pyrite, and was only good for starting fires, by hitting a rock against it, causing a spark. What he thought was gold was actually a type of “flint.” Frobisher’s discovery became known as “fool’s gold,” something that has the appearance of value, but in reality, is worthless. Now, however, pyrite is used in lithium batteries. Who’s the fool now? Continue reading
(For a video of this sermon, click here.)
Those who know me, know I love scuba diving. Over the years, I have used scuba diving for sermon illustrations and object lessons. I’ve even been known to scuba dive in a baptistry. Every year, around this time of year, I start getting the yearning to go diving. March is usually the month for my first dive of the year.
I have a bucket-list of places I would like to dive. The Red Sea, the Galapagos Islands, and the Bonne Terre mines in Missouri are on the top of that list. But number one on my list is the Silfra fissure in Silfra, Iceland. Located in the glacier filled Lake Thingvellir (think-ve-nir), the fissure is actually a crack in the earth, separating the North American continent from the European continent. As you swim through the crack, in 40-degree water, you can actually touch North America with one hand and Europe with the other hand. How cool is that! Diving between two continents! Two worlds, so to speak. If you get thirsty on your dive, which you will, the water in the lake is the most pristine on earth. At any time during the dive, you can take a drink. Pretty neat! With depths between 20 to 60 feet, Lake Thingvellir (think-ve-nir) is the only place on earth where you can stretch your arms and touch two worlds. I think that would be awesome! Continue reading
“It’s not a gun problem. It’s heart problem.”
If I hear that one more time I think I am going to scream!
It’s not that I don’t agree with that sentiment, I do. It’s just it comes across as sanctimonious. After all, we never say…
“It’s not an adultery problem. It’s a heart problem.”
“It’s not a drug problem. It’s a heart problem.”
It’s not an unwanted pregnancy problem. It’s a heart problem.”
All are as equally valid as “It’s not a gun problem. It’s a heart problem.” Continue reading
(For a video of this sermon click here)
According to Greek Mythology, Midas was a king of great fortune who ruled the country of Phrygia, in Asia Minor. He had everything a king could wish for. He lived in luxury in a great castle. He shared his life of abundance with his beautiful daughter. Even though he was very rich, Midas thought that his greatest happiness was provided by gold.
One day, Dionyssus, the god of wine and revelry, passed through the kingdom of Midas. While there, he granted the king one wish. Midas thought for a while and then said, “I wish that everything I touch becomes gold.” After warning the king of the dangers of his wish, Dionyssus consented, and from that day forward, everything he touched turned to gold. He extended his arm touching a small table. Immediately the table turned into gold. Midas jumped with happiness! He then touched a chair, the carpet, the door, his bathtub, another table, and so he kept on running in his madness all over his palace until he got exhausted and happy at the same time! Continue reading
Posted in Sermon
I was asked recently to write an article for a special insert of my local newspaper for Black History Month. I was asked to write my thoughts about the church and race. The article was printed, but I can’t find it online, so I have reprinted it here. I would be very interested in your thoughts.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to serve on a panel about racial relationships in our city. The first questioned asked was, “On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being bad and 10 being good, where would you place race relations in Franklin?” No one wanted to answer that question. After a long pause, everyone looked to me, and so I said, “I would give it a 6.” I then went on to explain how, while our city has a persona of being beautiful, just below the surface are serious problems. Gentrification is destroying historically black neighborhoods. Our city is growing by leaps and bounds. Yet, the number of African-Americans is declining significantly. Furthermore, a high number of African-Americans in our city live below the poverty line, and a high number of our jail population are people of color. The fact is, even though the traditionally black communities are all within walking distance of downtown, very few African-Americans visit downtown. Last but not least, most of our churches are still segregated. While things might be better than in 1989, when I moved to Franklin from Nashville, we still have a lot of work to do. Continue reading
(For a video of this sermon, click here.)
Years ago, I read a book by Dr. Erwin Lutzer titled, Hitler’s Cross (1998). In the book, Dr. Lutzer, who at time was Senior Pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, described how Adolf Hilter used the church in Germany to advance his agenda. Unbelievably, throughout much of Nazism, the church was Hitler’s leading advocate. And not just any church. It was the Germany Evangelical Church, led by Ludwig Muller! Eventually a group of believers, including Martin Neimoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, broke from the Germany Evangelical Church and formed the Confessing Church. For this, “act of treason,” Neimoller spent eight years in a concentration camp and Bonhoeffer, after spending two years in a concentration camp, was hanged on April 9, 1945. On the back of the book’s jacket, the publisher wrote, “Hitler’s Cross is the story of a nation whose church forgot its primary call and discovered its failure too late.” Continue reading
Have you ever wondered why the universal medical symbol is a staff with a snake wrapped around it? I thought it was rooted in the story of the bronze snake in Numbers 21:1-9. In that story, the Israelites, became impatient in their wilderness journey and complained, saying to Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” (Numbers 21:5) Sounds like your children in the middle of a long road trip, doesn’t it? In response to their complaining, God sent poisonous snakes into their camp, killing many people. As a result, the people repented. God then, instructed Moses to “Make a snake and put it on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live” (Numbers 21:8). Thus, the snake on the pole symbolizes healing, and that is why it has been used as a symbol for healing. Continue reading