July 26, 2020
I ran across this great story about prayer from Guidepost Magazine a few years ago and wanted to share it with you this week.
"While growing up I often wondered what it would be like to have a father to play basketball with. My parents had abandoned me at age nine and I was raised by an aunt. She tried to steer me into a godly life, but despite her best efforts, I landed in prison. There, I often found myself yearning for the life and the father I never had.
One evening during recreational period I walked out into the yard. I needed to stretch my legs to dissipate the tension that came from being locked in a 10-by-12-foot cell. As I walked I tried to recall some of the prayers my aunt had taught me, and certain Bible passages, but nothing would come. Is it too late for me? I wondered. Circling the track, I passed the basketball court and stopped. As I bent down to pick up a stray ball, an inner voice seemed to speak: Joseph, your prayers are required, but I want you to talk to me as you would talk to a friend.
I threw the ball in the direction of the basket. Swish, it went through the net. Not bad. I began talking to God. Just talking, as if to an old friend. Nothing fancy. I sensed the more I talked, the more he listened. I poured my heart out, all the while shooting baskets. Swish, I made some very good shots. It had been a long time since I had played ball. It felt good.
That night I lay on my cot, warmed by a comforter of pure joy. I had always wondered how a kid felt playing ball with his father. Now at age 33, I knew."
This Sunday I will preach the second of two sermons around the theme - A Kingdom View. This week we will explore the Treasure from the other parables in the 13th chapter of Matthew’s gospel. I hope you will join with me as we explore where the real treasures are to found from a Kingdom View.
Grace & Peace,
July 19, 2020
Ludwig van Beethoven was a silent son. He was severely abused as a boy by his alcoholic father, and he had an alcoholic mother who was sent away to a cloister. He suffered many of the emotional and physical injuries common among silent sons. Yet he functioned, survived, and thrived in spite of his past. Even now, his work survives him and adds great beauty to this world.
Beethoven expressed himself through his music. He allowed his creativity to flow, even though he was constantly plagued by his past. He himself struggled with alcoholism and other problems, but he went on to become one of the world’s greatest composers.
The worst thing that could have happened to a composer happened to Beethoven. He eventually went deaf as a result of the beatings he received from his father. He lived in silence, but this did not stop him from expressing himself. Instead of feeling bitter or angry, he reached inside himself and continued to write music. In spite of all that happened to him, he was still able to find beauty in this world and, more importantly, in himself.
He was able to rise above his past and reach his potential. He was not to be denied. He composed by listening to his inner music. He composed by listening to himself. His last work was the Ninth Symphony and it was in this symphony that this deaf silent son who knew pain, addiction, and despair included the immortal work “Ode to Joy.”
This Sunday I will preach the first of two sermons around the theme - The Kingdom View. This week we will explore "Messiness" through the parable of the weeds found in Matthew. I hope you will join with me as we explore how to grow into wheat in spite of the weeds that may surround us.
Grace & Peace,