August 23, 2020
Justin Brierley is a Christian podcaster from the U.K. In a YouTube video, he places Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices on a table and proceeds to ask them faith questions. Here are some of the results:
Justin: Google, who created you?
Google: I was created inside the brains of people at Google. People from all over the world helped make me who I am.
Justin: Do you know why we’re here?
Google: That’s a deep question.
Justin: What is the meaning of life?
Alexa: The meaning of life depends on the life in question
Justin: Do you think there’s a God?
Google: I really don’t know.
Justin: Who was Jesus Christ?
Google: Religion can be complicated and I’m still learning.
Justin: Do you have a soul?
Google: I’ll have to ask the engineers.
Justin: What happens when you die?
Alexa: I don’t know that one.
Google (taking a crack at the same question): Hopefully, you plug me back in.
Justin: Is the Bible true?
Google: I’m much better at searching than theology. But I’d like to help.
This Sunday I will preach the final of three sermons around the theme – Knowing Jesus. This week we will explore Knowing Jesus: In the Questions from the story of Peter’s declaration of Jesus identity found in Matthew’s gospel. I hope you will join with me as we explore what is to more fully know Jesus through this story of Peter and Jesus’ encounter.
Grace & Peace,
August 16, 2020
I first met today's Gospel a long time ago in a children's story by C.S. Lewis, part of his famous Chronicles of Narnia.
Reepicheep, the bravest Mouse of all Narnia, loses his tail in battle. As he bows to Aslan, the Great Lion, the King of Narnia, he realizes the terrifying absence of something important.
"I am confounded," said Reepicheep to Aslan. "I am completely out of countenance. I must crave your indulgence for appearing in this unseemly fashion"
"What do you want with a tail?" asked Aslan.
"Sir," said the Mouse, "I can eat and sleep and die for my King without one. But a tail is the honor and glory of a Mouse."
"I have sometimes wondered, friend," said Aslan, "Whether you do not think too much about your honor."
"Highest of all High Kings," said Reepicheep, "permit me to remind you that a very small size has been bestowed on us Mice, and if we did not guard our dignity, some (who weigh worth by inches) would allow themselves very unsuitable pleasantries at our expense."
"Why have all your followers drawn their swords, may I ask?" said Aslan.
"May it please your High Majesty, " said the second Mouse, whose name was Peepiceek, "we are all waiting to cut off our own tails if our Chief must go without his. We will not bear the shame of wearing an honor which is denied to the High Mouse."
"Ah!" roared Aslan, "you have conquered me. Reepicheep, for the love that is between you and your people, you shall have your tail again."
This Sunday I will preach the second of three sermons around the theme – Knowing Jesus. This week we will explore Knowing Jesus: In Them from the story of the Canaanite Woman’s Faith found in Matthew’s gospel. I hope you will join with me as we explore what is to more fully know Jesus through this story of a Canaanite woman and Jesus encounter.
Grace & Peace,
August 9, 2020
For Florida high school seniors Tyler Smith and Heather Brown, deliverance came in the form of a boat named “Amen.”
Just before Easter, 2019, they were with a group of classmates celebrating their senior skip day from Christ’s Church Academy with a day-trip to Vilano Beach. The two of them saw an island and decided to try swimming toward it.
A strong current took them out to sea. They thought they’d try to swim back toward the St. Augustine Lighthouse, but that proved impossible.
“We started to realize we were getting further away from the lighthouse rather than getting closer,” Smith told CBS News. “That’s when we started to freak out.”
“This current pushed us so far we couldn’t do it,” Brown added. “At that point, we knew we were in trouble.”
Exhausted and desperate, they linked arms and floated together. As they floated, they prayed for help. “When we linked arms, we honestly cried out to God, ‘If you’re out there, please send something to save us,’” Smith said. Around 30 minutes later, a boat en route from South Florida to New Jersey spotted them.
“It came out of nowhere,” Brown said. “When I saw it, I knew we were getting out of here.” At that point, her first thought was, “God is real.”
The crew hauled them in and gave them blankets to warm up. Captain Eric Wagner had a surprising yet fitting revelation for the teens: the boat’s name is the “Amen.”
Smith said Wagner felt “God sent him there.”
This Sunday I will preach the first of three sermons around the theme – Knowing Jesus. This week we will explore Knowing Jesus: In the Seas from the story of Jesus walking on water in Matthew’s gospel. I hope you will join with me as we explore what is to more fully Jesus through this story on the seas.
Grace & Peace,