On the Trail of Gratitude and Generosity, Part 2

There’s nothing like a good hike, except when you get lost. One of my favorite memories from when I was a kid was going to Camp Cedar Lake (not really, but lies aren’t lies if they are in a blog).  Camp Cedar Lake was a Christian camp with all the normal camp things—shooting rifles, making cheap crafts, swimming, canoeing (which often turned into swimming) and a hike up a mountain. Thinking about it now, I doubt it was much of a hike or a mountain; but as a 9-year-old, both were epic. Our guide up the mountain was our cabin counselor. Now generally, one would not entrust one’s life to a 17-year old who couldn’t find any better paying summer job than at a church camp, but entrust ourselves we did. And so, up the mountain we went; and before we knew it, we arrived at the top. As advertised,

On the Trail of Gratitude and Generosity

Please forgive me, but I am going a little crazy. There are two trails in Patapsco State Park near our house. Let’s start at the Thru Trail. You turn left, go between the roots of two gigantic fallen trees, go left at the intersection, take the ridge path overseeing the river, walk over this rocky area, wander a bit in the woods and then turn left at the marked tree. Easy. I’ve done it many, many times. Now, let’s do it backwards. Start off at the same marked tree, follow the trail, take the rock steps (which, yes, is different from the rocky area), go up the hill to the right, zig zag a bit, get a little lost, turn right, and bingo, bango you’re walking between the two huge roots.  Same starting points. Same ending points. But for the life of me, I don’t know where they connect. Somehow,

A Community of Wisdom

This sermon is based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. SERIES OVERVIEW: There’s a lot of talk out there about what the purpose of the church truly is. Some say mission. Some say worship. Some say justice. Some say teaching. Some say this and some say that. But enough talk. Let’s listen. Years ago, C.S. Lewis wrote: “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.” And there it is: The purpose of the church is to form people into little Christs. But how does that happen? It begins in community, and it begins with the cross. Here’s the hope of the church, even if it wasn’t said by a theologian. Dr. Seuss said: “It’s not about

A Community of Mission

This sermon is based on 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. SERIES OVERVIEW: There’s a lot of talk out there about what the purpose of the church truly is. Some say mission. Some say worship. Some say justice. Some say teaching. Some say this and some say that. But enough talk. Let’s listen. Years ago, C.S. Lewis wrote: “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.” And there it is: The purpose of the church is to form people into little Christs. But how does that happen? It begins in community, and it begins with the cross. Here’s the hope of the church, even if it wasn’t said by a theologian. Dr. Seuss said: “It’s not about

A Community of Generosity

This sermon is based on 2 Corinthians 8:1-9. SERIES OVERVIEW: There’s a lot of talk out there about what the purpose of the church truly is. Some say mission. Some say worship. Some say justice. Some say teaching. Some say this and some say that. But enough talk. Let’s listen. Years ago, C.S. Lewis wrote: “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.” And there it is: The purpose of the church is to form people into little Christs. But how does that happen? It begins in community, and it begins with the cross. Here’s the hope of the church, even if it wasn’t said by a theologian. Dr. Seuss said: “It’s not about

The Generosity Principle

Recent studies on giving have not been encouraging.  In any given year, 22.1% of all Christians choose not to give (either to a church or a charity).  In fact, only 9.4% of us give away a tenth or more of our income each year (whether that be to a church, a ministry or to a secular charity).  That means the vast majority of us (a whopping 68%) in any given year give between .1 and 9.9% of our income.  What would you guess the actual number is?  Sadly, according to numerous surveys, most of us in this last category give somewhere around 2-3% (another study suggests that churched people give no more than 1.4% of their income to support all three of their top interests: their church, ministries they value and their favorite secular charities). Now, these results come from national surveys taken of people who have some affiliation to

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