Sunday, May 27, 2007

Proverbs 31 sermon ending...

Well, I preached a sermon on this text a few weeks back, but my ending was bad.
I've re-written it to be preached again before another congregation.
The former ending went basically like this:

This passage is telling you to do X, but you can't do X because you are a sinner, so thank God we have Jesus...

While this statement is true, it wipes out the previous 30 minutes of exhortation, and kind of lets the hearers "off the hook", so to speak, as to their responsibility as those who have been saved by Christ. What I wanted to do to fix it, was instead of saying "You can't do it" - I wanted to positively promote Christ, while not letting the hearers off the hook.

Below is what I came up with, and what I will be preaching tomorrow evening. If it is totally wrong and I'm going to be laughed out of the pulpit, please call me before 6pm and let me know! (hehe j/k)[no really. call me!] {haha, joking...}

After expositing Proverbs 31:10-31, I close this way:

And so the message of this passage would seem to be – “here is the example, now go out and live it!” And to a large part, that is the message of this passage... It is important to recognize that this wise, strong, heroic woman is the example of all the wisdom that is seen in the book of Proverbs. But the debate is whether or not this woman is real... Is this an account of a real woman? Or is it just an ideal? Is it a historical person? Or just another impossible standard to measure myself against and see how far off I am?

I would submit to you this evening, that there is a person who fits this description perfectly. There is a person who diligently meets all the needs of her family; there is a person who cares for her husband so that He trusts in her as in the Lord, a person who adorns her Husband with all that she does, and is His crown – a person who glorifies and fears the Lord, reflecting all her glory back to Him… That person is the bride of Christ – His very own wife to be – the Church.

What? The Church? Yes, indeed! Not because we have done all these things, and certainly not because we have done them perfectly. Not because of anything in us – no charm or beauty that we possess. But this excellent wife is embodied and fulfilled in the Church, the bride of Christ, because that is who Jesus Christ paid for us to be. That is who our Lord and Savior laid down His life for us to be. He gave us His righteousness, His perfection, His perfect life and work, so that we could live the life and be the bride that He wants and that He deserves.

Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Christ, the husband and head of the Church has made you, as individuals and as a congregation, into an excellent wife… He has done the work, and it is finished by His blood – and therefore, because he has called you to be His excellent wife – an excellent wife is what you must now become, by His grace and by the power of His Spirit working in you.

An excellent wife cannot be found. She must be made. She is the one who fears the Lord and knows the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ – she is excellent, and she is to be praised. If you are part of the Church, the bride of Christ, then you are called to be an excellent wife.

Well, there ya have it. Now let me know what you think....

Monday, May 21, 2007

It's Good to be King

I hesitate to add anything to this picture. First, of course, because it says so much on its own... But also because I am so terrible at trash talking. Not to mention the fact that I dearly love most of the Yankee fans who might actually read this post, and would not want to intentionally make them feel worse about the state of their team.

Those of you who don't even know what I'm talking about, the Mets and Yankees played the first of two sets of baseball games against one another this weekend past. During the series, the Empire State Building was lit up in both teams colors. Navy and White on the East and West sides, and Orange and Blue on the North and South sides. The winner of the series got their colors shown solo tonight, which is what you see above.

It was an OK series for the Mets in general, who played just well enough to win Friday and Saturday, and didn't bother showing up on Sunday. David Wright had a great series and seems to be finally free of his early season slump, and his 10 month power slump, but apart from his performance, and that of Uber-Roleplayer Endy Chavez (3 games: 5 for 11, 1HR, 3 RBI .455) there weren't a lot of super bright spots in the series, and the team continues to make rookie pitchers look like Cy Young. Not to take anything away from Tyler Clippard, who was nothing if not brilliant in his ML debut. I knew the Mets were in trouble when the rookie struck out Mr. Spark Plug, Jose Reyes, on three outstanding pitches to start the game, the third of which would have made Barry Bonds look foolish. I was very impressed by the kid who barely looks old enough to buy baseball cards with his own money, let alone be a ML pitcher for the New York Yankees. But the Mets are fine. They won the series and get to play Kings of New York for the weekend. Unfortunately, reality sets in tomorrow after todays off-day, and they go to Atlanta to try and find a way to win a series against the Braves; something they have failed to do thus far this season. They have a 2.5 game lead in the division, and it would be lovely to see that lead expand by a game or three by the end of the week.

And yes, there is a silver lining for the Yankees too. After winning the last game of the series against the Mets, the Red Sox came to town and got spanked in game one. It seems the sleeping Yankee bats got just what they needed from the Mets series to get them going for the games that actually mean something.

My problem, however, is not that the Mets got the Yankees going, or that they did not sweep this weekend, or that they looked flat Sunday night. Like I said, the Mets are fine. They have the best record in the NL, one of, if not the best ERA and BA in both leagues. They are playing well and are just a great team, and I love it. What has gotten under my skin today, is how this series has been covered by the media.

At first I thought it was great. It seemed like the Mets were finally getting their due in a town where they have been the slighted little brother for a very long time. It seemed as though almost every article being written had something to do with the Mets finally coming into this series as the favorite, finally eclipsing their cross-town rivals. Beat writers were openly speaking the forbidden words of a possible Yankee demise, and that this series would be the make or break moment in their season. I thought, as always, that it was a bit over the top, but the fact that the Mets seemed to be getting top billing and some positive attention in their own town pleased me.

However, I realized today, after the dust of the Subway Series had settled, that the Mets were never the story. It was never about how good the Mets had become. It was never about Jose Reyes being the most exciting player in the game. It was never about David Wright slowly taking Derek Jeter's place as the face of baseball in New York and around the country. It was never about the team who has continued to prove the doubters wrong about their pitching and the power of a man named Rick Peterson. It was never about team chemistry, the great veterans, the core of young players and the man who makes it all go, the now Dr. Will-o Randolph.

No. The talk about Mets being the favorite was all a smoke screen.

The story has always been about the Yankees.

I realized today, that no matter how the Mets faired in this series against the media darling Yankees, or in any series for that matter, even the World Series; that the headlines, the back pages, the radio voices would all be talking about and focused on the state of the Yankees. It was all about who will or won't keep their job, who will or won't have their contract voided, and how many games against the Red Sox the Yankees must win in order for any of the above questions to continue to go unanswered. Yes, the sad state of things is that win or lose, the Yankees will always be the story...

On second thought... that's just fine with me. That's just dandy, because the story on the Yankees continues to be the end of a saga... the last, deep and sometimes gusting breaths of a dying giant.

But the story across town is just beginning. It's a story of Kings in Queens. It's fast paced with a strong plot that just keeps getting better and better. And if early indications prove true, it's about to become an Epic.

Let's go Mets.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

North Jersey's Answer to Texas BlueBonnets

In the early spring, a fellow blogger and friend Kyle posted about the bluebonnets in Texas, and how it is prime photo opps for babies... I had him in mind when I took Abby out in our back yard to sit in the fallen blooms of our Cherry tree.

Let me say first that a) I took almost 200 pictures in less than 30 minutes this afternoon, and the reason for that is b) our new camera totally rocks my socks off... I tried to keep my selection small for the blog... enjoy.

watching the falling blooms ... ooo, gravity

Is mommy looking? I wanna eat one of these flowers...

hey, give that back!

Happy Mother's Day Momma!

I love this shot...

and this one...

she has her daddy's furrowed brow...

what a face!

abby is not mean.. it's just bright outside.

our back yard...

Still just fooling around...

The next set will have a lot more pics, and is a more serious attempt to take some nice pictures. This is just me and the bean hanging out watching the Mets beat up on the Brewers.