Our Church, Our Jerusalem Temple

Our gospel story takes place in the iconic sacred space known as the Upper Room. Tapping into my inner Dwight Schrut, I say this. Fact: the first Christian church can be traced back to the Upper Room. It is where the first communion happened. It is where Jesus revealed to his disciples the full extent of the resurrection. And its where Pentecost happened. The Upper Room was the upstairs space of a larger home in Jerusalem. It is called the cenacle, and it is still there. Its been maintained well all these years and you can visit it. Why was it important to the first Christians 2,000 years ago all the way up to now to maintain that sacred space so well? Why is it important for us to take care of our church sanctuary? That’s the question I want to look at today. To answer this question we must go all the way back to the Jerusalem temple. The Jerusalem temple was segmented into three spaces.    There was the:   Porch:  Also known as the vestibule. This is where people gathere

The Corrective Lens of the Empty Tomb

  Love wins!  That is the reason for the season, friends! This is the point of this day, this Easter day. Hatred and violence had their day. Friday was fueled by sin, by the evil of ending innocence, crucifying compassion and destroying love. Friday saw God, Love itself, killed, saw the lover of all humanity, mocked, scorned, nailed to a cross, murdered, martyred. Saturday, this lover of all went to the darkest depths, to the underworld and to the epitome of suffering. But today, all that’s finished. He has risen, raising us up in the process. Love has won the final victory.  The ultimacy of death itself has died. The eternity of life is today born.   Might I ask you a question this morning? How do you look at the world? Do you look at the world through the lens of the cross? Or do you look through the world through the lens of the empty tomb?  What do you mean by those questions, Rev Don? What does it mean to see the world through the lens of the cross or through the lens of the empty

Temptations of the Church in the Wilderness

  The American church is in the throes of a wilderness experience. For Jesus, it was 40 days and 40 nights. For us, it is going on 30 years. Authors Jim Davis, Michael Graham, and Ryan Burge describe what this wilderness experience amounts to in their 2023 book The Great Dechurching . They write: The U.S. is currently experiencing the largest and fastest religious shift in the history of our country, as tens of millions of formerly regular Christian worshipers nationwide have decided they no longer desire to attend church at all. These are what we now call the dechurched. About 40 million adults in America today used to go to church but no longer do, which accounts for around 16 percent of our adult population. For the first time in the eight decades that Gallup has tracked American religious membership, more adults in the United States do not attend church than attend church. More people have left the church in the last twenty-five years than all the new people who became Christ

Meditations, Ep. 3: The Way To Take


Meditations, Ep. 2 - Sacrifice of Selfishness


Meditations, Ep. 1: Holding Jesus Salvation


The Stumbling Block Principle & Shame's Cure

I’d like to first focus on our scripture from I Corinthians 8 . It is a fascinating passage. Paul gives us a principle that I think is rather important, one we would be wise to implement in our own lives. I’m dubbing this principle, the stumbling block principle. This is what Paul is getting at: For Paul, no thing is evil in and of itself. How a thing is used might be evil. The results from a thing being used might be evil. But the thing that is used itself isn’t evil. An inanimate object is neutral. Here’s an example – cyanide. Now, we all know that cyanide is toxic, a deadly poison. But cyanide isn’t evil in and of itself. It has positive uses, after all. The development of photography, that process, uses cyanide, for example. Cyanide salts are used in metallurgy for electroplating, metal cleaning, and removing gold from its ore. Apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide. Does that make apple seeds or apples evil? No, cyanide isn’t evil in and of itself. But as Agatha Chri