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Do You Want To Be Made Well?

[I preached this sermon at Nortminster Presbyterian Church in Slidell/Pearl River, Louisiana on May 1, 2016.]

Do You Want to Be Made Well?Text: John 5:1-18
No one heard his cries.
At least, that’s what he thought.
The Bible doesn’t speak his name, but we’re going to talk a lot about him, so let’s call him Reginald, because I’m pretty sure that’s not his real name.
For 38 years (38 years!), Reginald lay helpless, as the world went by day by day.
Even Job, with all his troubles, had friends who came by and tried to help, clueless as they were.
Not so with Reginald: No friends, no mercy, no help.
No hope.
He lay by the pool whose name in Hebrew and Aramaic means “house of mercy” or “house of grace”, and also “house of shame” or “house of disgrace.”
I imagine Reginald felt lots of shame and disgrace. People who feel less than whole often feel ashamed and disgraced.
I don’t think Reginald felt much mercy or grace.
At least, not until Jesus turned turned the world upside down for him.
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If …

The Clothing Catastrophe: A Sermon about God, Belonging, and 1001 New Worshipping Communities

[The title of the sermon was intentionally chosen to look like a Big Bang Theory episode title.] The Clothing Catastrophe
Preached at Northminster Presbyterian Church on February 7, 2016
Text: Matthew 21:45 - 22:15 Well, one thing to learn from this story is this: If you receive a wedding invitation, you should NOT kidnap, torture, and straight-up murder the mail man. Such conduct is… frowned upon.
I think there's more to find in this text, but you gotta start somewhere.
Did you ever wonder, though, why these people would react so violently to an invitation to a lavish feast? Last summer, I got to attend a conference of something called 1001 New Worshipping Communities. (The only way you would not already know that is if we hadn’t spoken much in the last six months.) 1001 is a movement in the Presbyterian church to try to find ways to reach outsiders, outliers, and misfits, and bring them into, well, new worshipping communities.
1001 is not a cookbook for developing new churches…