First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Daniel and I had a very, very, very important conversation on Friday night.

Son to father and father to son, it may have been a top ten conversation in our relationship concomitant to our holy communion in/through/for Jesus.

While there's a context not relevant to anyone but him et moi, he said, "Dad, you're always changing."

I said, "That's because there's always room for improvement in my life and ministry."

I added, "Besides, I'm not among the walking dead...[Parenthetically, Revelation 3:1-6 comes to mind]...I really believe Jesus wants us to be new wineskins; stretching and making room for His new and fresh blessings to experience Him and His and...Jesus said, 'Behold, I make all things new'...Yeah, I'm always changing...While I've made mistakes and do make mistakes and will make mistakes, I try not to miss out on the new and improved ways that He..."

Hope you catch the drift!

I thought about that while worshipping with another part of His family on Sunday while solo-celebrating...

That messenger/undershepherd really tries to be faithful; and I liked what he had to say as he preached on Matthew 6:12: "Forgive us our sins...[He didn't use 'debts' or 'trespasses' which have been vocabulary idols for...] we forgive those who sin against us."

Parenthetically, he's a nice guy; greeting me before the service, "I don't think I've ever seen you..."  Of course, that's not hard to notice because there were only 11 people there.  Reminding me of people who don't get it/Him in every church, I was saddened by two comments that I overheard: "I'm not in your spot!  Don't get so worked up about it!  I know that's your seat!"....[Again, there were 11 people in a sanctuary for about 500!]..."Why does he have to preach from that little music stand?  Why doesn't he use our beautiful pulpit?"...[Whoa!  SOSO!  Idolatry!  And we ain't gonna ever use ours again unless I'm assassinated or get Grandpa Jacob's cancer!  We need the space for our children, musicians, and to put an end to the idolatries that distract from...Really, if that's what...Sell 'em!...O.K. wait for the next guy/gal!...Got 20 years?  A child wrote to me on my birthday: "Don't let anyone replace you!"  I saw a new family after worship on Sunday who looked concerned and asked, "You're not thinking of leaving us, are you?  We get nervous when you're not there!"  I reminded all that my call is deeper, broader, and longer than my enemies and their idolatrous friends would...Or as I added, "That's right!  By God's grace, we took the church back from them with the help of the reborn, renewed, and recent and, together, we gave it back to Jesus!"]...

Anyway, getting back to the message and Daniel, I've decided to change again!

Checking the Greek and several translations/paraphrases and remembering the next generations who don't speak the Shakespearian/Elizabethan English of the 16th century (KJV), I'm really thinking/entertaining and praying about replacing those "debts" and "trespasses" with "sins" because I think that's easier to explain/understand/communicate to...

If I have the guts/faith/compassion to do that for those who want increased intimacy with Him through common language, I'll probably get some letters and banters and moans about it from the language/liturgical/architecture/furniture/meaningless-in-the-end-stuff police/idolaters...but the way that I figure it, I'm called to help folks get into a real, authentic, somewhat-understandable-despite-the-many-mysteries, and enduring relationship with Him without the detours/distractions/idolatries/religion.

Why do we continue to defy Jesus who warned about elevating human stupidities aka traditions to the commandments of God?

Matthew 15 and 23.

I may do it.

I may not.

Don't know.

I'm changing; and I pray those changes are from Him in a Romans 12:1-3 kinda way.

Confessionally, I don't think of myself as liberal or conservative or Democrat or Republican or Libertarian or Presbyterian or Catholic or Baptist or evangelical or...anymore.

I'm just trying to follow Jesus by the book.

I may fall and fail; but, at least, I'm trying.

Blessings and Love!

P.S. I really liked one of that messenger's last comments: "No one has the power to ruin your life but you!"  Not bad for a guy wearing thousands of dollars worth of religious rags! 

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