Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jeremiah 32 - Pent 18C

Sunday, September 30, 2007

18th Sunday After Pentecost

Year C

Jeremiah 32
Jeremiah Buys a Field
1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 2 The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah.
3 Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, "Why do you prophesy as you do? You say, 'This is what the LORD says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. 4 Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape out of the hands of the Babylonians but will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. 5 He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him, declares the LORD . If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.' "
6 Jeremiah said, "The word of the LORD came to me: 7 Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, 'Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.'
8 "Then, just as the LORD had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, 'Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.'
"I knew that this was the word of the LORD ; 9 so I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 I took the deed of purchase-the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy- 12 and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard.
13 "In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: 14 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.'

It is passages like this that cause so many of the youth I was friends with in High School and College to take a pass on the Bible. Too many names, with a bunch of rhetoric, and weights and measures that mean nothing to today's world. And yet, with a closer look at this story it is like so many other stories I have seen lately.

Imagine if you will, that you are a person in South Florida, during hurricane season. When the first storm of the season hits a 4 on the scale, with near certainty that that same hurricane will come plowing through your part of the state. Then, at that moment you run out and buy three houses in your neighborhood, including buying one from a neighbor who had no intent on selling their home. Folks would of course find you to be a sincere mental patient. However, this is exactly what Jeremiah does in this passage. He goes out and buys up land, just as the invaders are outside the door and descending on Israel. What Jeremiah does is stake a claim for the future, taking himself out of the present fear and moving a people forward.

I think of several friends in seminary and others since, who have done similar kinds of things. The people who decided to move into the worst neighborhood they could find , rehabbing the house they bought, showing love to their neighbors, growing gardens in open spaces on their property and showing others how to do the same. Some even went so far as to do some guerrilla gardening - planting gardens in any open lot in the area. These friends knew the same truth that Jeremiah does, that renewal comes from hope. Something better is yet to come.

What hope is yet to come in your time of despair?
-When your bank account is down to nothing
-When your marriage is falling apart
-When your friends and family are dying off all around you
-When promises made are left empty and betrayed
-When your friends turn enemy
-When the shape of your faith is dented by some devastating moment
-When your house is burned down
-When your job is ended and no jobs are in sight

As Christians we have a claim for hope, in this world, even before we begin to claim the hope that comes in Life Eternal. Do not think that waiting for the future of life eternal is the only hope to be had. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly, today, tomorrow and forever. The challenge comes in the call to Christian action. To reach out and give someone else hope when there is nothing to be found in your own heart. This is Jeremiah, Jesus, and so many of the hope to others, when they have none themselves. In doing so, they are able to find greater hope than they could have imagined for themselves. This is the mystery of Christian service, that giving is the greatest way to receive, as long as the gift is freely and cheerfully given.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Seth Godin

Of late, I have been contemplating the power of Seth Godin's advice in
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
I have been impressed at trying to discern the cul-de-sacs in ministry from the lulls and dips that happen.

Then this morning Mark O Wilson posted this blog about SIMPLIFY.
S - Slow down
I - Imagine doing less
M - Make time for loved ones
P - Practice patience
L - Learn to gently say no
I - Increase your quiet time
F - Follow your heart
Y - Yield to life, yield to peace, yield to joy
(from Abbi Zeliff at Swerve)

Good words all the way around.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Early Morning reflections

This morning finds me between Women's World Cup Soccer games, and reflecting on the scriptures and call I have heard of late.

This past Sunday I shared with the congregation at Del Rosa UMC the ongoing call I have heard for my own repentance and the repentance of the congregation. To that end I have asked them to join me in a time of prayer and fasting.

My hope is that the prayers will lead to opened eyes for the sins we have committed individually and corporately, and be followed by repentance for those acts, allowing us the space to move forward into the future God has called us.

Which brings me to the fasting. We need to take some time to show restraint for the ongoing consumption we pursue in our lives, and seek to be consumed by God. In so doing, my hope is that a vision for where God is calling Del Rosa UMC will emerge.

There is much to see and do in this community, all for the glory of God. Now to find our hope in returning to God through prayer and fasting.

As I ventured into this realm of prayer and fasting I began to wonder if this was really where I was being called at this time. And then I found some great amazement at the power of John Wesley's "Experience". Experience for Wesley was not that you had this great experience where God told you go and do something, and you did; at least for Wesley it was not sufficient that it end there. Experience was those occasions when God called you to do something and there was an inward and an outward experience that confirmed one another.

I have had two in the seeking after God in prayer and fasting. I had a lady come to Cluster council the other night with the word from God to pray for rain weighing heavy on her heart. She had been disturbed in her sleep, had been coming again and again to passages about the deserts and the rain, and turning in repentance. I immediately saw this for the confirmation of God's own word of repentance for me. Additionally, I started preparing for teaching Joel this week for our Wednesday night Bible Study. Joel speaks to this very issue of repentance, of the rains being restored to the lands when the people have repented, and that repentance begins with prayer and fasting.

Amazing what following the lectionary can bring to one's ministry, as I sought the background for Jeremiah and the solutions he fostered to the terrible tragedies he foretold for the people of Israel. Peaching the prophets this summer the troubles and travails have been prevalent, but it is the repentance that saves the people time and again.

So I ask you now, will YOU join me in a time of prayer and fasting? Let us awaken the Lord to the promises made to his people, as his people return with prayer and fasting in an attitude of repentance.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Robing Prayers

I got some inspiration from RevGalBlogPals “Sunday Prayer”

When I arrived at my new post three years ago, there in the vesting closet of the pastor was this prayer…

The Robe
My soul shall rejoioce in the Lord, for God has clothed me with the robe of gladness; as a bridegroom has set a crown on me; and as a bride adorns herself with jewels, so has God adorned me.

The Stole
Blessed is God, who pours out God’s grace upon God’s priests, as myrrh upon the head, that runs down the face, the face of Aaron, that runs down the border of his robe.

The Belt
Blessed is God, who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless. God made my feet like hind’s feet, and set me secure on the heights.

The Cross
Jesus says, “Take up your cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)


Sunday, September 16, 2007


Rudyard Kipling has fascinated my imagination since I first heard about Kim's game at about age 7.

Then I read a post by John Santic at Toward Hope that quoted the poem I needed to hear today.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,

If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling

ASBO Jesus

I have loved this blog for some time. Check out ASBO Jesus

Then I cracked up fully at this comic.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

UM Hymnal Survey

Dear Friends,

The time has come for Hymnal revisions in the UMC. We
have all been invited to participate in a survey to
share your favorite hymns and your least favorite

Please take the time to check out the survey, and to
invite your friends to write their own choices up.

I would encourage you to participate in a hymnal
survey being done currently by the church. You can
share your ten most favorite hymns as well as the ten
least favorite that you would like to see removed from
the hymnal.
To participate in the hymnal survey, go to:


Rev. David Camphouse
Del Rosa UMC
3350 Del Rosa Ave.
San Bernardino, CA 92404

(909)882-4118 (w)
(909)915-5551 (c)

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Robbymac writes on evangelism, and uses one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, in style and characters to sift it through.

Check it out.

I would add a comment here:

Robbymac writes,
"Under my tutelage," he pompously began, not seeing Wormwood roll his bloodshot eyes at the arrogance of the young, "the puny mortals have 'decided' that they need to make their loathsome little gatherings focused on the needs of those who aren't with them."

-then steers the story differently than I imagined. Too often I have experienced church focused on the needs of those who aren't with them limited to church members who are "mostly at home".

And: Meetings are the bane of the church, not so much for the basic fact of having them, but that the church (pick your denomination-mine is Methodist) is so steeped in committees and bureaucracies that actual works of mercy and works of piety are set aside. Therefore, kill as many committees as possible, and set people to the ministries for which they have been called.


Uncle Chuck - Charles Wesley

Many of you have heard a sermon on the hymns - those at Del Rosa UMC definitely have - and invariably Charles Wesley gets brought into the mix.

I found it rather amusing that the Lutherans and Episcopalians have more Charles Wesley hymns in their Songbooks than the United Methodists (but my figures may be off a few).

Then in reading through the facebook site for "We Are Ridiculously Methodist" I saw a link for Charles Wesley trivia made into jokes.

Good stuff, great jokes.

My favorite:
Uncle Chuck Wesley wrote between 6,000 and 8,000 hymns, the pilot for "Two-and-a-half Men," and produced "Flavor of Love."


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Charge Conference Preparations

District Superintendent Rev. Adiel DePano of the Pasadena District has asked some questions of the congregations and their members prior to Charge Conference 07-08. Del Rosa UMC has their Charge Conference November 4, 2007, after church service.

Helpful questions for all of us in ministry - lay and clergy alike.

1. What is our church’s mission statement?

How is our church responding to the Great Commission (“…go and make disciples of all nations…”)?

2. How is our church fulfilling the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?

3. Name the church’s strengths, things that are going [well] for us, that can be harnessed and focused toward fulfilling this mission.

4. Name the weaknesses/threats that are hindering the church from fulfilling this mission.

5. Name opportunities; identify growing edges that could spell transformation ministry for the church.

6. What goals are you committing yourselves to in order for the church to move forward?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Total Randomosity

So many of you are aware of the Six Degrees of Separation with Kevin Bacon.

Andy Bryan certainly is, and turned me on to an improbable reality.

I was in a movie several years ago that never made the big or little screen.

"Kiki's Story" was a movie about a young girl who while on a youth group ski trip had a car flip over and land on her, the triumphs and the trials she faced, and the reactions of her youth group.

Originally we were all told that this was being filmed for something like Disney's Sunday Night Showcase. My youth group at Bishop FUMC was the youth group filmed to share in this experience.

The lead was Bettina Rae, and thanks to Bettina, my Kevin Bacon number is 3.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hospitality Today

Welcome to our latest College level course on Hospitality. Some of you may be used to receiving a syllabus on the first day of classes and are looking for some sort of class schedule. Today we are going to start with an introduction, and as an upper level class I am expecting you to go out and do some fieldwork. There will be no papers, tests, or other grading materials. At least none that I am qualified to administer.

Many of you have lived the first introductory level courses in hospitality this summer. Some of you even have graduate degrees, with some post doctorate work in the field, and have taken this course as a refresher. I would be foolish to pretend that I am telling you anything new. All I am hoping to do is provide a scriptural context and maybe throw in a few nuggets to help you as your carry on in your ministry.

For those of you who have never hosted a gathering before, or been the primary caretaker for another person or situation we will spend some time this afternoon in projects to aid your introduction to Christian Action. Doing so, we will also have a chance to discover once again the grace that comes from God, providing the impetus, or driving force for our ministry.

Today we are going to be giving away Bibles at Del Rosa UMC, and we will be helping out one of our sister organizations at the School of Hope in meeting some demands that might otherwise go undone, providing continued support for persons with developmental disabilities. The Bibles are the word of God and the source of our inspiration for doing ministry. So let us go to the text to see what God reminds us is the chief aim of Christian Action, and Hospitality Today.

Hebrews 13
Concluding Exhortations 1Keep on loving each other as brothers. 2Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
4Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." 6So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
9Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. 10We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
11The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
15Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Luke 14
Jesus at a Pharisee's House 1One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" 4But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.
5Then he asked them, "If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?" 6And they had nothing to say.
7When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8"When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
12Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

What does Christian Action require< according to these texts:
-Keep on loving each other
-Entertain Strangers
-Remember those in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner
-Remember the mistreated, as though you were mistreated
-Honor marriage, keeping the marriage bed holy
-Say with Confidence, "The Lord will never leave you or forsake you, for what can man do to you?"
-Remember your leaders, imitate their faith, obey their authority and submit that it may go well for all of you.
-Be strengthened by grace
-Go to Jesus outside the camp, remembering his disgrace
-Offer God a sacrifice of praise
-Do good and share with others, even unto sacrifice
-Heal one another's wounds
-Take a lesser place, that you might be exalted, rather than an exalted place and humbled
-Invite not your friends, but strangers to meals, the poor the crippled, the lame and blind, you will be blessed.