The Lamb that Was Slain (Revelation 5)

This is the message I shared at Camas Friends on Revelation 5.

[Painting by Francisco de Zurbarán — “Agnus Dei”]

Fear, Desire for control and Violence are some of the main qualities that tend to show themselves when our lives feel like they are spinning out of control.

When we first learned about our daughter’s allergies I felt all three of these responses. I was afraid because I didn’t know what it meant for our family. What changes would we have to make? What kinds of things would L. miss out on as a kid? How might this affect her emotionally, psychologically, spiritually? What if she was accidentally given peanuts when she was out of view or away from home: could we lose our child to something like a peanut allergy?

Sermons The Biblical

Darkness, Lampstands and Light (Revelation 2-3)


The Lampstands in the Darkness

This past week the American consciousness has been tilted towards the East Coast. Every news source, every line posted to social media, and many of the prayers offered up have been on behalf of those who were injured, killed and/or traumatized on Monday in the Boston marathon bombing.

You may have been like some and couldn’t get enough of the news. Or maybe you felt like you just wanted to get away from it. I swung back and forth between these poles. Although I have to say it’s thrilling conclusion on Friday evening was captivating.

One of the things that Monday did for all of us who live in America was remind us of the simple fact that darkness is all around us. We don’t have to know the motives of the brothers, or whether they were helped by some terrorist network to know that these two young men were draw into a seductive darkness that is far more overwhelming than they clearly understood.

This darkness is seductive because it can pull even the most unsuspecting people into its influence and service.


Revelation 1: From Bafflement to Wonder

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During the retreat I was on last weekend with other young leaders led by Parker Palmer and Marcy Jackson, Parker mentioned that he never writes books about things he knows, he only writes on things that baffle him.

You know the difference?

You never google the stuff you are sure of, it’s only the stuff where there is a little bit of a question or uncertainty that prompts you to look something up. But it’s more than that too: I think he means that those things that come easy for you. The things that you could do in your sleep. Aren’t they often the things that have little life in them? The easy stuff doesn’t really energize us.

It’s the challenging stuff that wakes you up and leaves us laying in bed all night mulling them over. Those things that baffle you, that confuse you, that you can’t quite get a grip on, there’s life in that. It might sometimes feel stressful, it might not always be clear the solution, but I have found at least for myself that it is usually in this bafflement that I come alive.


Into the Tomb Luke (23:50-24:12)

From Ohio to LA

Unless we are dead we are on a journey. Our journeys might be more inward focused at the moment, they might be more about outward changes, but either way life is filled with journeys.

But the best kind of journeys are the ones that cost us something: where risk is involved, where we are stretched to or beyond our capacity, where we are made alive in the the process of change.

In August 2003 Emily and I packed had one of these life-changing journeys when we moved from Ohio to someplace called Pasadena where there is a little old lady who owns a new shiny red Super Stock Dodge.