Nothing Like It

The following is my article for the Buffalo Center Tribune. It was inspired by 1 John 3:1 – the text I preached on All Saints Sunday, November 7. To God be ALL glory!

I enjoy a good cup of coffee. Wait, that’s not a strong enough statement so let’s try this again: I REALLY enjoy a good POT of coffee, or two. There, that sounds better. You see, I am writing this article at 9:30 AM and I have already finished my first pot and now thinking about my next cup, which will come soon. But also, those who know me well know that I am a first-class coffee snob. I have a local roaster that I buy from, and I do not mind paying a little extra for good coffee. I am not rude, though. I will drink what my host puts in front of me, but I am very picky about what adorns my coffee bar at home.

And this coffee snobbery is on display in my office. One sign reads, “Coffee gets me started, God keeps me going”. Yes, there is a humorous truth here but theologically, many holes can be punched through this. Then there is the sign that reads, “C.O.F.F.E.E. – Christ Offers Forgiveness For Everyone Everywhere”. I like this because this has Gospel (and coffee) written all over it. But there is one more sign – one that I almost feel guilty about having, as it is borderline sacrilegious: “Coffee – Liquid that smells like fresh ground heaven”. Once again, there is a certain humor to this but truthfully, there is nothing that can be compared to heaven – not even coffee (yes, I actually wrote that).

You see, as good as coffee is, or anything of this world, nothing can be compared to our awesome God. 1 John 3:1 says this, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…” The phrase “what kind of love” has the sense in the Greek of “from what country are you from”. John writes this because there is nothing that can be compared to God’s love. There is nothing that can be used in this phrase: “[blank] is like God’s love.” When someone encounters God’s love, it is a love that is so different, so foreign that it should lead someone to say, “Wow, you are not from around these parts”. And that is what John is saying here. God’s love is not like the world, yet, we try to show love to one another using worldly ways and then saying that is God’s love. God’s love is shown and known only through Jesus and him crucified for your sins and raised for you. God’s love is perfect and complete. God’s love is pure and holy. God’s love is like nothing the world has ever seen for God’s love makes YOU His children. No other kind of love can do that.

Yes, there are many fantastically awesome beautiful things of this world (coffee), but nothing that comes close to God – who made all those fantastically awesome beautiful things (coffee). From what country are you from? Through Jesus you’re from the Kingdom of God. And that is a fantastically awesome beautiful truth. To God be all glory, always and forever, Amen.

(Blogging) Sabbatical thoughts

It has been a while since I have posted something, but I guess that goes with being on a blogging sabbatical.  Throughout this time I have been checking in from time to time and have been pleasantly surprised with the comments people have still left and the traffic still coming through here.  Thank you for hanging with me.

I am not sure if I am back in full force yet, but I am beginning to think that I am about ready to, at least, slowly ease my way back in (kind of like slowing slipping into a hot tub).  I have missed writing even though it has felt nice to step away for a while.

Now that I am working my way back some may be tempted to ask “what did you learn on your sabbatical?”  I am not sure how to answer that.  It wasn’t so much a learning time than it was a time to recoup; rediscover and re-energize.  Those things I have accomplished…and it feels good.

I do have much to tell you.  And…I have comments to respond to.  I will get to all of those.  So in the mean time, have a very blessed All Saints Sunday as you remember and celebrate the saints that have gone ahead of us; as we celebrate the saints militant (the newly baptized) that have joined the journey and as we celebrate our saintliness that we have been granted through Jesus Christ.  It is indeed a day to celebrate and give thanks.

So as a close friend/mentor used to greet his congregation with: “Good morning sinners…good morning saints“.

Praise be to God always and forever, Amen.