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Keeping up with Christy

 

 

 

Preaching at the 9:30 AM service Sunday, October 1 at First Presbyterian Church in Virginia City.


Preaching at the 11:00 AM service Sunday, October 8 at Valley Presbyterian church in Bishop, CA


Preaching at the 9:30 AM service Sunday, October 15 at First Presbyterian Church in Virginia City.


Attending UNCOnference October 23-25 at San Francisco Theological Seminary


Preaching at the 9:30 AM service Sunday, November 5 at First Presbyterian Church in Virginia City.


Preaching at the 9:30 AM service Sunday, November 19 at First Presbyterian Church in Virginia City.


Preaching at the 9:30 AM service Sunday, December 3 at First Presbyterian Church in Virginia City.

 

 

 

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Wednesday
Feb242016

How To Forgive

Photo by Steve Bidmead • Bedfordshire/England How to Forgive Christy helps us forgive with practical practices for forgiving: doing what Christ has done for us.

How to Forgive
a sermon by Rev. J. Christy Ramsey
click the title above for an mp3 recording 

Audio from South Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church on February 21, 2016
Text version is from September 14, 2008 at Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church in Akron, Ohio 

Matthew 18:21-35

Sermons also avaliable free on iTunes

You’ll have to forgive Peter. Peter’s proposal was actually quite generous; most teachers allowed two or three times forgiveness. Peter went all the way to seven. Jesus, sarcastically responded, seventy-seven times, other versions have seventy times seven. It wasn’t a literal number, he was joking to make a point, a number so ridiculously high to show one shouldn’t be keeping track of forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not do math. Love doesn’t keep score. Jesus points this out in the numbers he uses in the story. It is hard to compare money value from Biblical times. Ten Thousand Talents. Now a talent was the amount a man could carry, so imagine ten thousand men loaded up all the gold they could carry. Way over a million dollars, how could a servant pay that back? Our Bible footnote says a single talent was equal to 15 years’ wages. He couldn’t work off 150,000 years’ worth of labor, that was the point. It was unpayable, so his promise to pay it back was either laughable or insulting, depending on your mood. A hundred denarii would be a 100 days labor, for a denarius was one day manual labor. In terms of weight a talent was 93 pounds while the denarius went the other way, it was 1/93rd of a pound. So debt he was owed was a pound compared to 930,000 pounds, or 465 tons that he was forgiven. It is a mind boggling difference in amount.

Jesus was pointing out that we are forgiven so we may forgive. Sometimes when someone is complaining about someone, I think, imagine, God has to put up with that person twenty-four hours a day!  Not only that but God has to put up with everyone I put up with, plus one other, God has to put up with me. If God lets all those people and I go on living without smiting them and me…I guess I shouldn’t have higher standards than God.

Now, I also don’t want to suggest that forgiving is forgetting. Jesus doesn’t have the king in the story give the slave another several million dollars to hold for him.  If anything, the forgiven servant is held to a high standard than others, with the master expecting him to be more merciful because he was forgiven.

Frederic Luskin, Ph.D. has nine steps to forgiveness a couple of them are worth mentioning here. (You can find this and more learningtoforgive.com              

 

  • Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation or condoning of their action.
  • Give up expecting things from other people, or your life , that they do not choose to give you. 
  • Remember that a life well lived is your best revenge. 

 

The website of the Fetzer Institute has practices of forgiveness written by By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat that are helpful for Christians seeking to forgive. Here are a couple:

Another Point of View

Think of a situation in your life where you would like to be forgiven or would like to forgive. Write or record a short description of the situation from your perspective. Now imagine that you are the other person in the situation from that person’s perspective. How are the two stories different?

Just Like Me

Resentments, disagreements, and estrangements hurt all parties because they reinforce feelings of separation. Often we can’t forgive someone until we can see the situation from their point of view. A good practice to encourage this kind of perspective shift is “Just Like Me.” Whenever you find yourself making an assessment of another person, whether you are saying something critical or something complimentary, right after you think or say it, add the statement “just like me.” For example, “My partner is so stubborn, just like me.” “My friend holds too many grudges, just like me.” This activity can help you see that we are all imperfect and make mistakes.

When we shift our focus and judgment from others to ourselves we will find that to which we most object to others is the same things we hate in ourselves. The difference is that we can do something about the way we act and relate. We can change ourselves.

Practice Meeting People for the First Time

Hugh Prather, author of many books of spiritual reflections, considers the steps necessary for forgiveness in Morning Notes: 365 Meditations to Wake You Up. He concludes that “a judgmental feeling about another person is based on the same belief as my fear of making mistakes: I think what someone once did is more important than how the person is now.” Practice meeting people as they are right now, as if you were meeting them for the first time. If their past actions dominate your perceptions, this will be difficult.

God’s very name is I AM WHO I AM or I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE. God is centered not so much in who you were, but who you are called to be. We once were strangers, but now we are the friend of God. We once were sinners and now we are children of God. God meets us again for the first time every moment of our lives as we grow in understanding, love and forgiveness. Better than we were yesterday, not as good as we will be tomorrow.

Most of us have heard of an intervention where a person is surrounded by friends and family and told of the pain and grief he has caused in each person’s life. This is an effective way to get through the fog of denial and the web of lies than keep folks from entering rehabilitation treatment for drugs or alcohol abuse. There is another way

Remind People of Their Good Qualities and Deeds

In The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace, Jack Kornfield describes an African forgiveness ritual: “In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, each recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe.”

Who and Whose You Are

There was a Presbytery executive now retired who ended most of his conversations with the phrase, “Remember who you are and whose you are”. Christians can add to the story told to the person. Now just the story to remember who they are at their best, but the Christian story the love of Christ and story of redemption of God’s people from the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane from Creation to Revelation.

We are commanded to forgive and we can forgive when we remember who we are and whose we are. When we acknowledge how God forgave us, when we write a forgiving end to the stories of hurt and pain we tell and live, when we see ourselves in others and turn to working on changing ourselves instead of others, and when we value the present reality and future possibilities over past failures. This is what God does for us, and what we need to do to others.

 


Transcipt differs from the recording with some exclaimations removed and some patter while I checked my notes edited out.

Transcription done by edigitaltranscription.com Recommend for fast, accurate, and patient transcriptions.

Christy Ramsey. Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

 

 

Thursday
Feb182016

Pointers and Retrievers

 

Photo by Kevin Christopher Burke on Flickr.comPointers and Retrievers Christy takes salvation up a notch, from John 3:16 to 17 moving from me and mine to the world.

Pointers and Retrievers
a sermon by Rev. J. Christy Ramsey
click the title above for a mp3 recording 

Preached at South Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church on February 14, 2016

Based on John 3:16-17

 


Sermons also avaliable free on iTunes

The church has left the building.  Have you heard about this program?  They had it down in Carson City.  Have you ever heard of this?  It’s a program, and I really can’t – I couldn’t find it, where it started.  It might have been the guys’ seminar.  I don’t know.  But it’s a thing where churches cancel their Sunday service to go do Sunday service.  It’s a strange thing.  They give up their worship time, their worship hour.  They have all the people come.  And they go out, and they do service projects.

One church packed thousands of ready-to-go disaster food relief packets so that they could immediately be shipped and give a family sustenance for three days.  And they put it all together and packaged it all up, and that’s what they did on Sunday morning.  Other one went up and cleaned up a place.  Some places fixed up some houses that needed repair.  Just all sorts of projects that they go out, and they cancel service to give service.  They go out from their building.  The church leaves a building and goes out and bes the church in the world.  That is a huge sacrifice.

And I’m not just talking about listening to the choir and drinking the fine coffee and desserts afterwards.  Not that kind of sacrifice.  There’s more of a sacrifice.  It’s not just leading the preaching and the teaching and the singing and the praying.  It’s the offering.  There’s, like, two people here at least that were doing that math already.  Wait a minute, they didn’t get an offering on Sunday? That is a big thing.  Because the offering doesn’t go to the church that Sunday.  The offering goes to the world. The church has left the building.  It’s a hard program.  Carson could only stand it for, like, two or three years, and then they, they switched it to Saturday.  It’s hard.  It’s hard to leave the building, to give that all up, to give up our service for service to the world.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking.  Like you think, every time I preach, what in the world does that title have to do with what he’s talking about?  Pointers and retrievers?  Valentine’s Day?  I thought he was going to go with puppy love.  Darn, we missed it again.  Pointers and retrievers is about stores I’ve been to, churches I’ve served, and people I know.  It comes down to pointers and retriever.  And you know this.  You just haven’t thought about it.

Pointers and retrieve – have you ever gone to a store and asked for something, for, A, find someone, A; and then, B, ask for it.  Where is this?  And what do you get?  Do you get a point?  Over there?  That’s where they should be?  It’s where they used to be?  That’s where I think it’d be?  That’s where something I don’t like is, and [indiscernible] send him over to you?  Huh?  You get a pointer?  Over there somewhere.  I think it used to be there, should be there.  And you know, if you get enough, you can get a game going, you know, because you get – and then you get closer because, you know, there is no distance in pointing.  It’s just a directional thing.  It’s not how far.  You know, I tried to get a thing, what if we did the fingers thing?  That was a little further, that was way far.  It’s not really going anywhere.  If you could help, I got a Kickstarter project.  We might be getting that going.

All right.  But you get over there, and you get near the place in the same direction, and you get the next sales person, they give you another point; you know?  And then you go that way, you get another point.  You know, it’s like you’re a pinball, you know, trying to hit the target, boom, boom, all over the place.  Oh, pointing.  Then there are some stores, some stores, they don’t have any pointers.  They got retrievers.  “Oh, I’ll go get you that.  I’ll get you that.  Wait right here.”  I don’t like that so much because I am a little nervous.  They’re not coming back, you know.  Maybe I don’t think well enough of myself, but I’m thinking I’ll never see them again.

I really like the retrievers that say, “Come on.  It’s over here.  Come on.  I’ll take you.  Come on.  Let’s go.”  And they go, and they look for it with you.  [Indiscernible], it was here.  Where is that thing?  You know, and they find it.  It’s not where it used to be, or not where it should be, or not where it was last week or any of that stuff.  It’s, “We’ll find it together.  Come on.  Let’s go.  Let’s go get that.  We’ll get it together.  We’ll figure this out ourselves.  We’ll find it.  I don’t know where it is, but I will find out.  We will find someone somewhere to get it.”

Retrievers.  There’s people like that, too; isn’t there?  Find people?  You go and ask for help, and they say, “No, you can get help over there.”  “Oh, these people over there might help you.”  “Oh, there’s that book over there.  That book there might help you there.  And while you’re there, you can do that here, and you should live your life there and get that job there, move there.”  Lot of pointers.  If you’ve got a couple retrievers in your life, keep them close.  “I don’t know, let’s go.”  “I’m bringing my truck.  You’re moving, I’m bringing my truck.  When you want me there?”  Not “There’s some moving companies over there, they’re really good.”  Pointers and retrievers.

Churches are like that, too.  Oooh, he’s gone from preaching to meddling.  There he goes again.  Why can’t we have some puppy love jokes?  That was fun.  You can go over there for salvation.  Do this, do that, find Jesus.  If you get this here, come to this service now, we open up our doors here, come here, do this, do that, do the Bible, do the confirmation, do this, do that.  You can do that.  Then there’s retrievers.  I’ll come and get you.  I’ll come and be with you.  This is from the deacons.  We know you’re having a hard time.  Retrievers.

And now is the place – I like to give, you know, subtitles for people, you know, know what’s going on next is now we get to the scripture.  Because some of you say, “Does he ever get to the scripture?  There’s scripture.”  John – and I’m just doing two verse – there’s a lot of verses here about a lot of stuff.  There’s a whole born again anew from above thing.  That’s a whole sermon.  And if you get it, if [B&C] doesn’t get the thing done, you might hear that one.  But tonight, today, you’re just hearing about 16 and 17, just 16 and 17.  That’s all.

Now, the 16 verse, that’s a pointer verse.  I think it doesn’t have to be, but it too often is.  How do I get eternal life?  Well, you go to Jesus.  You go to Jesus to do that.  That’s how you do that.   For God so loved the world that he gave – and it said he gave his only son so they may not perish but have eternal life.  You know that eternal life starts right now.  That’s present.  It’s not after death.  It’s not a death insurance thing.  It doesn’t start after we die.  The Greek says it’s now.  Get eternal life right now.

And too often we stop at John 3:16.  Too often we stop there.  We don’t go to the next verse.  We say, oh, great, me and mine, we’re saved.  Yeah, we know the way to Jesus and to Heaven.  We’re going that way, yeah.  Then there’s that pest – there’s more than one verse in the Bible.  That’s bad news to some people.  And then John 3:16 goes to 17 and messes everything up.  We had it gone down, we got ourselves saved, me and mine, we’re with Jesus, we’re eternal life, yay, rah.  And then you get the 17th verse, like Jesus, you just couldn’t quit there.  You had to go on.

And he talks about “For God sent.”  What?  Wait a minute.  Last verse was “gave.”  What’s this “sent” stuff?  Oh, no.  What are we getting into now?  The son into the world.  Wait a minute.  The world?  If you look at John, the world’s not a fun place.  The world is a bunch of people that are nasty, that are hostile, that are chaos, that are after Jesus, that don’t believe.  And that’s the world.

Not the good folks here at South Lake Tahoe.  Gosh, this is a good church.  I have never in 35 years of pastoring heard so many Bible pages turning during a scripture reading.  I congrat- proud of yourself.  That’s amazing.  They’re actually reading the Bible.  I was actually – I had chills.  I went up there and go, “Whoo, what’s that?”  Salute.

But it’s the world.  The people don’t read their Bible.  And people don’t have, well, they may have a Bible, but they never open it.  People that are hostile to religion, or even worse than hostile, indifferent, don’t care, don’t think it matters.  That’s who God sent Jesus in.  Whoa, [indiscernible].  Not to condemn the world?  Well, that’s no fun.  We’re not to condemn the world?  That’s like our number one favorite thing to do.  [Indiscernible], we’re going to cut down the debates to, like, 20 minutes, if we can’t condemn the world.  Not to condemn the world, but the world through him be saved.

Wait a minute.  We’re saving the whole world.  Oh, ho, ho, I thought it was just me and mine.  But you’re telling me that it’s the world, the one you’ve been telling me is so awful and hostile and chaotic and against Jesus, all those outside things.  It’s cosmo.  It’s cosmopolitan, the cosmos.  The whole mess.  The whole mess of things will be saved through Him.  I should have just stopped, like the football players fan says, just that one verse.  You go to 17, you’ve got to go save the world.  Wow.

What does that look like, that world-saving stuff?  How are we different then?  One thing’s different is evangelism.  Oh, he’s saying the “E” word.  This is a really upsetting sermon.  Evangelism.  When, you know, you know, it’s too often the question is how are we going to get young people to church?  How are we going to get the young people to church?  If that is your question, your answer is doomed.  Doom’s a little strong.  I’ll back up.  Very difficult, not doomed.  Maybe just [doo].  Because you’re starting all wrong.  You’re trying to save the church.  You’re trying to get the church, the world to save the church.  No, the church saves the world.  You’ve got it backwards.  It’s not going to work right.

And I tell you, I know, I’ve raised some of the young people.  Got to live with them, raise them right up.  And they don’t need saving.  Just ask them.  They’ll tell you.  They’ve been told by their parents, they’ve been told by their school, they’ve been told most by mass media that they are the greatest thing ever, and they deserve the best.  And they don’t need saving.  So we come peddling salvation to them, well, huh, we don’t need any of that.

But that’s John 3:16.  What if we peddled John 3:17?  Because they, God bless them, and I’m serious, they have a burden, they have a desire to save the world.  They want to fix the world.  They want to save the world.  And if we figure out that’s what we’re about, they’ll join up with us.  Or more likely we could join up with them.

That is something people want to be involved in, not, hey, we’re here to have a great church.  They don’t care.  They’re not into save the church.  They didn’t go through World War II where the institutions saved the world and the freedom and got the Nazis and all that.  And we loved the institutions back then.  Back before I was born and after, why, that was the great Fifties.  That was super institutions save the world.  We all worked together.  We made these great things.  We built up a spiritual industrial complex in the Presbyterian church in the mainline denominations because we were going to rid the world of evil, and that’s just like the Nazis.

Yeah, it’s a different world now, sorry.  Don’t trust the institutions.  The young people don’t trust the latest app unless they built it themselves.  And next week’s app is something different.  But they still have the good and clean and passionate desire to make a better world.  And if we tell them we’re about that, and if we are about that, if the church leaves the building and does service to the world instead of service for themselves, there’ll be plenty of people.  All kinds.  All messed up.

The Serenity Prayer has a longer version than just the three sentences that we normally associate it and see on plaques.  Niebuhr, when I wrote it, wrote several versions.  One was a long one.  One of the ones that I’ve been working with that’s been helping me with my issues, which you can ask me about later, but it’s taking, as Jesus did, this world as it is, not as I would have it.  Taking as Jesus did the world as it is, not as I would have it.  I do a lot of “as I would have it” stuff.

But after looking at John 17, I’m thinking that if Niebuhr was looking at that verse, maybe he would have written yet another version and changed one word and said “loving,” as Jesus did, this world as it is, not as I would have it.  That’s tough to do.  Loving as Jesus did the world as it is, not as I would have it.  Jesus died for that world, the world he was in:  brutish, slavery, militaristic, awfulness, betrayers.  That’s the world he died for, not the world he was calling us to.  That’s the world he loved.

Salvation – and sometimes I do little bumper stickers for people that like to remember one thing for, like, when people ask them, and they weren’t really listening.  So this is the time to listen for that, you know, a tweet, if you’d do a tweet.  But it’s “Salvation is like potato chips.  You can’t stop with one.”  John 3:16 may think that John 17 says “For God so loved me.”  But he didn’t condemn me, but saved me.  No, it’s the world.  You can’t stop with one.

There’s a church in Arlington, Virginia, First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, Virginia.  They’ve been having some troubles lately.  They’ve been there about a hundred years, though.  But this year is going to be their last Easter.  By their choice.  Got out among the congregation, the community, and talked to them, talked to the cops and the teachers and the service workers and the people that make the town go, and listened to them, and felt their pain that they could not afford to live in the community they worked.  They had to go way out somewhere because there was no affordable housing.  And that, oh, yeah, there was some affordable housing.  One year they had 122 affordable housing units, 122; 3,600 people applied for those.  Hundred twenty-two; 3,600 people wanted them.

This church, beautiful church, big land, wonderful location, said we’re going to sell our property, tear down our church, and build moderate income housing.  Reserve them for seniors, people that grew up here and lived here and can no longer afford to stay, and other people that need it.  They sold their property to a nonprofit that’s been doing housing developments around that at a 20 percent discount.  Woohoo, Presbyterian.  Gave them all up, and now they’re giving away the parts of the church, the pews and the Bibles to other churches, the homeless shelters, furnishings, getting ready to close up about May or June.  And in their place will be a place that serves the world, the poor, the struggling, the working every day, everyday stiffs.  The church has left the building.  

 Amen. 

 


Transcipt differs from the recording with some exclaimations removed and some patter while I checked my notes edited out.

Transcription done by edigitaltranscription.com Recommend for fast, accurate, and patient transcriptions.

Christy Ramsey. Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

 

Sunday
Jan312016

One Day or Day One

 

One Day or Day One? Christy thinks resolutions and being resolute. Read on to learn how to be make any day a New Year’s Day

One Day or Day One?
a sermon by Rev. J. Christy Ramsey
click the title above for a mp3 recording 

Preached at South Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church on January 3, 2016

Based on Genesis 1:1-5

 


Sermons also avaliable free on iTunes

You don’t have to raise your hand or anything.  These are kind of rhetorical questions.  Have you ever been in a situation where everyone was laughing at you?  Have you ever been in one of those places?  Have you ever been in a place where everyone was laughing at you, and you didn’t know why?  I think that’s even worse.  Why is everybody laughing?  What have I done wrong?

This happened to a Hebrew student that my friend Donna has in her sermon, and I’m stealing this story right straight from her.  And I told her I would soon as I heard it.  She said that the Hebrew class was translating Genesis.  It’s a great thing to do when you’re in Hebrew class, translate Genesis.  One, it’s useful.  Two, you’ve got the answers right there.   And this poor guy’s reading through, and he – and he gets to Verse 5.  Verse 5, which we have a good translation, talk about the first day, evening, morning for the first day.  In Hebrew, the word is “yom echad”, “yom”, “day”, and “echad” “one”.

And that’s how you – that’s when we talk in English, you know, we – order is very important in English.  We go one word, and it makes a difference where things are in sentence – subject, verb, object.  And it’s one of the great inventions of English.  But other languages, they don’t have that.  They go by the different forms of the word, and what the word looks like, and the endings, and the accents, all these change whether it’s a subject, an object, a verb.

This Hebrew student had – really hadn’t got into his head yet.  And so he was saying “[ya heshad]” one day.  And the professor went, “How would you translate ‘yom echad’?”  And everybody else was going holding their breath.  He says, “One, one day.”  And he knew that was right.  One day.  “What, that is incorrect.  Class, how do we translate ‘yom echad’?”  And the whole class yells out, “Day one.”  There’s a huge difference in English, whether you say “one day” or “day one.”

And Genesis, day one.  Did you know the books in the Bible are often named by the first word there?  They weren’t really that creative.  They would just be terrible at getting clicks on the Internet.  Could not write a headline.  Just take the first word, put it up there on top, that’s what it was.  The first word in Genesis is that is “b’reishit,” beginning, beginnings.  Beginning God, first two words.  Day one.

Did you see all that was chaos?  Did you see there was stuff there before Genesis?  It’s not like Big Bang out of nothing.  It was something was there.  There was – there was, like, a murky kind of watery kind of mix-up mess mash of a chaos kind of thing.  And it was – it was a – and then God came, and God said “Let there be light.”  And the light was separated from darkness.  The all from all the greatness came the light and the dark, and there was day, there was morning, and there was evening.  There was evening, and there’s morning, day one.  From a murky, yucky, messy mess to day and night, light and dark.  The beginning.

Any of you been teenagers?  You know, if you ask teenagers, they swear they’re the first teenagers that ever existed, and no one has ever felt this way in the history of the Earth.  And their feelings are unique and powerful and strong.  I know you know this.  I’ve had some.  I’ve been one.  I tell you, I had a particularly challenging one.  Turned out great.  Whew, we made it through.

One day was particularly difficult.  It was about 9:00 a.m.  It was early.  It was 8:39.  It wasn’t halfway through the morning.  And she was back there just, you know how – you know how you cry talk?  Do you know how to cry talk?  You know how they do that is that you don’t talk, and you don’t cry, but you kind of put them together, and you kind of go “It’s the worst day ever.”  You know, I’m crying, but I have something to say, but I want you to know I’m crying.  And so she was inconsolable because, again, teenagers, the only feeling, first one discovered feelings, you’re no – you have no idea what it’s like to be me.  Oh.  So going on and on.

And I finally said to her, I finally got a say, I said, “Rachel, Rachel, when does a day start?”  “Wha-what?”  I go, “When does a day start?  When does the day start?  Is it midnight, you know, when the clock changes, and counter changes midnight?  Is that it?  Or is it – is it dawn?  Is it the dawn of a new day?  Is that it?  Is it when you get up, which is not dawn?  Is it, you know, in the Bible they start the day at sundown.  So, you know, the seventh day is Friday night because that’s the beginning of Saturday.  They start it at sundown.  So, you know, when does the day start?”

And I told her, “You know, Rachel, the day starts whenever you want it to.  And I’m telling you right now, right now, right here, we’re starting a new day.  That old day that was ruined and awful and irredeemable and the worst day ever, that’s over.  Gone.  You and me, we’re starting a new day right now, and it’s going to be a good one.  It’s going to be good because it can’t be worse than yesterday.  That was the worst day ever.  So we’re starting a new one, got to be better than yesterday.”  [Indiscernible] thank Lord that worked for her.  And she [sniffles], “Okay.  Okay, Dad.  New day today.”  She went out and took it on.  Difference between day one and one day.

Did you see all the news reports about how many killings there were?  “Oh, Christy, it’s Christmas.  Don’t.  The decorations are still up, and you’re going to talk about mass killing.”  I have a cute story at the end, so just hold on.  Did you see all the killings in 2015, the more than one a day?  Remember when those were surprising?  Remember when they were unique?  Remember when we heard, “Uh, now is not the time for talking about violence.  Now is not the time for….”  And it turned out it was never the time because we keep having those violence.  We keep having the killings.  And then we moved into our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.  You know, one day, some day, one day, not today, one day we’ll get around to doing something about the violence.  One day.  Not today.  One day.

Now, the numbers, you – have you seen what they’ve done to the numbers, too.  It’s over 330 shootings.  But, you know, shootings, shootings, ah, shootings, that’ll just spoil your day.  Maybe we should only count murders.  Some people only count murders.  And you know you really can’t count the perpetrator, you know, the shooter.  I mean, if they die, you know, it doesn’t really count to God; does it?  Is every life sacred to God?  No, we’ll throw that out.

And then they take – they take it even further down.  And they say, well, what if it’s gang violence?  You know?  Gang violence, you’ve got to expect that.  And then they go, what about, you know, domestic violence?  You know, you’re going to have that stuff.  Happens, you know.  What about, oh, you know, robberies and [doe de do].  They take it on down, take it on [indiscernible] down.  And one, the list got down to one, one.  Now, because certain a number of people have [indiscernible] they could actually die, [doe te to].  Ah, one day we’ll do something about that.  Just the way things are.  Just life in America.  We have violence everywhere.  We have violence in everything.

Football, so American.  You know?  Committee meetings interrupted by violence.  Thank you for the giggle.  Can you believe in football they’re saying, “How much brain damage is okay?”  What?  Well, we’re going [well] helmets because it hurts our brains.  How about not doing stuff that hurts your brains?  How about that?  No.  It’s all right.  Well, someday we’ll get around to stopping the violence in our society.  Some day.  Not today.  Today is not the day.  Who’s God?  God is beginnings.  God is not one day, but day one.

Have you heard about the killings of the Christians?  Have you heard about that?  Have you heard about that?  There’s tension between Muslims and Christians?  Have you heard about that?  Do we just accept that as just okay, that’s the way it is?  They’ve got their scriptures; we’ve got our scriptures.  We’re going to fight, going to kill.  That’s just the way things are.  We just got to accept the world like that, and we got to protect ourselves.  Have you heard about it?

Have you heard about what happened in Egypt?  This was a few years ago.  But there was an incident.  There was violence.  There was trouble.  And the Christians there, they’re Coptic Christians.  They go way back.  Way back.  All the way back to Jesus.  They’re Coptic Christians.  They even have a different calendar than we do.  That’s how far back they go.  And there was – there was a problem with that about conversions and violence and all that.  And the Muslim majority in Egypt said no, this stops now.  And they are – they [indiscernible] we all live together, or we all die together.  We are together in Egypt.  We are one.

And the Christians had their Christmas Eve service that year.  And around the little tiny church with a little bit about Christians were hundreds, were thousands of Muslims.  They stood outside the church, and they said, “We are your human shield.  If anybody is going to do violence to you, they’re going to go through us first.  This will not stand.  This is not who we are.  We do not solve our differences with violence.  We are with you Christians.”  And so the celebration of God coming in body to Earth was greeted by the protection of the body of Muslims.  Day one.

And I’m not saying you begin some, it’s all peaches and rainbows and unicorns and ice cream and this showering confetti throwing.  There’s problems.  We know that from Genesis.  Did the problems end with Genesis?  No, we can really make an argument things all began with Genesis, and problems have come on since.  But it’s a beginning.  It’s a start.  And God is the God of beginnings and of starts and of day ones.

New Year’s resolutions.  How you guys do with those?  Yeah, oh, that good?  This one’s already – you already have said your opinion, [indiscernible].  And we have not talked earlier.  We rarely talk.  You can – you can tell by the service.

How you doing with the resolutions?  What do you do?  Do you guys make resolutions?  A rhetorical question, but you can nod and shake [indiscernible].  A little bit?  My most successful New Year’s resolution is that one year I resolved to wait.  And so every time I was like at the post office or the airport or on hold with the [indiscernible], I’d go, I’d get [indiscernible].  Oh, wait a minute, that was my resolution.  I’m doing pretty well.  I got my resolution going.  All right.  I don’t know if that’s a good way to do it.  [Indiscernible].

I was looking up resolutions, and I found some quotes around the idea of that some people don’t make resolutions, not because they’ll break them, which is one way to go, but they don’t make New Year’s resolutions because they believe that every day is a good day to resolve to do good and to be better.  Every day is a good day to start a New Year’s resolution.  Every day is a good day to resolve to do good and to be better.  When does the New Year start?  It can start today.  And it can start again tomorrow, if you need it.

Ah, geez.  Killings on Christmas, the sanctuary [indiscernible].  What are you going to do?  I’m going down, back down the hill this afternoon.  You guys [indiscernible] you guys can’t catch me.  Ha.

I want to tell you about Bob and Sharon.  And I have permission to talk about my daughter, and I have permission to talk about Bob and Sharon.  So, now, Bob was a good-looking guy.  He was ever better looking 41 years ago.  And he was there working at a gas station, back when they had gas stations with people working there.  Some of you remember that.  Well, back in the day when – when they – when they [gain] that, I think it – I think it was a Wednesday, the day that we keep talking.

But Bob, Bob came out, and Bob, Bob was a single guy.  And he saw Sharon, Sharon.  Now, Sharon had a little boy.  I don’t know the situation there.  Didn’t ask.  Didn’t want to know.  He’s telling the story.  Go, Bob.  Bob was saying, you know, I caught my eye.  She was pretty cute.  She had a little boy.  I know she lived around the neighborhood.  We got to talking, you know.  And I said, boy, that – I really kind of like her, you know.  So he didn’t know who she is.

So she goes, he goes home, and he – and her – his sister’s there with her friend.  And he goes, boy, you know, a Sharon came into the station, I don’t know her last name.  She’s got, you know, she’s a blonde, she’s Italian, she’s got a little – got a little boy, and she lives around here.  And her sister’s friend said, “Sharon, with the little boy, single, lives here, I know who that is.  I know her.  Would you like to meet her?  Would you – I could set you up.  Ooh, ooh, I could set you up with a date.  I could do that.”  And then Bob said, “Well, yeah, I’d, uh, yeah, I think I’d like that, yeah.  Yeah, yeah.”  “All right.  Well, oh, don’t worry about it.  I’ll set it up.”

And so it was set up.  Friday night, you know, Bob’s all slicked up, you know.  He’s got his car all clean.  He’s coming on up.  And he goes up, and he goes, yeah, this is Sharon.  All right, comes up, bup ba da ba da.  Yeah, knock on the door, the door opens to a woman he’s never seen before.  It was the wrong Sharon.  There was two blond Sharons with a child that lived in a block apart.  They had the same house number, but a block off.  He did not know this at the time.  He didn’t know what to do, but he’s a good guy.  Bob is a really good guy.

And he goes, well.  He braced himself and went out on a date.  It was, they both agree, this details, they do go back and forth, but they both agree, worst date ever.  It was horrendous.  In fact, it wasn’t so much a bad day as a good hostage situation, that kind of the scale.  They were both hostage to the date.  And Bob swears that Sharon never let go of the door handle.  It was like it was an ejection seat, an escape hatch.  She was ready to pull and go anytime.  The date hostage situation was over, resolved, as if you will, and she pulled that [right] and bolted for the door.  Well, you know, some days you win, some days you lose, you know.

About a week later, Sharon says she forgot where Bob worked.  Maybe.  She swears this.  She pulls in.  Bob sees her.  What is he going to do?  Because remember back there they actually went out, for you younger people, back then people actually went out and helped people with the gas, actually put the gas in the car.  I know, amazing.  But he’d go – he had to go out there.  So he goes out there.

And here’s something about Bob.  Bob says, you know, “Nothing could be that bad that we couldn’t – we cannot be that bad together.  Let’s go out again.”  And like my daughter, you’ve already had the worst date, so this has got to be better.  And it wasn’t a blind date because they knew each other.  And it wasn’t a surprise date, which is worse than a blind date, the surprise date.  And they had a great time.  They had a wonderful time.  And they met after – then they got to know each other.  They met after work for coffee.  They were inseparable.  They got engaged.  They got married.  They had children.  They have 41 years of life together.

Great love story.  One day, I had a bad date.  But I decided that, instead, I’ll have day one of a love of my life.  Today is one day.  But it can be day one.

 Amen. 

 


Transcipt differs from the recording with some exclaimations and sound effects edited out.

Top photo credit: andrechinn / CC BY

Transcription done by edigitaltranscription.com Recommend for fast, accurate, and patient transcriptions.

Christy Ramsey. Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

 

 

Monday
Dec282015

ComputerCorps Christmas Prayer

I spend my days helping out as Technical Director at ComputerCorps in Carson City. I was asked to provide a prayer for the annual Christmas Lunch for Volunteers and Workers.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the joy of the Christmas season.
Bless the food and those who prepared it
in this special time to celebrate the love and compassion
that was born that first Christmas Day.

We celebrate Christmas blessings in the place of year round blessings
The gifts in this room are not food and prizes alone
but people who reach out every day to help one another and the community
striving to do good better every day.

Thank you for this awesome team,
please bless each one here with a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year.

Amen.

 

Christy Ramsey. Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

 

Saturday
Dec052015

Serving Size

How Much Do You Tip God? Christy thinks about tipping and tithing. Read on to learn how to be a cheerful giver, free of complusion.

Serving Size
a sermon by Rev. J. Christy Ramsey

Preached at South Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church on November 29, 2015

Based on Genesis 14:17-24 and Luke 19:1-10

 


Sermons also avaliable free on iTunes

How much do you tip?  I never know.  Have you noticed, how long ago did they start printing the little tip amounts on the check?  Have you noticed that?  Ten percent, 15 percent is this much, 20 percent is this much?  I’m looking at that, I go, what?  Oh, you think I’m going to forget to tip?  And then I got to thinking, wait a minute, maybe they think I forgot math.  I don’t know which is more upsetting.  They might be right about the math stuff.

How do you know how much to tip?  Well, you might tell me, some of you, you know, “Well, you know, Christy, depends upon the serving, you know, how they’re doing.”  Well, actually, they’ve actually studied tipping.  And one of the things they discovered is that service only accounts for about 4 percent of the variation in tip.  So everything else comes in, and only 4 percent of the difference is the actual service.  It’s more to do with the weather, whether you’re the opposite gender of the server.  You could go – the server gets an extra buck if they squat down when they talk to you.  If they say their name, tip goes up.  Yeah.  All sorts of things other than the quality of the service.  So tipping, amount is not related to the service.

Well, why do we have so much tipping?  You know, America’s one of the top tipping places.  We’ve got something like 31 professions that we tip.  It goes down from there.  Canada’s got 26 or 27.  Scandinavians are in the teens and below.  Japan is four.  They only have four professions that they tip.  And Iceland is zero.  Zero in Iceland.  That’s the way they are.

So you think about, well, how did we get so tippy; you know?  Why did we even start this stuff?  You know, it used to be un-American to tip.  It was un-American to tip.  Times, no less than the Times had an editorial about how terrible and un-American tipping was because we’re all about not having classes, and everybody’s equal, and everybody gets treated the same.  You know, America, you know, the way America’s supposed to be.  Everybody’s the same, equal to equal.  And you just can’t, you can’t just buy to be special.  Also we didn’t have classes like good old, bad old Europe, you know, we didn’t have the rich, you know, pouring, trickling down some wealth on the other classes, the unfortunate.  No, not in America.  We didn’t do any of that.  No, zero, dumb, no.  In fact, tipping was outlawed in several states.  You weren’t allowed to do that.

Well, what happened?  Strangely, Prohibition.  Prohibition brought back tipping.  And that’s why 70 percent of who we tip are in restaurants and hotels, because that’s who lost out in Prohibition.  They took away the alcohol, they took away all that money, and the hotel and bartenders and taverns were going [gasp] what are we going to do?  We’ve got to get every money we can, do the tipping thing.  You know.  And so, you want to get paid, you’d better get some more income.  And so that’s how tipping came back.  Accidentally, from Prohibition.

Well, is it so bad?  I mean, isn’t it nice to give money?  You know, sometimes we’re not allowed to tip.  Sometimes it’s against the law to tip.  Have you ever tried to tip a police officer?  They don’t appreciate it.  They take it very poorly.  Judge, government officials are prohibited.  In fact, the esteemed folks at – Geek Squad agents are not allowed to be tipped.  I got $20 once, had to turn it in.  I was in so much trouble.  Agh.

And remember Iceland?  What was Iceland?  Who, quick, zero.  Right, it was a guy from Iceland who studied tipping.  You know how this is going to go.  This is not going to go well for tipping.  A guy from Iceland, and his name is Magnus Thor Torfason – you know, I had to use him because Magnus Thor, not just Thor but Magnus Thor, yeah, I love that – he had a study of tipping.

And he plotted out tipping on one, you know, how much tipping there is in a country, and how much corruption.  And he found they just matched up pretty well.  The more the tipping, the more the corruption.  Because, you know, it’s just a step over to bribery.  And if tipping’s okay, why not a bribe?  So maybe there is a problem with tipping.  At least according to Magnus Thor.  Can’t trust Magnus Thor, who can you trust?

Are we talking about a lot of money?  I mean, it’s just, you know, restaurants, hotel.  I don’t go out to eat that much.  What does it matter?  Well, how much money we talking about, Christy?  Well, you know, it adds up.  NASA, NASA went to the moon, space station, flying, you know.  NASA, they go for like 20 billion a year.  That’s how much we spend on NASA.  Tipping, 40 billion.  So that’s two NASAs! 

Now, to be fair, you know, that 40 billion, churches get a hundred billion, about, somewhere around that.  And then all charities, you put churches and everything all together, you get like 300 billion.  So the 40 billion.  But, you know, a billion, you know, a billion here and there, it really starts to add up.  So you’re talking to some money.  Tipping.

Well, let’s turn that over, inside out, upside down, and all around.  Because if we take that percentage, and we change it all around, we get tithing.  Now, tithing is a tenth.  Straight up, that’s what the word means, tithe, tenth, straight up.  But for me, for now, I’m just going to talk about percentage, just the percentage part, you know that – on the little thing, 10, 20, 50.

We get the story of the kings coming up to meet Abram, who’s later Abraham.  The choir was worried that you wouldn’t know that.  So there you go.  Later on they’re always changing their names in the Bible.  Don’t know why.  So Abram/Abraham’s out there, and they get a tithe.  You know, they’re just – the king comes up, oh, you’re great, you’re great.  Here’s 10 percent of everything I’ve got.  Oh, great.  That’s what they did back then.  They did a tithe.  You know, you’re so great.  I’m so great.  I’m happy to – it was like, well, they couldn’t take selfies, you know.  So it was kind of like the selfie of the time, you know, oh, look at us, we’re here together, and we’re great.  You know.  They did that, but they did the tithe thing.  That’s what they did.

And it wasn’t all about you did wonderful things so here’s a little something for you because you did good service.  It was inside out.  It was like who I am, who you are, I want to say something happy, I’m glad to be here, this is coming out of my heart, and I’m just proud to know you.  Boom, here’s 10 percent.  Here’s a tithe.  See, it’s not about service and how you’re doing and the weather and whether you squatted down when you took the order, and if you said your name and all that stuff.  It’s like, this is who I am, and I’m happy to be here with you.  Here’s 10 percent.  It’s a tithe, 10 percent.

Now, it’s not always 10 percent.  Well, you know, yeah, there’s all these rules back in the Old Testament, 10 percent for the temple, 10 percent here for that support, and there’s a whole big system to support the temple, and also the orphans and widows and charity.  That was the 10 percent going off with the tithes there.  And also there was some tithe that you got to keep and have a party with, like a Thanksgiving.  You know?  Where you came in, and you go, hey, we had a good year, woohoo, you know, it’s Thanksgiving.  They did some of that, too, with the tithe back then.

But once you get over to the New Testament in Acts, they changed a little bit.  In Acts, especially those early chapters, avoid those.  Oh, my gosh.  Because you know what they do there?  Everybody comes, and they give everything.  They sell everything and give it to the church.  In fact, there was two that really missed the stewardship whole campaign idea kind of thing.  And they got struck dead.  You know, you guys are worried about an extra letter, maybe a phone call if you miss the pledge.  But geez, back then, oh, my gosh, you missed it, boom, down you went.  Oh, that was something.

And, now, Jesus said to rich young ruler, remember him in Luke 18, the rich young ruler, you know, that said, hey, I’ve been good, I’ve done good, what do I got to do to get [indiscernible]?  He said, “No problem.  I love you.  Sell everything you have and give to the poor.”  [Gasp]  Oh, a hundred percent, again, hundred percent.  I didn’t see that on my bill, hundred percent, whew.  Yeah.

Well, we got Zacchaeus.  Now, he’s not a hundred percenter.  Okay.  You know, he’s a 50 percenter.  Still pretty good.  Pretty good tithe.  You know, he’s a 50 percenter.  Behold, half of [indiscernible], boom, to the poor, right here and now, [doom?], out it goes.  You know?  And that’s 50 percent, and that’s pretty good.  And then he says, I’m not saying I did, but if I happened to accidentally, you know, steal from somebody, I’ll repay it.  I’ll replace it fourfold.  I’ll give them what I took and then three more times over.  So fourfold, that’s pretty good.

You know, Leviticus, there’s actually a law, if you steal from someone, you’ve got to give it back.  There’s actually a law.  And it says you’ve got to give it back plus a fifth.  There’s that 20 percent.  So in the Bible you have to tip if you steal from someone.  You have to restore it, plus here’s a little something, here’s another 20 percent.  The tipping, right there in the Bible.  But Zacchaeus doesn’t start at 20 percent.  He goes 300 percent.  I mean, I’m glad he didn’t give me the bill, you know, well, there’s 10, there’s 20, and there’s 300 percent, if you want to do that tip, that’d be fine.  Zacchaeus checks out the 300 and goes right over that.

Well, you know where I’m going.  Are you a tither or a tipper?  It’s a horrible day to join the church.  You think, oh, Christmas, candles, got to be – what could go wrong?  So for maybe some new people, and maybe some people that, now, let’s talk about that.  Let’s talk about that thing.  Hundred percent, Christy, you’re crazy.  Fifty percent, you’re still weird.  Twenty percent, I don’t know, I didn’t steal nothing.

Well, what do people normally do?  Well, in 1968, Presbyterians gave 3.1 percent of their income to the church.  High watermark for the Presbyterian Church USA, 3.1 percent, 1968.  But ever since I’ve been a minister, since the ‘80s or some, we’ve always been bebopping around 2.2 percent, somewhere around there.  We took a little step back to 2.1 percent.  Part of that is because, God bless us as Presbyterians, we’re not – we support all sorts of things.  Not just the church.  We do all sorts of good things.  And some of that money goes to things we think we’re going to make a difference, that people who are making a difference, and it makes a difference if we help them, those two things.  So but we’re about 2 percent.  Two, 2.1, 2.2, somewhere in there is where we are.

So what to do, then?  Should I just – now, here’s what I think, what I would recommend you do, because I’m nothing if not practical.  That’s what they say about me – never.  But 2.2 percent, I’m thinking, if you’re thinking about what you’re giving, thinking about what you’re giving, don’t be a tipper.  You know what a tipper is?  Tipper is the one who figures out what’s needed, what’s customary, what’s necessary, what’s printed on the bill.  What am I getting for this?  What has it done?  How’s the church done for me?  How’s the people gone?  Heck, fire, they don’t even have a preacher.  What do they need money for?  That’d be a tipping.  That’d be tipping thinking.  You know, what have I gotten out of this, and how much do I owe?  That is tipping God.  And then, you know, that’s fine.  That’s fine.

Now, in the Bible, in the Scriptures, in 2 Corinthians 9:7, it says, you know, give what you have made up your mind to, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver.  We all know that one, I hope, cheerful giver.  But I also want to tell you, I want to witness to you that God accepts grumpy gifts.  He’s perfectly fine with that, too.  So if all you’re doing is tipping, that’s fine, too.  I ain’t putting you down.  Tipping is good if you want to go that way.

But I want to talk to you, want to consider moving on over to percentage giving.  Not tithing, because, oh, we’re crazy.  Not tithing, but percentage giving.  And the way to do this, figure out what you gave last year, figure out what the percentage of that is, and commit the same, not the same amount, commit the same percentage.  No more money out of your pocket, but different kind of head.  I’m going to give that percentage.  Not that amount, that percentage.  Just submit that change this year and see how that goes.

Now, if you already are a percentage, or you’re feeling a little bit, I need a little bit more than that, I can do better than that, and you look at it, and you say, whoa ho ho, I’m below 2 percent, yeah.  Maybe you want to go up to that 2 percent, 2.2 percent, somewhere around there.  Maybe you want to do that and move on over to that percentage.  And if you’re already giving percentage, God bless you, maybe you want to consider, you know, I could do another percent.  I think I could do another percent this year.

And remember, it’s not about the bills.  It’s not about the expenses.  It’s not about the service.  It’s about who you want to be.  Who do you want to be?  Do you want to be reluctant and under compulsion?  Because that’s an option.  You can be reluctant and under compulsion.  People can tell you how much the church needs, and how much everybody should pay, and everything would be great, and how we need the money, and how it’s cold out there, and how we’ve got this bill, we’ve got that bill.  Now, that’s reluctant and under compulsion.  You can go there.

But I can get you out of that.  And that’s Scripture.  All you’ve got to do to be a cheerful giver is do the first part.  Give what you’ve made up your mind to give.  Make up your mind.  Say I’m going to give 2 percent.  I’m going to give 3 percent, 4 percent.  Heck, I’m giving 10.  Make up your mind.  And look what the Bible says.  You’ll be cheerful.  You’ll be a cheerful giver.  Isn’t that better than reluctantly or under compulsion?  It’s about who you want to be.  Do you want to be reluctant and compulsory, or do you want to be cheerful?  Do you want to be a tither, a percentage giver, or a tipper?  It’s up to you.

So Barry Creech is a strange duck.  He’s a Baptist that works for the Presbyterian Church USA.  He’s right under the people that’s in the headlines.  There’s, like, him, and then Linda Valentine, him, he’s a big, big cheese.  And we’ve been buddies for a long time.  I actually applied for a position with Barry Creech.  I had a really good argument and paragraphs and all this stuff about why I should be hired.  And he wrote back, you know, and it’s saying, you know, hire for General Assembly.  I wanted to go the General Assembly and them pay the bill, you know.  So I had all this thing written up.

And he wrote back to me, he goes, “Nah.  Nah, we’re not going to do that.  But come anyway.  We’ll pay.”  What a great guy.  So I came, and we worked.  We were friends.  We’re going out to eat.  We went out to eat, and did you – have you noticed about serving sizes?  If you’ve been around, they kept getting bigger, aren’t they?  They’re, like, huge now.  They’re, like, huge.  Just go out and ask, could I please have a six-ounce steak, please?  I mean, that’s a normal serving.  They’ll say, no, we don’t have six-ounce steaks.  How can they not have 6 ounces if they have 12? So they get huge things, and we had huge amount of foods.

And I said, “What are we going to do with all this food?  We live in a hotel.  We don’t have a refrigerator.”  And Barry said, “Let’s take it with us, and we’ll have something to give to the homeless on the way back.”  And sure enough, a guy came up to us and said, “Hey, can you help me out?”  We go, “Here you go.”  Wow.

Do you want to be reluctant and under compulsion and give God the leftovers?  Upset?  Or you want to say, you know, I got enough.  I don’t have to get sucked into all the compulsion and eating everything before me.  I don’t have to go and consume and take everything.  You know, I’m a kind of person that thinks about God and others first.  And I’m going to give back to God.  And I’ve got enough right here.  Because what are you going to do when you come to the empty plate?  You say, oh, my gosh, I need to go get more.  You say, no, that was enough, or I put that off.  I’m good.  Then you’ll be cheerful.

For those of you who are keeping count, we’ve done stewardship, Thanksgiving, and new members.  We now have Advent.  This is my last sermon this year.  All inspiration must go.  So there’s going – this is Advent.  And Joseph and Mary are looking for a place to bring Christ into the world.  Some places don’t have room.  They don’t know who these people are.  They may not be safe.  There’s no room for some places.  Zacchaeus had room.

But, you know, it wasn’t Christ come into the house that brought salvation there.  It was when Zacchaeus changed.  When he turned, as we heard our new member said, turned from evil and turned to Christ and said, “Look here, right now, I’m giving half of what I got to the poor.  And if I have defrauded anybody, I’m giving them four times back.”  And Jesus said to the crowd, he didn’t say it to Zacchaeus, he said to the crowd, “Today salvation has come to this house, for he, too, is a child of Abram.”

Be a cheerful giver.  Welcome Christ, and let him turn your life around.  Amen. 

 


Transcipt differs from the recording with Linda Valentine and Magnus Thor Torfason correctly identified, getting the Rich Young Ruler into Luke 18, correcting the number of tipped professions in various countries, the additon of chapter and verse to the 2 Corinthians reference to the cheerful giving, and best guesses where I mumbled.

Much of my information about tipping came from the Freaknomics program on tipping and links from that podcast.

Transcription done by edigitaltranscription.com Recommend for fast, accurate, and patient transcriptions.

Christy Ramsey. Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.