The 2006 movie Amazing Grace featured the story behind the well-loved text written in 1774. John Newton was a former slave trader and sailor turned preacher. You can imagine that he felt the need for God’s grace in his life. The text was allegedly written for a New Year’s Service in 1774 where Newton preached on 1 Chronicles 17. In that Scripture, the prophet Nathan reports to David that God will bless him and his throne will continue. David then goes before the Lord and asks “Who am I, O Lord God, and......
Welcome. It seems such a simple idea practiced through friendly greetings, warm invitations, kind receptions, complimentary acknowledgements, and attentive presence. Yet true welcome is far more elusive than we typically think. It is commonly said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The same is true for welcome. Try as we might to make someone feel welcomed, we often fail and do not even realize it. What makes one person feel welcome may make another person feel smothered or accosted. For example, think of ways folks have been welcomed at......
On Sunday, I spoke about God’s call to welcome all people without conditions. (If you missed the sermon, listen here.) In the story of the man at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus stops, pays attention to, and helps a man who was judged and ignored by the rest of society. I asked us all to consider this question: Will we follow Jesus and offer unconditional welcome, unconditional service, unconditional love, and unconditional grace to all people? I want to answer this question with a resounding, “Yes!” And yet I know how easy......