Key Phrases
Posted on March 12, 2018

Are you familiar with the computer program called Wordle? I had never heard of it till a few years ago when some of our staff at Marble introduced it to me. Wordle is a program that goes through written documents, surveys, or presentations and finds the most frequently used terms or phrases. That gives us insights into what our spoken priorities actually are.

As we draw near to the completion of our work together at Marble, I’ve been looking back at some of my sermons and blogs (beginning with my first sermon here in July of `08). If I were to use Wordle on them, some things would clearly rise to the top – things I have said repeatedly since the beginning until the conclusion of our wonderful years of shared ministry. You may or may not resonate with them all, but they do reveal what I have sought to emphasize and re-emphasize, revealing the key messages I apparently consider most important. I call it “reiteration.” You may call it “redundancy.” Either way, here are a few of the things I’ve kept saying for a long time, not listed in any particular order. (References to food have been left out, as there wouldn’t be enough room in one blog to cover them.)

“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Find your something, and do it.”

“First we pray. Then we get off our knees and work.”

“For those who think `it’s all about me,’ news flash: It isn’t! It’s about serving God by loving people.”

“When you read the Bible as a book of science, geography, or often even history, you misread the Bible. It’s not a book of data. It is a book of Truth.”

“We have power if we choose to use it. Part of that is the power of our voices. Write letters to your editors. Communicate with your legislators. Silence equals submission.”

“You don’t have to agree with everything I preach. I simply ask you to listen, consider, and then go where your own faith leads you. Or, as Fred Craddock said, `Chase your own rabbits’.”

There come moments, in a particular situation on a specific issue, when all of us have to choose between the powers-that-be (our employer, our political party, or even our friends) and the teachings of Jesus. How we decide reveals the importance of our faith.”

“Each new day is a new beginning.”

“Happiness is temporary and conditional. More crucial is discovering a sense of meaning.”

“The only purpose guilt serves is as a classroom. It teaches us what not to do in the future.”

“Unless you take proper care of yourself, in time there won’t be enough essential self left to take care of anyone else who needs you.”

“Follow your bliss (a quote from Joseph Campbell).”

“The only time Jesus ever used the word `command’ was when He said, `This I command you, that you love one another’.”

“Find love, find life (a quote from Leo Buscaglia). We were created to love. That is the single purpose for which God created us.”

“Wherever you are in your life, God is with you. You are not alone.”

“The center of our faith is the Resurrection. Without that, there would be no Christmas, no church, and no Christianity.”

There are a lot of others, but these have recurred at a greater rate than most. Maybe some of these ideas have planted seeds in individuals that will someday grow into blossoms of faith or discipleship. I hope so. One way or the other, these are truths I have lived by and tried to suggest to those I love. I’m so grateful you listened.


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