Look in the Mirror

Good morning! My name is Grace Duddy Pomroy and it is a pleasure to worship here with you at Augustana this morning. I am the Executive Director of Operations at Kairos and Associates, Inc, a church consulting firm. I met Pastor Aune, Anne Losby and Carla Pfeifer during my time working at Luther Seminary on the Vibrant Stewardship Project. I have always respected the deeply ingrained culture of gratitude and generosity at your congregation. So, when I was asked to preach during your stewardship emphasis this fall, I felt very honored – that is until I saw the text. Despite the awkwardness of the text, God still speaks.

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The People’s Choice Awards

For those of you who are tuned into popular culture around movies, music and television, I don’t count myself in that crowd; I just ask Pastor Torgerson or the current intern if I have a question, you are familiar with the People’s Choice Awards.

“The People’s Choice Awards celebrates fan favorites in movies, music and television and is the only major awards show where real people – not industry insiders – determine the nominees and winners, setting it apart from other awards show.” [1]

You may not know this but the bible has its own version of the People’s Choice Awards. That’s right.

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United Air(Guide)lines

“Ladies and gentlemen, we request your full attention as the flight attendants demonstrate the safety features of this aircraft.”

Most of us have heard this sentence or a variation of it, many times throughout our lives. We all know what’s coming next, a long spiel about the rules and regulations of flying usually accompanied with a nice demonstration by the flight attendants. It becomes old, maybe even annoying if you fly often. It is boring and pretty much common sense, so you ignore it, scroll through your phone one last time, or try and get a head start on your inflight nap. And why can’t we have our trays down I still haven’t figured that one out?

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I Promise

Let’s start with a survey. Raise your hand if you’ve ever made a promise. You may leave your hand up
if you have never, ever broken a promise. It appears that humans have a little trouble keeping their
promises. Maybe this is why we have trouble believing promises. Not only have we broken our own promises,
we’ve been on the receiving end of a broken promise.

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For Just $5.99 . . .

The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man… This is the age of selling success and you know what, I want in on the action. For just one down payment of $5.99 you can purchase a new book that I have yet to write, titled Living Successfully Like Joseph. This down payment will make you eligible for the book and by making this payment, this offering, God will reward you. Your $5.99 will bring you riches and success beyond compare; you will be living lavishly in no time.

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What is the number one wish that we have for ourselves and the people we care about? To be happy. Whether it’s our expressed desire for our children or a parting platitude to an ex-boyfriend, we so regularly say “I just want them to be happy” that we don’t even think twice about it any more. And so, when someone pitches happiness to us, we do not question it. We accept it. Because ultimately, we want it.

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Get On Board

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen
Today we kick off our 4th year of using the narrative lectionary. If you are not familiar with what a lectionary is, it is the readings from the bible we use every Sunday. The narrative lectionary starts in Genesis and we will work our way thru the Old testament until Xmas and then the Gospel of Matthew thru Easter.
We begin the story not with creation but with Noah and the great flood. God is having second thoughts about creation; especially human beings. That alone shouldn’t surprise any of us but what God decides to do about it is a bit of a surprise.

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The Jesus Test, Part 2

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? If you don’t, I encourage you to find one. A favorite Bible verse is something you can return to time and time again, regardless of the circumstances. It’s something that you have memorized that you can recite when you’re happy and grateful, when you’re sad and anxious, or when you’re struggling and lost. It is a verse that you can share with someone in the elevator when they ask you about what you believe. It is a piece of scripture that summarizes for you what your faith is about, and what your relationship with God truly means.

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The Jesus Test

Let’s take a quick survey. Consider the events of the past several weeks. Murder and terror in Iraq and Syria at the hands of terrorist groups. The spread of Ebola throughout West Africa and the threat of infection in our own country. Ongoing military campaigns in Gaza and Syria. Escalating tensions between Russia and the Ukraine. The tragic and terrible death of Officer Scott Patrick. Violence, aggression, and rioting following the death of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri. And these are only the events on my heart and mind that I can list right now. So think about the news that you’ve been getting lately, on the nightly news, on the front page of the paper, in your twitter feed, and tell me: does it feel overwhelming? In fact, why don’t you honk your horn / raise your hand right now if it feels like it’s too much.

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