Just An Inch..Sermon from April 21, 2013

Second sermon down!! Here is the video for my second sermon. Thank you chapel service for welcoming me back! Again, it was a wonderful experience! Also, thank you to all that supported me in any way and those of you that sent me with your prayers. I appreciate it!

 

Just an inch (Revelation 3:20)…

My husband is the practical one in our relationship.

Everything has a place and a purpose. I know what time he will wake up in the morning, what time he will get home from work and what he will do when he gets there. He likes things to be predictable…safe. He has a “concrete” personality type. You know…rock solid! I rely on his predictability! Because I am the unpredictable one…the creative, artsy, constantly “blazing new trails” one. I can’t remember the last time I went to bed at the same time two nights in a row…Nine at night? Not a problem! One in the morning? Why not? My workspace is always a little on the messy side and I am always thinking of some new way to decorate the house. When Alan finally caved and agreed to something other than white walls…you know what I did right? We have had blue walls, green walls, textured walls, dark gray walls….and I am seriously considering a pink wall…or maybe I should go with purple?  I am the kind of person that if you give me an inch I will take a mile!

 

And I know it’s not just me. When I was a little kid I would play in the dirt by our shed in the back yard. I would dig little lines in the dirt and turn the water on just a little to create miniature rivers. Eventually I would have a whole river system weaving between the wild onions. I remember it being hours…days of fun. So, of course I thought my kids should have the same opportunity! I bought them cute little gardening kits, they had little shovels and buckets. You know what happened right? Within a couple of days they replaced the small plastic shovels with the real thing from the shed and they replaced the rivers with a lake…the hole was about 8 feet around and a few feet deep. I guess they liked the idea of a lake better than the idea of a river! I gave them inch..they took a mile! That was years ago, now they are teenagers with a whole new set of inches to turn into miles! (Don’t worry, we signed up for the unlimited texting plan!)

 

((( I totally missed this section while preaching…oops!)))

There is something about being human that drives us to take a mile when someone offers us an inch. I hear that people used to own one T.V. per house. And the house was the right size for the family, maybe even a bit too small. When given an inch we take a mile…Have you ever said “hello” to the person next to you in the grocery line only to leave the store a few minutes later with their life story? Or books? If you are a book lover…you don’t have one or two books! You have more books than you could read in a lifetime…maybe even two lifetimes. Do you remember the Lay’s potato chip slogan “betcha can’t each just one!” it was right you know! Not about the chips…it was right about us!

We seem to be creatures wired to push limits.  To fight for a mile when given an inch!  We are wired to push boundaries. It’s something that comes with being human.

((Here is where I picked it up again!)))

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Generally, I don’t like dressing God up in human traits

But with this text I just can’t help it! Can you imagine it? You hear a knock on the door, go open the door a tiny bit just to see who’s there…that’s it! That’s all it takes…the next thing you know God is joining you for dinner. He is eating with you, and you with him. Give God an inch and God takes a mile!

 

This God that chooses to be one of us…always pushing boundaries, testing limits and taking a mile for every inch offered.

Jesus could have turned the water that was already there into wine, that would have been a miracle…but he doesn’t…instead he has the servants fill up jug after jug, gallon, after gallon, after gallon…then he turns that water into wine! Jesus could have fed a few people and sent the rest to town to find their own food…but he doesn’t …instead he feeds thousand with a couple of fish and a few loafs of bread! He could have kept prostitutes, tax collectors, and other sinners at arms distance…but he doesn’t…instead he singles them out and does things like call out “get down from that tree we are going to eat together.” When I talk about serving people I am talking about clearing their plate, carrying their luggage, or holding open a door…but this God….this God washes feet. He doesn’t just tell us to turn the other cheek, he shows us how by forgiving while hanging on a cross…even that is not the end, Jesus brings promise and hope to the world with resurrection, Easter.

 

Following this God that is willing to wash feet, break bread with sinners and hang on a cross…it’s not comfortable or predictable…it looks a lot more like pushing boundaries, testing limits and taking a mile for every inch offered. Following this God…it’s a often a journey into the unknown, the unpredictable, the uncomfortable.

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Five years ago, I had a dream.

It was a simple dream, I heard someone knocking, I heard someone call my name; all I had to do was open the door an inch…and of course that is what I did. My kids were in elementary school, me and a couple of the other moms were hanging out on the playground after school, watching our kids play. One of the moms said something about church…and I told her, I think I need to go to church. I did not have enough courage to go alone, so that Sunday I drove to her house so we could ride together. I remember feeling out of place but welcomed. I remember the smiling faces and the snacks. I remember the pew I sat in, and bits and pieces of Kent’s sermon, I remember the first time I saw the pipes framing the cross.…but what I remember the most is the music. The drums, and guitars, and singing…Something inside me started stirring, even if I did not yet have words for it. After service we left and I returned a couple of weeks later, and a week after that…and the week after that…the week after that. And now? I am more than half way through seminary! If all goes well, in a little over a year, I will graduate with a Master of Divinity degree and just a few weeks after that I will be a pastor in a church. ME! Six years ago, I was a couple of years away from earning my Bachelors degree with no plans of going back to school, I had been a stay at home mom for years…my life was comfortable, predictable, I was content…Now I am teaching classes and adult Sunday School, joining in skits and living sculptures with our youth group, going on mission trips, and preaching!! Me? Preaching?? Four years ago, I laughed at the suggestion.

Today, everything is different…better…deeper.

I can see; I am alive. My every breath is changed, and it all began with an inch. A door opened. The possibility of a new tomorrow. All it took was an inch. An inch to see that God was more than I could ever imagine. That my life could be beyond imagination. That I could be more than I ever imagined. Give God an inch? God just might take a mile…Thanks be to God. Amen.

 

2 thoughts on “Just An Inch..Sermon from April 21, 2013”

  1. AAAAA-MEN! Wow, Tiff. I am so proud of you! I wish I could’ve been there to have a front-row seat as you take this journey, but I’m so grateful that I was there to open a door for you. Thanks for letting Gods light shine through!

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