April 10, 2018

Dear LABC,

My sermon series these middle three Sundays of April is “Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I Have Loved.” The series is based on a book by the same title by Duke Divinity School Professor, Kate Bowler. Kate, a renowned researcher into the Prosperity Gospel, wrote the book after being diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.

The schedule for the series is:

April 8 “The Lie of Control”
April 15 “The Gift of Uncertainty”
April 22 “The Blessing of Gentle Words”

The emphasis in my opening sermon fell on our understanding of Romans 8:28, the verse that many take to mean “everything happens for a reason.” I argued that the best way to read the verse is “in all things God works for those who love God” as opposed to “all thing work together for good for those who love God.” In the latter reading it seems is that everything that happens is ultimately caused by God. In the former reading God is at work with us, in the face of everything that happens, to bring about good. The former reading leads to a “Blueprint Theology” while the latter leads to a “Being-There Theology.”

This week we will consider Professor Bowler’s plea, “don’t pour your certainty on my suffering.’ noting that the Bible provides us with several examples of well-meaning people doing exactly that.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Darshan and Geetha Thaker
  • Margaret Alexander and family
  • Marian Ott (health)
  • Bruce Quan (health)
  • Dave Gattey (surgery scheduled for April 12th)
  • Sandra Dunn (health)
  • Alice Edmondson (health)
  • Chuck Johnston’s dad (health)
  • Ryan Parker for his dad (health)
  • Myra Saxton for Margaret (health)
  • Tuck Chin (SNF at San Joaquin Gardens)
  • John Giles as he ministers and preaches at many churches
  • Dale Edmondson as he preaches at Northbrae Community Church every second Sunday
  • Sheila Zack
  • Roxane Jones for herself and her family
  • Helen Harrison for Jennifer and family
  • Kay, Jamie and Stacey
  • Tyrone Mack for his family
  • Larry Sims for his family
  • LCC teachers Teresita and Joni (health)
  • The global community as it responds to the chemical attacks in Syria
  • The family of Stephon Clark (slain by Sacramento police officers) as they mourn and seek justice
  • Those who are grieving following the collision of the bus carrying the hockey team in Saskatchewan
  • Rev. Alvin Herring, who begins his role as Executive Director of PICO (Faith in Action) on May 1
  • The homeless residents of our community
  • The immigrant residents of our community
  • The people of Gaza, Palestine and Israel
  • Pastor Bryan Byamukama, Bethany Baptist Church, Mbala, Uganda
  • Marleigh Leaks as she and her classmates visit Washington DC
  • The American Baptist family as it mourns the death of The Reverend Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, longtime pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Seattle
  • Pastor Rick Mixon and the congregation of FBC Seattle as they negotiate a building use agreement with the City of Palo Alto