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Thread: Pops helped me preach the gospel this past weekend!

  1. #1

    Pops helped me preach the gospel this past weekend!

    Not bad for an atheist...

    Here's the first section of what I preached, with a link to the Scripture passage:

    Living Love in Truth and Action
    1 John 3:16-24
    Easter 4B: April 29, 2012


    For a number of years now, I’ve been a member of an online community made up of Nebraska football fans from all around the country. There’s a part of the website where people can go to discuss stuff not related to sports—a lot of it ends up being politics or religion, but there’s also conversations about music or family matters…quite often people will post prayer requests if there’s something going on, and will be assured of having folks from all over and from all sorts of religious or non-religious backgrounds praying for them or sending them good thoughts.

    There’s a guy who posts fairly regularly who goes by the name of Pops. Pops is a Vietnam veteran, a recovering heroin addict, and a biker who lives in Texas. He’s also one of the kindest souls you’ll ever know. He has devoted his life to two causes—working with heroin addicts, and helping abused kids, and the man wears his love for those causes on his sleeve like nothing else. He’s a founding member of his city’s chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse and has told countless stories of the lives that he’s come into contact with. One of his mottoes is, “You never stand so tall as when you stoop to help a child.”

    A few days ago, Pops posted a picture showing a quotation by Cory Booker, who is the mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Here’s what it said: “Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.”

    Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Pops is also an atheist.
    The rest is here:
    http://lutheranhusker.blogspot.com/2...g-love-in.html

    "Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence." 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NRSV)

  2. #2
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    damn it! my hard rep is ruined for life....


    Great work Luth and as I have said it is those conversations that 'softened my heart so all credit goes to you not I my friend.
    It's a honor to be called out in that way...Still one day I hope to show up to your church in person....no autographs though.

    peace to you and your mission Luth and thank you.....quite the honor.


    I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.I wont give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and showed up for all wounded children.

  3. #3
    Your best sermon yet, Luth, and that is saying something.

    I found this part to be really powerful:

    True love, the love that Jesus shows for us and that the author of 1 John wishes for us to show the world, is love in action. It is making the conscious decision that what I have been given is a gift that doesn’t end with me. Instead, it is a gift that flows through me, goes out beyond me, speaks the truth of the gospel loudly not through words that are spoken but through deeds that bring life and healing, that break down walls and build up those who have been broken down by the world. We don’t just say love. We don’t just proclaim love. We do love. Love is an action. Love is a verb. Love is what gets us out of our heads, gets us out of the trap of thinking that the church should only be about the business of purely spiritual matters, and stay away from the messiness of social issues. Love is when our social issues, the things we see in the world around us, BECOME spiritual issues that we are called to confront and act on. It is our witness to the world that Easter makes a difference not only after we die but also right now, that the cross and Jesus’ resurrection have transformed us into a people who live to bring life out of death, to bring light out of the dark places in the world, to follow Jesus into the pain and the brokenness around us in God’s work of transformation and reconciliation, as God works to make all things new.
    This paragraph really hits home to me about what I believe is the core message of the Gospel.

    Really well done.
    "The distinctive mark of the Christian, today more than ever, must be love for the poor, the weak, the suffering." Pope John Paul II


  4. #4
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    Wonderful sermon Matt....

    pops promised me his autograph first...

    Blessings to all....


    Love is following the example of my friend Pops, the atheist who does ministry, who does God’s work, living love for “the least of these” in society. Love is following the example of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life to give us new life. Love does not stop at word and speech, but is truth that is embodied in action. Through this kind of love, we most clearly speak the hope of the resurrection, the truth of God’s power, the abundant life that is the Kingdom of God for all creation.
    Notre Dame only had one Rudy but Nebraska gets a new crop of Rudys every season

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Pops View Post
    damn it! my hard rep is ruined for life....


    Great work Luth and as I have said it is those conversations that 'softened my heart so all credit goes to you not I my friend.
    It's a honor to be called out in that way...Still one day I hope to show up to your church in person....no autographs though.

    peace to you and your mission Luth and thank you.....quite the honor.
    Thanks for giving your permission to let me use your story...but I gotta correct you on one thing. We may have had some great conversations over the years, but as far as I'm concerned, any credit for softening of the heart goes not to me but to God.

    And I look forward to the Sunday you show up at the door. Eventually when I'm ordained you'll be getting an invitation, but I sure as heck hope I see you before that.

    "Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence." 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NRSV)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LutheranHusker View Post
    Not bad for an atheist...

    Here's the first section of what I preached, with a link to the Scripture passage:



    The rest is here:
    http://lutheranhusker.blogspot.com/2...g-love-in.html
    That was beautiful, Luth. Thanks for sharing. Truly inspiring.

    One minor correction: It is not ALL Husker fans on this board!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Some are simply college football fans.
    "Those mothers would rather see the country go down in flames than let the times change."

    -- Samuel L. Jackson

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal View Post
    That was beautiful, Luth. Thanks for sharing. Truly inspiring.

    One minor correction: It is not ALL Husker fans on this board!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Some are simply college football fans.


    Husker fans, and those who have not yet seen the light.

    Seriously though, thanks.

    "Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence." 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NRSV)

  8. #8
    Meh, it was alright.





    Great way to start my morning Luth. Thank you. And, thanks you, too, Pops.

  9. #9
    thought it was kneel not stoop?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huskers57 View Post
    thought it was kneel not stoop?

    With my knees and all the surgeries, I only stoop. That's what years of attending the Episcopal church did to me, with all the Episcopal kneel to pray, sit to listen, stand to recite (repeat 10-12 times per Holy Eucharist).

    Or was it the football?
    "Those mothers would rather see the country go down in flames than let the times change."

    -- Samuel L. Jackson

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huskers57 View Post
    thought it was kneel not stoop?
    same thing...point is you are lowering yourself to their level so you cam look at them eye to eye rather than looking down on them...

    the message remains the same


    I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.I wont give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and showed up for all wounded children.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Huskers57 View Post
    thought it was kneel not stoop?
    Well, since it wasn't on Pops' sig line anymore, I did a quick google search as I was writing to make sure I got the wording right. If you type "You never stand so tall as when you"...the vast majority of what comes up has the word "stoop" as the next word. So that's what I went with.

    "Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence." 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NRSV)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Reign View Post
    pops promised me his autograph first...
    He's leading you on...


    "Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence." 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NRSV)

  14. #14
    ah makes sense.

    When you start your preaching, are you going to do it online with subtitles and all so you can reach more people?

  15. #15
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    Very inspirational Luth. Thanks for posting this and reminding us again what really matters.

    Oh, and some of us know Pops is a big softie and a touchy feelly man at his core!!
    "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." C. S. Lewis



  16. #16
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    I'm sure Pops will do better than this guy when he comes to visit you.




    Great sermon, LH!
    "It just shows that we're changing the program," Petteway said. "Coach Miles and the guys we have on our staff and our players, we're changing the culture of Nebraska basketball, and this is just the beginning for us." - HuskerOnline.com 2-16-2014

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Huskers57 View Post
    ah makes sense.

    When you start your preaching, are you going to do it online with subtitles and all so you can reach more people?
    If I post sermon videos on YouTube, that would be a great idea.

    "Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence." 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NRSV)

  18. #18
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    Well said Luth! Enjoyed every word of it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskernut View Post
    I'm sure Pops will do better than this guy when he comes to visit you.




    Great sermon, LH!


    yes ...for one I respect the scooter.

    But i would love to come dressed in my skins...sit in the front row and have Luth give me 10-15 minutes to address the members of the church.

    I would tell them this is the first time i have walked through the doors of any kind of a church in over 40 years. The reason i am talking to you is because of Matt. Not only do i respect the man I respect his faith. I am the one he told you about a while back. An atheist that has had many long and meaningful talks with this wonderful man. He may not have been able to convert me over to a believer in God but he has made me a believer in people.

    People like yourselves that not only have faith in God but also faith in your fellow brothers and sisters. If this man can make me a believer then you have a hell of a man leading the way for you. It is a honor to be here today to see the man and hear his voice giving the message as he receives it. It is a joy to follow his blog and see what he has done to help his brothers and sister from around the world.

    i heard a quote a while back that has always hit home to me and how Matt hands out the word of God. and it goes something like this
    "A good sermon should be like a short skirt. Short enough to cause arousal but long enough to cover the essentials" Well he has caused arousal so to speak in a person that many thought would never listen....me!

    He has shown me that, not only does he deliver the word of the gospel in a manner that draws attention of those that will listen but he also backs those words by his actions as well. A person that hears the message has no choice but to follow with actions of our own. Today we seem to be bothered by the little things, politics, women's rights, gay rights, gas prices, corporate greed, taxes, wars, food prices, education. All of that pits us as bothers and sisters against each other and draws lines in the sand to see who is right. At the end of the day all that i mentioned has little or no meaning if we cant get along with each other. The white man the back man, the yellow, red, and brown man, all are our brothers, yet we treat each others as strangers.

    I as a Atheist. I have figured out a way to combat that. If I am walking down the street I can no longer use my phone...instead I have to say hello to as many strangers as possible before I reach my destination. If I'm in the airport, I do the same thing with people i know will be getting on the same plane as myself. Just saying hello to a stranger and wishing them not a good day but a great day may not have meaning at the time....but it sure will when they reflect back on it....thinking who was that scary man and why was he wishing me a great day? Its a question they will never be able to answer unless they see me again and ask. That answer is simple.. we owe each other a smile. More times than not you can see and watch it paid forward.

    if God can not deliver happiness each day as you have hoped then we can deliver it to each other. If God does deliver happiness to you each day then, is it not your job a a child of God to pay it forward. Matt has done that and by paying it forward, he has touched even some of us non-believers.

    I see Matt as a pebble thrown into still waters. The ripples that it causes will reach those of faith, and the ripple that travels ever further will sometime splash against those like myself.....
    Reach out your hand...if you cup is empty, may it be full again.


    My cup is full so i offer you what I can.

    peace


    I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.I wont give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and showed up for all wounded children.

  20. #20
    what were you doing up at 3AM pops!?!


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