Tag Archives: following God

Sunk Costs and the Value of Letting Go

Read Mark 10:17-27 and 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 to start.

Many years ago when I was in university, my first year of university, in fact, I took a course in economics. It was the only course in economics that I took, and I remember little from it, aside from the fact that I didn’t want to learn any more economics. I do however remember a few economic concepts. One of those is the idea of sunk costs.

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This is Life Eternal

Read John 10:22-30 and John 14:1-7 to start.

Eternal life is a topic that you are likely familiar with. It’s a topic that comes up a lot, because it’s something that basically everyone wants. We’re not just talking about those who believe in God, we’re talking about the general public. Certainly popular media likes the idea of eternal life, I can think of any number of songs you might hear on the radio that talk about living forever and/or not dying, running the gamut from Alphaville to Steppenwolf. Last week I watched a movie with a couple of my kids, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In that movie, the characters are looking for the Holy Grail, which is supposed to grant eternal life to anyone who drinks from it. It doesn’t work out quite as expected. Of course, things are often quite different than we expect.

I imagine you have heard plenty of preaching about eternal life, how to get it, and how important it is to pay attention to it. I don’t know that I’ve ever preached an entire sermon specifically on the subject of eternal life, but certainly it has been a topic that has come up many times, because it’s a topic that troubles us. A lot of people are concerned with it, some you you might even say are preoccupied with it. In fact, while I was preparing this very sermon, one of my kids came to me to talk about eternity and what it would look like.

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Work in Progress

Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-10 to start.

In 1885, Sarah Winchester moved to San Francisco, California. She had been widowed a few years previous, and her husband had left her a considerable fortune, including a number of shares in his company, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, best known for making Winchester rifles. This allowed her to buy a nice piece of property, a 45 acre ranch, in nearby San Jose. The ranch had an eight-room, two story farmhouse. Having plenty of budget and an interest in architecture, she decided to renovate. And renovate she did. But her plans kept changing. She hired architects and fired them, she took advice from various carpenters, and eventually took over the project lead herself. The house existed for years in a state of flux, constantly under construction. It grew and grew, and alternated between different styles of architecture, from Victorian to Gothic and Romanesque. After the 1906 earthquake a considerable part of the house was destroyed, including a 7 story tall tower. Some of it was rebuilt, some was not, and construction continued until her death in 1922.

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Be Not Despised

Read Titus 2 and 1 Timothy 4:12-16 to start.

This morning I’d like to start with a story from long, long ago. Well, it maybe only feels like long ago, it’s from when I was in elementary school, grade five or six I believe, so something like 35 years ago. In school we were working on some sort of group project, I think we were making a poster or a sign or something like that. There were several opinions as to what was the best way to proceed, and I was quite confident that my approach was going to be the best. But one of the other children had her own opinion, which was so far as twelve year old me was concerned, entirely wrong. She said “I think we should…” and while I don’t recall the details of what she said exactly, I knew it was clearly not a very good idea, and so I snapped back “I don’t care what you think.”

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Four Small Things

Read Proverbs 30:24-28 to start.

Who here has had a splinter? Not looking for a show of hands or anything, but I’m willing to bet that most of you have at one time or another. If you haven’t, then you must have thicker skin than I do, or you never come into contact with wood. The other week I had a splinter on the side of my finger, and I managed to get it out with tweezers. I recall one time earlier this year, I had a splinter for a couple of days that I could not get rid of, and when I was in the hospital visiting my father, I convinced one of the ICU nurses, well, I just asked her nicely, to remove it, and it took her a bit of effort to get rid of the thing. Splinters are unpleasant. But they are a normal thing that we experience from time to time.

Splinters are also very, very, small. If you’ve ever removed one and taken a look at it afterwards, it was likely only a few millimetres long, and not even one millimetre wide. A tiny and insignificant thing by any measure, other than the amount of discomfort it can cause.

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Be Ye Separate

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-7:1 to start.

I know what you are probably thinking, and yes, this might sound familiar. That’s because I spoke on this same passage last month. You might remember, the topic was unequal yokes, about believers being joined in partnership with unbelievers, and how problematic that is. There is more to the passage than that, I only discussed a few of the verses that we read. Today we are going to look at something different, although something no less important.

You might also remember how I talked about cars and tractors, and how they are not the same, they are not compatible. Don’t worry, this morning I’m not going to talk about cars or tractors. I’m going to talk about boats.

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No Turning Back

Proverbs 12: 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.  

Normally I like to start with a longer scripture reading, and I do have some passages to share a bit later, but first, a story. Last Saturday I took some kids, one which was one was my own, to Cavendish for paintball. Because of the construction taking place on the way to Charlottetown, I thought it would be a good idea to avoid that area, and go via Mount Stewart. Google Maps told me that it was about the same distance, maybe 3 or 4 minutes longer, and avoiding construction delays and traffic seemed a great idea. So we went that way.

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Here and Now

Read Romans 13:11-14 to start.

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.  

One of my favourite movies growing up was the 1960 Disney adaption of the Swiss Family Robinson. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a rollicking adventure story of a family who is shipwrecked on an unoccupied island and who has to survive and indeed make a new life for themselves. This Disney adaptation features action, excitement, humour, and pirates. I call it an adaptation, because the movie is wildly different from the book. The aforementioned pirates, for example, who are a major plot point in the movie, are not even present in the book. In the movie, however, it was the pirates who drove the ship the family had been sailing on into the storm where they were shipwrecked. It was the pirates that the two older brothers encountered on the far side of the island, and from whom they rescued a prisoner. And it was in anticipation of those same pirates coming to retrieve the prisoner that provokes the family to prepare elaborate defenses.

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Straight Lines

Read Judges 17 to start.

We’ll get back to the story of Micah from mount Ephraim in a few minutes, but first, I’m going to talk about my backyard. I know, I know, it’s January, and there’s a foot of snow covering it, but I want to talk about that yard to start this morning. Most everyone here has been to my house I think, if not when it was my house then at some point over the past 30 years. So you’ve seen my backyard, even if you aren’t all that familiar with the back part of it. It’s a double lot, which is great for the kids to play in, but it takes a while to mow it all. The back portion, the area behind the row of pine trees, we call it the back forty, although it’s not even half of an acre, there’s really nothing back there apart from a little area where the kids attempted to plant a garden, a big bush at the back, and a whole lot of grass. I haven’t specifically gone out there with a tape and measured it, but it’s a lot of walking back and forth and back and forth when you mow it.

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Envy

Read James 3:13 – 4:6 to start.

Before I get to my topic for this morning, or rather as a lead up to it, I want to talk about stupid internet memes. Specifically, I want to talk about Tide Pods, and the eating of them. I wanted to bring one along this morning as a visual aid, but we don’t actually use them at home, and I was hardly going to go and buy a box of them to use as a prop. In short, Tide Pods, or for that matter other brands of laundry pods, have become popular over the last several years because they are really easy to use, no measuring required, just biff one of those puppies into your washing machine and away you go. The fact that they look like candy probably hasn’t hurt sales either. Of course, the fact that they look like candy is also a big problem, because when something looks like candy there is a temptation to eat it. About a year ago there was a trend of people posting videos of themselves doing the so-called Tide Pod Challenge, which involved a biting down on a laundry Pod and recording the results.

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