top of page

6 Pentecost - Luke 10:38-42

One score and five years ago, when I was being installed as the new associate pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, Chico, CA, the Rev. Dr. Don Heinz gave me explicit instructions in his

powerful sermon:

Absorb it, Brian.

You’re not a therapist or a psychologist or a management trainee or a professor or a do-gooder or the chair of the Rotary or even a baseball player dressed in clergy robes.

You’re being installed to be nothing—except God’s prophetic mouthpiece, which is everything.

Go up to Jerusalem, Brian, and listen in on God’s thoughts and plans and to get your


Don’t ever stand before us without first having gone up to Jerusalem.

Don’t ever call God from your cell phone and say, “I was absent from the last meeting of the heavenly council, did I miss anything?”

Don’t stand before the people, as Moses knew, without a complexion sunburned by the recent presence of God.

Demonstrate the depth you gained in God’s presence.

I have failed at this many times over and, as a result, cheated the church.

I suspect many of you will say kind things about me today, so let me fill in some of the

rest of the story.

For every time I have accepted an interruption during prayer, I confess my sin to you.

For every time I have answered the phone during sermon preparation, I confess my sin to you.

For every time I have delayed study of the Word for administrative duties or another visit or

anything else, I confess my sin to you.

For every council and committee meeting I have attended with no time for Scripture and shared silence on the agenda, I confess my sin to you.

For every decision made in haste and urgency instead of prayerful discernment and deliberation, I confess my sin to you.

For every time I prioritized someone else’s agenda over God’s, I confess my sin to you.