New Life


This sermon was preached on August 31, 2014 at Winnetka Presbyterian Church. My text was Ruth 4:1-22. You can listen to it, and read it, below.

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I’m sure that many of you, as you were listening to this story this morning, were amazed at how similar it was to many of your own weddings, beginning of marriages.

So many romantic and meaningful rituals…

  • The haggling over a piece of land
  • The redeemer taking off his sandal and giving it to Boaz
  • A proclamation from Boaz that the sale is final and Ruth is his?

Kind of gives you warm fuzzies all over, right?

There is much about our story this morning that clearly reminds us that this is an ancient story – a story that comes right out of another world. The ritual of one man taking off a sandal and giving it to another, something done to symbolize a binding transaction, this ritual we are told in the text, was something that was done in Israel in the former times, it was already something old and ancient.

We should also acknowledge that to our modern ears, hearing a story where a woman is treated as a piece of property, something to be haggled over and purchased…well, this is certainly not something that we are accustomed to, and it probably makes us feel a little uncomfortable. In those days, if a woman’s husband died, it was customary for his brother to marry the widow; otherwise, there would be no heir to inherit the land.

But while much of this story sounds a bit foreign to us here in the North Shore in 2014…this is also a heart-wrenching story filled with the familiar stuff that we all experience in our own lives.

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Glide Bikes: Orange Ezee Glider with Air Tires


Thanks to my wife, Sarah, who wrote up this great review for the Glide Bikes Ezee Glider that we got to review online.

When we lived in Ashland, OR, balance bikes were the norm. Rather than seeing kids tooling around playgrounds on tricycles or bikes with training wheels, you’d see little kids scooting themselves along on balance bikes. I had never seen or heard of balance bikes before and they piqued my interest as Caleb began to show signs of one day becoming mobile. On the recommendation of a blog I like, we bought Caleb a Pewi Ybike, which is a cross between a push toy that helps kids learning to walk and a pre-balance bike. With three wheels and a handle, Caleb was able to both learn to walk while holding onto it and sort-of learn to ride by sitting on it and pushing himself along. It was great for learning to walk when Caleb was 1 and for learning to ride the summer Caleb was 1.5, but this summer we realized it was way too small for Caleb to be able to use it as a bike again. So I began to research balance bikes.

Although I was already sold on wanting one for Caleb, this site helped me learn more about balance bikes (so I could explain them to Adam and our parents) and begin to compare different models. Money was a big factor for us since our budget is very tight, and after doing some research, I decided the other key factors were: warranty, size (I wanted something that Caleb could ride now and next summer, and ideally until he is ready for a bike without training wheels), sealed ball bearings (keeps dirt from getting into the wheels so they continue to spin smoothly instead of slowing down over time), and air tires (foam tires seem great if you want to be able to use the bike indoors, but air tires provide more traction for riding outdoors).

Factors I didn’t care too much about were footrests, brakes, and turn limiters (I didn’t care if the bike had those features or not), the weight of the bike or the status of the bolts (recessed bolts mean less chance of scrapes when your kid falls off). Ideally I wanted to spend under $100, but I quickly realized this was unlikely to happen as the majority of bikes that fit all of my qualifications were closer to $130-$150. So I made a list of my top picks and started watching for sales.

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The Second Tablet


This sermon was preached on June 29, 2014 at Winnetka Presbyterian Church. My text was the 10 Commandments. You can listen to it, and read it, below.

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Well, we are working our way through the 10 Commandments this summer, and this is week 3. Sarah set the stage for us 2 weeks ago, with the reminder that these commandments are not things that we have to do to secure God’s love and grace and acceptance. God doesn’t wait around until we have followed all of the 10 Commandments before God establishes a relationship with us – God acts first.

Last week, we talked about how the 10 Commandments aren’t actually for our benefit…they’re not things that we do so that our lives can be better…or so that we become better, or even perfect, people. But rather, the 10 Commandments are, in the end, for our neighbors. They are things that we can do, or not do, to help our neighbors have their best lives now.

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