Bill Johnson

Spiritual Reminders and Simple Sunday Sermons from a "free range pastor"


Church Anonymous

God’s Own Fool

God’s Own Fool by Michael Card That this Easter coincides with April fools is perfect and reminded me of an old song I’ve enjoyed that speaks of my hero Jesus and how I want to be a holy fool just… Continue Reading →

God’s Love for Us

God’s Love for Us (by Julian of Norwich) The love of God most High for our soul is so wonderful that it surpasses all knowledge. No created being can fully know the greatness, the sweetness, the tenderness, of the love… Continue Reading →

On “Bad” Preaching

On Preaching by Frederick Buechner “There is perhaps no better proof for the existence of God than the way year after year he survives the way his professional friends promote him. If there are people who remain unconvinced, let them… Continue Reading →

A Party for a Prostitute

A Party for a Prostitute.  (By Tony Campolo in “The Kingdom of God is a Party). If you live on the East Coast and travel to Hawaii, you know that there is a time difference that makes three o’clock in… Continue Reading →

God Has Memory Issues

God Has Memory Issues. There was a Catholic priest who was a much-loved man of God who carried a secret burden of a sinful past hidden deep in his heart. He had committed a grievous sin during his days in… Continue Reading →

To be Relieved of God

To be Relieved of God. It’s not about being relieved of the true God, but of the false God.  The God we make up in our minds.  It’s about overcoming our distorted and false images of God.  For we have… Continue Reading →

Reflections About a Sunday Morning Worship Service

Reflections About a Sunday Morning Worship Service. I went to Church on Sunday! Sometimes that’s a hard thing for me to do. Why? Because I find the theology of the songs, emphasis on performance and preaching often depressing. So, why… Continue Reading →

Fellowship of the Unashamed

Fellowship of the Unashamed. The author is unknown, but is believed to be a young pastor in Zimbabwe who was martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ. It was found in his study: “I’m part of the fellowship of the… Continue Reading →

Christianity Is Not A Religion

"Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is the proclamation of the end of religion, not of a new religion, or even of the best of all religions. If the cross is the sign of anything, it's the sign that God has gone out of the religion business and solved all of the world's problems without requiring a single human being to do a single religious thing. What the cross is actually a sign of is the fact that religion can't do a thing about the world's problems - that it never did work and it never will." Robert F. Capon

What if being a Christian means no longer being religious? What if conversion to Christianity means stepping out of religion? What if Christianity is the end of religion? Christianity is n...

The Game of Religion

The Game of Religion. A man arriving at the proverbial Pearly Gates is unsure what to do. Do I simply walk in? he wonders. St. Peter recognizes the look of consternation on the man’s face, approaches, and asks him if… Continue Reading →

Jesus Embarrassed by an Easter Service?

Jesus Embarrassed by an Easter Service? I attended church on Easter Sunday.  And if Jesus went to the church I did, I think he might cringe or weep, just like I wanted to. To my contemporary, consumeristic, American mind this service… Continue Reading →

Soul Identity

Soul Identity:  “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” – George MacDonald

God, I Want to Love You

God, I Want to Love You “Oh, my God, I want to love you not that I might gain eternal heaven nor escape eternal hell, But, Lord, to love you just because you are my God.” Ignatius of Loyola  

God’s Presence

“Bidden or unbidden, God is present.” – CARL JUNG Some say Desiderius Erasmus said this or perhaps Carl Jung popularized it. But whoever coined it first – I love the eternal truth of it. and it’s even fun to say… Continue Reading →

Life is a Church?!

Life is a church. I don’t know exactly what it is about this song, but it captures my heart and soul. Give it a listen and let me know if it touches your heart. Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved… Continue Reading →

Grace = Acceptance

These words by the theologian Paul Tillich describe grace so beautifully.  And when I read them I feel joyful, relieved, happy, liberated, connected and loved. Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we… Continue Reading →

Life or Religion?

“Jesus calls us, not to a new religion, but life.”  Dietrich Bonehoeffer

Hiding in Religion

“Religion is one of the safest places to hide from God.”  Richard Rohr

Going to Church

You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s a classic, and there’s a lot of truth to it isn’t there?  A variation I’ve heard, “Going to McDonald’s doesn’t make you a hamburger either.”

Lincoln’s Wisdom About Church (Non)Membership

"When any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification for membership, the Savior's condensed statement of the substance of both law and Gospel, 'Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and thy neighbor as thyself' that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul." Abraham Lincoln

Maybe somehow and in someway this applies to this election season as well about what is most deeply needed?

Keep Them Close

Keep Them Close (All Saints Day 2016) Keep them close, The ones who have gone, Who have gone on and died on you. You know the ones. You know their names. Of course you do – the ones you have… Continue Reading →

Go Paint the Stars

“When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.” – VINCENT VAN GOGH

Transformation not Evacuation

"The good news that Jesus proclaimed is not an evacuation plan for heaven but a transformation plan for humanity on earth." Brian McLaren

I heard Brian McLaren speak yesterday and he summarized in a sentence what I have often felt in my heart and thought about.  In my tradition of evangelical christianity there is so much emphasis ...

Everything is Holy Now

I've experienced the sacredness and holiness of God and life in many church services over the years through the music, aesthetics, preaching, communion, God's word, the Spirit, the gathered commu...

Church Simplified

“Jesus never asked anyone to form a church, ordain priests, develop elaborate rituals and institutional cultures, and splinter into denominations. His two great requests were that we “love one another as I have loved you” and that we share bread and wine together as an open channel of that interabiding love.” Cynthia Bourgeault

It's pretty simple isn't it?!  How did church get so complicated?  So many are hungering to get back to the basics without all the church bureaucracy.  Consider joining my FB group Church Anonymous...

A Parody of Modern Church Services

A Parody of Modern Church Services. It’s important to laugh at ourselves from time to time isn’t it? To not take ourselves too seriously? Sometimes to even laugh at our own most sacred traditions in order to keep them fresh,… Continue Reading →

Crash Helmets Needed for Worship

Why do people in church seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? … Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us to where we can never return.” Annie Dillard

Many Christians are leaving the church not to abandon their faith but in order to save their faith and to have an adventure with "the waking God who is drawing them to where they can never return."...

Church as an AA Meeting

"I do not believe that such groups as these (AA) are perfect any more than anything is perfect, but I believe that the church has an enormous amount to learn from them. I also believe that what goes on in them is far closer to what Christ meant his church to be, and what it originally was, than much of what goes on in most churches I know. These groups have no buildings or official leadership or money. They have no rummage sales, no altar guilds, no every-member canvases. They have no preachers, no choirs, no liturgy, no real estate. They have no creeds. They have no programs. They make you wonder if the best thing that could happen to many a church might not be to have its buildings burn down and to lose all its money. Then all that the people would have left would be God and each other." Frederick Buechner

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