Bill Johnson

Spiritual reminders and reflections on the journey from fear to love.

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Pete the Duck

Pete the Duck. One morning there was a duck named Pete on the side of a path quacking. A professional singer walked by. Upon hearing him she said, “How nice of you to sing me a morning song, Pete.” A… Continue Reading →

From Blossoms

From Blossoms (by Li-Young Lee) From blossoms comes this brown paper bag of peaches we bought from the boy at the bend in the road where we turned toward signs painted Peaches. From laden boughs, from hands, from sweet fellowship… Continue Reading →

Struggle Is Not Required

Simple Sunday Sermons: Struggle Is Not Required. (Matt. 11:28-30.)
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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 →

The Summer Day

The Summer Day (by Mary Oliver) Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is… Continue Reading →

The Struggling Butterfly

The Struggling Butterfly (Attributed to Henry Miller) One day in India, a young boy walked up to a Guru or wise man, and asked what the man was looking at. The Guru responded “I am looking at a Chrysalis, and… Continue Reading →

Dead Things Don’t Struggle

Simple Sunday Sermons:  Dead Things Don't Struggle (2 Cor. 5:17).
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Why Were You Not Zusya?

Why Were You Not Zusya? There is a tale of a Hassidic rabbi named Zusya. He was a timid man, a man who concealed more than he revealed. One day Zusya stood before his congregation and he said: When I… Continue Reading →

As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse

As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse (by Billy Collins) I pick an orange from a wicker basket and place it on the table to represent the sun. Then down at the other end a blue and white marble becomes the… Continue Reading →

Better is One Day AND Thousands Elsewhere

Simple Sunday Sermons:  Better is One Day AND Thousands Elsewhere. (Psalm 84:10).
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The Ride of Life

The Ride of Life.  “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up,… Continue Reading →

Meditation: Why and How?

"Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It’s called meditation. " Jonathan Haidt

A modern day scientist in the quote above seems to give credence to the wisdom of Psalm 1 that says that when we meditate we are:

The Vacation

The Vacation (by Wendell Berry) Once there was a man who filmed his vacation. He went flying down the river in his boat with his video camera to his eye, making a moving picture of the moving river upon which… Continue Reading →

The Invisible Message Without Words

Simple Sunday Sermons: The Invisible Message Without Words. (Rom. 1:20).
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Relax

Relax (by Ellen Bass) Bad things are going to happen Your tomatoes will grow a fungus and your cat will get run over. Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream melting in the car and throw your blue… Continue Reading →

Your Breath

Your Breath. An average person takes 16 breaths a minute, 960 an hour, 23,040 a day, 8,409,600 a year. How many of those do we take for granted? Someday we’ll take our last. What an important reminder to be aware… Continue Reading →

Real, Raw, Unreasonable Trust

Simple Sunday Sermons: Real, Raw, Unreasonable Trust. (Job 13:15).
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Humor Isn’t for Everyone?!

Humor isn’t for everyone?!  “I realize that humor isn’t for everyone. It’s only for people who want to have fun, enjoy life, and feel alive.” Anne Wilson Schaef. Walking through a shop in Saugatak Michigan. My wife saw a card and… Continue Reading →

Why I Wake Early

Why I Wake Early (by Mary Oliver) Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who make the morning and spread it over the fields and into the faces of the tulips and the nodding morning glories, and into the windows… Continue Reading →

Peony Buds

Peony Buds. “‘Peony hugging,’ I think to myself as I move from clump to clump. Each place I become more aware of the hard and heavy buds. Their weight has already begun to bend the stems toward the ground. In… Continue Reading →

Remembrance

Simple Sunday Sermons: Remembrance.  (Rom. 5:5).
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Let Down Your Bucket

Let Down Your Bucket.  It seems that there was a party of sailors who were shipwrecked and drifting in the Atlantic Ocean in an open rescue boat. They’d been drifting for several days, had run out of water, and were… Continue Reading →

When Grieving the Loss of a Dog

When grieving the loss of a dog – poems and reflections to help you grieve well.  I put this together for those I know who are grieving the loss of one of their best friends.  It’s a hard truth to remember… Continue Reading →

Our True Home is in the Present Moment

Our True Home is in the Present Moment (by Thich Nhat Hanh) Our true home is in the present moment. To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is… Continue Reading →

No Peace? Know Peace?!

Simple Sunday Sermons: No Peace?  Know Peace?!  (Col. 3:15).
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A Harvest of Quirkiness

A Harvest of Quirkiness (by Bruce Sanguin) Gracious God, how can creation sing your praises, except with the red wings of blackbirds flashing across blue sky, and the croak and splash of frogs playing hide-and-seek in the ponds? How can… 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 →

An Alternative to Bad Billboard Theology (Part 3) – Even The Last Word Is Love.

Simple Sunday Sermons: An Alternative to Bad Billboard Theology (Part 3) - Even The Last Word Is Love.  (Hebrews 9:26-28).
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Becoming Myself

Becoming myself.  “Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.”  Soren Keirkegaard Perhaps we think that we have to become like someone else, or be someone else in order to be accepted or approved.  Sometimes we don’t like ourselves very… Continue Reading →

Unending Love

Unending Love (by Rabbi Rami Shapiro) We are loved by an unending love. We are embraced by arms that find us even when we are hidden from ourselves. We are touched by fingers that soothe us even when we are… Continue Reading →

The Eagle Who Thought He Was a Chicken

The Eagle Who Thought He Was a Chicken. A fable is told about an eagle who thought he was a chicken. When the eagle was very small, he fell from the safety of his nest. A chicken farmer found the… Continue Reading →

The Story of the Golden Buddha

The Story of the Golden Buddha. Many years ago in Thailand there is a temple that was called the temple of the Golden Buddha. And there was a huge statue of Golden Buddha. And word came to this village where… Continue Reading →

An Alternative To Bad Billboard Theology (Part 2) – Forgiven Forever.

Simple Sunday Sermons: An Alternative To Bad Billboard Theology (Part 2) - Forgiven Forever.  (Hebrews 9:26-28).
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A Morning Offering

A Morning Offering (by John O’Donohue) I bless the night that nourished my heart To set the ghosts of longing free Into the flow and figure of dream That went to harvest from the dark Bread for the hunger no… 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 →

Life in Reverse

Life in Reverse by George Carlin “The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A… Continue Reading →

An Alternative To Bad Billboard Theology (Part 1) – The Beautiful Presence of God.

Simple Sunday Sermons: An Alternative To Bad Billboard Theology (Part 1) - The Beautiful Presence of God. (Hebrews 9:26-28).
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Sonnet 29

Sonnet 29 (by Shakespeare) When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one… 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 Fisherman and Businessman

The Fisherman and Businessman. A vacationing American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat… Continue Reading →

Two Sparrows

Simple Sunday Sermons:  Two Sparrows (Matthew 10:29).
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Seeing with the Heart

Seeing with the Heart. “What is essential is invisible to the eye.  Only with the heart can one see rightly.”  Antoine de Saint Exupery A Prayer:  Change me O God to get in touch with my heart, to know my… Continue Reading →

How To Know What God Is Like

Simple Sunday Sermons:  How To Know What God Is Like (John 14:8-14)
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Chocolate Chip Cookies, Birch Trees and a Blue Sky

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Birch Trees and a Blue Sky. All of these have something to teach me about finding purpose in purposelessness, meaning in meaninglessness and enjoyment in the simple things of life while living in the present moment. I recently… Continue Reading →

Wild Geese

Wild Geese (by Mary Oliver) You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body… Continue Reading →

Do You Yearn, George?

Simple Sunday Sermons:  Do You Yearn, George? (Psalm 42:1-2)
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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 →

Just Laugh, Walter!

Just laugh? Why? Because, laughter is the best medicine.  Or as Prov. 17:33 says, “A Cheerful heart is good medicine.” This scene from the “Money Pit” never fails to make me laugh.  Please watch it til the very end.  Do… Continue Reading →

Laughter

Laughter (by Hafiz) What is laughter? What is laughter? It is God waking up! O it is God waking up! It is the sun poking its sweet head out From behind a cloud You have been carrying too long, Veiling… Continue Reading →

The Best Medicine for Life

Simple Sunday Sermons:  The Best Medicine for Life (Proverbs 17:22)
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