Blessed… Rock Types in the Church

Now when Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Human One is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” He said, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus replied, “Happy are you, Simon son of Jonah, because no human has shown this to you. Rather my Father who is in heaven has shown you.  I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won’t be able to stand against it.  I’ll give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Anything you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. Anything you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven.” Then he ordered the disciples not to tell anybody that he was the Christ. (Matthew 16:13-20, Common English Bible).

I was a college junior, studying at University of Houston’s Downtown campus. I was taking a geology class in an effort to meet my natural science requirement. I had already taken an astronomy class for half (my thought at the time) I really enjoyed but it was incredibly difficult. I thought for my other science class I wanted something easier than a class that would eventually transfer as astrophysics. Modern science has yet to come up with an instrument to measure my lack of interest in any science class but geology seemed to be a class that at least wouldn’t be too difficult. It was a correct assumption to make.

Still, as I sat through the class, I asked myself the age-old question students often ask when they are having to take a class they really don’t want to take. “Why do I need geology?”

Most of the time when I have asked this question I’ve never come up with a good answer. This time was different.  At the same time I was taking this class I had completed my candidacy for ministry work and was waiting on an appointment to my first church. To help prepare myself, I wrote a sermon every week whether I was preaching or not. Most of those sermons are still in my file cabinet. They haven’t seen the light of day in years, nor do I plan to break them out any time soon.

One week the lectionary gospel lesson for the week was the lesson that we have been looking at the past few days. I was thinking about what I might include in a sermon while sitting in a geology lecture. The professor was talking about different kinds of rocks. The Holy Spirit had to be speaking through that professor (remembering her, I doubt she would approve of that idea) because I suddenly knew what I was going to write about in my sermon, types of rocks.

There are three different kinds of rocks and I have learned each has a parallel within the church. The three types of rocks are igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks.

Igneous rocks are created by volcanic action. When a volcano explodes, ash, magma and rocks spew from the volcano.

Igneous rocks are like people in the church who become a Christian in a single moment in time when the Holy Spirit explodes in their life and they accept the relationship God offers to them. They can remember back to a time when their salvation journey began in that particular event.

Sedimentary rocks are created through a combination of igneous rocks weathering and the fragments of the rocks settle and through compression and cementing action become a new rock.

For many of us in the church today, we are like sedimentary rocks. We can’t remember a time when we wouldn’t have claimed being a Christian. We grew up in the church. We were exposed to the faith by many different people. Family members, Sunday School teachers, pastors and other faithful people in our lives. Fragments of faith weathered from them onto us and the Holy Spirit then cements those pieces together to make us a new creation.

Metamorphic Rocks are rocks that begin life as either igneous or sedimentary. These rocks are inducted back into the earth’s crust and through heat and pressure, the makeup of the rock changes, making it yet another new rock.

I see metamorphic rocks as those of us who live in a special call to the ministry of Jesus Christ. The heat and the pressure of the Holy Spirit make us something new and different as we are called into representative ministry.

These are the rocks, the people, who make up Christ’s church. Some came into being in that single event. Others came about because of the faith of others rubbing off on us and we were cemented together by the power of the Holy Spirit. Still others are pulled back and through heat and pressure are made different. All of us share one thing in common, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we who sometimes are even more like a rock than we care to admit, are the rocks that make up the Church of Jesus Christ.

What kind of rock (Christian) are you?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s