Blog | Lindsey Smallwood


Making Purple Spaces

Lindsey Smallwood

I spent the last week of June in my sweet spot, serving as the speaker for Maker Camp at The River Church Community. Maker Camp is five days of kids being creative, everything from robot petting zoos and a giant box city, to homemade pasta and learning to write music. My (very fun) job was to lead chapel each morning, where we learned about our creative God through stories, songs, dancing, videos and the occasional pie-in-the-face. Because one of the things I like to make is fun.


The Sunday following Maker Camp, The River hosted an all church celebration, where we invited campers and their families to join us in a service where we reflected on creativity. I preached on what it looks like when the stuff of heaven - beauty and justice and love - meets the reality of our life on earth. I invited us to dream together about creating new ways of bringing heaven to earth, making purple spaces in the world. The link to listen or download the sermon is here:

A couple notes:

  • In the sermon, I mention The Bible Project, a resource I have found really helpful this year. Check out their free video library at

  • I also shared about ways our family and our church is seeking to help migrants at the border. For ways you can join us, check out Global Immersion and/or this NYT article.

Laying Branches Low

Lindsey Smallwood

When the people greeted Jesus with palm branches, what were they hoping for?
When I come to God, what am I hoping for?


Why the cross? What does it mean?
Why my pain? What does it mean?


Last Sunday I preached at our church to kick off Holy Week, exploring the strange events of Palm Sunday and the hopes and aches we all can’t seem to shake. From the children of Israel who wondered if God had brought them through the waters to freedom only to abandon them in the wilderness, to my own heart in Silicon Valley where I find myself bitter about the Tesla next door, this is a message about looking again at Jesus and finding our story in His story.

You can stream or download the sermon here:

New Stars in the Sky

Lindsey Smallwood

On Sunday, I preached for the first time at our new church home in San Jose, The River Church Community. Our Advent series is based in the stories about Jesus’ birth from the book of Matthew. Last week our lead pastor taught from the genealogies of Jesus, highlighting how the inclusion of women, and marginalized women at that, helps us see a God who is for all.

This week we read the Epiphany story, finding ourselves on the Magi’s journey, looking at the ways God reveals himself to everyone, even those a long way off from faith.

Unlike Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds who all receive visit from angels speaking their language and explaining what’s happening, the Magi merely see a new star and are left to decide what to do about what they’ve seen.

Me, telling a childhood story, because #always

Me, telling a childhood story, because #always

To hear more about faith journeys, paying attention and the stars we must make sense of, you can listen to the sermon here:

Proclaiming a Mystery

Lindsey Smallwood

I'm not doing much writing these days as we get ready to move to California in 3 weeks. But I have been preaching here and there.

Last month, I got to preach in the church I grew up in which was weird and wonderful. It was Ascension Sunday and we read this exchange between Jesus and his disciples from Acts 1:6-9:

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Ok, so first off that question!

"Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

What Jesus' followers are asking is this:
Are you finally going to become the literal king on the literal throne of this little piece of land where we live?
Are you going to vanquish our enemies and make sure that
our religion is respected,
our families are safe,
our way of life is protected? 

Jesus, being Jesus, knows what they're asking, that they are hoping to become powerful, to see their status restored. But he doesn't rebuke them, he just answers a different question. 

Oh you're about to get power. 
But not power to rule this little piece of land in the Middle East.
You're going to have power to live out a life of faith,
power to proclaim the good news,
power to continue my work around the world.

Then - mic drop - and he Star Treks himself up to the sky.

After talking about that story, I shared about this power to proclaim, what it looks like to be people who are good at telling God's story. 


The next week I was back in Ann Arbor for Pentecost Sunday. (If you're following along, I preached about evangelism to the Pentecostals and Pentecost to the evangelical Baptists ;)

The sermon invites us to live expectantly and embrace the mystery of God - including learning to worship while wrestling with doubt, honest prayer, faith and how to make sense of the phrase "body of Christ."