Month: December 2016
December 24, 2016
To enter into the heart of Jesus is to submit to hidden, unglamorous work.
December 22, 2016
There is a robust history of artistic license when it comes to portrayals of Christ. On the one hand, Jesus Christ was a Middle Eastern man whose existence is verified by historians. On the other hand, Christians affirm that Jesus was also fully divine, the Son of God. Because of the truth that God took on human flesh to enter into our existence, sometimes artists dwell in that larger thought, portraying Jesus as an African man, or a Japanese fisherman, or as a blond-haired, blue-eyed European. Other times, artists have attempted to portray the physical specificity of the Messiah who was born in Bethlehem to poor Jewish parents 2,000 years ago.
December 19, 2016
“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” We all have something in each list. Tonight, I want to remind you that life is a complex mixture of all three kinds of experiences…good to celebrate, bad to grieve, and ugly to heal.
The word became flesh and lived among us.
December 14, 2016
The EMMS – Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society – has devised a beautiful opportunity for pastors to take a needed sabbatical, get physical activity, and provide the world’s poorest people. Their “Pedal and Pray” initiative engages clergy from around the world with the chance to take a sabbatical of a lifetime. Cycle with other pastors through Malawi for ten days this July and raise money for healthcare ministries in Malawi.
The King of all creation was born as a lowly, disregarded nobody-baby. In part, that was because Mary and Joseph were nobodies. Joseph was a craftsman from the small town of Nazareth in Galilee. Mary was a young woman with an apparently questionable character. Still, they were the nobodies God wanted to use, and that was a surprise.
December 12, 2016
God creates. God redeems. Christian faith is deepened and enriched when we get the order right. This is especially true in the arena of evangelism, where our focus is often on individuals and our fervent hope that they might come into relationship with Jesus Christ. There is no doubt this is an extremely important focus. Yet something significant is lost when the lens of our spiritual life remains set on zoom rather than wide angle.
Any Christian who wants to appear pious knows that he or she should want God’s will to be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Few people want to scrub a toilet, wipe down its exterior, and clean the floor surrounding it. But you cannot separate faith from works.
In other words, the will to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven is not nearly as important as the will to ask God how we might help bring about God’s will to be done on earth today in our home and town and nation.
December 9, 2016
Christians may forget that Advent marks the beginning of the Christian calender year. It entails celebrating two events simultaneously: Jesus’ first coming and his second coming. The lectionary texts during Advent orient themselves more towards the latter, and it might be worthwhile to suggest that we do likewise.
It’s high time that we get back to celebrating the Christian New Year with as much anticipation as watching the ball drop at Times Square.
December 7, 2016
Maybe as we proclaim the good news that will bring great joy to all people, we ought also to recall the words of our Prince of Peace, who told us that God blesses peacemakers. Maybe in this season of peace and beyond, we need to ask how might we become more active in our peacemaking?