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Showing posts from November, 2015

Eternally New - Isaiah 43:19

How about some Christmas trivia? When did the first Christmas Tree come into use? Many sources point to the first decorated Christmas Tree being found in Latvia in the year 1510. When was the first Advent Wreath used?  It originated during the Middle Ages, with formal rituals revolving around the Advent Wreath being in place within Catholic and Lutheran traditions by the year 1600. When was “Silent Night” first sung?  Christmas Eve of 1818 offered by assistant priest Joseph Mohr, as he scrambled to put a poem he had written in 1816 to guitar music when the church’s organ failed to work in preparation for the Christmas Eve worship. When was “Hark The Herald Angels” written?  In 1737, Charles Wesley composed this hymn, originally titled after the first line: “Hark! how all the welkin rings, glory to the King of kings.”  The first line was later changed to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” by George Whitefield—much to Wesley’s displeasure. These are all part of what we would call Christmas trad…

King of Love - 1st Samuel 8:19-22a; Matthew 2:1-2, 11; 27:27-31 (Nov 22 2015)

It’s Thanksgiving Week.  It is the week we celebrate the arrival of those who fled the rule of the King of England and sought to establish themselves here in America.  This week we remember the events that set this nation on course, years later, to reject the rule of a king and move toward the establishment of a publicly elected president.  With that in mind, isn’t it amazing that if we move away from our secular celebration of freedom from the rule of a king, and turn to our faith and consider the celebrations of the church year, that it is either the Sunday before or the Sunday after Thanksgiving that the Church observes Christ the King Sunday. Flashback thousands of years and we see the exact opposite going on.  Moses had led the People of God out of Egypt and through the wilderness, leading them as the divine representative of God.  When Moses passed, Joshua took up the role of God’s leader of the people, as he led them out of the wilderness, across the Jordan, and in conquest of t…

Are We Living Out Our Thanksgiving? - 2nd Corinthians 9:6-15

How many of us are ready to trust our future into the hands of today’s youth?  I mean, we hear all the stories of addiction to violent video games, hands that seem glued to smart phones, or stories of out of control partying.  I mean, really, that’s who holds our future.  How many of you are really ready to trust our future into the hands of those who are now under the age of twenty-one? I would.  Why?  Because while the young folks we’ve just described are out there, they are only a few of the generation that is coming up behind us.  I also know that there are other, remarkable young folks that will be the generation caring for us in the future.  For example, there was the group of young folks that I encountered at Summer Breakaway this summer, there was a core group of three, with others floating in and out, that asked another staff member and myself to spend time talking with them about understanding Scripture and how it related to life in society today.  It started out to be about …

In Remembrance: A Call To Action - Luke 22:14-20, 24-27 (October 4th)

Recently, Anita and I watched this Hallmark movie, Lead With Your Heart.  And yes, I will watch chick-flicks with my wife, just as she will watch the J.R.R. Tolkien movies with me…it was in the marital vows…, you know, for better or worse. I was thrilled with this movie because it reflected the equality of men and women of our day—too often we only see the husband portrayed as the inconsiderate spouse that forgets the anniversary—in this movie, they are equally guilty of letting their busy lives cause them to forget.  They key for today, though, is what happens when they remember.  They remember the anniversary (through the help of a friend and the help of a phone call), and they move into action to cover their error before the other spouse finds out. We have all kinds of ways to help us remember things these days.  The old stereotype of tying a string around your finger as I did with the children this morning is from days gone by, though some may still use it.  Some folks will write i…