Showing posts from December, 2016

Surprises - Luke 2:8-20

(With the kids) What kind of presents did you bring with you this morning? (Allow for answers.)  Those are all very nice.  Are they what you were expecting to get/are they what you asked for? (Allow for answers.) Were there any surprises?  Do you like surprises?  I like surprises, most of the time.  A lot of times those good surprises turn out to be far better than what I was expecting.  I remember a couple of years ago, Ms Anita gave me a present to open on Christmas Day.  I was expecting it to be a a pair of dress pants or jeans, I opened it and inside was this amazing jacket.  I was surprised and excited.  You know what, God likes to give surprises to…and they are surprises we should be excited about.  I’m going to let you head back to your seats with your presents while I talk about those surprises.
How many of you like surprises?
I know some people who do, and others who don’t.  I have a dear friend who doesn’t even like to be surprised by how a book or movie ends, and so she wil…

Peace-Makers Not Peace-Keepers: Micah 5:2-5a and Matthew 5:9

Most of us do not like conflict. There are some who I believe thrive on conflict, but for the most part, many of us will try to avoid conflict no matter what the cost. It doesn’t matter if we see something that isn’t quite right, if we think it might cause an argument or start some fighting, we choose silence and/or inaction, and we will encourage those around us to keep that same silence and remain inactive.  Anita will tell y’all that I tend to be one of those folks that doesn’t like conflict and will try to avoid it if I can.  It happens from time to time, and even happened within the last few weeks.  I can’t remember where we were or what the circumstances were, but Anita brought up something that was going on, and felt like she might want to address it because she thought that what was going on was wrong.  Most of the time when this happens, Anita will ask me if she should say something or just let it go and most of the time, I will tell her that I think we ought to just let it s…

Holding On To Hope - Romans 8:24-25

When I was growing up, I remember this picture that I would see hanging in either my mom’s (or one of her coworker’s) office, it read, “when you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”  It had a picture of a cute orange tabby kitten hanging on to the end of a rope by its front paws.  While it was cute, it also carried with it a message of encouragement.  That word to hang in there when things get rough is a word echoed throughout Scripture…from Jeremiah writing to the captives in Babylon (“for I know the plans I have for you…), to Daniel’s apocalyptic visions which were to offer encouragement during the rule of the Grecian empire to John’s similar apocalyptic vision to help the early Christians hang on during the threatening rule of Nero or Domitian of the Roman Empire.  The Biblical word for this concept of “when you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on” is the one that Paul lifts up in today’s reading, “hope.” Paul knew about being at the end of his rope.…