As a pastor I come across and hear about a lot of problems in people’s lives and in the world. As a pastor I not only have to preach about God’s love, but also be the example of that love toward everyone. Of course that is nothing to complain about, in fact I love doing that. I could not see myself doing anything else. However, being a pastor is also one of the most misunderstood and abused roles in the world. In fact if I was to be truly transparent it is also one of the most lonely. Nothing brings me more joy than to be a pastor AND nothing creates in me a sense of worthlessness than being a pastor. Continue reading
My parents decided that when they had children they would not raise them in the ways they were raised by their parents. At least this is what they claimed to me, so I will believe them. One distinct way they did this was a profound sense of God’s love for all people as His creation. In other words God has created us all in His divine image of Love. White, African, Hispanic, Asian, are all the beautifully created work of God. I did not know my grandparents well on either side, however you kinda pick up on some beliefs they had through the comments that I heard. One of these issues was race and racism. I do not know if my grandparents were racist, but when you hear the comments like, “if your grandpa knew what you were doing he would roll over in his grave” directed toward other family members when they dated people from another race you kinda get the idea on where they stood on this issue. Continue reading
I know it has been a long time since I blogged but, you know how life can work. Everyday we must make priorities and this was put on the back burner. Well I am trying to bring it back to my routine. This summer has been crazy and very fast. I mean the summer vacation season is almost passed. I started thinking about vacations… Continue reading
Well, Christmas has come! This past Sunday we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. All the anticipation and buildup of the past month found its climax. We opened presents, visited with family, ate a ton of food, and played with our toys. It was a fun and exciting day. A day to rejoice, a day to be happy, a day to love. I bet most of us gave a huge sigh of relief when we went to bed. So, now what? Did all this planning, cooking, wrapping, and decorating have one day of explosive celebration? That seems like a big letdown for me. Maybe that is why I love to remind people that it is still Christmas. In the Church, Christmas is not just a day, but a season. Most Churches celebrate Christmas for 12 days, but it can last as much as 40 days.
While shops and stores are preparing to sell off the Christmas left-overs and start setting up for the next holiday, Christians can continue to celebrate. The Christian faith gives us a whole lot to celebrate at Christmas. For Christmas is the beginning of salvation. It is the birth of Love on earth. It is the reality that God became human as the Incarnate God. Through Jesus Christ we are being cleansed and adopted into the family of God. Through the Incarnation, God has opened the door for the Holy Spirit to live and move in our lives. One day just does not seem to match the endless joy that we can experience with the birth of Jesus.
One of my favorite Christmas readings comes to us from the book of Titus 3, “But ‘when God our savior’s kindness and love appeared, he saved us because of his mercy, not because of righteous things we had done. He did it through the washing of new birth and the renewing by the Holy Spirit, which God poured out upon us generously through Jesus Christ our savior. So, since we have been made righteous by his grace, we can inherit the hope for eternal life.’” This is why I celebrate Christmas longer than one day. My hope was born on Christmas Day. God’s grace was given fully on Christmas Day. The birth of God’s generosity came to us and continues to be given to this day.
I say go ahead and keep listening to Christmas music. Watch those Christmas movies. Keep wishing people “Merry Christmas.” Continue giving out gifts. For the season of Christmas has just begun. Also, this gives us the continuing opportunity to give people a great Christmas. Above I described the joy of Christmas, but that joy is not with everyone. Some had to work on Christmas Day, some had to wait for family, and some have no family to celebrate with. Now that your family has celebrated the day, maybe it’s time to celebrate with those who have no reason to be joyful. You still have time to spread the Christmas Hope to all people. Do not let the world tell you that Christmas is over. Christmas is still around and active. Remember Jesus is “washing” and “renewing.” These are present, active verbs. God continues to do these things through the Holy Spirit and the birth of a Baby began it all. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
One of my favorite things for this time of year is the lights that people put up to decorate their houses. Let’s face it, winter time can be a time of darkness. The days get shorter and the nights get longer, not to mention it gets colder. It can be a very depressing time for us. However, when we decorate for Christmas we put up lights. For me, colored lights are my favorite. My family never put up one color, we put up the multi-colored lights. I like to think that having different colored lights helps us to see the beauty that God has created. Continue reading
I find myself saddened this past week. I am saddened at the state of humanity that I am witnessing in the U.S. since the Presidential election. The media is calling it a historic race between the two candidates. I really didn’t see anything historic in the good sense. In my limited age of watching presidential races the only historical thing I saw was the culmination of hatred on both sides. Never have I seen debates and commercials that vilified the other side they way this race went. I do not even think “mud-slinging” is a good way of putting it. Mud-slinging would be a step up to what these two candidates did and said to each other. The sad reality to all this is that we have let two political parties divide the nation and the hatred that was seen in the election race is continuing after the election, but instead of the two candidates going at each other the public has followed the example of their nominees. This just goes to show you how impressionable humanity is when they allow a bad example to guide their morality and self-worth. Continue reading
This past Sunday was All Saints Sunday. It follows All Saints Day which is the first day of November every year. All Saints Day is a feast in the Church where we recognize all those who have passed on and now rest in the Lord. It is not just a day of remembrance, it is also a day of hope. For me, All Saints Day is a testimony that we receive from God and His disciples, that we worship and believe in a God who creates, sustains, and renews life. Continue reading