Our time of mourning and repentance is over. Starting April 1, we enter the Easter Season. During Lent we spent 40 days focusing on what hinders us from Jesus. We fasted, prayed, gave up, repented, and cried out to the Lord. We asked God to create in us a new heart and spirit. One that is not fashioned out of stone, but out of His own. Now we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We turn our eyes not toward the cross, but toward an empty tomb. Jesus has conquered the grave! He has turned our mourning into joy! Continue reading “Bodily Resurrection???”
In the past month we have witnessed fire damage, hurricane forces, earthquakes, flooding, and now a mass shooting where at least 59 have died and hundreds wounded. Not to mention the famine in war torn countries, genocide, and persecutions that happen all around the world every day. We need to remember that tragedies can happen anywhere because we know that the darkness and evil principalities are seeking to destroy us. However, let us not despair. Continue reading “Real Hope…”
Have you ever had one of those weeks or moments when you are reminded just how unprepared you are for your job, family, or life in general? You know those moments when you are hit with something from left field and it leaves you feeling completely inadequate? This past week it happened to me. Continue reading “I’m so inadequate…”
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!!!
As a child, it seemed like Christmas took forever to get here. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was some of the most exciting times in my life. The expectation of decorating the house, the tree, and for my life the church were all signs that Christmas was coming. This meant time off from school and of course presents. I am sure that all of us as children, once or twice, tried to sneak a peek at our gifts under the tree to see what we were getting. Christmas could not get here fast enough. However, no matter how much I prayed or wanted it to, Christmas would come when the time was right, no matter how long it took. Continue reading “Advent Patience…”
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 “Who did you elect???”
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 “When the Saints Go Marching…”
Today starts that time of year where most churches calendars fill up. The Holiday Season is upon us. But not just for cultural reasons. In fact part of the Church celebrates various feasts and holy days during this time. Take for instance today. It is October 31 and we mostly associate this day with Halloween. However, for Protestants this is also known as Reformation Day. It was on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther sent his 95 Theses to the Archbishop of Mainz addressing the destructive practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He would later nail his theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenburg. This is known today in history as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Continue reading “Tis the Season…”
My dad told me once, that “God works with our decisions.” What an interesting concept, but an important one. In this one statement my dad expressed both the pain and the hope that comes with our choices. I bring this up because as a pastor in the United Methodist Church (UMC) I must consider the hard choices that are tearing the church apart. Continue reading “UMC General Confernece/The Prodigal Son”
Last week I had three wisdom teeth extracted. It was not fun. For those who have never had their wisdom teeth extracted I suggest to avoid it if at all possible. For a whole week I ran fever and my face was swollen. I did not get sick, but I am definitely sick of my mouth hurting. Of course my pain and decreased considerably, but I am still reminded of what happened every time I eat or drink. The weirdest thing I am getting used to is being able to fill the holes that were in my mouth with my tongue. I started thinking about this process and it reminds me of how God deals with the sin in our lives. My question I have for you is, have you allowed God to pull your teeth? Continue reading “Pulling Teeth…”