Well, I suppose starting December with a blog post on Christmas is not a bad idea. After all, even non-believers tend to get excited about Santa Claus, children and presents at this time of year. (Eggnog and Fruit Cake are still up for debate, though) But using an almost unheard of Old Testament Minor Prophet, Zechariah, for the subject might need more explanation. “Where’s the relevance,” you might wonder. We have been working our way through those hidden gems of the Minor Prophets in our church family, and I believe the message of Zechariah is particularly encouraging for us as we move into the Christmas season. Track with me and see for yourself. (more…)
Thanksgiving? The President pardons a turkey. The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions are always two NFL teams with a game. Celebrities recite the people and events for which they are thankful. But are these famous people truly thankful, or just listing what they are presently happy about? The reality of saying thank you implies that we owe thanks to someone because they have done something for us. So, who are we thankful to? It is good to list people and things we are grateful for. That practice, done regularly, would do well for our present selfish society. But logically, who is it that we owe our gratitude to for providing those blessings we hold dear, and does it matter? Does the divine have anything to do with this? (more…)
When we hear of great men and women of faith, we often think of those who have left a safe and secure life here in America to risk it all on some foreign mission field in a third world country. We can rightly call that what it is – faith! However, Sometimes, the most incredible acts of faith are simply trusting God, even when everything and everyone around you is falling apart. Or at least it appears that way. (more…)
They have been called by many names and titles. Minister, preacher, and, for an older generation, parson. For those in the High Church traditions, sometimes they go by a more ornate term, like Reverend. Pastor is the most widely used term for those in full-time vocational ministry. The problem with the word pastor in English is that it means almost everything, so it sometimes doesn’t mean anything—anything specific. Think of all the images that come to mind when you hear the word pastor. He’s the older, wise man everyone loves and is there for weddings, funerals, birthdays, and child dedications. He is always available with practical advice. He’s an expert in deciphering the Bible and maybe even reads it in the original Greek and Hebrew. He shows up for workdays and is always there to lend a helping hand, a listening ear, and a word of encouragement. (more…)
It’s been a week since the terrorist group Hamas launched coordinated rocket attacks into Israel, with ground incursion and, ultimately, the murder of civilians. Almost immediately, the state of Israel declared war on Hamas, and to the moment, events on the ground have been, and are, escalating daily at lightning speed.
In addition to prayer, very few can physically do anything in this unfolding terror of events. But we have some choices in how we respond in our small part of the world in the here and now. Some options are unhealthy, while others are exactly what we need. There are many directions and details, but here are five basic emotions we can sit in or paths we can choose. (more…)