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Showing posts from November, 2014

The First Sunday in Advent, Day 1 - God Created Everything - Including You

It's the first Day of Advent, and I want to thank you for coming along with me as we celebrate that Our God Came to Earth For Us.  I wanted to write a series of Advent meditations that could be geared towards children.  The first part of this is written so that kids - your kids, my grandchildren - could read, or hear what is written and "enter into" Advent for themselves.  If you don't have kids you can either read it, or just skip ahead to the section entitled "For Parents and Other Not Kids".  These are purposefully short so that - hopefully - we can keep their interest.

The beginning of Advent this year is going to be about how God Keeps His Promises.  We'll start with Creation and move through the O.T. story to understand WHY God had to send His Son into the world.  As the angel said to Joseph and Mary, "To save people from their sins".

For the Kids:

Advent reminds us about God.  We can’t see God.  That is one of my Granddaughters reminds her…

Advent: What Can We Do?

Yesterday I began to lay out some thoughts on "Why Celebrate Advent?"  Today I want to give some ideas for what we can do to make Advent part of our own practice, and perhaps also our family's tradition.
First, some more thoughts on the significance of how Advent can shape our celebration of Christ's birth.  The prevailing themes of the Advent season and the symbolism behind the activities which churches and families share are varied among many traditions.  
I've often meditated/mused on different words that came into many Advent celebrations.  Words like  Expectation, Anticipation, Fulfillment, Hope, Preparation, Peace, Joy, Sharing, and most of all, Love all reflect aspects of what Advent is all about.
These themes are varied but whatever the words chosen; they became a means of reflection about the reason for Christ’s coming.  
We often celebrate Advent with symbols, such as using a center-piece of an Advent wreath, which incorporates 5 candles – four around i…

Advent: Why Celebrate it?

In less than a week - next Sunday - the season of Advent begins.  For a lot of people, myself among them, I look forward to this with much anticipation.  But it was not always that way, and for many, it is still not that way.  
Advent?  "Bah Humbug"...Why Celebrate it?
I was raised in a family of eight and as a kid Christmas was my favorite time of the year.  Not only did we get vacation from school, but we knew there were going to be presents under a tree.  What I remember the most about December was that it was a busy time of shopping, decorations, family parties and Church pageants.   Yet, for me, there were two days that we kept our eyes focused towards:  Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  
The other days in that month seemed to drag on endlessly awaiting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We filled that time shopping for presents and Christmas gatherings at school, or relative’s homes.   On Christmas Eve our Lutheran church’s children's program meant I stood up in front th…

Thanksgiving for Wandering Arameans

THANKSGIVING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER AND I FIND MYSELF THINKING ABOUT WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT AND WHAT WE LEARN ABOUT GOD AND OURSELVES IN THIS SEASON OF THANKSGIVING.
 WHAT I LOVE IS WHAT THANKSGIVING DOES TO ME. I CAN’T READ THE SCRIPTURE WITHOUT READING THE WORDS “THANKS” AND “THANKSGIVING”, “GRATITUDE”, ETC…OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
Psalm 69:30
30  I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 100:4
4  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Philippians 4:4-6
4  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
5  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
AND JUST IN CASE YOU FEEL GUILTY FOR EATING ALL OF THAT FOOD ON THANKSGIVING DAY:
1 Timothy 4:4
4  For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgi…

Preparing for Advent - This Year's Theme

Advent – When God Came To Earth
The page on the calendar turns to December, and Christmas is soon to come.  Christmas is almost here!   The kids wait in anticipation counting down the days until the gifts are opened.  For many Moms and Dads its a busy time:  there are Christmas programs and parties; carol sings and ringing the bells; shopping for presents, getting the tree, and the decorations to put up; mail the Christmas cards, bake the cookies and candies and...sigh, I’m tired already!   What’s amazing in all of this is that we find that the reason we are celebrating Christmas can easily get lost in milieu of endless motion of activities. 
Why do we celebrate Christmas?  We celebrate Christmas because God Came to Earth.
The gospel of John introduces this to us:  John 1:14
14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Good News is that Jesus – God, the Son – Came to…

Faith - A Way of Life, Part 2

This teaching is part 2...with the first part posted yesterday.  If you haven't read it you may want to go back and look at that first. I ended yesterday's blog with a simple premise:  Faith is meant to intersect with every area of our lives.  Jesus' invitation is to "come to me..." and it reminds us that that our lives are meant to experience freedom and joy that comes from a life of faith - trust in our Faithful God.
Today, let's finish this up and go back to Hebrews 11 as it looks looks at the history of mankind.  As we do, remember, it’s always FAITH that makes the difference – whatever the outcome. Our Faith in Success and Our Faith in Brokenness
Over the last two months, we looked at Faith in some of the great heroes of the Old Testament.  Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses.  These guys were heroes of Faith in trusting God in really tough places. The writer of Hebrews now reminds us that the scripture is full of people who acted in faith…BUT, what I w…