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For such a time...how can we do things that truly serve

 I've been a church sermon listener this year.  For years my vocation as a Pastor meant I prepared teachings for Sunday morning, and for other places from time to time.  I was a sermon deliverer, and now in early retirement, have become a sermon listener. At the church that I've been attending here in Florida, I have felt God speaking to me out of his word every week since I arrived in late December.  I wanted to worship with others - I do believe in honoring the command of the book of Hebrews 10:24-25,   24  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  In our society, many have lost their belief that being with others in worship, receiving the sacraments, praying, and coming back to the authority of the word of God in teaching is worth the time every Sunday... that's another post for a late
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Our God Who Makes All Things Possible

The stories of Elisha in 2 Kings are remarkable for both the miraculous and the common everyday things they are about.  I wanted to "muse" on that a bit.   Most of my life is common, everyday kind of things.  Read, talk, go... get groceries, gas, stop for this or that...errands, tasks to finish, or begin... awake and doing... and then awake and eating... and then awake and resting... a good 16 to 18 hours before it's time to sleep...and then awake and start all over again. My days begin with reading and prayers.  Prayers to God for my life, needs for forgiveness, requests for health and safety, and for my family... Linda, the kids and their families...my grandchildren and children.  Also, prayers for friends, especially when needs are present.  Health is always a part of my prayers for those who are in need. Everyday life...it's usually very normal, without drama, and, while often busy, full, still normal.   Then there are those times, days, when the normal seems to f

Reading the Bible lessons

  Reading thru the Bible, whether the whole Bible, or just the New Testament, isn't difficult, but requires some perseverance. I've been doing whole Bible readings in a year for over thirty years, and after publishing my "Reading the Bible in a Year - a Complete Reading and Devotional Commentary", reading the last half of the Bible is still a good investment in spiritual reading for the soul. Here's a couple of things to consider: 1. Think of it as a meal - breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late-night snack. It takes about ten minutes to read the passages and devotional material in my book - ok, sometimes a little longer - but if you see it as a meal, it's just a daily routine. After all, Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God" - It's food, set aside daily time, and keep the time. 2. If you miss a meal, you don't gorge on the next meal, but you take it seriously that you need som

The Faithfulness of God to remember at the beginning of a New Year

 It was exactly 50 years ago this week that Linda and I packed our small apartment belongings into a 4 x 6 Uhaul trailer and towed it south from Wisconsin to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  I entered Seminary in January of 1972 at the age of 22.  I didn't have any idea of what Seminary life was going to be like.  It was a whirlwind of decision-making when we arrived in Chattanooga.  Where to live?  What classes to take?  What can I do to make some money working part-time?  There was nothing prepared for us and we soon realized that every day and in every way, we had multiple decisions to make. I remember driving down one of the streets near the Seminary, pondering "what have I just done...moved my new bride 800 miles from family and friends...to the South, no less, where they don't understand what I'm saying, and quite frequently someone will observe... "so, you're a Yankee huh?"  Grits? what in the world is that?  Hominy, greens, oh my! About three weeks after

Ideas and Invitation to Advent

  What does one do in Advent?  I have spent a lot of time thinking about ways to celebrate and "enter" into the Advent season.   The prevailing themes of the Advent season, and the symbolism behind the activities which churches and families share, are varied among many traditions.  Europe’s churches celebrate Advent with festivals such as St. Lucia day and St. Nicholas day.  Ethnic celebrations add to the interesting ways others around the world embrace this season.   From the beginning, I tried to turn Advent into a season of reflection, meditation, slowing to embrace the mystery of the Incarnation. Words that I have learned to describe Advent are:  Preparation, Expectation, Anticipation, Fulfillment, Hope, Peace, Joy, Sharing, Faithfulness, Mystery, Love, and more. These themes are varied, but whatever the word/themes they became a means of reflection about the reason for Christ’s coming.   When we began as a family to celebrate Advent, we incorporated an Advent wreath

What is the Advent Season?

  What is the Advent Season? The word "Advent" means "arrival" or "coming" (in Latin from the word adventus ) .  Advent celebrates the mystery and the wonder of the first “coming” of Christ Jesus in his birth.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a person – Incarnation.  Theologically, the Incarnation and the Trinity belong together.  Jesus is God in flesh, and yet truly human.  John 1:14 (NIV) 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.   1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) 16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory .  Advent begins the Christmas season and as well, the Church year for many churches in the western world.  Advent is a seasonal celebration, a tradition that g

Advent or Christmas? - My Story

From the Preface of my Christmas Devotional book on Amazon:  "An Advent Sojourn"  Advent or Christmas? My Story   Advent celebrates that God entered into our world the first time as Immanuel – “God with us” in Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14).  Now, beyond that first coming, it reminds us that God will come back again, entering into our world in full redemption when Jesus returns a second time. Advent reminds me that to know God I must begin where God began – where the “eternal word became human and lived for a while among us” (John 1:14, The Message).  I do not celebrate Advent because I have nothing else to do around the Christmas season.  I celebrate Advent because I want to be immersed in the story that reminds me over and over again that God saw in us, his people, the beauty and wonder of His “image” - so much so that he entered into redemption through the act of the Incarnation – Jesus, the Word became flesh. Why I wanted Advent instead of just Christmas?   My own jou