While we can’t ignore the past – it happened – we can reframe it into a story of redemption by looking at it, by talking about it, by thinking about it through the lens of Jesus’ love and grace. We change our past by allowing it to be redeemed.
Churches have personalities, expressed through their organization, Christian education
processes, preaching, and worship. Each can have strengths and challenges, but the diversity is reflective of the differences we see in people, including the
Instead of focusing on which
organizational structure or form of worship we prefer, we need to ask if our church is manifesting Christ to the world.
Gideon is saying, “my narrative contradicts your call. My life story does not line up with what you’re saying, Lord. My circumstances do not fit the direction you are navigating me in.”
I have often thought when hearing of another nose-dive from ministry, “not him?” but underlying that has been a naive attitude that has assumed that it won’t ever be me.
Our world needs to be new again: reborn, pressed against the chest of its Creator. Do galaxies have a newborn smell? Do subatomic particles dance with the hard-to-predict movements of a newborn’s kicking legs? In the youth of the world, did the trees yawn the contented sigh of a just-nursed newborn?
As Christians, we bear the light and allow it to shine through us so it may be offered to a world hungry for reconciliation and peace. We offer it to one another when times get rough and the waiting gets long. Sometimes, it gets so very long and can feel very desperate. Our response as Christians is not to brush the wait and darkness aside with simplistic answers and sound bite advice. We are not supposed to solve the problems others face but step into the darkness with others, offering the light we possess that Christ offered us. That is the participation we are called to during Christmas. O come, all you faithful ones.
Christmas is almost here! Thinking backing over the last few weeks, when have you felt the most peaceful? When have you felt the most stress or anxiety? As you think ahead to the coming week, what are you looking forward to? What, if anything, are you dreading? Offer those things into God’s care.
Yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday; “gaudete” is Latin for “rejoice.” Even a cursory reading of the Bible reveals that joy and rejoicing are an inevitable overflow in the lives of people who have understood and experienced God at work in their lives.
As good as the story of Esther is, however, it presents us with a problem: God is absent. Unlike other Old Testament stories, where we read of God appearing to Abraham or working behind the scenes to foil the plans of the Pharaoh, the story of Esther never mentions God. Rather, the characters in Esther appear to be acting on their own. God, it seems, is absent.
At a time in my life when things were not like I wanted, I sat in a restaurant booth across from a friend as…