2015s

    Peace.

    “At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, peace to all men and women on earth who please him.” — Luke 2:13–14, The Message This the fourth week of Advent is when we light the Angel’s candle which points us to peace. Peace is what was proclaimed by the these messengers from heaven as they glorified God at the announcement of the birth of Jesus.

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    Joyful Proclamation!

    Have you ever had that experience where someone made a promise to you and then they came through? What did you feel like? What if that promise came years and years earlier and was fulfilled when you were least expecting it? You would probably be filled with utter joy. This is what the third week of Advent is all about. The third week is when we light the “Shepherds Candle” which represents joy.

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    The War on Christmas

    Did you know that there was a “War on Christmas”? Seriously, there’s a “War on Christmas”. It’s occurring in most churches. It breaks out in many hearts this time of year. Christmas is when we go out and buy friends and family lots of gifts. We spend lots of money on things people don’t need and some don’t even really want. A few of us even go to church on Christmas Eve and that makes us feel spiritual about spending all that money.

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    Coming in Humility

    The second candle we light in Advent is the “Bethlehem Candle.” It is the reminder of how the Bread of Life came to the House of Bread in humility. Jesus, King of the Universe, did not come to the world by way of power or exceptionalism but by humility. He was born in a hole carved from the side of a rock and his cradle was a hay filled trough.

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    If your first instinct is to use a tragedy to further your political preferences there’s a good…

    If your first instinct is to use a tragedy to further your political preferences there’s a good chance you’re part of the problem.

    Kind or Nice?

    Sunday night at our gathering we were spending time in Ephesians 4. During our conversation it struck me again how important it is for us to understand the difference between being “kind” and being “nice.” Verse 32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Paul doesn’t command us to be “nice.” He commands us to be “kind.” This distinction is very important for our relationships.

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    The Day Is Coming!

    Many people love Christmas. There’s a radio station in Detroit that has been playing Christmas tunes 24/7 for a few weeks. Christmas is nostalgic and beautiful. It tells the story of God the Son being born in humility to save the world. Christmas is great. But I love Advent! There is something special about the building excitement and anticipation of the season. The Christian new year begins with the first Sunday of Advent, not with Christmas.

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    Tension

    The Christian life is one of great tensions. Grace and truth. Mercy and justice. We live in the tension of these great ideas and concepts. Many of our theological debates center on which side is to have priority. In Ephesians 4:17–32 we see that this tension goes beyond belief. The very actions of the Christ follower is a life in tension. In this section Paul admonishes believers to “put off” their old selves and “put on” the new self.

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    Quiet in a LOUD World

    If you’re like me, silence is uncomfortable. Sometimes it is almost unbearable. When I studied in college I needed noise, so the TV was always on. When I was in grad school, I needed noise, so I studied at the coffee shop. Now that I’m a pastor, I feel like I need the quiet. But I really struggle with knowing how to be quiet and embrace silence. These words from Eugene Peterson really struck me this morning,

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    historical-nonfiction:

    historical-nonfiction: Most of us are aware that sports, while supposedly an honorable contest of skills, is often anything but. WWE, for example, is a well-orchestrated show. And they’re just the most obvious about it. Well fixing matches is nothing new. The very first known bribery contract was found in a papyrus dated from the year 267 CE, which was salvaged from Oxyrhynchus, Egypt in 1905. The transcription has been recently deciphered, and as expected the content is quite licentious.

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    Believe Us When We Say We’re Hurting

    twloha: “The stigma surrounding mental health boils down to one thing: that if pain can’t be measured or seen, it doesn’t exist. People believe that illnesses that cannot be detected with medical equipment can do no harm. But that one dangerous concept has a variety of stealthy disguises.‘Smile! Others have it worse.’‘Your life is great!’‘But you always seem so happy.’‘If you ignore it, it will go away.’Sentences filled with salt for our wounds.

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