What would you do if you saw someone run toward an oncoming big rig and throw himself (or herself) down on the pavement right in front of the truck? What could you do? Call 911? Cringe? Wave your arms and holler? And we might wonder – “What compelled him/her to do that? What was s/he thinking?” While probably not as obvious or dramatic as throwing ourselves in front of an oncoming big rig, we all have ways to cope when we feel like our lives are out of control. “I’ll feel better after I run… go to the gym… get the house clean…” “Things will be better after I move… get a job… get a better job… all my bills are paid…” From God’s perspective, I think all of the above look like running toward a big rig — we feel compelled to do them even though these activities don’t fix what’s out of our control.
Start small with a one day fast for success
Beginning on Ash Wednesday the season of Lent begins in the Western Church. Although in the first few centuries the fasting aspect of Lent was only a few days long, it became a period of 40 days before Easter where fasting was strictly observed and the penitential aspect of Lent was emphasized by the addition of prayer, almsgiving and self denial, along with reading and meditating upon God’s holy word.
Cookies, believe it or not, are something of a parallel with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our scriptures serve as our faithful cookbook passed on from generation to generation. Open the pages and there are any number of “recipes” inside that can lead us to eternal life. However, we can’t just pick and choose from them and hope to achieve everlasting salvation without doing some things in the proper order.
By Matthew 22:5, “But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, and another to his business.”
In the first article, I wrote on life’s journey, we are born with no knowledge beyond the biological urgings. We must find out who we are. We spend much time in the first half of life filing an empty vessel that God gave us. We fill it with many trappings of life, much of which is meeting the needs of the false self.
Happy New Year! When writing this article, I always ask God to let me know what words and ideas He wants someone in the reading audience to be blessed by. I could not think of any themes this time and nothing came into my mind from Him so I asked my daughter, Faith, what subjects might be good. She suggested talking about New Year’s resolutions.
For the past several months, people seeking to put a bit more food on their plates — and on the plates of family members — have been able to find some help at the Community Budget Center.
The following quote from Learning to Wait: An Advent Meditation (Richard Beck) sums up many of my thoughts and confusion regarding Advent, Christmas and Epiphany: “…Last year during Advent I noticed a lot of blog posts, Facebook updates and Twitter tweets lamenting people singing Christmas carols during Advent.
Forty-two-year-old Maria Landa, mother of five, has been looking for her calling, and is beginning to find it through her religious faith and her work with the community of St. Michael’s Catholic Church.
I was shopping for Christmas cards the other day and saw a lot of “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” cards. The inside of one card said something like, “May the spirit of Christmas be yours throughout the New Year.”
The season of Advent is upon us, that series of four Sundays prior to Christmas when we prepare for the coming of the Lord on Christmas Day. In our tradition, the first Sunday of Advent is the first day of the new Church year and each of the Sundays in Advent represent certain truths and/or traditions that we celebrate about the coming of the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec. 25 of each year.
1 Peter 1:3 (ESV), “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Sometimes we are just plain scared to immerse ourselves in new and different thing for any number of reasons. It doesn’t really matter what it is because we can find justification to avoid trying something new. An illustration of this happened to me recently. My job in a library means that I need to come up with some creative projects to make the library a fun and welcoming place for elementary school students. The problem is that I have no inner artsy self. Nothing.
As I began to focus on Thanksgiving and how to convey that feeling in a fresh way to my congregation, I realized that I am thankful today for things that I never dreamed of.
As a pastor, it is common to hear from Christians the reasons why it is not necessary for them to attend church regularly. I believe many if not most Christians have the wrong concept of the purpose and significance of gathering together.