When I look around me at church, I'm often struck by one thing about the people I see. They are different. I know that might not sound like that much of a compliment - but I see it as an amazing gift from God. Truly. The faces in our congregation range from young to old, the voices from weak to strong, the billfolds from thick to thin, the vigor from faint to healthy, the skin tone from black to white and everything in between. We are different.
Well, we're three weeks in to 2013. Have you kept your resolutions so far? Or are you realizing again this year that the New Year's resolutions were tougher than they sounded on Jan. 1?
"When were you saved?" Have you ever been asked that question? When were you saved? Maybe it's just because of my line of work, but I get that question all the time.
They say you find God in the strangest places. Well, the story of Christmas proves it. Read Luke 2. Even though the text starts in the Emperor's palace of the most powerful nation on earth, when "Caesar Augustus issued a decree," and it passes through every place of power and beauty you can imagine from the Governor's mansion of Quirinius to every corner of the known world - we find it settling down in Nazareth, a nothing town. We see the spotlight rest on a poor engaged couple with not enough resources to even secure a decent bed. That ...
Wives, do you wish your husbands were better communicators? Guys, do you wish your wives didn't read things into what you say that were never there? You know what I'm talking about.
You can tell a lot by a gift's reaction, can't you? - about the gift, the giver, the receiver, their relationship. So, since reactions to gifts are so important - think about your reaction to the greatest gift of Christmas -Jesus.
It's getting closer. The end of the Mayan calendar has caused so many to talk about the end of the world. They say it will be next Friday, Dec. 21. Of course, God said we wouldn't know when - but we do know he's coming. So it is important to ask if you're ready. Are you?
T minus 14 days and counting. Are you ready? According to the Internet (and you know if it's on the Internet it has to be true, right?) ...according to the internet on Dec. 21st, 2012, at exactly 11:11 a.m. there will be a conjunction of the Winter Solstice with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator and the Ecliptic path of the sun. The Mayans predicted it 2500 years ago and ended their calendar on that day. Nostradamus called it the "Galactic alignment of 2012" way back in 1555. And it is now just 11 days away ...
Well, it's official. Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas season is upon us. I know, the 12 days of Christmas actually start on Dec. 25, but our society can't wait that long to start celebrating. So Christmas creeps up earlier and earlier in the year. I even saw Christmas trees coming out already in October in one local store. But now that Thanksgiving is past, it is full on. Christmas is everywhere.
"Rejoice in the Lord always... Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Last week, I defended my statement that being a church person is really living. But I know how hard our society and our own sinful natures fight against that. I've heard all the arguments against the whole "religious scene." I know it's popular (foolish, but popular) these days to say, "I'm spiritual, just not religious." I've heard so many reasons the "church" world makes life hard. And I know, often the "church" messes up. Often, the real reason for church and religion is pushed to the side, so it does lose its purpose. That doesn't ...
"This is living." Has that statement ever come out of your mouth? Take a minute and think about when. Is it sitting on the beach; sending a rocket of a drive down a picturesque fairway; being squeezed in a hug from your grandkids; enjoying a fantastic meal with people you love? What would make you say, "This is living"?
Have you ever said it about coming to church? Today, I'd like to posit the proposition that doing the church thing - going to church, reading the Bible, reading an article like this, just being a Christian - "THIS is living."
Last week, I left you hanging. I spent 90 percent of my column showing you from God's word that regardless of what you might try to tell yourself - you don't deserve anything good. I know, that doesn't sound like a very nice thing to do. But the truth is - it's the truth. In fact, the wages of sin is death.
"Just keeping it real." I've learned to dread that statement, because it usually comes with something I'd rather not hear. You know, they say it's important for a public speaker to have a good critic - someone to honestly and objectively evaluate how you're communicating, what you're saying, all that. Well, God has certainly blessed me with that in my wife. You see... How can I put this? My wife doesn't worry about hurting my feelings when I ask how it went after I've preached. In fact, she tells me she wants to make ...
It was nearly 20 years ago now. My dad took the opportunity to speak to the court at the trial of the man who killed my sister, his daughter. You see, the man had gotten drunk...again, and gotten behind the wheel...again, even though his license had been taken away, even though he knew better, even though he had been warned and cited and told. All this my dad knew.