Month: December 2017

  • Resolving to Follow Christ in the New Year

    Resolving to Follow Christ in the New Year

    As I write, the year 2017 is approaching its end. Many people are writing down their New Year’s resolutions. Although I usually quip that my New Year’s resolution is to avoid making New Year’s resolutions, I must admit that there is some value to this tradition. Many of us can think of ways we would like to improve our lives. Maybe we want to eat healthier, exercise regularly, get control of our finances, quit a bad habit, etc. We can make positive changes anytime, but somehow it seems convenient to make major life changes while replacing the calendars that are hanging on our walls.

  • Shepherds, Wise Men, and Ordinary People

    Shepherds, Wise Men, and Ordinary People

    A nativity scene depicts the main figures in the account of Jesus’ birth together in one location at once. It works as an effective story-telling device. However, the story of Jesus’ birth has become so familiar to most Christians that many of us miss a few key points.

  • Examining Our Ways in Times of Suffering

    Examining Our Ways in Times of Suffering

    Pain and suffering are a central part of our earthly existence. Sometimes, it seems unfair, as if God Himself is unjust. We try to make sense of suffering, but it does not always work. The answers are rarely obvious or simple, but suffering gives us an opportunity to examine our lives and see if there is anything God wants us to change.

  • Understanding the Deep Waters of the Heart

    Understanding the Deep Waters of the Heart

    enewing our minds is simply one part of the Christian life, intertwined with other aspects. Our minds are renewed not only through Bible study and prayer, but also through corporate worship, ministry to others, and fellowship.

  • Advent, Christmas, and Parallel Universes

    Advent, Christmas, and Parallel Universes

    Christians can often sympathize with the person who travels between parallel universes. We seem to do it all the time. This is most obvious during “the most wonderful time of the year.” Over the next month, we will be bombarded with “holiday savings” ads, Christmas songs on the radio (ranging from “Oh Holy Night” to “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”), “Keep Christ in Christmas” social-networking memes, etc. Many of us feel torn between the church’s message (Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus), a secularized variation of that message (the reason for the season is family, friends, love, peace on earth, and good will towards men), and the commercialized brand of Christmas that says we have to max out our credit cards and buy tons of fruitcake to prove that we care about people.