THE ASSUMPTIONS NEXT DOOR

The human imagination is a powerful thing, especially when it operates without our conscious awareness! When Margaret and I lived in Tyler (in northeast Texas), one of our neighbors owned three German Shepherds.  When we moved into the neighborhood, a few of our new neighbors warned us about both the dogs and their owners, but we didn’t think much of …

FIND YOUR COMMUNITY

Do you ever feel like you are constantly on the go? I know that I do. Life gets so busy sometimes that it becomes hard to prioritize things. Our world tells us that being busy, constantly on the go, is the path to success. It has caused us to become an individualistic society. God never intended for His people to …

HELLO, NEIGHBOR

What if we’ve made Christianity infinitely more complicated than it needs to be?  As institutions grow, the cultural landscape shifts beneath our feet and a consumer mindset dominates American Christianity, it’s easy to see why following Jesus feels so complex.  But the more I hear from Jesus, the less I buy the notion that He was inviting us into an …

IT IS WHAT IT IS

I have a friend who flinches when he hears that phrase. He believes that “how it is” is not “how it should be”. As a person of faith, he believes that God’s grace makes change possible, even if it’s not easy. John Wesley believed that to follow Christ was to be discontent with things as they are. The feeling that …

A THRILL OF HOPE

It’s a little late to be talking about Christmas carols, but I couldn’t help myself!  Not many people know that the lyrics of ‘O Holy Night’ were originally written by a French composer who was asked to produce a poem in honor of a recently completed church renovation.  (Incidentally, it was written in 1843, the same year Charles Dickens completed …

A NEW KIND OF RESOLUTION

As we approach the end of another year and begin looking forward to a New Year, listen to Pauls’ Words in Ephesians 3:1-12 This is the reason that I, Paul, am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles- 2 for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, …

DO I BELONG?

I’ve spent most of my life wondering if I belong.  This isn’t a ‘woe is me’ kind of thing – just stay with me for a moment.   I wondered if I belonged in the new school that I went to in 3rd grade after we moved towns.  I didn’t really.  I wondered if I belonged in my new school …

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

For many years (it feels like most of my life, actually), the debate about seasonal greetings has carried on.  We hear “Happy Holidays” with increasing frequency in the world around us.  Meanwhile, many Christians respond (often with more than a hint of frustration) “It’s Merry Christmas!” as though this is the proper Christian greeting during Advent.  The debate always struck …

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

When most people think of Christmas, they think of carols, presents, and a big feast. But did you know that how we celebrate Christmas varies depending on where in the world you are? From Sweden’s feast to Japan’s eccentric Christmas Dinner, each country has its own unique way of marking the holiday. Let’s see how many you know! Here are …

GOD SHOWS UP

The word “advent”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” “Advent” as a word has taken on such a religious meaning such that it seems odd to consider using it any other way. No one awaits the “advent” of a long-awaited parcel delivery. A groom might anticipate the “advent” of his …