Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reflections on Christmas

I sincerely hope and pray that you have had a good Christmas.  What makes a good Christmas?  Ideally, taking the time during the Advent Season to reflect on the Christmas Story, and how the events of Jesus' birth affect your life in the 21st century.

That was the topic of Sunday's message, Reflections on Christmas.  There were two specific things in the story of Luke that we reflected on.  If you would like to read the message, or hear the audio recording, click the link below.

12-27 - Reflections on Christmas

Thanks for reading.  May your reflections bring you closer to your God.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Favored One!

In Sunday's message, we looked at Mary. 

Mary is a very interesting character in the Christmas Story.  She is certainly a very important character, after all, she gave birth to God's Son, our Messiah.  But what do we know about her?  What did all this mean to her? 

I think that Mary is a model of faith in the early pages of the New Testament.  In fact, I think we're pretty hard pressed to find anyone who trusts God as much as Mary did.  To see why I feel this way, feel free to read the message.  There will also be an audio link to hear the message.

The Favored One!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Shout for Joy

This Sunday in the Advent Calendar is the Sunday of Joy, and our worship service seemed to be filled with joy.

From having twice as many praises as prayer requests, to celebrating a very busy Saturday, in which there were three big ministry events going on at the same time, and enough volunteers to pull it all off, to a coffee fellowship, to the Mission's Committee receiving our White Gifts for the sponsored families we will be helping this year, and on and on....

There is so much be thankful for, and that thankfulness and gratitude fills us with joy.  God is so good.

The message on Sunday was from Zephaniah.  There is a lot going on in Israel at the time the prophet Zephaniah was prophesying and writing.  It was also an important time for the people of Israel.  I know when things are important in the Bible because they're mentioned more often.  The more often something is mentioned, the more important it should be.  And the events leading up to and immediately following this time are recorded here in Zephaniah, in Jeremiah, in Habakuk, in Daniel, and in 2nd Kings and 2nd Chronicles. 

With this much attention, it must be an important time.  Indeed, history shows it, as within twenty years after his prophecies, Babylon comes in it's first attack and carries away a number of exiles.  With it came the end of Israelite sovereignty until the 1940's.  Surely this is important in the history of God's people.  Is there anything we might learn from it?  What can we understand?  What lessons are there?

To read this message, 12-3 Shout for Joy

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Spiritual Trip to Bethlehem...

Our Sermon Message for this week looked at the practice of the Season of Advent, a time of preparation for Christmas.  A time of reflecting on Jesus' first coming, and looking forward to His next coming.

The message explored a spiritual pilgrimage to a Bethlehem of sorts, a spiritual place, the starting place for our spiritual journey, the birthplace of all faith.  How do we get there?  What would be important to reflect on in this journey?  If you are interested in reading hte full text of the message, or listening to the audio recording of the message when it's available, click the link below.

Sermon - So, You Want To Go To Bethlehem?

Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 4, 2009

God is waiting for us...

Advent is a time of preparing ourselves for Christmas.  Both in preparing ourselves for the holiday of Christmas, and, even more importantly, in preparing ourselves for the next Christmas, if you will.  Jesus said He will come again, and we, as Christians, believe that, and look forward to that.  Advent is a time for making sure we're ready when He does come back.

I received this email recently that suggests that we don't have to wait.  God is here now, actually waiting for us.  Something to think about in this Advent Season...


The mention of Advent always stirs thoughts of waiting. . . 
waiting for Christmas.  
We Theologians always speak of reflecting on the three ways of Christ's coming: in history in Bethlehem,
 in the daily events of our lives, and the second coming in the future.
 
I've been thinking that we've got it all wrong.  We need not wait for God.  God is always present, always with us.  That's what the name Emmanuel means:  God-with-us.   And, that's the primary truth we hear in the Scriptures.  God created us, and calls us into relationship.  God is indeed present with us, and especially in the person of Jesus the Christ.
 
No, this Advent, I've come to see that it's GOD who waits for US. . .
 
. . .waits for us to notice that we are indeed created by God.  

We are born with unique gifts and qualities
as well as deficiencies and lack of qualities.
God only sees our goodness, and waits for us to notice too.

. . .waits for us to notice the myriad ways

 in which God is with us, always.
We know the Creator in the beauty and amazing capacities of creation, both earth and human.   We know the Creator when we experience love.  We know the Creator when we can not explain or understand mystery.

. . .waits for us to notice when we observe people acting in the image of God: in covenant with one another, both those known and unknown, both those alike and those very different.

. . .waits for us to notice the emptiness in our hearts

that can only be filled by God's own Self.

. . .in the season of Advent, as Christmas approaches, God waits for us to notice the wonder and innocence of little children.  How God must long for us grownups to be more like them, without guile.

It is true that in Advent we wait; but really, it is God who waits for us. 

May we savor and revel in that reality.

                                                              Sallie Latkovich, CSJ    

Is Lax Christianity still Christianity?

I am always worried about the almost lax attitude that some people have about their faith. I remember reading a devotion in  Indeed  (Walk ...