Christmas has come - the hustle and the bustle, the lights, the music, the trees, the ornaments and the garland. Christmas has come – Santa and reindeer and elves and Frosty and movies and presents and gift wrap and cards. Christmas has come – whether you feel you can say “Merry Christmas” or just “Happy Holidays,” we are wishing well to those around us, for it is the season of good cheer and smiles. Christmas has come – family and dinner and cakes and pies and cookies and giving and receiving and football and dressing in new clothes. Yes, Christmas has come. It has certainly made its indelible mark on us yet again…. You know Christ has come – the prophecies said that he would and God’s plan said it was time. Christ has come – he was born to live so that he could die and redeem all of humanity. Christ has come – his gift was simple, yet it was the greatest and most powerful gift that could ever, that would ever be given to this world. Christ has come – and as a result, all of the human race has the opportunity for eternal life. Christ has come – has he made his indelible mark on you?
Here’s a question...what do the 4th of July and Thanksgiving have in common? The most obvious answer is these two celebrations are uniquely American in that their very founding was undeniably linked to the founding of the United States. The less obvious answer is that these two holidays were also founded in humble recognition of God Almighty. Just read the first and last parts of the Declaration of Independence and the first declarations for Thanksgiving and you will see that God was first and foremost. Here we are about 240 years later and God is no longer first and he certainly is no longer "for most." So, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday what can we do to relight our own fire of gratitude towards God and towards one another? Let’s start by talking about it!
So, what is Halloween about anyway? Is it all about the costumes, the candy and the parties? Is it all about the social connections of people actually seeing and talking to other people or the excited grade school kid who gets to dress up like a video game hero? Or is Halloween all about the dead? Is it all about communication with the spirit world, fire festivals and the dark arts? Can dead souls really “cross-over” the boundary of our physical world on this unique night? What is real and what is not? Where did this all start and what has it become? There is a lot more to this than you might think!
(This week's program has a special "PREWIND" document to use as a companion to the live program. Please click on "CQ Rewind Summary" below to view the PREWIND. No password is necessary.)
"Materialism" is a philosophy that permeates much of the world today. It is the belief that physical stuff underlies everything real, and it rejects any supernatural forces as having influence in our world. It teaches that the universe came into existence on its own, without any intelligence or design behind it; and it has proceeded randomly since. Further, it is claimed there is no natural moral code in this accidental universe other than what man comes up with. Thus there is no reason why we are here and no hope beyond death. The material world is all there is or will be. Related to this is the concept of "scientism," which is the belief that science is the only reliable source of truth. Is this true? Is science the only source of truth? Does science really validate godlessness? Or does science show something else entirely?
We are blessed. We live in a country where freedom of speech and assembly are a given – a country where we can choose who to worship and how we accomplish that worship. We live in a country where we can apply ourselves, work hard and attain levels of success that are not only rare, they are unheard of in many other places. We live in America and we have the freedoms we currently enjoy because of the wisdom and sacrifice of the countless patriots who founded our country long ago. As we pause over the 4th of July weekend to celebrate their efforts and succes, we also want to pause to look long and hard at our present interpretation of freedom. Have we lost our way when it comes to the privilege of living in freedom and assuming the necessary responsibilities that are inherent to it? Is our freedom here in America on borrowed time?
The life of Jesus truly is the greatest story ever told, for because of his life, all of mankind will also have life. The life of Jesus reflects all that is good and selfless in humanity. The death of Jesus reflects all that is courageous and noble and the resurrection of Jesus – well, that reflects all that is godly and loving. Jesus truly did leave us a legacy to follow. Today we honor his resurrection by following some of the legacy he left behind for us during his last day.
Palm Sunday is the day that Christians celebrate Jesus and his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This event was a major step in the preparation of his final days leading to his crucifixion. On this program, we will look at three other events spread throughout his ministry that also prepared him and sent a clear message as to who he was – the three events are the three times he raised people from the dead. Were these connected? What was the message?
We humans are built to long for love, commitment and longevity. We all want to be happy and for most that means being involved in a special relationship. We want “…and they all lived happily ever after!” for such an end is what dreams are made of. For a few, this may become their reality, but for most their reality sounds more like “and they lived tentatively ever after, never quite satisfied, but rather they were tolerant of their lot in life.” How do we avoid the tragedy of the last ending and find some of the “happily” of the first?
For many, one of the most exciting events in life is the birth of a child. Once they are born, we really begin to understand how fragile, innocent and utterly dependent they are. If not completely cared for on a round-the-clock basis, they have little chance in life. As they grow it dawns on us that their physical dependence gives way to emotional and life skills dependence, so we must continue to rise to the challenge of parenting in an ever-changing way. At some point, the plan is for them to stand, think, act and live on their own. This is, or should be the victory of parenthood! Folks, something is really wrong...many of our children are not learning this independence! Where did we go wrong?
Happy New Year! ...Or is it? Have you asked yourself if you are happy and excited about this New Year or do you fear the same old stuff will get in the way of the better life you had imagined? When you look at your own character and your own track record, what do you see? Do you see accomplishment and progress or failure and backsliding? Do you see consistency and focus or sporadic efforts and distracted attention? Bottom line: do you want to do better, do you want to be better and do you want to feel better about where you stand? Well, stay with us!