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!
Sometimes we forget that life is precious and it is worth fighting for. When someone dies as a result of suicide, that fight has been lost. When we lose a loved one to suicide we might ask ourselves; have we become so entangled in the web of social standing and status that we somehow stepped over and ignore our loved one who was struggling with being able to hold onto the sacredness of life? Were we so absorbed in our own stress and schedule that we were blind to our loved one’s battle or did they do such a convincing job of hiding their pain that the whole thing was just a shocking tragedy? What happened to our loved one that they found themselves drawn downward into a vortex of torment and suffering so dark that they despaired of life itself? How do we better understand and cope with suicide? How does God treat those who take their own lives?
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?
Long relationships mean a lot of "ordinary" can creep in, and some think ordinary is boring and humdrum. Sometimes we take key relationships, like that with our spouse, for granted. These biblical principles helps ground us so we can realistically honor God and our spouses.
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?