Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Third Week of Advent: Anticipation

This was first published on December 12, 2012.

Jesus, as Israel waited in anticipation for you to come, so we wait. We anticipate your return to completely set all things right and restore your creation. As we wait, help us to be active as we pray for your kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. Let that kingdom come in our day-to-day as we follow you, until that day it comes fully. Amen

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Second Week of Advent: Hope

This was first posted on December 9,2012.

Taken from The Mosaic Bible:

Advent is a time of hope; the spirit of eager anticipation pervades the senses. Even in the refuge of your own home, the season is inescapable as carolers dismiss the social inhibitions that dominate the other eleven months of the year. But when tragedy, depression, or even loneliness steals your joy, you can almost resent the hope that others have.

When we think our hope unfulfilled, we adjust our expectations. We take on new causes, reconsider our optimism, or sometimes become leery of new endeavors. We can even become angry with God, feeling desolate or abandoned. But even if we lose our hope in God, he will never give up on us.

God doesn't share our limited perspective, and that is one of the reasons that the hope of Advent isn't dependent on how we are feeling. It can be comforting to rely on the one who give us hope, even when the light of that hope doesn't seem to penetrate our temporary darkness.

Monday, November 27, 2017

First Week of Advent

This was first posted on December 2, 2012.

Longing:

Everlasting God,
in whom we live and move and have our being:
You have made us for yourself,
so that our hearts are restless
until they rest in you.
Augustine of Hippo

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings will be a bit shorter than usual this time. This has been a busy week. I am part of an organization of artists that seeks to serve our community through the arts. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we held what we called Art Party. It was an event with art hung in various galleries, studios, and businesses around town. Friday ended with a very interesting play, and Saturday night we capped off the event with a dinner, with a speaker and a local band. We are all exhausted, but it was a wonderful time.

Funny animal pictures.
Good question then. Still a good question.
What really causes violence.
Keep up with the trends.
Freedom!

Good one from the Bee.
Jesus' blue collar outfit.
Giftedness and goodness.
Unfaithfulness.
Why Christians should read poetry.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Wow. It's November already. This year is zipping by. It seems like every year goes by quicker than the last. If you pay attention, you already know what the news is, so let's get straight to the links:

A little something for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Amazing story.
Here's a world record to try and break.
The other reformation.
Ruth Whippman on happiness.

Interesting place.
Looking for a new house?
Don't try this at home. Or anywhere else.
Not exactly setting a good example.
Clearing the path.

What is real wealth?
Putting the gas can down.
Good post from John Frye.
Accidental dictionary.
What matters.

Good post from Scot McKnight.
John 1.
Classic post from iMonk.

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Anger

A while back, I wrote a post about the number of folks that were letting their lives be ruled by fear. It seems to me that a growing number of people are also angry. This anger may be driven by their fear. We do have more of a tendency to get angry when we're fearful or when we don't understand something or someone.

Some of the prevalent images in the news or social media lately have been images of anger, from the white supremacists with their garden party torches, to the folks on the other side who just want to tear things down. They are angry. Angry because this group of people are getting what seem like advantages that they don't have, or angry because that group is trying to assert their rights. Neither side is interested in sitting down and trying to have a conversation because they are too busy being angry. Road rage is becoming a bigger problem. Some folks will shoot you if you don't go fast enough and they have to slow down.

There are things to be angry about. Some of the folks who are expressing their anger have a legitimate gripe.  I see situations almost every day that make me angry. The problem is not anger as such. The problem is letting that anger become so big that it takes over and drives everything we do. We focus on being angry and don't take that anger and let it be the fuel for positive work.

In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul writes that we should "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." Things are going to happen that make us angry. That anger may spring from selfishness or it may be justified. It may even be "righteous anger." In that anger, we are not to sin. We are not to let that anger cause us to harm or even denigrate another person. We are to deal with that anger and whatever is causing it. If I am angry at someone because they have done something I don't like, the first thing I need to do is ask my self if the anger is justified. As I have grown older, I've become more convinced that most things are just not worth getting angry about.

The second thing that I need to do is ask if there is anything I have done against the other person. Maybe their action was a reaction to something I had done. If so, I need to try to make it right. The third thing I need to do is ask if there is anything I can do in a positive way to help the situation that I am angry about. I can be angry about injustice, but I must realize that there is only so much I can do. A hard lesson for me to learn was the fact that I can't save everybody. I can only do what God gives me to do and trust him for the outcome.

Those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus should be the least angry people. We are to be gentle, compassionate people. Others should see the hope that is in us and want to ask aboutit. We should live lives that make people thirsty for the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus. May it be so.   

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

It's the weekend again! Sports fans love this time of year. The World Series is beginning, football is in full swing, both college and pro basketball are getting underway, and hockey season is starting. For those whose interest tends toward other pursuits, the second season of Stranger Things is on Netflix this coming weekend.

On to the links:

Praying after Vegas.
Challenging words from Charles E. Gutenson.
This would make for some interesting conversations.
Here's something for those of you who want to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
This is good.

Being true to yourself.
Good article on the psychology of religion.
This is interesting.
Important read.
Go right ahead!

Are you sleeping enough?
Funny article from McSweeney's
Brutally honest job titles.
Here we go again?
Don't overthink!

Timely post from The Babylon Bee.
What if it's really finished?
The politics of the Lamb.
The subversive kingdom.
Advice for entrepreneurs.

Have a blessed week!

Third Week of Advent: Anticipation

This was first published on December 12, 2012. Jesus, as Israel waited in anticipation for you to come, so we wait. We anticipate your ret...