Christmas Preparation: Love for those in need

Read Matthew 14:13-21, which you can do here. Answer the following questions:

Jesus was withdrawing ‘privately to a solitary place’ because he had been informed that his cousin and staunch supporter, John the Baptist, has been executed.  But when his boat landed, he saw that a huge crowd of people was waiting for him.  How would you have felt, in a moment of personal grief, if this happened to you?
How does Matthew tell us that Jesus felt about these people?
As …

Christmas Preparation: Love that Gives

I begin today with a confession.  I don’t offer it lightly. In fact, I’m talking about this because I feel God telling me to.  But I’d prefer to keep it a secret, frankly.
First, a little background, just to set it up.
I’ve been speaking in front of groups of people since I was 6 years old.  I don’t say that to brag.  Many people can look back into their childhood see the consistent trajectory of their lives.  I know mechanics who …

Christmas Preparation: Love has a Long Timeline

How long will you people turn my glory into shame?  How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? (Psalm 4:2, NIV)
When people talk about the love of God towards humanity, they often quote John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life.
Think for a minute, though, how long God waited before he sent Jesus into the world! …

Christmas Preparation: Love Grows Towards God

Part of preparing ourselves for Christmas means that we are trying to draw ourselves closer to God.  We’re positioning ourselves so that God can mold us and shape us more into the person He wants us to be.
As we approach Christmas this year, I started thinking about where I am on the scale of spiritual maturity.  I do this NOT as a comparison to anyone else, but relative to where God wants ME to be.
I don’t know if I’ve ever really …

Advent week 2: Love

As we prepare daily for Christmas, we are looking at a few weekly themes.  Last week’s was hope.  This week’s is Love.
Love is an easy thing to talk about, but it’s something else to live out.  We think of love as a feeling…an emotion.  We talk about love as if it comes and goes, lives and dies, thrives and fails.  But that is NOT the way God defines love.
[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)
Love never …

Hope: Never Goodbye

I said goodbye this week to some folks I’ve known for a long time.  They probably started coming to PCC about a decade ago – an older couple then.  They are elderly now.  With family stretched out across the country, they decided to move to a retirement community in the mid-west.  I went to their home this week to say goodbye.
They were in the back of the house, each sitting in an armchair with a pink tag on it – …

Christmas Preparation: Hope for a Reduced Burden

We all carry burdens.  I don’t know what yours are, but I suspect I’m in the norm with my load.  My burdens include caring for my family and supporting them – which includes being a good dad and investing in my marriage (being a good husband) and being a good son to my parents.  I feel the burden of moving our church in the direction God wants us to go, and I feel a burden for people around us who …

Christmas Preparation: Hope for New Leader

We just finished a very ugly election cycle.  Regardless of what side you were on, it’s hard to deny the divisiveness of the campaigns and the candidates…and the divided nature of the people of our country.  I don’t know about everyone, but most of the people I talk to long for a United America again.  I remember with nostalgia a day gone by when disagreements were not accompanied by disrespect and where pride in our country was the finish line …

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