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 …

Christmas Preparation Day 4: Hope

Christmas begins with something not-so-Christmas-like.  But our broken relationship with God quickly leads to something powerful – something that often fuels our very will to live: Hope.
In Genesis 49, Jacob is at the end of his life.  He’s been betrayed by his sons in many ways.  They lied to him, sold their brother Joseph into slavery, and they watched their father grieve for years, thinking Joseph was eaten by a wild animal.  He never fully recovered.  (When he was old, …

Christmas Preparation Day 3 – Separation

We’ll get to something joyous, I promise.  But we need to continue to explore the problem that Jesus came to solve.  Christmas is exciting for you and me.  For God, it was the swallow-hard solution to a problem He did NOT create, but was determined to answer.  If we are going to be prepared for Christmas in our hearts and souls, we need to fully appreciate the gravity of Christmas, from God’s perspective.  So yesterday’s post is sort of part …

Christmas Preparation: Confession

We celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.  For us, it’s joy-filled and angels singing, parties and presents.
But for God, the sending of His Son was the final and ultimate solution to a terminal illness.  For God, Christmas is about Jesus leaving the purity and perfection of heaven to live in the toxicity of humanity.  Why?  Because He was the only Way to repair the broken relationship between God and humankind.
To understand the real reason behind Christmas, we need to …

Christmas Preparation Day 1

 
 
 
 
 
[NOTE: This first post in this series will be slightly longer than most. Forgive me.]
If the word ‘Advent’ means nothing (or at least nothing spiritual) to you, then we have something in common. I didn’t grow up going to church, and I had never heard the word in any kind of religious setting until Susan and I started attending a church in 1993. Even then, Advent was mostly limited to the lighting of some candles in a weekly ceremony at …

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