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 …

5 Considerations for Every Christ Follower this Election

Since the advent of social media, I don’t think I’ve ever made a single political statement. Nor have I ever spoken politics from the PCC platform at church. That decision has been conscious and deliberate. I certainly have political opinions. In the quiet whispers of a dark corner booth, I’ll share my views with close friends. I can be passionate about my vision for America, not that anyone in Washington ever calls me for a consult.
We are united at PCC …

7 Days in the Bible: Day 7

Today, we reach the conclusion of our 7-day experiment. At the end of this post, I will ask you for some feedback – and I would be grateful for your help.
Today we’re going to look at one more genre of literature in the Bible – a very important kind of writing called Law.
When most people think of the Bible, my guess is this is the kind of writing they think about. Law is regulation. It’s the “do’s” and “dont’s” and …

7 Days in the Bible: Day 6

For the past 5 days, we have looked at 5 different genres contained within the Bible: history, parable, poetry, wisdom, and letters. We have only sampled each of these, but I hope you have had a taste of how the various styles of writing affect how you learn and glean spiritual truth from them.
Today we’re going to look at one chapter out of the book of Acts. Acts is a type of history, but it is unique within the Bible.
The 4 Gospels (Matthew, …

7 Days in the Bible: Day 5

Today we’re going to venture into yet another kind of Biblical literature: the genre of Wisdom.
The book of Proverbs is probably the most famous body of Wisdom texts.  Many people become disillusioned because they read the Proverbs as promises from God, but they are NOT.  These are statements of wise living, and the general idea is that if you will follow this wisdom – which comes from God – life will go better for you.   For example, Proverbs 22:6 famously says, “train …

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