Satur-deja Vu

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That ball cap isn’t much of a disguise. Santa may have a workshop full of elves making toys but he gets his produce at Kroger just like the rest of us. Thanks for stopping by, welcome to the Satur-deja Vu.

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I had a pastor make an observation some years ago about small churches/ small church pastors. There are few mega churches with celebrity pastors but there are thousands of smaller churches across America with congregations of 100, 50 or even smaller. More people attend medium or small churches than the few really big ones. I think small towns are very similar. You may watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television or the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade sponsoring Toys for Tots last night. But there are thousands of small towns with fall festivals, county fairs, little theater groups and their own parades and tree lightings across the country. More people live in small towns and communities than in the few really big cities, if you think about it.

 

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I grew up in what many would consider a small town that has gotten a lot bigger just in my lifetime. I remember when K-Mart opened, later Walmart, and then when our Walmart store was replaced by the Walmart Supercenter. Since then we have lived in places like Lindale, Oneida, KY and Plainville. I know who my neighbors next door are as well as for several houses in every direction. In our local elections in November, 45 people turned out to vote. (I got 42 votes as I ran unopposed for re-election to the city council). Pictured above is the honorable Mayor of Plainville, that’s me in the sweater, and our firechief posing with Santa Claus. Can you keep a secret? He is also a council member. He actually came to the last meeting wearing the suit. A little further up is my family at the tree lighting ceremony. Hot cocoa, prancing horses, a high school marching band and 300 family members, friends and neighbors. A good time was had by all.

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So once again I did not go a lot of blogging this week but was incredibly busy doing things in real life. We had the Christmas parade and tree lighting Monday, my birthday was on Wednesday, and we were supposed to have our church Christmas dinner last night but that got pushed back to this evening. The same thing or something similar happens every year at this time. Every group you are a part of wants to do something for Christmas; there’s always an office or work Christmas party, a school program, family gatherings and if you are involved in your local church there’s a church pageant or Christmas party, or both, plus every Sunday school class/small group tries to meet together and if you happen to be the church pastor you get invited to everything. I’m not complaining that we have these things; they are celebrations after all. But it’s a lot to do. On top of that many of us will travel for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, or both, because families are spread out. The first Christmas was spent out of town, if you think about it.

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You don’t want family or friends to feel snubbed and that’s good on you. But try to find some time, even if it’s just a few very short times, that you can be alone with your thoughts. Worship involves removing ourselves from the stresses of life and focusing on the things of God. Rest is a gift and one that God commanded in the Old Testament. In addition to the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus notice that he and the disciples sometimes got away from the crowd to find solitude and recover. It is not selfish or lazy to take care of yourself. Yes there is a lot to do, try not to overdo it. I will try too.

 

 

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Not a real ad; don’t think about it too hard.

Enjoy your weekend. Peace.

Satur-deja Vu

The naval base shooting and the UPS driver abducted by jewelry store thieves made national headlines in the past couple of days. I’m not ignoring these stories; they are all over the news and if you are interested in following them you probably already are. I may someday comment on the impeachment proceedings but for the time being what I like to do is draw attention to things you might otherwise miss or to those bright spots that are worth dwelling on even if you’ve already seen them. I want to set the tone for all of us to enjoy the weekend. I grew up watching cartoons on Saturday morning and believe that Saturdays are something special, a break from daily routine even if there is work to be done. If you enjoy a little light reading, and maybe cracking a smile, join us right here each week. Invite a friend, we’ll all go.

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Limited Time Only – No paid product endorsement, I tried this and liked it. Coca-cola calls it a “hint of cinnamon” but, well, some people can’t take a hint. I think it hits the cinnamon pretty hard but again, I like it. And if you happen to have vanilla ice cream and wonder what a Cinnamon Coke float would taste like, I highly recommend going for that as well. We enjoyed this flavor better than Winter Spiced Cranberry Sprite or even cranberry ginger ale from Canada Dry. Hopefully this comes back next year. Hey, it’s no dumber than pumpkin spice. Continue reading

Satur-deja Vu

20191125_141651Watch too much Alton Brown and you too may find yourself taking selfies with vegetables. What really happened is that I cut up several different raw vegetables and put together a veggie platter. True story: a few years ago I was cutting up bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers and baby carrots to make a similar tray for an event. My mother asked if people really ate raw bell peppers like that. I pointed out the round section in the middle of the empty plastic tray and told her that space was for a cup of ranch dressing. “People will eat rubber car tires if they can dip them in ranch dressing.” She said I was probably right.

Welcome to Saturday. Enjoy the Deja Vu. Continue reading

New Video Devotional

I began reading Our Daily Bread in print many years ago. Maybe not before the internet but before blogging caught on and social media became a thing. We’ve been linking the Our Daily Bread daily devotional (in the left-hand sidebar) for a few years now and occasionally share images and recommend special products and promotions.

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ODB recently rolled out a daily video devotional. Click here to watch today’s video and enroll via email. It’s just another way to add a little dose of God’s Word into one’s daily routine.

Book Review: The Mystery of Suffering and the Meaning of God

e4c54eda-8376-434b-b8a2-7a44c2b117abAnson Hugh Laytner is a retired Jewish rabbi. One’s initial reaction might be “This is not Christian theology.” Firstly, Laytner anticipates a Jewish and Christian audience. He describes himself as a skeptical but spiritual person thus the intended audience may go beyond Christian or Jewish to include anyone struggling with questions and looking for answers. More to the point in this context, Christian theology grew out of Hebrew history, ritual, literature and Jewish theology in the first century. Laytner is aware of the relationship. As he begins a section describing Radical Monotheism he mentions the Tanakh and then inserts in parenthesis “the Jewish Bible, similar to the Christian Old Testament.” The search for meaning and understanding is practically universal among people everywhere and Laytner’s process may benefit any reader wrestling with the same issues. Continue reading