Satur-deja Vu

Keeping the weeks of Advent is one way to keep Christ in Christmas. The school Christmas program may not include hymns that mention the birth of Jesus and local city ordinances may prohibit a public display of a live nativity. Maybe these are things you can do something about, maybe not. What we can and should do is read the scriptures and sing the hymns in our homes and in our churches that put the focus of Christmas squarely where it belongs. It is ultimately my responsibility to make sure that my child learns about the true meaning of Christmas and not the public school system, Charlie Brown, the Hallmark Channel or other thing. Advent is a season of preparation that gets us ready to celebrate the incarnation. Read more here if Advent is new to you or something you might be interested in learning more about.

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There is Much to be Thankful For

As we talk about giving thanks I’m not going into this holiday season with blinders on. Over 258,000 Americans have died of Covid or Covid-related illnesses this year. Unemployment reached levels unheard of since the Great Depression with 33 million unemployed in April. (Unemployment will go back up as the total number of cases and hospitalizations rise and things shut down again.) Theaters, restaurants, airlines and hotels may never been the same, or so it seems. On a personal level, we all know someone that has been quarantined, hospitalized or died from Covid-19. Some families have been hit hard.

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Happy Monday

There have been a lot of 2020 memes but we’ve shared very few of them here. 2020 is sort of an easy target to kick around. We try to keep it positive and encouraging on the Happy Monday posts. Clark Bunch had plenty to say about giving thanks on the Satur-deja Vu. We just want to get you awake and smiling. At least awake. This is Happy Monday #402.

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Satur-deja Vu

That is a cornucopia also known as a horn of plenty. It is a common image this time of year (although some readers of a certain age may recognize “the horn” from The Hunger Games). Pictured above is a ceramic wall plaque that came from my grandparents’ farm house. It hung in my mother’s kitchen for most of the years I lived at home and has followed Teresa and I through every move. In spite of all the jokes and memes about 2020 there is much to be thankful for. Imagine if this pandemic had been 20 years ago, before Zoom meetings were possible and video streaming was virtually nonexistent. Grocery delivery and pickup services are not just modern conveniences but have saved lives over the past year. We have all lost someone this year and perhaps know someone that is quarantined or hospitalized right now; and yet we are abundantly and richly blessed if we take honest stock of all that we still have. To read this post you must be not only alive and (presumably) well but have electricity, internet and a smartphone or laptop. That puts you in a high ranking category of wealth and privilege among the world’s 7+ billion population. This year has been tough. And God is good. Let’s be thankful this week and go ahead and look forward to 2021.

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The Little Team that Could

This was originally published as “Illustrations Can Come from Anywhere” on March 22, 2018. I don’t do a lot of reruns but hope you enjoy this one.

If you are a preacher, know a preacher, or for that matter have ever listened to a preacher, you may have heard the oft repeated statement illustrations can come from anywhere. It’s a truism that may cause us to smile but seriously; a funny thing a child says, a misunderstanding in the supermarket line, words said in anger that have to be eaten later, literally anything a professional speaker hears about could become an illustration for a point being made. Be careful sharing those funny anecdotes around your clergyman. You may hear them again from the pulpit.

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Bible Study: What Next?

Have you ever finished reading a really good book with mixed feelings? You enjoyed reading the book, were excited to reach the conclusion, but then realized you had no more of that book to read. After 13 weeks studying Hebrews that lesson series has come to end. If you missed one here or there, or didn’t want to pick up in the middle somewhere, you can easily start at the beginning and work through Hebrews at your own pace. Maybe you’d like to share the Hebrews study with a friend. Here are all the posts from that series conveniently arranged in order from start to finish:

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Satur-deja Vu

There are 151 national cemeteries in 42 states and Puerto Rico but only from Arlington can you see the Washington Monument and the US Capitol. There are very few headstones in this shot because this section of the cemetery has not been filled yet. On November 10th, the day before Veterans’ Day, my mother-in-law was laid to rest and received military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Juanita Caroline Goad served in the United States Army from 1969 until 1991 and continued to work in Civil Service until she retired at 65. Family members gathered from Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and as Connecticut this week. It was a tropical 75 degrees at 2 PM in the middle of November and much of the fall foliage is still hanging around.

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iMonk Radio: Podcast #113

“On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” commentary in light of the world going to hell in a handbasket. Discussion of Mark Driscoll at the Desiring God Conference. Conflict with a “Lutheran brother” at the Boar’s Head Tavern.