Why Not Shepherds?

screenshot-2016-12-11-at-7-49-28-amToday is the third Sunday of Advent. Many of us will light the shepherds candle and sing Joy to the World. We’ll read Luke 2:8-20 and talk about how joy was for all people, even lowly shepherds. That first Christmas night was celebrated by a carpenter, an unwed mother, and a few dirty, smelly shepherds from a nearby field. There is certainly a message of hope in the clear demonstration that Christ had come for all…

But why not shepherds? Continue reading

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Michael Spencer: Timeless Words of Wisdom

michael spencerAs a new school year began in August of 2009, all of us were feeling the effects of the “Great Recession” after the bottom fell out of the economy in 2008. If you lived and worked at a small private boarding school, which relied on a combination of donations, volunteers and tuition payments to survive, then you had good cause for legitimate concern.

Facebook has a feature (inspired by Time Hop) that reminds users of posts and pictures from previous years on a particular date. On this date in 2009, Michael Spencer sent a note of encouragement to his friends and coworkers. Continue reading

Advent Joy

advent candlesAnd in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

   “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

The angel brought good news of great joy. Good news is the Gospel, but today let’s focus on joy. Miriam-Webster.com defines joy three ways:

Continue reading

Advent, Third Sunday

advent-wreathThe third week of Advent is about Joy and we light the Shepherds’ candle.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14 ESV) Continue reading

Happy Monday

The weekend is over.  You’ve been in church all weekend and/or watched too much football.  The fridge is full of left-overs.  Monday morning means back to the grindstone for many, so here is some encouragement to help push you along.  God looked at what he had made and declared that it was good; that includes Monday!

I am a big fan of the Our Daily Bread devotional from RBC Ministries.  I have them e-mailed just in case I get too busy one morning or else forget to look at it.  Check out this little gem, which seems to oddly correspond to the beginning of football season:

I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. —Nehemiah 1:4

I loved Malcom’s prayer at church the other day. Only 7 years old, he stood in front of 100 other kids and prayed: “Jesus, thank You that some of us get to play football and go to church, and for safety on the ride here, and for forgiveness of our sins, and for eternal life. We love You, Jesus. Please don’t ever forget how much we love You!”    Continue reading at Our Daily Bread.   Continue reading

Jesus Had Feelings Too

John 11:35, famously the shortest verse in scripture, says that Jesus wept.  I once heard a preacher say there is no verse about Jesus laughing.  We can get out on thin ice when we start identifying the litany of things not specified in scripture.  Although the word trinity is not in the Bible, the concept of the trinity is definitely scriptural.  Jesus had much to do in a very short period of time, and the demands of ministry were often overwhelming.  In John 11 he wept at the tomb of Lazarus.  Jesus lamented that Jerusalem did not repent, agonized during the final hours before his arrest and betrayal, and at other times seemed to display almost violent anger.  Is there evidence to suggest that Jesus also experienced the other end of the human spectrum of emotions?  Jesus was surrounded by so many that rejected the Gospel, but a careful study of scripture reveals he didn’t mope around like all hope was lost. Continue reading

The Third Sunday of Advent

The third week of Advent is about Joy and we light the Shepherds’ candle.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14 ESV)

Continue reading