Tag: Advent

Blessed are the Underachievers

While the “Most Likely To Succeed” badge may come with a superstitious curse attached, the “Class Mooch” has a very real cultural curse attached to it. In America we celebrate self-made successful people, and look down on the moochers who are dependent on others. What do we make of Jesus’s 3rd Beatitude that seems to promise the farm to the underachieving brother?

Blessed are the Poor Shepherds

Ebenezer Scrooge had a hard time grasping and embracing the spirit and message of Christmas. The rich and self-sufficient always do. Their own personal kingdoms loom so large that they have a hard time making room for God’s Kingdom—and all the poor and lowly riff-raff to whom it belongs.

Boyhood Epiphany on a Garage Roof

Thirty years have passed since I sat on the garage roof staring up at the night sky. The worries and cares of a middle schooler have been upgraded to the burdens of a father, husband and pastor living in this current moment of darkness and fear. Perhaps, this Advent, you also feel like we’re sitting collectively on a cold and icy roof, staring up at the Heavens and badly need to hear these words this Advent: “The people sitting in a pandemic have seen a great light, and to those sitting in the land and shadow of covid, a light has dawned on them” (Matt 4:16).

O Savior of Our Fallen Race

Here’s the hauntingly beautiful ancient hymn we featured at our Christmas Eve service. Listen below after reading the words. O SAVIOR OF OUR FALLEN RACE Ancient Christmas Hymn, circa 6th Century O Savior of our fallen race, O Brightness of the Father’s face, O Son who shared the […]

O Eve!

This was passed along to me – a very powerful image to ponder in this season of waiting, expecting, longing and hoping for the Christ who steps into the Darkness of our fractured world. -JB From Ben Sternke: The painting below was created by Sister Grace Remington of Our Sister […]

Scandalous Incarnation!

Perhaps we’ve let the graceless moralism of too many Santa songs taint our view of the One who truly comes to town on Christmas. For the miracle of the incarnation is for the naughty and nice. He’s already made His list and He’s checked it twice, and all are on it until we choose to reject His gift and thereby remove our own name from it.

Sermon: Paul’s Xmas Letter

We’re celebrating that annual family tradition where I lie on the couch and watch cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies while Keri addresses and stamps Christmas cards to get in the mail. I’m embarrassed to admit how many of the Christmas letters people send never make it into my hands. […]

Poor Grandpa’s Epiphany

We all have some explaining to do, and maybe some repenting. Here’s the deal. Imagine grandpa’s turning 100 years old, and you’ve spent countless days planning the most magnificent birthday celebration. Invitations have gone out to hundreds of guests. A towering cake and a great feast from renowned […]

Justice & Peace Have Kissed! (Psalm 85)

The Prince of Peace himself wants to hold classes in every church across the globe this New Year “that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths” (Isaiah 2:3). What are the key topics of his seminar? The psalmist gives us the curriculum. Jesus wants to teach his people that in Him “unfailing love and truth have met together” (v. 10a).