Devotional

Can You See Me Now?

Can You See Me Now?

Thursday Dec. 5 Scripture: Psalm 27:13-14 The rise of Christianity is perhaps the most inexplicable sociological phenomenon in history. How did the largest religious movement ever arise out of a small number of generally uneducated disciples without access to significant amounts of wealth? A virgin birth is certainly a miraculous story which would have resonated with both Jews looking for a Messiah and Romans whose Emperors often claimed to be divine and born of a virgin, but a virgin birth alone cannot explain the power of Jesus’ influence on the world. The resurrection, the event on which Christianity is based, certainly was unprecedented, wholly unexpectedly, and completely unexplainable by natural means. Yet, from a sociological perspective, even if the resurrection…
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Do Not Fear

Do Not Fear

Wednesday December 4 Scripture: Luke 2:8-12 Why is it that the moments in life which bring the most joy also bring the most fear? Singers who train daily for their moment shine often feel sick their stomachs before going on stage for their big solo? Athletes who imagine each day what it would be like to make the big play with the game on the line sometimes become shaky when the moment arrives? First-time parents ooh and ah over a newborn child only to become overwhelmed by the unprecedented responsibility suddenly thrust upon their shoulders. The shepherds were no different. When they were encountered face to face by angels, they turned away in terror. “Do not fear”, the angel reassured…
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Jesus’ Agenda

Jesus’ Agenda

Tuesday December 3 Scripture: Matthew 1:21 Many of us spend decades searching for our life’s purpose. Jesus’ purpose was defined before he was even born when an angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him: “you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21, NRSV).” Saving people from their sins is pretty heavy purpose to place an on newborn. Most new parents today would be ecstatic if an angel appeared to them and said, “Your child will grow to have nice family, work in a nice job, and attend a nice church.” Of course, Jesus’ isn’t your run of the mill newborn. Sin is big idea to define which is…
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The Shortest Christmas Story Ever

The Shortest Christmas Story Ever

John 1:14 Among the Gospels, John tells the Christmas story the most succinctly. Matthew and Luke tell it with lengthy narratives about censuses, angels, shepherds, and Wise Men. Mark doesn’t tell the story at all. While John sums it up in one sentence: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth (John 1:14, NRSV).” Amazingly, in this one sentence, John captures the true essence of Christmas. Jesus, the frail baby in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, came to show us the truth of God’s grace. The child in the manger who was the eternal Word in creation…
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The Light of all People

The Light of all People

Sunday, December 1 Scripture: John 1:1-13 Three hundred years after Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, Christian leaders faced a difficult decision. When should they celebrate Jesus’ birth? The exact date had long been lost to history and the Gospel accounts of it left them few clues as to the season of year when his birth took place. Knowing they would most certainly get the day wrong, these leaders chose perhaps the best, wrong answer in history. They chose to celebrate Jesus birth in December right around the winter solstice when the days where the shortest and the nights were the longest. Most certainly, they picked the winter solstice to symbolize that in Jesus the light of the world came into…
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