A few weeks ago I watched videos and looked at pictures of Nelson Smith’s homecoming to the United States. My heart felt so full knowing he was sitting in a living room where I’ve sat, with people I love and trust so much.
An angel visited Mary and told her that she had been chosen to carry the very Presence of God within her womb. This Presence would be made manifest in the earth though her, and she would call His name Jesus. “How can this be,” she asks, “since I am a virgin?” The Lord’s answer to Mary rings true for all who long to host His Presence…
There are a few Christmas carols that stay with me throughout the year. There are a few hymns whose words linger in my mind and encourage my soul to remember the truth about Christmas. One of the most powerful of these hymns is "O Holy Night".
Only Christ is large enough to be the refuge in which you place your life. Christ is the only hope worthy of our anticipation. Advent, then, is a time to recalibrate our lives. It's a time to re-associate ourselves with the end we’re truly longing for: to be in Jesus Christ.
It's been a little over two years since I first felt pulled to travel to Sierra Leone...At the time, I really had no personal connection to anyone there; I wasn’t adopting or sponsoring any kids...As I was praying through this, I felt a real strong sense from the Lord that I needed to go because we have family there that I needed to meet.
All of the fasting and praying leading up to that night was to prepare us to listen to one another in the Spirit, to lower our defenses and hear about somebody else’s experience with no reference to our own! It was to focus our attention outward, away from ourselves, to receive whatever Jesus might have to say.
Church was tough this past Sunday. It was tough for everybody.
I’m not sure how other churches dealt with the events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia this past Saturday. But our desire at City Fellowship has always been to deal with issues of race in a truthful way. Whenever Neo-Nazis and KKK groups are involved with racialized incidents, an easy bad-guy is made available to us. We can all denounce their racist rhetoric, and feel good about being right… But have we been truthful??
What does it mean to be a True Servant? On Sunday we began looking at Jesus' last meal with His disciples, and found that True Service is, as Pastor Russ said, "Love with legs on it." Jesus loved us with a "Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Un-breaking, Always and Forever Love" that took Him to the cross, and then called us to love others in the same way by serving them.
The great Charles Spurgeon once said that the scriptures are like a lion in a cage… You don’t have to defend a lion. You just open the door and let it out.
The scripture speaks for itself today. Read it slow and let it sink in. I have quoted it in the King James, because this passage has a “drop the mic” quality that other translations kind of miss. I am praying that you will let the the truth contained below out of the cage and let it run free in your heart today… And I will see you at church, where we will celebrate the truth together!
Before the University system really began to take hold, the way that one was “certified” to work in a certain field was through apprenticeship. In order to learn a trade and to gain the credentials necessary to work in that trade, one had to seek out a master that would be willing to train them and vouch for them at the end of the apprenticeship.
One my favorite images in the parable of the Prodigal Son (or Prodigal Father as we have been calling it), is the image of the father calling for his best robe, so that he can wrap it around the shoulders of his wayward child. The younger son, of course is returning from “a far country” where he has been working on a farm feeding the pigs, because he has squandered all his fathers money on "prostitutes and wild living”. I can only imagine what he looks like as he comes walking up the road to his childhood home.
Let me start with a confession… I have a hard time memorizing scripture. Especially the references! I am constantly saying in conversation “you know that one verse that says… where is that from??"
Well, the passage above is one of the few that ran the gauntlet and made it through to my memory bank. I struggle with fear sometimes, so that is how this verse made it on the short list for memorization (ah.. the few and the proud!).