Why did the US death rate jump sharply in recent years? – First Sunday of Advent 2019, Part 1

If you could say in one word what you want more of in life, what would that be? What this question gets at is longing.  This Advent, we are talking about longing.  Advent is a season of longing.  Ancient Christians created the season of Advent as a four week long preparatory time for the greatContinue reading “Why did the US death rate jump sharply in recent years? – First Sunday of Advent 2019, Part 1”

How the godly fall – Characters: Samson, Part 2

A fall from grace. Maybe you’ve experienced it. Or maybe another’s fall has affected you. There have been a number of high profile such failures, and countless more lower profile examples that don’t get reported in the news. No matter the situation, they impact people deeply, leaving us wonder, “How did that happen?” Parents splitContinue reading “How the godly fall – Characters: Samson, Part 2”

No matter how bad it is, there is hope – Characters: Samson, Part 1

What gifts has God given you?  Sometimes we call them spiritual gifts.  Or it could be our personal abilities.  Our aptitudes. Things we are good at.  Could be working with our hands.  Thinking.  Art.  Communication.  Leading.  There are many such gifts.   Have you ever wondered if you’re using those gifts the way God wants? OrContinue reading “No matter how bad it is, there is hope – Characters: Samson, Part 1”

God’s purpose for your life – Titus 3:1-8, Part 4

Stop! Don’t read this post. (I know. That’s not an advisable way to start a blog post.) Before continuing with this post, thought, if you haven’t read the previous post, part 3, please go back and read it here. In this series of posts, we’re studying the amazing teaching of Titus 3:1-8, so actually, IContinue reading “God’s purpose for your life – Titus 3:1-8, Part 4”

Hope when life is very dark – Titus 3:1-8, Part 3

Do you have a dark past? Is life feeling messy or difficult right now? If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, you’re not alone. All of us go through really troubling times. In the middle of it, we can feel a confusing mixture of fear, sadness, pain, longing, despair, and we wonder ifContinue reading “Hope when life is very dark – Titus 3:1-8, Part 3”

God works in mysterious ways? [False ideas Christians believe about…God’s involvement in our lives. Part 5]

Does God seem mysterious to you? Confusing? Distant? In this fifth and final post in our series fact-checking phrases about God’s involvement in our lives, we’re seeking to evaluate the phrase: “God works in mysterious ways.” This is related to “everything happens for a reason”.  When we say “everything happens for a reason” we areContinue reading “God works in mysterious ways? [False ideas Christians believe about…God’s involvement in our lives. Part 5]”

A Christmas Surprise [Fourth Sunday of Advent]

Today we’re going to meet shepherds.  But as I studied these passages, what emerged was something surprising, something unexpected!  During Advent, we have been following the readings in the Lectionary, and our first passage is Micah 5:2-5a. Micah gives us in verse 2 a prophecy of a future ruler who would come to rule overContinue reading “A Christmas Surprise [Fourth Sunday of Advent]”

When holidays are depressing [Third Sunday of Advent]

Editor’s Note: I’m playing catch-up with blogging Faith Church’s sermons. My doctoral coursework, a heavy load grading online classes I teach, and the holidays landed simultaneously these past few weeks! So before we jump back to the Deuteronomy series, I’ll survey the last few weeks of Advent, belatedly, of course. On the Third Sunday ofContinue reading “When holidays are depressing [Third Sunday of Advent]”

There is hope in dark times! [First Sunday of Advent, part 1]

For Advent 2018, Faith Church will be following the readings in the Revised Common Lectionary.  Each Sunday we’ll look at how the four readings tie together thematically, all supporting the goals of the season of Advent.  Thus we are pausing our series on Deuteronomy.  We’ll return to that after the New Year 2019.  Why doesContinue reading “There is hope in dark times! [First Sunday of Advent, part 1]”

What to do when talking about faith is scary or difficult

Have you ever been made fun of for your faith?  It can feel awful, making you want to crawl into the closest hole and hide.  That feeling of shame is often so powerful that it gets stuck inside us, and we fear talking about our faith ever again.  What should we do about this? InsteadContinue reading “What to do when talking about faith is scary or difficult”