Worship services are not enough – Colossians 1:20-23, Part 5

I recently saw a conversation between two people on social media. One is often outspoken about their Christian beliefs.  That person began the conversation by writing a post angrily condemning people who are of a different political persuasion.  Many people responded with supportive comments, but one person disagreed, confronting the Christian writer. I don’t knowContinue reading “Worship services are not enough – Colossians 1:20-23, Part 5”

Is Jesus creator or created? – Colossians 1:15-20

Paul says that Jesus is the firstborn over all creation. What does Paul mean? It is a bit of a strange statement. Firstborn over all creation? Turn to Colossians 1:15-20, which we have been studying in a five-part series this week, starting here. If the statement “firstborn over creation” isn’t already strange enough, based onContinue reading “Is Jesus creator or created? – Colossians 1:15-20”

Christians were the first atheists? – Colossians 1:15-20, Part 2

In the first post in this series, we talked about what Jesus might have looked like. Paul in Colossians 1:15-20 says that Jesus is the image or icon of the invisible God. There are many ways that we English-speakers use the word “icon,” and one way is found in the Orthodox church paintings called icons.Continue reading “Christians were the first atheists? – Colossians 1:15-20, Part 2”

The most important spiritual habit? – Honest Advent Week 4, Part 4

I once had a class in seminary where we were talking about we are embodied souls, which is our topic on the blog this week, and the professor asked the class what we would consider to be the most important spiritual habit we should practice.  Of course there are the common answers of prayer andContinue reading “The most important spiritual habit? – Honest Advent Week 4, Part 4”

How God really wants us to worship – Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Part 5

What is awe-inspiring to you? I have never seen the Northern Lights, but I can imagine how the guy in the photo above would find them awe-inspiring. How about you? What causes you to have wonder and amazement? It is very common for us to declare that all manner of things are “awesome.” This weekContinue reading “How God really wants us to worship – Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Part 5”

What’s really going on when you sing worship songs (and why it might be making God sad) – Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Part 3

We Christians give a lot of time in our worship services to singing songs, don’t we? How many songs does your church sing each week? At Faith Church we typically sing four songs, which are a mixture of traditional hymns and modern praise songs. What are we doing when we sing those songs? It mightContinue reading “What’s really going on when you sing worship songs (and why it might be making God sad) – Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Part 3”

Are you praying the wrong way (especially during worship services)?- Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Part 2

Do you know how to pray? Have you ever thought about how God wants you to pray? What we are going to learn from the Teacher today is that there is a right way and a wrong way to pray, especially during worship services. In this week’s five-part series on Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, the central passageContinue reading “Are you praying the wrong way (especially during worship services)?- Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Part 2”

Should Christians practice rituals in worship? – Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Part 1

How should we go to church?  You might answer, “Isn’t it pretty obvious?  You get in a car and you drive to the building, and you walk inside the building, and you sit down on a pew.”  Maybe if you live nearby, you walk. You might take a bus. Maybe your church is in aContinue reading “Should Christians practice rituals in worship? – Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Part 1”

Surfing, the Law of Undulation, and how to handle life’s extremes – Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, Part 3

I’ve never been surfing, but it looks really fun. Riding a wave must be thrilling. I imagine, though, that successful attempts only follow many failed ones. Ups and downs, like the waves. I suspect that surfing is a study in extremes, from the bliss of great ride, to the suffering of a rough crash. InContinue reading “Surfing, the Law of Undulation, and how to handle life’s extremes – Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, Part 3”

Make the choice to rejoice – Acts 16, Part 5

Our study through Acts 16 has been filled with drama, and in the final verses, 35-40, there’s one more dramatic loose end to tie up. Though the local magistrates give Paul and Silas their freedom, Paul says, “No. We’re staying.” What? He voluntarily stays in prison? Why? Paul is making a point, letting the magistratesContinue reading “Make the choice to rejoice – Acts 16, Part 5”