A Restore People are Comforted and Become the Comforters
I continued the homily series “Bound” with a message from Isaiah 40:1-9. As we contemplate the Servant, we find the comfort of God's salvation for his people and a call to provide news of that comfort to others.
Meditating on the Incarnation During Christmastide
For the last three years, I've had the blessing to preach the last Sunday of the year at Grace. I love getting the opportunity to meditate on the Christmas season during this Christmastide; this time allows us to reflect with a little less stress than is often present prior to Christmas (see my post on a Twelve Days of Christmas devotional booklet). This year, my message was from John 1:9-13, looking at Jesus's determination to save us that is demonstrated by his birth. You can listen to the message and find a fill-in-the-blank outline below.
A Devotional Booklet for Meditating on the Season
During the season of Advent, we look forward with great anticipation to celebrating the birth of Jesus, when God took on flesh and was born of a virgin more than 2000 years ago. However, often December 26 feels like such a letdown and we think, “What is there left to do but clean up after Christmas?” But we forget that Christmas Day is the beginning of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
When we think of the Twelve Days of Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind is the famous old Christmas carol of the same name. But, the Twelve Days of Christmas are the days between Christmas and Epiphany, the day we celebrate the visit of the Magi to Jesus. Last year, my friend Patrick and I put together a devotional to help us meditate on the meaning of Christmas over that twelve day period. Our little booklet of devotionals explores the responses to the birth of Jesus found in Scripture, both good and bad.
God's Ultimate Promise of Restoration Gives Us Hope As We Wait
I concluded the series Chapel at Lunch homily series “Bound” (and the final Chapel at Lunch) with a message from Revelation 21:5-8.
God's Promises from the Beginning Point to Our Future
This message started the series “Bound,” a four week journey through the promises God gives us in his Word. This series served as the 2015 pre-Advent series for Chapel at Lunch.
God's Cultivation of Patience in Our Lives
This is a message from the series “Freshly Picked” on James 5:7-9. Throughout “Freshly Picked,” we looked at the different Fruit of the Spirit and in this message we look at God's desire to bring out the fruit of patience in our lives.
Understanding How God Works Good Through Us
I opened the series on the Fruit of the Spirit entitled “Freshly Picked” with this message from Galatians 5:19-23. This series began on August 26 as part of Chapel at Lunch at Lindenwood and September 9 as part of Grace4all.
Like Abraham, We Must Look to the Heavenly City
I shared this message on Hebrews 11:8-12 as part of our 2015 Opening Chapel Service at Lindenwood University. As we begin a new academic year — or face any sort of new calling — we find an important question arises: what foundation are we building our efforts upon?
An apt observation from Philip Yancy in a recent Christianity Today interview:
Sociologist and researcher Amy Sherman has said that Christians tend to have three models for interacting with society: fortification, accommodation, and domination. To put that in layman’s terms: We hunker down amongst ourselves, water down our witness, or beat down our opponents. For many reasons, those aren’t New Testament models.
So what should we be? We need to create pioneer settlements that show the world a different, grace-based way of living.
I've been thinking a lot lately about our cultural impulse to view new as better. You can see this pretty much everywhere we go — from the doomsayers who say Apple is doomed when a new iPhone isn't entirely different to the wailing of the St. Louis Rams about their “old” dome built in the mid-90's. I see it a lot in the Church. People constantly resort to “solving” the problems of any given ministry by suggesting the Old must give way to some magical thing known as the New.
Kai Nilsen critiques this notion in an article a friend sent me. He points to examples of liturgical renewal as a result for people yearning for something more than the constant drive for the New:
I would suggest that many parts of the modern church movement, having sold out to the heresy of “new is always better,” are awakening to the beauty of ritual and the recurring rhythms of the church that embed the life of God deeply within our souls. The season of Lent is one of those recurring rhythms that ritualizes the beauty of God’s life-giving, redemptive work in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
While I think the liturgical year can be overused, I also believe we are foolish when we fail to appreciate the ways traditional practices of the Church may very well be more meaningful than anything new we can cook up.