4th Lenten Reflection

4th Lenten Reflection

Matt 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. How much of who we are is Jesus worth? This is a great question to reflect on during our Lenten Journey. Some folks treat Christ like a shakedown artist who is trying to extort from us what is rightfully ours. When we start...
3rd Reflection in Lent

3rd Reflection in Lent

One of the challenges during Lent is redirecting how we pray. We do family worship at home most evenings, and I've noticed it becomes easy to get into a repetitive rut of what we say during extemporaneous prayers. With that challenge in mind, I want to give you a couple of ancient supplications that really capture the spirit of Lent. The first, from St Ephrem, continues to be used in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Churches even today. Ephrem the Syrian was born in 306AD and died in 373AD. This is a prayer from the earliest days of the church!...
2nd Reflection in Lent

2nd Reflection in Lent

Ps 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure,    making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean,enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. As we enter the third week of Lent, there is great value in taking in a bit of divine wisdom to continue our path towards sanctification...
1st Reflection in Lent

1st Reflection in Lent

Titus 2:12 ESV Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, “Giving something up for Lent,” has always struck me as unhelpful. I only say this because people truly struggle with the notion of being deprived of anything. As a spiritual exercise, we are aiming for something much deeper than simply giving up our caffeine addiction. Few folks realize our lives are filled with countless distractions and idols which draw us away from our holy Savior. Like the “hoarders” we see on TV, we surround ourselves with stuff that...
Opportunities for the New Year!

Opportunities for the New Year!

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. As 2020 winds to a close (Good riddance!), and the hope of a New Year awaits, I thought we'd talk about what is “new” on the horizon! Traditionally, the church has offered a New Members Class at the beginning of the year. A new class for the new year for new members! Who am I to argue? My focus is less “all things Presbyterian” in this instruction, and more, “What does the bible specifically call members...
4th Sunday in Advent Meditation

4th Sunday in Advent Meditation

Rom 15:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. Among my Reformed buddies, I have some acquaintances who are of the “Christmas and Easter are pagan celebrations” crowd. These are pastors who actively refuse to acknowledge in their churches that these...
3rd Sunday in Advent Meditation

3rd Sunday in Advent Meditation

1 John 3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. When our Josh was 11 or 12, he used to joke about going all the way back in a time machine to when Adam and Eve roamed the earth. Once he was there he'd then jump out and yell, “Don't eat the fruit, I promise you, it doesn't go well!” Even at that age, Josh understood the devastating consequences of their future decision based on...
2nd Sunday in Advent Meditation

2nd Sunday in Advent Meditation

1 John 3:5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. As we continue our journey through Advent, it behooves us to keep our eye on the utterly destructive reason Christ needed to come into the world: our sin. Difficult as this may be to accept or address, to fully grasp the problem in our hearts is to ultimately find unbounded joy in the prospect of the Lord's arrival! Our fallen nature causes most people to underestimate the effects of sin on everything around us and in us. In the most extreme form, it...
1st Sunday in Advent Meditation

1st Sunday in Advent Meditation

Heb 9:28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. My brothers and sisters in Christ, before we reflect next week on God's in-breaking love through His Son (Christmas! Yay!), I wanted us to ponder a bit on how to be ready for his promised return. Final exam time, y'all! Not to be overtly negative, but one would be blind if you have failed to see the steady moral degradation of our once mighty nation. This country, founded and initially bound together...
Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving Blessings

Psalm 136:1 (ESV) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. What have you experienced recently which brings you to your knees in gratitude before the Lord? How many of you have found that your daily routine (even in the weirdness of these times) is often a sprint to the next big family event or activity, and in the rush, you can miss that divine, providential hand constantly at work around us? The holidays are certainly moments where our gracious God draws us into heartwarming family gatherings, filled with laughter and more delicious...