So maybe I can learn from Bethlehem, territory of Benjamin, smallest of the tribes of Israel. I can remember that it’s not about my grandeur, my intelligence or my significance — it’s about Jesus born in me, his starlight shining over and through me, his word being fulfilled through me. Why Bethlehem? Why me?
Because God works miracles in the small things.
Father, may your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…and help me be a kingdom builder, a love-brick maker, a grace-road paver in this, our true country.
In this dark season of terror and despair, to a people caught in the mire of the gloom on the brink of defeat God says:
He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
He will meet every need of everyone. He will reign in justice. Violence and oppression will be a thing of history. Forever and everlasting peace.
We could use that hope, too.
Hold on a minute while I take a deep breath. Has this been a busy fall/season/year for you? Are you ready to slow down? Do you, like me, have ideas of being intentional and focused on the real meaning of Christmas this year? Do you, like me, have those ideas every year, yet commitments and work and life and making merry seem to spin ever faster as Christmas morning approaches, leaving you breathless and a little empty? Well, this little blog of mine is where I slow down. I don’t blog to promote anything or make any money. I blog to remember why I write, who I am, and why taking time to breathe and sit in grace is absolutely life-saving. Let’s be saved from the swells of the season together. For the next few weeks, let’s quietly gaze upon this: Simply Jesus. That’s all that Christmas is: Jesus Christ with us. The promised messiah, the sign to the Jews ended up being the biggest surprise gift this whole world needed. All those years the …
Several years ago, when Angelo and I were young and just starting out in life together, we attended a toxic church. We didn’t know it was toxic, and we were young, and green and willing to jump in and help. We served by helping in the youth ministry with junior high kids. A ragtag bunch of kids met with us in the church basement where we tried to lead worship, share the gospel, and be their friends. Most of the kids lived in the apartments around the church, some were from church-going families. Sometimes the kids would be so ornery during youth group we wondered why they came at all. Our pastor at the time warned us one day about investing too much in these rowdy neighborhood kids. He said the goal of the ministries of the church was to bring people into the church as regulars. Regular attenders who would become regular members, who would regularly serve in ministries themselves and become regular givers. He said if a ministry didn’t provide material growth, …