In a world of church hoppers and church shoppers, this article might be helpful for many. "How long should you attend a church before pursuing membership?" The author of the article provides four things to consider in looking for a church home and some dangers to avoid.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The fourth Sunday before Christmas, signaling the beginning of the Advent season. "Advent" is from the Latin word for "coming" — translated from the Greek word parousia. It's a stretch of four weeks where we reenact and remember how the Old Testament saints longed for Messiah to come.
On this side of the nativity and the cross, knowing about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Advent shows us that we're still waiting. The redemption that Jesus accomplished for us is not yet consummated (Romans 8:19–25). Noel Piper writes,
So here we stand in the middle. Advent is the season of looking back, thinking how it must have been, waiting for the promised salvation of God, not knowing what to expect. And at the same time, Advent is a season of looking ahead, preparing ourselves to meet Jesus at his Second Coming. (Treasuring God in Our Traditions, 77).
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One free resource to recommend is the new Advent Guide (PDF) from the Village Church, Texas. This is an excellent guide made up of two sections each week: one for personal reflection and one for family devotionals. It includes three appendices with helpful practicals and is put together in a nice design. Check out the contents:
Week 1: Promises and Patience
Theme: Our God makes and keeps promises, and his people are called to wait with patient longing.Week 2: Awaiting and Advent
Theme: God made a particular promise of a Messiah, and Israel longed for his coming.Week 3: Incarnation and Implications
Theme: God fulfilled the promise of a Messiah in the first advent of Jesus Christ.Week 4: Resurrection and Return
Theme: After dying to redeem his people from slavery, Christ rose from the dead and promised to come again to redeem us fully.Week 5: Watching and Waiting
Theme: As we await the second advent of Christ, we are called to a life of prayerful and prepared patience.Appendices
A: Passages for Contemplating and Considering Christ
B: Recommended Resources for the Season
C: Recommended Activities for Family Devotion
This site shows a map of every McDonald’s restaurant in the USA. It also has a video showing a person trying to find the spot (the exact spot!) that is farthest from any McDonald’s in the whole country. The most Ronald-forsaken,McDonald-less place in America.
As we move into the Christmas season, I am reminded of all the people in our nation and in our world who live far from God. Let's focus our efforts toward reaching those who are unreached with the message of God's great love in Christ this Christmas - through our giving, our praying, and our going.
Joel Osteen and Reality TV - Oh boy. “More than 10 million people watch Joel Osteen’s television broadcast each week, and soon viewers will be able to see how the pastor of America’s largest church lives outside of Lakewood. A new reality show will follow the Osteens’ ministry as they serve and inspire people across the U.S., Lakewood confirmed.”
Thursday, November 3, 2011
This is an excellent article from Jim Denison: On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted on a resolution "reaffirming 'In God We Trust' as the official motto of the United States." Yesterday, President Obama responded, "I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work." White House Press Secretary Jay Carney amplified the president's remarks later in the day: "I believe that phrase in the Bible is 'the Lord helps those who help themselves.'" (See Denison's response to this unbiblical quote).