Adoring Jesus: Advent Readings 2016

advent-black-and-whiteAdvent means “coming” in Latin.  For Christians, Advent looks back as well as forward.  First, it looks back at the first coming of Jesus–the Word became flesh and took up residence among us (John 1:14)– into the world to live as a human and die for our salvation. Second, it looks forward to the second coming of Jesus to judge the world and to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (Hebrews 9:27-28).

So on this first Sunday of Advent, I challenge you as a Christ follower, to let us adore him together during this 2016 season of Advent–whether it’s as an individual, in a small group, congregation, or with your family.

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Love conquers Hate Crimes

News outlets across the US have been reporting an increase in hate crimes–hate crimes against the “other.”

I hate you because you’re different.  You hate me because I’m different.

We cannot afford to let this display of hatred define us as a people.  Rather, we should let love define us.

Love recognizes differences.  It seeks to understand differences.  It accepts differences.  And it invites all these differences to have an equal seat at the table of togetherness.

We must replace all this display of hate with genuine displays of love across this nation of ours.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. –1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

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A Smile to the Glory of God

There’s simply too much hate and distrust in the world.  I often have to remind myself that I’m a Christian, a Christ follower, who is indwelt by the  Holy Spirit, and who should live not from the wisdom of this world, but from the wisdom that is from above.  According to James, the wisdom from this world is “earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:15-16 NIV).  Our world seems to be content with this wisdom.

However, I believe a simple smile can go a long way in disarming some of the hate, distrust, and evil we continue to show to one another.

It’s a smile that is born from a place that desires peace, love, and togetherness.

It’s a smile that says that I’m willing to understand you, not just you.

It’s a smile that says we are all cut from the same cloth of humanity, so there’s no need for hate and the like.

It’s a smile that comes from a place that says we were created for so much more, and we should not let hate continue on this rampage of division and all that comes with it.

It’s a smile that recognizes the image of God in all human beings despite race, religion, nationality, gender, politics…

So the next person you see, give them a simple smile to the glory of God.

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Do you believe in Prayer?

Then pray for a unity across the United States of America.

Pray that God may use you to be a conduit of gospel transformation.

Pray that God will use you to overcome racism and bigotry in America.

Pray for a gospel revival in the US.

Simply put, as a Christ follower, do your part.

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Congratulation to Mr. Donald J. Trump, the Next President of the United States

In an earlier post I argued that God is the one who controls the course of world events.  He is the one who appoints and deposes governments.  I hold to these beliefs based on texts like Daniel 2:21 and Romans 13:1ff.

Images and headlines of protest across the country are making their way around the media.  Many fear a Trump presidency.

But we need to take heart.  We need to pray for Mr. Donald Trump, his family, and his advisors.  We need to pray for peace across our nation.  Above all, we need to stay grounded in that belief that Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and King of  Kings–no matter who sits in the White House.

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