Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Supplication - This Advent Season

Almighty God, we ask you to help us turn away from sin and darkness, and instead to embrace the light of your Son Jesus Christ who came to live among us in great humility. We look forward to the day when he will come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, and raise us to immortal life.

Help us in this Advent season to honor Jesus in thought, word, and deed.  Help us to follow him and to walk in the light as he is in the light. Thank you for the forgiveness and renewal you have given to us through Christ Jesus.  Make us able and ready to give forgiveness to those who have sinned against us.

Save us, O God, from trouble and help us to trust you completely. Grant us a deep sense of your loving presence when the troubles of life threaten to overwhelm us. Remind us of your faithfulness. Calm our hearts. Help us to be still and know that you are God.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thursday Thinking - Vulnerablitily and Gratitude

BrenĂ© Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Words - Now Thank We All Our God

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Now Thank We All Our God, is a translation from the German "Nun danket alle Gott", written c. 1636 by Martin Rinkart, which in turn was inspired by Sirach, chapter 50 verses 22–24, from the praises of Simon the high priest. It was translated into English in the 19th Century by Catherine Winkworth.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday Tome - Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

I'm reading this over the Thanksgiving Holiday as part of my preparation for my new Advent/Christmas teaching series at Valley Christian Church. I'm mostly interested in the older historical sermons and will be skipping or just skimming over some of the newer things.

Edited by Nancy Guthrie

Publisher's description...
An anthology of Advent readings collected from the writings and sermons of 22 classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers.

Between purchasing presents and planning travel, enjoying holiday pageants and attending parties, it is all too easy for Christmas to silence the sacredness and crowd out a quiet anticipation of the season's truths. So when editor Nancy Guthrie decided she wanted a reflective book of Advent readings that would help her pause and consider the riches of Christ come to earth, she embarked on what she calls "a sacred adventure," putting together such a collection herself.

The result-this special volume-draws from the works and sermons of classic theologians such as Whitefield, Luther, Spurgeon, and Augustine, and from leading contemporary communicators such as John Piper, J. Ligon Duncan, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul, Skip Ryan, and Joni Eareckson Tada to beckon you and your family into the wonder of Jesus' incarnation and birth.

With its high view of Scripture and its focus on the gift of Jesus, this lovely book is sure to ready your heart and mind for a fresh experience of "Immanuel, God with us" this and every Advent season. Open the cover and discover what Christmas was meant to be…

Monday, November 16, 2015

Blog Break for this Week

Cheri and I are Moving to Burnsville this Week! 
In order to keep my balance, I need to take a break from blogging this week. 
If time allows, I'll try to post a picture or two of us moving into the new place. 

Have a great week!

Monday Music - Morning by Morning

The Sovereign Lord has
given me an instructed tongue
to know the word that sustains the weary.

The Sovereign Lord has
given me an instructed tongue
to know the word that sustains the weary.

He wakens me
morning by morning–
wakens my ear to listen.

He wakens me
morning by morning–
wakens my ear to listen
like one being taught.

"Morning by Morning" from Fireside, words (adapted from Isaiah 50:4) and music by Dave Burkum, © Copyright 2006 by Dave Burkum. Listen or Buy.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Supplication - Bring Us Together

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your promise and plan to restore all things through your beloved Son, Jesus, the Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. In your mercy, bring freedom and unity to all people. Save us from sin and divisiveness and bring us together under your gracious rule.

Forgive us for the wrongs we’ve done and the good we’ve left undone. Renew us by your Spirit. Help us to turn away from what is worthless and make us able to do what is right. Show us how to live as Christ, and as you have forgiven us, make us merciful and ready to forgive those who have sinned against us.

O Lord, grant us a deep sense of your loving presence when the troubles of life threaten to overwhelm us. Remind us of your faithfulness. Calm our hearts. Help us to be still and know that you are God.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Favorites - Next Friday / Landmark Center

Red House Live: The Cactus Blossoms
Date: Friday, November 20 2015

Landmark Center and Red House Records’  popular concert series “Red House Live” from Landmark Center will return for the fourth year at the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Auditorium at Saint Paul’s historic Landmark Center.

Downtown - 75 West Fifth Street , Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102

7:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thursday Thinking - About Anxiety


The following is posted on the adapted from a prayer exercise that Greg wrote for his book, Present Perfect. If you’re feeling anxious today (or even if you’re not anxious at all) we encourage you to spend a little time with it.

As you read this, remind yourself that the only thing that ultimately matters is that you are submerged in God’s love right now. Remain mindful of the fact that the perfect love that God expressed by becoming a human and dying on a cross to redeem you engulfs you, right now. Remind yourself that you could not be more loved than you are this moment. You could not have more worth than you have at this moment.

Remain mindful of the truth that this is not because of anything you have achieved or ever will achieve in your life. It’s because of who God is and who you are, as defined by Calvary. Remind yourself that this perfect love never began, never ends, is never threatened, and never wavers. As you breathe your next breath, let it represent your decision to breathe in God’s loving presence and all these truths associated with it.

As you breathe in God’s love, exhale everything else. Because God loves you, trust that if there’s anything you truly need God will give it to you, just as Jesus taught us (Matt 6:32-33). Relinquish (exhale) all your possessions, achievements, reputation, future aspirations, health, beauty, relationships, and anything else that could possible be a false source of worth and significance to you.

As you relax in the sufficiency of God’s presence, see all the things that you exhaled evaporate in the light of God’s ever-present love, like a morning mist disappearing with the first rays of the rising sun.
Notice what happened to any anxiety you may have. When you are truly present, breathing in God’s love and exhaling everything else, you may find that your anxiety is lifting, even disappearing.

When God’s love becomes our sole source of Life moment-by-moment, we will have no regrets about the past and no fears about the future, for we are fulfilled and are trusting God in the present. We learn from our past mistakes, of course, and make ordinary plans about the future. But anchored in the fullness of God’s abundant Life right now, we’re freed from the pointless, idolatrous exercise of judging our past or stressing out over the future.

—adapted from Present Perfect, pages 69-71

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday Words - Death Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

"Holy Sonnets: Death Be Not Proud" by John Donne (1572-1631) from Selected Poems: John Donne (Penguin). Today's post is dedicated to friends Paul and Donna with love and prayers from all of us at Valley Christian Church.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesday Tome - New Book Club

A new book club at Valley Christian Church will be reading and discussing The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis. Brad Dewing will be leading the group which will be having it's first session on Wednesday, November 18, 6:30. Click Here for more information.

Publisher's Description...
C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil. 

From the Back Cover...
In The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis again employs his formidable talent for fable and allegory. The writer finds himself in Hell boarding a bus bound for Heaven. The amazing opportunity is that anyone who wants to stay in Heaven, can. This is the starting point for an extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment. Lewis's revolutionary idea is the discovery that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. In Lewis's own words, "If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell."