Go (12/24/2017)

In Luke 1, the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah the priest and tells him that his wife, Elizabeth, is going to have a son who will announce the arrival of Israel’s Messiah. When their baby is born, they name him John. We now call him John the Baptist. Gabriel then appears to Mary and tell her she has been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah.

Luke 2 starts with Mary and her husband, Joseph, going to the town of Bethlehem, where their baby is born. Mary gave birth in a stable because there was no room for them in the normal living quarters. She then placed the baby, named Jesus, in a manger. A manger is a feeding trough. (more…)

Continue ReadingGo (12/24/2017)

Wait (12/17/2017)

If you grow vegetables or flowers, are you planning on planting your seeds in the ground right now? If you said “no,” why not? The dirt you’re going to plant them in is right there. It never goes anywhere. Even though they’re harder to find this time of year, we can buy seeds, straw and fertilizer. Your plow and tiller are in the shed. So, again, why not plant now? The answer is simple. Seeds won’t grow right now because it isn’t the right time for it to happen.

We understand the concept of time. Our days are structured by it. There is a beginning and an ending to everything we do. We get up in the morning, do our daily activities and then go to sleep. Tomorrow we’ll repeat this same process. And the next day and the next day and…. Even our life span has a time limit.

God isn’t constrained by time like we are. Somehow, he operates outside of it because he is eternal. But he enters our world to redeem us from the curse of sin. The Christmas season is a time when we celebrate the way God entered into our world by sending the Messiah to be born. (more…)

Continue ReadingWait (12/17/2017)

Listen (12/10/17)

How do you respond when God asks you to step out in great faith and do something that could change the course of your life?

Last week, we looked at Luke 1:5-25. In this passage, the angel Gabriel appeared to the priest Zechariah as he was serving God in the temple at Jerusalem. Gabriel said his wife, Elizabeth, would have a child who would grow up to announce the arrival of the Messiah.

Zechariah responded by asking, “How can this be since she is old?” Gabriel then rendered Zechariah unable to speak until his son was born.

Within a short period of time, God asked Mary to do something that would change her life. Luke 1:26-38 gives us the details of how it happened. 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (more…)

Continue ReadingListen (12/10/17)

Stop (12/3/17)

We are creatures of habit. Sometimes our habits cause us to do strange things.

I drive a lot. Even when my wife, Stephanie, and I travel, I do most of the driving. Like most of you, I’m used to doing the same thing when I get in and out of a vehicle. I can get in, start the vehicle and fasten my seatbelt without having to think about what I’m doing. Once I’ve arrived at my destination, I can shut off the motor, unhook my seatbelt, take the key out of the ignition switch and exit the vehicle without thinking about it.

Occasionally, I have to take my pick-up truck to a garage for repairs. I try to schedule repairs on Stephanie’s day off from work so she can help me get back and forth from the garage. Once, the parts supply store sent the wrong part to my mechanic. They couldn’t get the right one there until the next day.

These things happen in life. No big deal. Since Stephanie had to work the next day, I called a gentleman from our congregation, Gary, and asked him if he would take me to get my truck the next day. He said he would be happy to do it.

He arrived at my house the next day once my truck was fixed. I sat down in the passenger seat of his vehicle and hooked my seatbelt. We pulled out of the driveway and headed towards the shop. We had a good conversation during the ride.

Fifteen minutes later, we pulled in. Gary shut of his engine and got out. My mind was still on our conversation but that didn’t matter. I could exit the vehicle without thinking about it. I reached down to the right and tried to unfasten my seatbelt like I always do. But there was a problem. I couldn’t find the button to unlatch it. I looked down and couldn’t see the latch. By this time, Gary had gotten out of the vehicle, walked around to the passenger door and opened it.

I looked up and asked, “How do you unhook this seatbelt?” He responded, “It’s on the other side.”

I have to say I felt like a fool. My mind had been distracted. I didn’t focus on the fact I was in the passenger seat instead of the being in the driver’s seat. The seatbelt latch was on the opposite side. After I paid the bill for the truck repairs, I drove off thinking to myself, “I bet he wonders what kind of pastor they hired if he can’t even unhook his seatbelt.” (more…)

Continue ReadingStop (12/3/17)