Advent is an interesting time for me because we did not celebrate Advent in my home as a young Kat. Christmas was definitely on my radar but only for presents and food. One thing that I noticed growing up is that my family kept everything reasonably simple. My guess, finances were not abundant; therefore we could not afford all the extra bells and whistles. Somehow, though, my parents found ways to purchase presents and a tree. We would drive down to our local Chubby and Tubby (for those who remember the good old days) to pick out our
tree. But aside from the tree, that was it. We didn’t typically have lights for outside the house, no nativity scene, or eggnog or any of the other standard US Christmas paraphernalia.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – Luke 2:4-7
Keychain leadership is easy to recognize and has unexpected benefits. When I was a teenager, I was blessed with the opportunity to share my musical gifts in worship. Our youth leader handed over the worship time to the youth group. We built each other up, we learned new songs, we gained new volunteers, and we formed a strong worship team with a bunch of high schoolers. Over time as I transitioned from high school to college, I took a more significant leadership role in the youth group. Our youth leader began to give us more and more responsibility, to the point of giving me keys to the fellowship hall. Handing over the keys to the building led me to ministry that I could have never imagined.
It was dark and roughly two in the morning; while it seemed everyone else in the world was sound asleep, my friend was about to face the worst night of his life. Time seemed infinite as nausea and pain endlessly cascaded around him. He lay helpless in the face of the apathetic dark until morning.
Years of substance abuse and neglect of his health had come to a head; his body rejecting all the poison that had built up over the years. He was detoxing, but without help. A high fever, constant sweats, vomiting and the shakes: all perks of your body letting you know it’s had enough. In his own words, “I felt like I was dying. It was really bad.” (more…)
Surely this man was the Son of God! Mark 15:39
This quote comes from a centurion who was standing watch at the crucifixion of Christ, according to the account of Mark. He was the commanding officer of the soldiers who mocked and laughed at Jesus while He was up on the cross. He stood by while his soldiers insulted Jesus and most likely joined in on the fun. If he didn’t, then he did nothing to stop it. Have you ever been part of a similar scene? Have you watched some one being abused and done nothing to help or maybe even joined in? (more…)
If you read The Messenger, Anne Korsmo has touched your life. For years, Anne has been a faithful Communications team member. Month after month and year after year she has combed through articles, calendars, and announcements looking to make sure they make sense, are spelled correctly, and are pleasing to read. Her love for words and reading has blessed these pages and brought us God’s message in correct English and proper grammar. (more…)
40 days has quite the significance in accounts throughout scripture: from 40 days of rain during the flood (Genesis 7:12), the 40 days given to Nineveh to repent (Jonah 3:4), all the way up to when Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness as told in Matthew 4. But there is one particular 40-day period that strikes a chord with me: the 40 days Moses spent on Mt. Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments and the impatience of the Israelites awaiting his return (Exodus 19-32). (more…)