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    Epiphany and the Magi – How Should We Respond?

      What can we learn from the journey of the wise men? Their visit, celebrated on January 6, marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas and is also known in the church calendar as Epiphany – “the appearing”. The story recorded in Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him’… After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they…

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    All Saints’ Day and The Cloud of Witnesses

    All Saint’s Day, November 1, observed by Christians in many countries around the world, is traditionally a celebration of all Christian Saints. In some countries cemeteries are crowded with people who come to clean and decorate the family graves and bring flowers and light candles on the graves of their loved ones to remember them. Having experienced this first hand living in Austria, a Catholic country, I was struck by how honoring this was of the families whose loved ones had died. While it was a solemn occasion it was also an impacting experience to walk through the Freidhof (cemetery) in the evening with Austrians who had come to remember.…

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    Why Worry? OR The Theology of Sheep

    I am always amazed at the “sheepness” of the big horn sheep that live in the mountain property of the Navigators at Glen Eyrie in Colorado. Observing these beautiful animals, they do exactly what God intended them to do. They are sheep. They live in sheep rhythm. They graze. They walk. They stay together. They climb the mountain rocks in front of the castle and “perform” for the guests. They sleep. They mate. They take care of their young. They get old. But, I don’t think they worry. Why should they worry? They are the picture of living worry free simply being who God designed them to be and trusting…

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    Sudden Change AND The Aftermath

    Much has been written about Hurricane Harvey that made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas on Friday evening August 25. The devastation it caused and the suddenness in which it arrived with only a few days warning brought abrupt change. People in the predicted landfall areas were left anticipating, wondering if it would impact them, their home, their pets and their friends. Even the preparedness and investment of special hurricane windows and exact sized plywood to cover and protect all the openings in the house of our friend in Port Aransas did not abate the fierce wind that blew water right on past those carefully planned barriers. Water so basic to…

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    Weathering Storms in the Company of Others

    Whether it is a torrential downpour with winds akin to the pre-hurricane and advancing tornado furry or a personal storm: be it health, soul or relational it is not easy to endure storms alone. Being with others in the midst is strangely comforting even when the outcome is uncertain. The sight of cows huddled together during a storm is an instructive image. Somehow they innately sense how to respond and do what might help them survive.The first time I saw a group of cows bunched together at the corner of a field, we were driving through a severe thunderstorm. The image of those cows became imprinted on my mind. I…

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    Soul Noticing 101

    Because the “heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19: 2-3) and because the Lord Jesus put His Spirit within each one of us who believes (I Corinthians 6:19) we know it is possible to be aware of Him deep within our souls. We know He will never leave us but sometimes we fail to even acknowledge or notice Him. Oh,how He longs for us just to come and sit in His Presence; deep down inside we want that too. The problem is that we are distracted 24/7 and forget to notice Him and His presence all around us, within us…

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    Perspective and a Shifted Assessment

    Imagine your thoughts as you walk past two homeless men panhandling outside and in the lobby of a major concert. The men are begging for money from the patrons coming to the concert. They, homeless and probably disheveled and possibly smelly come up to people who are, most likely, nicely dressed – people who are anticipating a fun, lovely evening with their teenage children. Many thoughts flood your mind. Why are they homeless? Can’t they find work? Who are their parents, family? Are they thieves? Maybe they are lazy; maybe they have given up and really don’t care about themselves or anyone. You walk past and into the concert feeling…

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    EXPECTATION

    "The Disciples" painted in 1898 by Swiss Artist Eugene Burnand, was bought by the French State for the Luxembourg Museum in Paris and is considered one of his greatest works. Burnard was an artist of outstanding range and talent whose art had religious and basic life themes. Those who take the time to find this painting, now hung in the Musee d’Orsay on the left bank of the Seine in Paris, come away saying that viewing the canvas is akin to a spiritual experience. Some say it is the greatest Easter painting ever made. Consider the painting – At the blush of dawn, Peter and John are rushing to the…

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    Holy Week – Jesus Praying in the Garden

      After sharing the Passover meal Jesus and his disciples begin walking toward the Garden of Gethsemane. Anticipating what was going to happen to him in a matter of hours, Jesus goes ahead to a place to pray asking Peter, James and John to wait with Him while he prays. He was deeply distressed and troubled (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14: 32-41; Luke 22:40-46). He falls to the ground burdened with excessive sorrow. He prays to the Father for Himself, for His disciples and for all who would ever believe – for you and for me. Can you imagine what it would have been like to overhear the prayer conversation between…

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    Harassed by Shame – a Trap of Comparison

    Our guest blogger today is P.J. Beets, a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation student at Dallas Seminary. Recently, I went on a backpacking adventure with a group of 14 to 17 year old Boy Scouts. I was concerned about being able to keep up with their energy and sense of adventure. I love backpacking, but I did not want to hinder them in any way. The days leading up to the adventure were harassed by shame. Will I do everything just right? Am I good enough? What is shame? One type of shame is a feeling of inferiority which comes from comparing ourselves to our own expectations, other’s expectations,…