• Are you a doubter
    Heartprints

    With God, Nothing Is Impossible.

    The story of the first Christmas begins like many others, long ago in a faraway place. Dr. Luke has a special friend, and he wants him to know the story of the birth of Jesus. We don’t know much about this friend, but Dr. Luke wanted him to understand how it all took place. So what friend do you want to know about the Christmas story? Dr. Luke begins by telling us that long ago, in the reign of King Herod, a man named Zechariah was busy serving as a priest in the temple when an angel named Gabriel appeared. God had sent him to tell Zechariah that God had…

  • God wants us to be intercessors
    Heartprints

    Teaching Children about Intercession

    Like children, we love getting caught up in a mystery book with its twists and turns. We meet villains and saviors and we see how the plot thickens. God is the master of mysteries and we can use His stories to teach practical lessons for real life. Take the story of the villain King Zedekiah in Jeremiah 38 who allowed other villains to unjustly imprison Jeremiah in of all places, a cistern! Who will save him? Who will be the man of the hour? Enter Ebed-Melech, not an Israelite, but an Ethiopian. Ebed-Melech had the heart to serve no matter the cost. He was willing to step in and confront…

  • Engage

    Epiphany and Joseph’s Response – A Life Worth Noting

    Epiphany, in the traditional church calendar, is a festival observed on January 6 in honor of the coming of the three kings to honor and worship the infant Christ. It commemorates the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church it is called Three Kings Day and Twelfth Day. The coming of the Magi to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child precipitated a crisis for Mary and Joseph and the Infant Christ. King Herod’s edict that followed, once he realized he was outwitted by the wise men as they returned home another way, called for all baby boys who…

  • Impact

    Proclaiming Jesus’ Birth

    Luke 2:22–40 forms part of the lectionary readings for the first Sunday after Christmas, which is December 27th. We learn that following Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph stayed on for a while in Bethlehem. During that time, the family traveled at least twice to the temple in nearby Jerusalem to fulfill their religious duties. On one occasion, the parents had Jesus circumcised. Another time they presented Him to the Lord. On the second visit, two elderly people—Simeon and Anna—recognized Jesus’ special nature and made pronouncements concerning Him. In a sense, they served as two credible Jewish witnesses (one male and the other female) who affirmed the truthfulness of Jesus’ status…

  • Engage

    Releasing Expectations

    Snowflakes fall silently from the sky as bright-eyed little faces peer out frost-covered windows. Best friends gather around a candlelit table, dishes clanking, laughter wafting in the air. Family members from far away places knock at your door, excitement erupting into hugs and hellos the moment you welcome them inside. An ideal Christmas is easy to imagine. But it’s hard to live out. Despite what commercials portray and Facebook depicts, life’s celebrations are often far from perfect. Our children misbehave at the worst possible moment. Our plans get altered at the last minute. Our family’s disfunction erupts at the table. If there’s anything I’m learning this Christmas season, it’s to…

  • Impact

    Joseph, used by God to preserve a remnant

    Genesis 45:1–15 is part of the lectionary readings for the eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, which is August 16th. Genesis 41:53-57 leaves the impression that life was busy and absorbing for Joseph, both personally and professionally. It became even more so as seven years of drought and famine began, for Pharaoh directed his starving population to go to Joseph for the food they needed to survive. The famine extended even to Canaan and affected its inhabitants. Moreover, chapters 42–44 reveal that as the situation worsened throughout the Fertile Crescent, Jacob was forced to send his remaining sons (except for Joseph’s full brother, Benjamin) to Egypt to buy grain for the family.…

  • Impact

    Joseph’s dream

    Genesis 37:1–4 and 12–28 are part of the lectionary readings for the tenth Sunday after Pentecost, which is August 9th. The narrative concerning Joseph begins when he was a young man of 17. Joseph and some of his brothers were taking care of his father’s flocks (v. 2). The brothers had done something inappropriate while they were away from home tending the sheep. Joseph saw the wrongdoing and informed Jacob. Commentators take different views of Joseph’s action. Some censure him as a tattletale, while others commend him for acting as a conscientious son. Although the text doesn’t state it, the brothers undoubtedly felt bitterness toward their younger sibling because he…

  • Engage

    Fresh Perspectives on Women of the Bible: Tamar by Barbara Haesecke

    One Sunday our pastor challenged us to “be willing to move toward the messy” to become the kind of people Jesus wants us to be. I immediately thought of Tamar. Her Genesis  38 story is tucked away in the middle of Joseph’s compelling tale, and many routinely skip over her to continue his amazing technicolor dreamcoat saga. But more than an interruption, her story teaches us valuable lessons even though it competes for the messiest story in the Bible. She’s the woman who dressed up as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law just so she could have a baby.  But is that all there is to her story?  The more…

  • Impact

    Joseph, used by God to preserve a remnant

    Title: Joseph, used by God to preserve a remnant Aim: To recognize that God’s purposes exceed our plans. Scripture: Genesis 45:1–15   Joseph’s disclosure, Genesis 45:1–7   Genesis 41:53-57 leaves the impression that life was busy and absorbing for Joseph, both personally and professionally. It became even more so as the seven years of drought and hunger began, for Pharaoh directed his starving population to go to Joseph for the food they needed to survive.   The famine extended even to Canaan and affected its inhabitants. Moreover, chapters 42–44 reveal that as the situation worsened throughout the Fertile Crescent, Jacob was forced to send his remaining sons (except for Joseph’s…