I have heard of families who do not place the baby Jesus in their nativity until Christmas day. I like that tradition. (Unfortunately we cannot do this because in our nativity set Mary and the baby Jesus are one piece.) So many things are anticipated before Christmas: vacation time, holiday meals, Santa Claus, presents (giving and receiving), the Christmas tree, lights, time with family and friends, parties, Christmas cards in the mail, Christmas stockings, snow, caroling, candlelight Christmas Eve services, Christmas musicals or plays, “The Nutcracker”, books (The Night Before Christmas, A Christmas Carol, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas), special Christmas television and movies (Charlie Brown, Rudolf, Frosty, “Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Story,” and Santa riding a Norelco razor), Continue reading Call to Worship: Christmas Day
Greek mythology is full of stories where the various gods leave Olympus and go slumming around with mere mortals. Despite their great powers, life on Mount Olympus apparently lacks fulfillment (usually sexual fulfillment), so the gods come to earth, to make and test heroes, and interfere in affairs of households and wars. One could argue that the Greek gods spend more of their time on earth than on Mount Olympus; life on earth must seem pretty good to them. Continue reading Call to Worship: Fourth Sunday of Advent
I am eagerly awaiting the release of Peter Jackson’s screen adaptations of The Hobbit (An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again). I read Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Blog and Sir Ian McKellen’s Hobbit Blog not as spoilers, especially since I have already read the book, but to whet my appetite for a couple of movies I believe will be exceptional. Continue reading Call to Worship: Third Sunday of Advent
As a teen, I worked at a Christian bookstore. Occasionally, a few of us would get a bit lazy with the dress code, and would need a reminder from the manager. Since I usually worked at the end of the week, my friends would get spoken to on Monday, and then the manager would call me to the office when I came in on Wednesday. The conversation would always go like this. “Paul, I want to talk to you about . . . oh . . . never mind.” Continue reading Call to Worship: Second Sunday of Advent
I have always enjoyed the days building up to Christmas, but my outlook has changed since I have grown up. As a child, I looked forward to Christmas morning, when I could open all my presents. As an adult, I am more likely to purchase items for myself when I need them, or they are on sale, rather than wait for a special occasion, such as Christmas or my birthday, when I might receive them as a gift (to the frustration of my wife). Continue reading Call to Worship: First Sunday of Advent
The first few verses of Galatians chapter six are interesting. With the span of a few verses we have admonitions to both “carry each other’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2) and for “each one [to] carry his own load” (Gal. 6:5). In the church, being responsible for one’s own walk and being responsible for others is not an either or scenario.
A tragedy struck a man. An explosion had left him without hands or sight. Fortunately, he recovered from the accident, but one thing he regretted was that he could no longer read. Specifically, he wanted to be able to read the Bible. Hope came when he heard of a person who had learned to read Braille using her lips. He thought he could also learn to read Braille in that way, but he was disappointed. The burns on his face had so damaged the nerves in his lips that he could not feel the raised dots of Braille. However, as he experimented, he accidental stuck out his tongue and found that he could feel the Braille with his tongue. Thus he was able to eventually read the Bible again using his tongue.
Contributed by Crystal
Take a mental leap along with me and imagine that these small rocks symbolize rocks everywhere –rocks along a trail, and rock that forms whole mountain ranges. As far as we can tell, these rocks are inanimate, they have no life in them at all. Continue reading Call to Worship: The Rock Cries Out
Due to a technical glitch, the slide show that was to accompany Sunday’s reading of Psalm 8 did not make it to the screen. I want to thank the person that put together the slide show anyway.
This Call to Worship was inspired by Mike Cosper’s A Call to Worship for Palm Sunday – From Philippians 2.
One of the stories we have of Jesus in the Gospels is the temptations of Jesus by Satan. Jesus was tempted for 40 days, and overcame Satan. Someone could easily think that after beating Satan, Jesus went through the rest of his life never facing temptation again, but we should consider Palm Sunday. Before Jesus entered Jerusalem, he had been telling his disciples that he was going to suffer and die in Jerusalem. Then when he arrived at Jerusalem, he is greeted as king. Jesus could have declared his kingship, and been supported; that had to be a temptation. It is very similar to a temptation by the devil. Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me” (Matt. 4:8-9). We are thankful that Jesus did not give in to temptation to be made king by the devil or human means.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:6-11
©2011 Paul Tillman