From the monthly archives: November 2016

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'November 2016'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Advent Is about Adoption


 


November is National Adoption Month. Even though this is the last day of November, Advent is now underway, and I think there is a clear link between the two.

During the service a couple of Sundays ago, my wife and I shared a bit of our foster/adoption story (see the video below). Last Sunday I started re-reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Advent devotional, and the first paragraph of the first day’s reading connects Christ’s coming with Christ’s demands to love the most vulnerable among us. It reads:

 

Jesus stands at the door knocking (Rev. 3:20). In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human being among us. Do you want to close the door or open it?

 

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Feel Your Worth: How Christmas Anticipates the End of Futility


 


Editor’s note: Yes, Thanksgiving is still a day away. But Advent begins Sunday, November 27, along with our Christmas sermon series. Pastor Perry Paulding gives us a preview of what to expect over the next few weeks.


Three thousand years ago, the wisest man who ever lived (Solomon) despaired at the utter futility of life “under the sun.” I’m tempted to do the same. For example, just yesterday, after an hour of attempting to blow out my sprinkler, I had to concede defeat and call in an “expert.” A single, two-second “trick” would have saved me 40 bucks. A couple years ago, one of my noble attempts to get healthy and save some money backfired and landed me in the ER with an $8,000 bill. I could write a book on futility. It abounds. Does the gospel offer us any concrete hope that we can escape the stifling sense of vanity that plagues our daily lives?

Futility is part of the curse. We know that when Christ returns, Revelation 22:3 says, “. . . there shall no longer be any curse.” But what about now? 1 Peter 1:18 offers us some hope:

 

“. . . knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers . . .” (1 Peter 1:18)

 

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The Glad Game: On Pollyanna and the Source of True Gratitude


 


As much as I love Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Shirley, and Jo March, I'd have to say that Pollyanna sits near the top of my literary heroines list. “Pollyanna” as a cultural reference brings to mind visions of sugary-sweet cheerfulness, unrealistic optimism and trite Annie-esque references about “the sun coming out tomorrow.” The urban dictionary goes as far as to refer to a Pollyanna-like person as absurd and naïve, with a self-righteous moral superiority.

I confess that I think Pollyanna gets a bad rap. But for those who have not read Pollyanna and its sequel Pollyanna Grows Up, I'll acquaint you: At age 11, Pollyanna is orphaned and sent to live with her Aunt Polly, a stern, unfeeling woman, who sees Pollyanna as her duty, a burden to endure. Pollyanna, an outgoing, talkative and curious child walks into this scenario with hope and optimism that few can understand even in the midst of mourning her beloved father. She brings her “glad game” “about finding something in everything to be glad about” and begins to share it with the people of the town. Her father, a pastor, created this game when battling doubt and discouragement. He was convicted by the "rejoicing texts" in the Bible, seeing that "if God took the trouble to tell us eight hundred times to be glad and rejoice, He must want us to do it—SOME.”

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Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, Campus Moms Edition


 


This is pretty cool.

Back in late August, right as the fall semester kicked into gear, John Larsen made an announcement during a Sunday service about a few moms of Colorado State University students from Summitview and Beggars’ Gate who decided to set up a table on the CSU plaza and pray for CSU students. Their sign read “CSU Moms Listen and Pray.”

This is an amazing example of loving our neighbors. It’s pretty darn cool. Go moms.

But what’s also cool is that WORLD Magazine heard about this incarnational act from one of the moms involved, Joan Allmendinger. Joel Belz, the founder of God’s World Publications, was so moved by this story that he made it the focus of his most recent column.

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Now That the Election Is Over, Consider Taking a Break from the Internet


 


This election has taken its toll on our country. I know this because Ted Cruz “conceded defeat on behalf of Donald Trump” — in the middle of Tuesday afternoon. Yikes.

Cruz probably speaks for a lot of us when he said that it’s “time to move forward.” As I write this, it’s 1:47 p.m. MST on November 8, 2016. I don’t know who will win tonight. But that doesn’t matter. The overwhelming omnipresence of this election has even the best of us ready for it to be over. Cue Willie Nelson. Turn off the lights. The party’s over. Let’s go home. Even if your preferred candidates ended up winning, this “gargantuan national ritual” has swallowed everything in its path, including much of our humanity.

So, if the country is still standing by the time you read this, consider taking the day off from all media—social or otherwise.

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