Jesus was born in a manger in the little town of Bethlehem. It’s a story beautiful in its simplicity. And yet there are so many distractions this time of year that joy can drain out of the season. Let me encourage you to keep it simple. Do a little shopping, but don’t make this season about the Christmas presents. Let it be about the people. Be with friends. Cozy up on the couch with the people you love. Make worship a priority every Sunday of Advent. Do something generous for a person in need. Make the season simply beautiful.
We keep track of numbers because they help us see areas where we need to improve, help us plan for the future, and give us a picture, albeit an incomplete picture, of what God is doing in our midst. And besides, keeping an accounting is biblical. (There is an entire book of the Bible entitled Numbers!)
If you want to see worship, go to a Cubs game. People are cheering, clapping, shouting, responding, and giving (lots of money) all in adoration of the Chicago Cubs. I will admit, I'm one of those fans. I love baseball. I love the rhythm of the game, which leaves time to talk with a friend sitting next to you in the stands or to read a book with a game on the television. (Some call it boring; I call it relaxing.) I love the beauty of the ballpark, a perfectly landscaped "garden of Eden" wrapped in the sights and sounds of the city. I love being around an excited "cloud of witnesses," all watching and cheering the most amazing athletes in the world.
We are beggars. I've been repeating this quote from Martin Luther a lot lately both to myself and to all of you. It is a reminder that we need God desperately. I felt that on Sunday as we gathered around a young couple, Jon and Lexie, to pray for them as they battle Jon's cancer together. Tears filled my eyes as I watched them worship that morning—hearts filled with hope—praying for God to make his face shine upon them.
On Wednesday October 12th members of the community and guests gathered at Trinity Hall at St. Patrick Catholic Church for the 15th annual Community Prayer Breakfast. The event began with Chesterton Police Chief David Cincoski leading the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Rev. James Mead from St. Patrick Catholic Church delivered the invocation and breakfast was served. After breakfast Master of Ceremonies Mike Harris took a moment to recognize community leaders in attendance, the Community Prayer Breakfast Committee and to thank business and individual supporters of the event. Duneland Chamber of Commerce board chairman, Jim Starin to welcome guests and Cheryl Keller presented scripture readings. Mike Anton presented an inspiring Prayer for our Community,...
I love Paul's words to the Corinthians: "We work with you for your joy" (2 Cor. 1:24). It’s a team effort. Paul is working alongside some other committed folks (“we”), and he’s calling on people to do their part (“with you”). And the end of all this working is our joy and of course the glory of God. I'm so thankful for the team around me, and we are all working with YOU for your joy.
The Rev. Anthony Janik, director of spiritual care services at Franciscan Health Crown Point, prays over Kimber the canine during a 15th-annual Blessing of Children, the Elderly and Pets on Oct. 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis.
In his classic exposition on Christian discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) said, "The physical presence of other Christians is an incomparable source of strength to the believer." As I sat outside in Central Park on Monday afternoon enjoying an ice-cold coffee with one of our elders, I was reminded of just how important this truth is. We shared our blessings and burdens, spoke words of encouragement to each other, and prayed together.
This is a season of transition. Some of us are sending kids off to college or to the first day of kindergarten. We’re getting back into busier routines, scheduling fall’s activities and events, and packing in the last to-do’s of summer. This week, I'm taking my youngest son to college, settling back into my pastoral work, and getting ready to tackle a list of big ministry goals. And in just a few months, I will turn 50!
I’ve had some amazing educational experiences over the last few weeks: studying at the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s oldest universities, and meeting with pastors and scholars from differing parts of the world. I worshipped at Hillsong London and Holy Trinity Brompton (home church of Matt Redman). I had some time for quiet reflection, like morning communion in an 11th century church, and time for fun. I made my way into more than one art gallery and followed in the footsteps of C. S. Lewis, even spending an hour in a pub that he and Tolkien favored.