Jesus Draws Close in the Ascension

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You know how once you notice something, it’s very hard to un-notice it? I really enjoy Christian music. I enjoy sacred hymns and contemporary songs. But, I’ve noticed that a lot of them stop at the crucifixion. For example, there’s an old hymn called “Nothing but the Blood.” It asks, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood …

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When God Disappoints You

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Have you ever felt disappointed in God? For many of us, this is an uncomfortable idea. We may think we can never be disappointed in God or God’s ways. After all, God’s ways are mysterious. Who are we to feel disappointed by them? It may feel sacrilegious, heretical, or just plain disrespectful. And yet, throughout the Bible people express their …

Recognizing Jesus

Mary Recognized Jesus. Do I?

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Easter begins with an empty tomb. Mary Magdalene and other women go to Jesus’ grave to mourn, but when they get there, the grave has been disturbed and the body is gone (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-2, Luke 23:55-24:2,10, John 20:1). Can you imagine going to your dead friend’s grave and finding it … empty? The Gospel of John tells us …

When God Feels Far Away

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Sometimes it feels like God is as real, and as close, as my breath. Other times, it feels like God is absent. It’s easy to have faith when I feel God’s presence, but what about when I don’t? Reading the Psalms reminds me that I’m not the first (or only) person to feel distant from God. Here’s a sampling of …

I Hope, Lord

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The Psalms have an incredible ability to speak the emotions I am feeling. Time and again these ancient words have forged a path for me to express my feelings to God. Psalm 130, one of the Psalms of Ascent (used during pilgrimage festivals as people approached the Temple in Jerusalem), is one that has helped me recently. My family began …

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Lent Isn’t About You

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Why don’t Sundays count in Lent? Because Lent isn’t about you. On Sunday, I took a bag of dryer lint to church with me. I know that sounds strange, but I used it in the Children’s Sermon to make a point about lint and Lent. I wanted a lighthearted way to introduce what can sometimes be a heavy topic. Lent can be …

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God Knows I Can’t Help Myself

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By Beth Demme I like the expression, God helps those who help themselves. I like it because I believe I know how to help myself at least a little. If God helps those who help themselves and I am capable of helping myself, it’s as if I have a way to oblige God to be on my side. The problem is, when I …

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Reading the Bible in a Year is Overrated

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Have you ever decided to read the Bible in a year? How did it go? Did you start at Genesis 1:1 and work your way through to Revelation 22:21? Maybe you’ve intended to read through the Bible in a year but never quite made it. How long was it before you fell behind in your plan? I have some theories about why …

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Even The Wise Men Got Lost

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Epiphany is more than a sudden inspiration; it’s a season on the church calendar. Epiphany begins with a celebration of the arrival of the Wise Men as described in Matthew 2:1-12. We tend to picture the Wise Men (on top of camels, of course) following the light of the brightest star in the sky straight to Jesus. As with most things in …

Advent Is Like an HGTV Show

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I admit it, I have spent way too many hours of my life watching HGTV. I love house hunting shows, but I also love home renovation shows. I especially like it when they set out to renovate and restore an entire house. Of course, the best part of those shows is The Big Reveal. Have you noticed they always take a commercial …