I’m not preaching this week, because Advent 1 means Hanging of the Green at my church. So here’s a sermon from six years ago that seems fitting today, as well. May your Advent be filled with hope! https://pastorsings.com/2013/12/01/keep-awake-sermon-on-matthew-2436-44-advent-1-2013/
I say this every year, but I’ll say it again: if you really want to express your gratitude, make the focus be who you are thanking, rather than what you are thankful for. You see, the real purpose of thanksgiving is to thank God, period. It’s about God. When we make those long lists of all the things we’re thankful for, it starts to be about us. And that is backwards.
Remember the Pharisee who prayed in the temple? He was loudly proclaiming what he was thankful for. “I thank you that I am better than this tax collector over here…” (Luke 18:9-14, my paraphrase). And yet, it was the other guy, that tax collector in the corner, who went home justified, or ‘made right.’
So this Thanksgiving, give thanks to God. Don’t let the gravy get cold while you force everyone around the table to say what they are most thankful for. Keep the lists short. In fact, that little children’s prayer might be just enough:
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing;
Thank you, God, for everything. Amen.
November 10, 2019
There’s nothing quite like baptizing a baby to bring us hope. Thank you, Leah and Sean, for reminding us of the sure and certain hope we claim as followers of Jesus! But hope can be fleeting, and sometimes it seems like the tiniest challenge can shatter our hope.
The church in Thessolonica was facing a challenge like that. They had questions. When was Jesus going to come back? Had they missed it? Were they ‘left behind’ and putting their faith in something that wasn’t really true? Continue reading
November 3, 2019
The year is winding down – before the Halloween candy was off the shelf, the Christmas décor was already out. The garden has been put to bed and the lawn mower has given up its place of honor in the garage to make room for the snow blower. Next Saturday is the Fall Bazaar, and today we will be packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. You have less than sixty days left to make good on those New Years resolutions from last January.
But the real sign that time is on the move happened at 2 o’clock this morning, when we switched back from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time. I don’t know about you, but I seem to be more aware of the swift passing of time in the Fall than any other season. It’s a bit of a paradox for me: I get all nostalgic, thinking back over fond memories, even as I begin to anticipate the coming of another year’s opportunity. Continue reading