Daily Archives: December 27, 2011

Tim Keller–Year-End Generosity

The Bible says that God has poured out his mercy and Holy Spirit generously through Jesus Christ so we can be justified by grace (Titus 3:6). Why is mercy and forgiveness described in terms of ”˜generosity’? Because God is under no obligation to give us any good gift. In fact, our sin has forfeited any favor or blessing we might have had. Yet, instead of giving us the punishment we deserve, he took that himself and gave us the riches of mercy and grace. He forgave, he was generous with us sinners.

In the book of James there is another way that God is said to be generous. The author urges his readers to become spiritually mature and wise, and if they lack this, they should ask God, “Who gives generously to all without finding fault.” (James 1:5) Here God is generous not in forgiveness but in ministry. He builds people up and shares his wisdom with others, and he is not stingy with his service, only giving to ”˜deserving’ people. No, he ministers to others “without finding fault.”

Generosity, then, is basically a matter of the spirit….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, Theology

Trip Lee–How Christ has Changed my Life

Thirteen years have passed since I first met Christ’s Holy Comforter in our church. While courting my wife, Page, we entered worship here regularly before our marriage. Having known Christ as my Savior from a young age, I was nonetheless a “denominational mutt” and carried some unhealthy “fear of God” baggage for most of my young adult life. It was only here at Holy Comforter that I began to encounter Christ as I had never known Him. Most especially, His Holy Spirit began to move and to work within me as never before, when I began to engage with His body of Christ here. Having a bad start doesn’t mean you can’t have a great finish! Starting where I am, taking
what I have and doing what I can to advance His Kingdom on this Earth is the least I can do for the One who gave all for me.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Parishes, Theology

Music for Chistmas 2011–Rascal Flatts – "Mary Did You Know"

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Music

The Nativity of the Christ

Behold the father is his daughter’s son,
The bird that built the nest is hatched therein,
The old of years an hour hath not outrun,
Eternal life to live doth now begin,
The Word is dumb, the mirth of heaven doth weep,
Might feeble is, and force doth faintly creep.

O dying souls, behold your living spring;
O dazzled eyes, behold your sun of grace;
Dull ears, attend what word this Word doth bring;
Up, heavy hearts, with joy your joy embrace.
From death, from dark, from deafness, from despairs
This life, this light, this Word, this joy repairs.
Gift better than himself God doth not know;
Gift better than his God no man can see.
This gift doth here the giver given bestow;
Gift to this gift let each receiver be.
God is my gift, himself he freely gave me;
God’s gift am I, and none but God shall have me.

Man altered was by sin from man to beast;
Beast’s food is hay, hay is all mortal flesh.
Now God is flesh and lies in manger pressed
As hay, the brutest sinner to refresh.
O happy field wherein that fodder grew,
Whose taste doth us from beasts to men renew.

–Robert Southwell (1561-1595)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Poetry & Literature

Alister McGrath: Christmas in the Cave

It’s always nice to learn something new. I was talking to some Lebanese students in London recently. They were looking forward to returning home for Christmas, and celebrating this great feast in traditional Lebanese style. In the West, we think of Christ lying in a manger in a stable. In Lebanon, I was told, Christians depict the nativity as taking place in a cave. The reasons for this are lost in the mists of time. Yet the image of Jesus being born in a cave is rich and suggestive.

As we reflect on what Christmas means for billions of Christians across the world, this image can help us unlock some of its themes, and help us understand why it is seen as being so significant….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

Drew Brees sets passing mark, Saints top Falcons 45-16

After Drew Brees broke an NFL passing record that stood for nearly three decades, his teammates called on him to make a speech in the Saints’ locker room.

“This record isn’t about one person. There might be just one name that goes in ledger under the record, but it’s really about the team,” Brees told his teammates. “I want everyone to feel a huge part of this, that this record would not have been possible without them.”

It was quite a night for Brees and the Saints – a record and a rout.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint John

Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that we, being illumined by the teaching of thine apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that we may at length attain to the fullness of life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day this Christmas Season

Merciful and most loving God, by whose will and bountiful gift Jesus Christ our Lord humbled himself that he might exalt mankind; and became flesh that he might restore in us the most celestial image; and was born of the Virgin that he might uplift the lowly: Grant unto us the inheritance of the meek, perfect us in thy likeness, and bring us at last to rejoice in beholding thy beauty, and with all thy saints to glorify thy grace; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gallican Sacramentary

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.

–Psalm 97:6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Notable and Quotable

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.

— Dave Barry

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Religion & Culture

A Good Christmas Reminder: A bit of George Lindbeck's review of the Myth of God Incarnate (1977)

You may need to enlarge the page to see it better; I sure did; KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Christmas, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, History, Theology

What the Love of Christmas Looks Like

Watch it all–an important reminder no matter what the year.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Parish Ministry

He sunk himself In

The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.

–Martin Luther

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Christmas, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Theology

A 2011 Service of Christmas Carols from St Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney

Watch it all (a little over 58 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music

Ed Leap: In this season we celebrate the birth of the only ”˜physician’ who can heal us

Sickness relieved is a beautiful thing. A heart attack treated takes the elephant off the chest and leaves a smile. A child made well, a broken bone splinted, a wound closed, a tooth numbed, an abscess opened are among the reasons that physicians, at least at first, decide to walk among the sick.

However, we poor doctors, with our paltry degrees and bags of tricks, can only do a little. We merely treat the symptoms. He treated the disease. He brought an end to it all with his birth, death and resurrection. No more sin, no more death. He offered every patient the cure, free of charge, with no need for insurance or cash.

How it must feel to be him! Not to cure the broken bones, but to offer healing to the broken hearts. Not to excise the tumor, but to remove the guilt. Not to bypass the heart, but to replace it with a new one.

At Christmas, we celebrate the child. How blessed we are that he walked among us, knew our every disease, then grew up to become the only physician qualified to heal us.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Theology