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January 14th, 2018

The fact that Mary is a nobody from nowhere is why God chooses her.

Luke 1:26-38

 

Reappraisal

It never ceases to amaze me the things I can learn about Corinth after 25 years. I learned something new this past week. For two and a half decades, I’ve walked past and stood in front of two oil on canvas paintings in the Althouse Room without paying much attention. An insurance adjustor recently had them appraised, and the appraisal came to my attention this past Monday. Read more »

January 7th, 2018

Will you be as ignorant about Jesus at the end of 2018 as you are now?

 Luke 1:1-4

January 7, 2018

Carefully investigated

When Linda and I first visited Israel in 2011, we came across a chart in a tunnel near the Temple Mount titled “Jerusalem Time.”  The chart chronicled Jerusalem history from the Canaanite period to the modern period.  I realized I knew something about the time periods covered in the Old Testament, and of course knew at least a little about Jewish history since the 20th century Holocaust.  I knew next to nothing about where Jewish people lived and what was happening in Jerusalem in between.

  • Why was the Temple Mount vacant for centuries after AD 70?
  • When did the Muslims build the Dome of the Rock?
  • Where were the Jews living if they weren’t in Palestine?
  • What is the difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews?
  • Who are the Mamluks who ruled Palestine for two Medieval centuries?

Before we led a second tour to Israel in 2014, I wanted to be able to answer those questions. Read more »

December 26th, 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

Genesis 50:15-21; Luke 2:1-20; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

December 21, 2017

Reconciliation in Whoville

A TV special the other night on the top 12 Christmas movies of all time piqued my curiosity.  I compared several web sites for the consensus opinion of the best ever. Those who know me well won’t be surprised that I entered the data in an Excel spread sheet to find the consensus ranking, as if this were the College Football Championship.

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life
  2. Miracle on 34th Street
  3. Holiday Inn
  4. A Christmas Story
  5. Die Hard
  6. Nightmare before Christmas
  7. Muppet Christmas Carol
  8. A Christmas Carol
  9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  10. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  11. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  12. Home Alone

What all great Christmas movies seem to have in common is that somehow enemies become friends.  Read more »

December 17th, 2017

Why Carols

Candlelighting

Luke 2:4-7

 

Is Christmas too popular?

I began this season by wondering aloud if Christmas is too popular. Every radio station plays their version of Christmas music. Every store has some kind of holiday emphasis. From the Hallmark channel to the NFL to political ads, Christmas on some level seems to belong to everyone, including those who have no interest in Jesus or church the rest of the year. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Read more »

December 17th, 2017

Joy, Joy, Joy!

Only Jesus brings unshakable joy.

Genesis 46:28-30

 

Echo Carol

Our theme today is joy. As of today, I’m an expert on joy, since our first grandchild was born yesterday – a little boy, Arlo Hunter Thompson, born to our son Phil and his wife Carlie in Honolulu. There’s nothing like the birth of a baby to bring joy!

Our hymns today have the theme of joy, including of course “Joy to the World,” which was not written as a Christmas carol. Isaac Watts wrote it as part of a collection of new settings for the psalms – this one based on Psalm 98. The closing hymn includes the line, “Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why these songs of happy cheer?” Read more »