Make Jesus Your Goal
This time of year, you can find a lot of expert advice on how to make goals and the plans required to achieve those goals over the course of the new year. Whatever goals and plans you choose to make for yourself in the coming year, remember to connect those dreams and visions to your relationship with Jesus so that as you work to improve how you live your life you also open yourself allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen your relationship with God.
The St. Paul's church calendar isn't just a schedule of worship times and events -- more things to do -- it's a schedule of events and resources to strengthen your faith in Christ, opportunities to love and serve your neighbor, and finally to grow more deeply into the covenant God made with you in baptism.
A Different Christmas Story
One of my favorite videos floating around Facebook this holiday season was of a group of adults acting out the Christmas story as it was told by children. The children tell the story of Jesus’ birth from the time when the angel appears to Mary with the good news that she is to be the mother of our Lord up until the time when the wise men from the East arrive. Even though details of this story are found in different books of Bible, when they tell the story from memory and in their own words, the story becomes one coherent narrative. Which is pretty cool when you think about it. In a time when a number of adults might be hard pressed to tell the Christmas story from heart in their own words … these children pull together to different stories from the Bible and they get it right, in their own way.
Christmas Points to Easter
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
We have just heard Jesus tell us some most comforting good news. Jesus is the good shepherd who knows his sheep, who lays down his life for the sheep, who guards and protects the sheep from all danger. The sheep know the voice of their shepherd, and they follow him to all the good that God has prepared and intended for them. In her baptism, Norma was welcomed into God’s household … God’s flock, a sheep of Christ’s fold. She was claimed by God and for God, as one of God’s children, even before she became the Norma you knew and loved. Norma’s salvation, hope of resurrection and the promise of heaven, were hers as a gift from the loving God who created her and redeemed her by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
A Baby Changes Us
A baby has the power to change us. A commercial that’s been running recently pictures a man who says that he wanted to quit smoking but never could … until he held his daughter in his arms. I’ve heard similar stories in my family … and maybe your family as well.
A baby has the power to change us … our behavior, our habits and rituals. Babies can bring us back to church after being away for years. Motivate us to seek out the benefits of faith and baptism for us and our children, wanting them to know the Bible and how it speaks of God’s love for them.
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