Many struggle endeavoring to conquer areas of weakness. Resolutions are made but change, if it comes, is only short lived. Their efforts are dependent on their own strength and will. Time in God's Word is lacking. If you desire stability in the ways of the Lord the process must begin. Give time daily to read his Word, study to show yourself approved, and then meditate day and night upon what you have studied. Your strength and stability will follow.
Beyond any book review or helpful ministry-related text I could recommend as a “must-read,” I would encourage you to pull a book off the shelf that has nothing to do with church, leadership, preaching, management, or finance. Let grace, beauty, and truth be revealed to you from the words of those who wish to tell a story, paint a picture with words, and sing a song without music.
"Because I’m from a rural and conservative hometown in south central Pennsylvania, it was rare to learn about black men and women who were whitewashed from our textbooks outside of home or church. So my first lessons about the Civil Rights Movement and the men and women who led it like Martin Luther King, Clarence Mitchell, Thurgood Marshall, Daisy Bates, Rosa Parks, Joseph DeLaine and so many others were from my Grandmother and Mother. They demanded that I emulate these men and women and commit my life for justice as well. " - Rev. James C. Simmons
It is as if the angel Gabriel gives the message to Zechariah that his son is going to do the very thing that he (and his generation) were not doing.
Christmas reminds us God is redeeming all our little human stories into his great divine story through Jesus Christ. This is the good news of the Gospel. The nature of Jesus’s incarnation—God becoming human to be in relationship with each of us—puts us face to face with real people with real stories. When we choose to distort, ignore, or not enter into another’s story, we deny the incarnation and change what is happening.
And you are pregnant with possibilities, eyes hath not seen nor have ear heard what God is getting ready to do through you. And you can trust God to bring it to pass - as long as you don't settle for less than his best.
As unpopular as it may seem the reality of Advent is that it doesn’t need to occur in the best of circumstances. In fact, Jesus was born in the midst of terrorism and heinous acts against human life.
Listening to good preachers should inspire us to sharpen our skills (and not just borrow material).
We are not at the mercy of terrorists. They are at our mercy as we live in flesh and blood and bone the loving mercy of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel-God-With-Us, who was and is and is to come. As the orange-suited martyrs cried to Jesus on their sandy beach deathbeds, evil crumpled. They have no power over Jesus Christ, they have no power over the world to come, they have no power over your soul.
I have found that this is a good way to keep before the family and the child the meaning of baptism and to remind the parents of the promise they made to God during the baptism to do all they can to raise their child in the faith.