It’s a Wonderful Life: Believe It

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When I was a kid our family often traveled for a summer vacation.  Our highway travels took us all across the United States to a variety of destinations, some of which had “believe it or not” attractions.  These varied from the billboard advertised “unbelievable” and “world’s largest” or “world’s greatest” this or that, to the only slightly more respectable Ripley’s museums you find in tourist towns.  Despite getting my hopes up that we might stop, pay the fare, and feast our eyes on the unbelievable – as it turned out, I learned that our family (especially dad) were not believers when it came to these attractions.  Instead we were treated to some of God’s more unbelievable natural attractions in the nation – Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, and so forth.  In hind sight I think we got the better deal!

As you read the narrative accounts of Christ’s birth in Matthew 1 and Luke 2, they might strike you as containing stories that are too good to believe. Continue reading

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It’s A Wonderful Life: Endure It

How do you feel about endurance?  How do you feel about enduring something?  If you are like most people, endurance is not usually a welcome entity in your life.  And yet, one might argue, that endurance is very common ground to living.

During the Season of Advent, we at FBC Columbus are going to come together in worship around the theme “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  This, of course, is the title of Frank Capra’s 1947 film that featured Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed and their life in the fictional town of Bedford Falls.  Stewart’s character, George Bailey, has to endure many twists and turns that take him away from his big dreams and goals for life.  The untimely death of his father, and his own sense of loyalty and service, land him in a position as the executive officer of the struggling Building and Loan.  It’s a life he can’t seem to extricate himself from, and over the course of the film we see how he often resents it. Continue reading

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A Prayer at Thanksgiving

In this blog post I want to share a Thanksgiving prayer. I expected to write something somewhat traditional along the lines of recounting the many blessings for which we can offer thanks to God.  And while there is an abundance of such blessing to recount – for which I am thankful – the prayer that began to form in my heart and mind went a different direction.  This prayer is much more one of intercession for things in the news over the past year that many find troubling.  As a pastor I have seen the effects the deterioration in our national dialogue has had on friends, families and the church.  Perhaps you have as well.  If so I invite you to join me in this prayer at Thanksgiving.

 A Prayer at Thanksgiving

O God, in the noise and clutter of a confused and troubled world, help us to hear you. Continue reading

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SERVE

This week I put out a query through social media regarding “service”.  I asked three questions: 1. Why do you serve others?  2. Where did you learn to serve?  3. What have you gained by serving?

I want to thank all of those who responded. There were several thoughtful replies and they’ve helped me think about this topic more in preparation for sharing a sermon on “Serve”.   I thought I’d use this post to share my answers to these three questions: Continue reading

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Grow

The marks moved incrementally up the door frame no more than a half inch or more at a time.  To the side they were assigned the initials of the one being measured: REC, TCC, PJC, KIC, and DMC.  Measurements were taken on no particular schedule, but probably after a fair amount of pestering had transpired.  In resignation – perhaps curiosity, but mostly to satisfy – the yard stick would be brought out as one by each the subjects stood. Shoulders back, eyes forward, head level as that same yard stick served first as marking point and then was brought down the wall to measure the height of the subject.  Inches were converted to feet and inches called out to the nearest quarter or eighth.  Growth was noted, cheered, celebrated, and marked for all of posterity on the frame behind the door to our utility room.  Those marks, perhaps under a layer or two of paint, still exist today.

As the youngest of the above identified initials, and therefore the shortest for quite some time, I took specific interest in the gains being made in my growth in stature.  Was I gaining on my siblings? Continue reading

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