Category Archives: Holy Days

Embracing the Lenten Season

This Wednesday, February 14th, in addition to being Valentine’s Day, is Ash Wednesday.  This day marks the beginning of the Lenten Season – a period of 40 days, plus 7 Sundays that ends with Easter.  The 40 days are modeled after Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the wilderness (see Mark 1:12-13).  The 7 Sundays are intended to be 7 “little Easters” along the way – a respite of worship and celebration in the midst of our otherwise sober companionship of Jesus through his 40 day trial.

I did not grow up in a Christian tradition that emphasized Ash Wednesday or Lent in any fashion.  My first exposure to this season of the church year was during my seminary days as I served on the staff of a congregation that did observe the liturgical, or church, year.  I only attended my first Ash Wednesday service as a 35+ year old adult, and I’ve only led a very few Ash Wednesday services as a pastor.  (Being Baptist we often exert our “freedoms” when it comes to all things liturgical!)

Still, I find this day, and this season, to be increasingly important and significant in my faith – and I hope you might as well (no matter your faith heritage). Continue reading

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It’s a Wonderful Life – Treasure It

Christmas was for me, as is true with many children, a magical time of year.  I have fond memories of childhood Christmas experiences that involved my parents, siblings, extended family and church.  These memories have kind of all blended together as the years pass by, but one or two still manage to stand out.

A Christmas memory I treasure yet to this day concerns the year that our parents decided to give each other the same gift.  I’m not sure where the seeds for this gift idea were sown, or how long they had germinated, but as the Christmas season rolled around that year it was common knowledge that Mother and Dad had talked about a television for the dining room.   “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to watch the morning news over coffee and toast, while seated at the dining room table, rather than just listen to the local radio station?”  An idea was hatched. Continue reading

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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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