Sermons on Joy can be tough to hear

IMG_4489
This Sunday (December 16) we will focus on the Advent theme of Joy as we prepare for Christmas!

Here are some thoughts about joy that may not make Sunday’s message:

– When one is suffering from depression, messages on joy often feel very painful.  For those under this cloud, we acknowledge your pain and remind you that there is a company of past and present saints who understand the paradox of living the Christian life while suffering from this condition.

– Even in the most dire of circumstances, there can be odd moments of joy.  The fall of 2003 was one of the darkest periods of my life after losing both my dad and grandmother and having a very unexpectedly sick newborn. Yet during that season I still enjoyed good meals, meaningful conversations, and touches of friendship.

– As much as we are able, we should choose joy.  Life is harsh and pain is unavoidable.  So, laughter and enjoyment under the Lordship of Christ reflects His glory to our world.

Reflections on George H.W. Bush

bush_prez_0I am quite an admirer of George H.W. Bush (1924-2018), and think of him fondly on the news of his death. I always liked Bush, but when I was younger I was not overly enthusiastic about his leadership.  As time has progressed, my appreciation and respect for him as a leader continued to increase, until he has developed in my mind – for too many reasons to put in this post – as one of my favorite historical leaders.

He produced cooperation.  He was strong against tyranny.  He was compassionate towards the disadvantaged.  He was very human and very American.

Thirty years ago, Bush stated “We need a kinder and gentler nation.”  We needed that cultural challenge then, and it still calls to those who will listen today.