Over the years, I've taught three different series on the Acts of the Apostles, and I'm sure that by the time I hang it up I will have taught at least five more. Each time, I try to do something a little different—never a straight, verse-by-verse exposition of the text but always a particular angle or take on the text as a whole. Most recently, I led a group through an exploration of the first ten chapters of Acts that focused on the different characters of the story. Eventually, we got to Acts 8 and read about Philip, the evangelist who first took the good news of Jesus the Christ to Samaria.
Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
It was a blog post from a wise soul that struck me, if only because it struck so close to home. The idea behind it: that folks who are looking to serve Jesus should be willing to get themselves out of their localized comfort zone, and travel to wherever it is that God is calling them. It was also a message to congregations, calling them to break out of their desire to take the easiest path, choosing those who they know and are in relationship with, rather than making the more difficult call to reach out to an unknown.
On the way in to work one day, I listened to a radio interview with Anas Al Abdullah, a Syrian refugee who had recently arrived in Toronto. It was wonderful to hear about what the experience had been like for him during his first week in Canada. It was heartbreaking to hear about what he had endured. It was moving to hear about the longing he felt for family members who will be arriving in Canada shortly. It was inspiring to hear about the sponsorship group in Toronto and the ways in which they had prepared for Anas’s arrival and how they had walked with him during his first days in this strange new land. And it was impossible to hear Anas’s story without thinking of our own situation here in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Here are this year's most popular bloggers and posts from the CCblogs network.
Names are important, I believe. When I first learned, in junior high Latin class, that my name was also that of a Roman goddess (the goddess of the moon and the hunt, I was told), it had a positive effect on my self-esteem. At least temporarily.
I enjoy Christmas—always have. I look forward to children’s pageants, complete with Burger King crowns for wise men, bath-robed shepherds, and aluminum foil-wings for angels; misty-eyed singing of “Silent Night” in the glow of candlelight; watching George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge and Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, the Grinch’s stealing and returning Christmas yet again. I look forward to the arrhythmic ringing of Salvation Army bells.
Our congregation has, for many years, had a Christmastime angel tree, in which members purchase requested gifts for families in our local Head Start program. Do not get me wrong: this is great. It’s a way to make the holiday a little merrier for families who (I assume) don’t have a lot of extra disposable income. And every year, our family waits until the later weeks of the angel tree to pick up our cards.
There's been a small flutter of conversation recently about a professor at Wheaton College, one who showed solidarity with America's increasingly nervous Muslim population by wearing a head covering, and asserting that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
I am embarrassed by where I live. Irving, Texas, used to be known as the home of the Dallas Cowboys, the professional football team. In fact, Valley Ranch, the specific area of Irving where the Cowboys practice, is just a few blocks away from my home. It isn’t this part of Irving that embarrasses me, however. During the last few weeks, Irving has become known for its anti-Muslim sentiment.