The great ADVENT themes – from the Bible Project!

This Advent Season, in my faith communities (Our Savior’s @ McCall and Shepherd of the Mountains @ Cascade), we are focusing our worship experiences on the BIG THEMES of Advent.  Each theme corresponded to the Advent Wreath as well as summarized the biblical truths that encompass the mystery, majesty and glory of Christmas.  

The Videos are excellent…so I thought I would encourage you to take a few minutes and watch them as you prepare for Christmas.  Each explores an Advent Theme from the biblical perspective…language, meaning, and application to our lives!  

May the Lord bless you as you take your journey to the manger in Bethlehem!

There and there alone, will you find HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE!

 
HOPE

 

PEACE


JOY
 

LOVE

 

 

 

Christmas Encouragement!

It was earlier this month and one of my favorite “email” encouragers sent me the following encouragement.  I made some specific alterations to make it easier for you to use in your life this year.  Join me this Christmas in a Simple and Sane and sacred Christmas!  Here are some suggestions:

Remember, because simplicity is not a matter of circumstances, it is a matter of focus.  Simplify Christmas? HOW?  Celebrate CHRIST.

Serve

  • Serve your family
  • Serve someone in need
  • Serve people with a smile and joy
  • Serve someone at your table

Still Life

  • Make time for some quiet and read the Christmas story from the bible
  • Make sure you have a lot of “white” space on your calendar during Christmastime
  • Make a small candle arrangement and pray that the Light of the world would enlighten your heart
  • Make time to listen to some of your favorite Christmas music

Stay in Story

Another GREAT resources is the website, Follow The Star!  Daily you can read a small bible text and prayer that will bless you in your daily Christmas worship life. 
Robin J. Dugall, Pastor and Professor

 

A Very Special Baby - One of my favorite Christmas Videos!
A Very Special Baby – One of my favorite Christmas Videos

 

 

The Revealing

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“The Revealing”

I was looking out my office window early this morning…fresh snow had fallen yesterday. It was laying gently on tree branches…a few of our local “herd” of deer were casually venturing through our forest area near our worship facility…there was a gentle light that was causing the snow to almost glisten…wow, was it beautiful. Truly a revealing…truly an unveiling of the gift of God’s creation. As I was standing and viewing that beauty in that moment, it reminded me of a time that I had with my sons years ago.

We decided to go to the beach so the boys could continue working on the driftwood forts that they started a few days earlier. As I carefully walked over and through the huge pile of driftwood left by the shifting tides, I saw one of the boys’ forts nearby. They had laid rows of straight pieces of driftwood over two large logs to form a room underneath. After surveying their driftwood forts, I commented, “The tide is low today. It’s a great time to go down to the water to look for things that the tides bring in.” The beach reminded me of the movie, Castaway, that I had just seen a couple of days earlier, in which the main character said, “Tomorrow is always a new day because you never know what tide will bring in.” As in all castaway challenges and island living, foraging food and items from the ocean is a critical part of surviving.

As I headed toward the edge of the water, nothing really stood out; just the usual broken pieces of seashells and algae covered rocks spread across the length of the beach as far as could be seen in both directions. The rocks were just the right size to walk on without touching the water that was flowing back and forth between them from the bay. Then, I started to see small clams and barnacles attached to rocks in many varying size groups. Some of the groupings were quite unique and beautiful. I called to the boys to come join me. As Aaron was showing me a white rock with bands of ore running through it, I pointed out a grouping of barnacles that had formed on a flat, round, smooth rock that left a perfect open circle of exposed rock in the center. When I reached down and pulled a group of barnacles off another rock, that’s when it happened. Something moved! “Boys did you see that?!” As I pulled more barnacles off the side of the same rock down towards the water, there is was again. A small round black shape smaller than the size of my smallest fingernail skittered away. It was the smallest crab I had ever seen.

We then started pulling more barnacles off and turning rocks over to look underneath them. The boys hollered with delight as they found more and bigger crabs. Once you knew what to look for, they were everywhere. I started to see things that I didn’t see before without moving things; crabs just sitting in the shallow layer of silt in the water between the rocks. It was amazing!

There’s nothing like the excitement of discovering something new that you didn’t see before. The beach reminded me of the power of God and creation (Genesis 1:20). And, as the creatures moved before me, the Holy Spirit moved within me. Once again, the Spirit needed to remind me of something I often taken for granted – the power and beauty of God’s creatures coming forth from the sea.

The more we interact with nature, the more the HOLY and CREATIVE Spirit of God is revealed to us. I have always found more of God in nature than in any religious building. I see the Earth as God’s Cathedral…God’s Canvas…God’s Revealing, His “advent” if you will. God arrives in every magnificent aspect of His creation. God shows us to refresh our memories…stir in our hearts…speak gently to our spirits of the power and beauty of His love for us. Those who have traveled the world looking through the eyes of faith have said that even man’s tallest gothic spired structures are no match for the beauty of nature. I see God’s work in everything from glacial mountain hanging valleys, to alpine meadow flowers, to tree lined water worn creek stones, to wind carved desert sands, to ocean side seashells. In these moments, all is right in the world, in which I’m a better person for having experienced it and sharing it with others. Hopefully, as I said on that day years ago, my boys remembered many of the adventures we’ve had together, the fun and joy of discovering aspects of God’s creation, to some day pass them on to their own children and others throughout the world. Lord willing, as YOU stop long enough in your daily grind to behold the revelation of the Lord in and through His creation, it will also assure you of God’s love and inspire you to direct others to peek into the awesomeness of what God has made. It’s there for the viewing…His presence dripping in every revelation of color, stature, and mystery.

Take time each day to stop and admire God’s work. It was created for you. That’s God’s revealing!