If there is one Christmas movie that stands out as a classic for the ages, maybe it’s the one that has been repeated and adapted more than any other: the Charles Dickens book A Christmas Carol. There seems to be a new version of it every few years. Black & white, color, animated, live-action, singing, no singing, Muppets, and Mickey Mouse. (Those last two are my favorites.) Charles Dickens must have really connected with something deep inside people for that story to continue being told and adapted into so many new versions decade after decade. Maybe it’s lasted so long because Scrooge’s transformation in the story is so heartfelt: from a greedy miser who takes as much as he can, to a merry friend who gives as much he can. Or maybe it just inspires us, because it shows a hurting world–a hurting family with a hurting boy (Tiny Tim)–but it also shows that one person can make a difference, if their heart is in the right place…
Like the old saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” It’s easy to see how one thing leads to another when you’re looking back. But as you’re going through it, we usually have to walk by faith and not by sight–certainly not 20/20 vision sight. So it’s remarkable to look back on years of happenings and experiences, and be able to trace an amazing connection from one to the other that led to more and more unexpected blessings. Like a series of fortunate events you didn’t even know was happening. All we can do is take things day-by-day and try to live our best…
Even if you aren’t one of those crazed UNC fans, you can still respect Dean Smith, who coached Carolina’s men’s basketball team for 36 years. He had the same philosophy for coaching basketball as he did for life: “Play hard, play smart, play together.” That can inspire us too.
We might not see it much in our small town setting, but when you drive to the larger towns and cities near us, you start to notice: people on the corner, at the intersection, or at the gas station, asking for money. You’re wary that it might be a scam, or just someone wanting money for substance abuse. But you’re also a nice person who wants to help people, and you remember Bible verses like “Give to anyone who asks you” (Luke 6:30) and “If anyone is poor…do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them” (Deuteronomy 15:7). So what do you do? What would be most helpful?
We are very blessed to live in a free country, where we are free to worship without fear for our lives. But what if we didn’t? What if we lived in a country where religious minorities suffered abuse and persecution? Most people would just worry about surviving. But is there any way to have an active, effective witness for the love of Christ amidst such hostility? (Hint: YES!)
As a concerned parent who worries about my young kids, we talk about “stranger danger,” because I don’t want them to get hurt. But as a devoted Christian who wants to do what God wants me to, I remember that the Bible says to welcome strangers because you might be welcoming angels (Heb. 13:2). Is there a middle ground between those two extremes?
Something really important happened last week in the life of the church: we formulated a mission statement for our congregation. It’s one sentence of what we believe God wants us to be and do. So how do we apply it?
“Everybody eats.” There’s no getting around it, but for a long time, many people didn’t think about where their food comes from, but that’s beginning to change. I was reading an article, called “Ministries blending food and faith,” which said this: There’s a dawning awareness among Baptists and other Christians that agriculture, the environment, and theology are […]
We all know that we should help people who are in need. It was a very important thing to do for God-followers in both the Old and New Testaments. So, if we want to be real God-followers today, we should help people in need too… but how exactly? Good question.
Suicide is such a sad hard issue that friends and family might stay silent because they are uncomfortable and don’t know what to say. That’s understandable, but we shouldn’t let our feeling awkward keep us from showing God’s love to a person/family who desperately needs it.
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