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  • Emphasis Preaching Journal

    Wayne Brouwer
    Caught in a Darkness at sea too terrifying for words, a Darkness that crawled and oozed and grabbed and stuck, the children of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia world sailed their ship, the Dawntreader, in circles of fear. “If you’ve ever loved us at all,” cries Lucy to the skies, “send us help now!”

    And in a growing speck of light that seemed, Lucy thought, to look a lot like a cross, the battle of the powers whirled around them, till Darkness and fear melted before his Brightness.
  • CSSPlus

    Arley K. Fadness
    “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'made straight the way of the Lord.'” (v. 23a)

    Good morning girls and boys,

    Has your mother or dad ever said to you, “Straighten up your room?” (children answer)

    Why do you think they said that? Did they say that to be mean? Or was it necessary?

    Has your room ever been messy? Clothes lying around? Desk untidy? What do you do about it? (children answer)
  • The Village Shepherd

    Janice B. Scott
    Years ago when I was at college, there was a strong Christian movement in our year. I rather stood outside it, not because I wasn't a Christian, but because I found it quite oppressive and somewhat unreal. It all felt a bit sanctimonious.

    On one occasion I remember a student who developed a bad back - not a good complaint for a student physiotherapist - I sympathised with her, only to be told that everything was absolutely alright because it was all part of God's will. Nothing could go wrong.
  • Emphasis Preaching Journal

    Ron Love
    Mark Ellingsen
    Bob Ove
    Bill Thomas
    Frank Ramirez
    Bonnie Bates
    Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
    Her name is Najwa Huda. It is likely you’ve never heard of her. She is a 2016 graduate of Michigan State University, and she has a bachelor’s degree in physics. She had many opportunities to use her degree and begin a lucrative career. What she did, though, may come as a surprise. She went back to her native Malaysia to join the Teach for Malaysia Fellowship. When asked why she wanted to do that, Huda replied: “I want to educate, motivate, inspire, and change lives. I’ve heard stories of so many children in Malaysia who are not able to live up to their fullest potential because they lack access to opportunities.” 
  • The Immediate Word

    Dean Feldmeyer
    Christopher Keating
    Ron Love
    Mary Austin
    George Reed
    In this week’s lectionary passage from his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul tells the congregation that they need to “test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.” Obviously, his intent was to demonstrate the veracity of the Hebrew prophets’ divinely inspired words when compared to the declarations of false prophets -- but as team member Dean Feldmeyer points out in the next installment of The Immediate Word, it’s also an important lesson to keep in mind today... especially in an environment where it’s all too easy for accusations to run amok.
  • SermonStudio

    Michael L. Ruffin
    In the rural church where my family worshiped and served during my childhood and youth, the midweek prayer service usually included a time for people to share their personal testimonies. Many people would take advantage of the opportunity. Some would go into long narratives describing the many things that the Lord had done in their lives. Some would offer simple statements of thanksgiving or requests for prayer. Standing up on a Wednesday night and saying something about what the Lord meant to you was something of a rite of passage in our church, a sort of Baptist bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah, you might say.
  • StoryShare

    Keith Wagner
    John Fitzgerald
    "The Magnificence of God" by Keith Wagner
    "Hope for Tomorrow" by Keith Wagner
    "Learning to Love" by John Fitzgerald

    The Magnificence of God
    by Keith Wagner
    Luke 1:46-55

    In the movie, Santa Claus III, there is a scene where the bad guy in the movie has turned the North Pole into a profit making venture. Christmas has been completely exploited and actor, Tim Allen, is devastated. At one point he says, “Christmas is out of control.”

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