Wrestling with God

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When my husband and I were beginning our family, we wanted to give our offspring names of significance. A son’s name was no problem: he would be named Reed Harrison Odell after my dad and Mike’s grandfather. The difficulty came when we discussed possible girl names. In the end, the only “significance” of our daughters’ names is that each […]

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Advent Liturgy Week Four

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CALL TO WORSHIP Church, today we light the fourth candle of the Advent season which is the candle of love. John 1:14 declares “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” which assures us that God has entered into human history through the incarnation of the Son. The season of Advent, a season […]

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Advent Liturgy Week Three

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CALL TO WORSHIP Church, today we light the third candle of the Advent season which is the candle of joy. John 1:14 declares “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” which assures us that God has entered into human history through the incarnation of the Son. The season of Advent, a season […]

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Advent Liturgy Week Two

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CALL TO WORSHIP Today we light the second candle of the Advent season which is the candle of peace. John 1:14 declares “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” which assures us that God has entered into human history through the incarnation of the Son. The season of Advent, a season of […]

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Bringing God Into the World

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When I taught teenage girls small group a few years back, I asked them to imagine getting the news that Mary received when she was visited by the angel. For them, stepping into Mary’s shoes would be a small step. Most of them are in circumstances similar to Mary’s in many ways: They are young, […]

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Great Expectations

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Utter the word “expectations” and my soul withers just a bit. The words that rush to my mind are words like shame, guilt, disappointment, failure. Ugh. I’m clearly not the only one who has less than warm feelings about the word. Ann Voskamp writes that her dad used to tell her, “Expectations kill relationships.” In […]

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O Holy Night

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O Holy Night is not only one of the most beloved Christmas hymns of all time, it also has one of the most interesting histories of any hymn in Christian history. In 1847, a priest in a small French town decided he wanted a special poem penned for Christmas mass. He commissioned a local poet — commissionaire […]

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Joy to the World

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Joy is a word that is often meant to convey the idea of happiness, but joy is so much more than happiness. Ultimate joy is an unwavering delight in something or someone that is undeterred or distracted by outside circumstances. It is established and sustained despite whatever hardships it must endure. With joy comes a […]

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O Come Emmanuel

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“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is my favorite Christmas hymn. Why? Maybe it is because of its historical roots. Originally a Latin hymn, it is over 1,400 years old, dating back to the 8th or 9th century. It originated as an antiphone sung by monks all across Europe as a part of their Advent liturgy. […]

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Advent Liturgy Week One

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Call to Worship Church, today we light the first candle of the Advent season which is the candle of hope. John 1:14 declares “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” which assures us that God has entered into human history through the incarnation of the Son. The season of Advent, a season […]

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