Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and share the following article... "How To Be Thankful Even When You Don't Feel Like It."

2020 has proved a challenging and tedious year. For many, storms of illness, financial difficulty, and depression have overwhelmingly swept upon once-peaceful lives.

As we approach the holidays it can be easy to feel hopeless, anxious, or even bitter, however we can choose to not fall prey to these feelings.

We can partner with God to give thanks, despite the circumstances this Thanksgiving.

1. Authentic Connection
Quarantines and social distancing have prohibited many from joining with family and close friends for nearly a year, and as Thanksgiving approaches that will likely remain the case for many.

This Thanksgiving will look different around the dining room table, but connection can still occur. Video chats and phone calls will be a resource we utilize well this Thanksgiving, but real connection can still occur from such unlikely platforms.

Perhaps gratitude can be found in using these options, and we can have authentic communications of where we all are in heart and mind. This is something to be thankful for, to have exchanges beyond the weather or superficialities, but to dive deeper into outlooks.

We are all struggling, but we are not struggling alone.

CS Lewis once observed, “It is when two persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fubmlings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision and it is then that friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.”

Open communication can be something to be grateful for, not to continue to dig deeper into a pit of despair, but to help one another up in compassion and encouragement through authentic connection. It is through authentic connection that we realize we do not fight these fleeting hardships alone.

2. Faithful Perspective
Perspective is key in finding joy despite the circumstances this Thanksgiving.

Our perspective on events is much like wearing a pair of glasses. A certain lens can help us see the blur of fear, unknown things approaching or confusion, where another lens can provide clarity.

Let us choose to put on the lens and perspective that comes from the Lord, remembering that He brings all things, not just some, together for good (Romans 8:28). Let us also put on the perspective that some of the difficulties we face now perhaps are growing us in new and exciting ways. As scary as they look now, we have no idea what kind of good God is spinning out of it.

Romans 5:4 reminds us that, “even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit abiding in us!” (The Passion Translation).

As nightmares unfold, perspective can be a lovely hand to hold. We can choose to partner with the Lord for His perspective that good is coming despite circumstances.

What has more time spent alone taught you? How can we evaluate these things and come back to Him with a grateful heart for such revelations or new ideas?

A shift in perspective can take us from complacency to content.

3. Recall Former Victories
Recalling the past can help us in the present.

Hindsight is 2020, and perhaps that is what is needed in 2020, to recall His faithfulness in the past.

The hopelessness felt now is not the first time such feelings have arisen, yet we stand enduringly. When we list and recount the victories God has seen us through we can rest that He is still on the Throne today, and He is still working.

Many times, the Israelites would remind themselves of the banners of victory that the Lord had won for them when things seemed bleak. In Joshua 4, the Nation of Israel stood at the banks of the Jordan River, waiting for it to part. The Lord parted the River and they walked on dry land to the other side, but before moving forward they took a very important step for the future.

They erected twelve stones, each representing a tribe of Israel, to remind them of the faithfulness of the Lord. They did this in order to recall His faithfulness in the future to come.

The same God Who saw them through trials in the past would see them through the trials to come. Perhaps create a list of the hardships turned hallelujahs you have seen in the past, and then begin to thank God for the work He is doing behind the scenes.

Do not discount the faith He is building in you during this time either, for through these hard times He is revealing more of the character being born in you. Birth is painful, but it results in new life.

Perhaps these hardships are birthing a new vibrancy of life for you.

4. All The Small Things
More than ever all the small things have become bigger.

From eating in a restaurant to seeing a movie, to physically being able to hug a friend we no longer discount the small aspects of life that were once so accessible.

2020 has shifted us to recognize those small things, and the large impact they have.

Even if we cannot enjoy a hug from a loved one, or going to see a weekend movie in a theater, we can take note of the small things. We can rejoice and be grateful for food to eat, for a warm abode, or for the breath in our lungs. We can realize that these small little things we did not even notice are in fact blessings!

Listing five to ten things in the morning can help us begin the day with a heart of appreciation. Even enough toothpaste for the day is something to smile about, something to praise God for.

One of the symbols frequently written about in the Old Testament is the rotem bush. It's a bush found in the desert that symbolizes the idea of just enough shade to get you from where you are to your next destination in the desert. God gives us these rotem bushes to show us he never leaves us in the desert and that his goodness can be found in the worst of circumstances.

Life does not need to be completely perfect for us to find something to smile about. When we appreciate the smaller things, we also can then rejoice even more in the big things when they come.

Life deserves more celebration, for the great and the small.

5. Shalom
Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace, and perhaps being thankful comes from finding Shalom in all times.

When we partner with the Holy Spirit and invite Him to be our Shalom, we are partnering with the greatest hope we can to flood us with peace even in events that strive to rid us of our peace.

Shalom in God guides us into a happy heart, for in His peace we can find rest. Allowing Him to be our Shalom also assist in pure thankfulness, for there is no other force or power in the Universe than can truly satisfy our hearts in such a grand peace as the Holy Spirit can.

That reminder will bring us more richly into relationship with Him, with reminders of His love, and reminders of all we have to stand grateful for. We simply need to quiet ourselves in a deep breath and open our hearts to Him, for He desires to be our home and our peace.

It can be so difficult to find Shalom in the midst of all of the stress of the holidays. But, it is possible. Isaiah 26:3 tells us "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You."

Be intentional about planning time for just you and God, before all the family, all the cooking, and all the chaos. Remind yourself of all the myriad of reasons you have to trust in God--and then let go and enjoy yourself!

6. A New Tomorrow
Hope for the days to come is something to stand thankful for when we feel the strain of circumstances now as well.

Each day holds new mercies, new discoveries, and new hope.

Psalm 100:4 inspires us to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever, His faithfulness continues through all generations.”

His faithfulness is not limited to a single generation or time or year, and we can step into His courts thanking Him for all He has done, all He is doing, and all He will do.

Dream with God for all the possibilities of what could be and take advantage of the joy that will come now, rejoice that He has not forgotten us, rejoice that so much good is coming, and rejoice that there are adventures to live and jovial tears coupled with glad hearts to come.

Partner with Him now to build, work, or strive towards these things to come as well. Perhaps He is developing in you a new skill, hobby, or work during this time of quarantines and stillness.

Rejoice with Him in what He is building, and work with Him to step into the fullness that can result. The most surprising glories can come from life’s unexpected times.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New Music

With no concerts and less time on road trips, this year is becoming what may be the most prolific year for new Christmas music in quite some time. We continue to see new releases...

Last week, GRAMMY Award-nominated rock band NEEDTOBREATHE has unveiled “Silent Night”, their first Christmas release in over a decade. 

"In a year that has been both noisy and tumultuous, there is a deep desire within us all for some kind of peace on earth. Sickness and political unrest have ravaged our nation, causing us all to take stock in the things that matter most to us. With December around the corner, we hope this song takes you back to happy times with the ones you love and that this holiday season brings you joy, laughter, and hope,” the band shared.   

Listen to the band’s take on the iconic Christmas song: 


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Last week, Gotee Records' Jon Reddick released a holiday EP titled A Child Has Come featuring three tracks. After years of leading worship, writing songs for the church and even touring and playing keys with Nashville artists Nicole C. Mullen and Mandisa, Reddick is now ready to pour all of his experience and passion into his songs. Reddick is also currently on staff at a local church in Franklin, TN as a worship pastor. 

My favorite track off this EP is called "Someday At Christmas" which was written by Bryan Wells and Ronald Normal Miller. The song features vocalists Terrian and Chris McClarney alongside Reddick.


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Back in the beginning of September, I talked about Carrie Underwood's Christmas album, The Gift. Here is a beautiful release off this album called "Hallelujah" performed with John Legend.


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And finally, a non-Christmas release from multi-award-winning artist Matt Redman, a new EP called Let There Be Wonder Acoustic. Matt Redman, a global worship leader and highly regarded songwriter of numerous well-known anthems such as "10,000 Reasons," "You Never Let Go," "Blessed Be Your Name," and "Better Is One Day," so often captures the revelation of God and the response of the Church in his songs.

The project features six songs including the title track "Let There Be Wonder," "We Praise You," a new rendition of his anthemic "Blessed Be Your Name" as well as this newly released track "Upon Him":

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

More Free Concerts

There were some great concerts last week. If you are not signed up on Facebook these concerts are a great reason to sign up - especially if you are getting tired of watching Netflix or Hallmark movies.


Last Thursday, Caleb & Kelsey presented a concert Live from the Family Room. A night of stories and great music presented by Medi-Share. Caleb (from Anthem Lights) and his wife Kelsey put on a great show and featured special guests Charlotte Ave. Watch the recorded concert at:  https://www.facebook.com/calebandkelseyofficial/videos/116225413501189


Friday night was An Evening of Songs and Stories. The was a fundraiser for the Solo Parent Society featuring performances by for King & Country, Matthew West, We The Kingdom, Mac Powell (of Third Day fame), Tenth Avenue North, Rebecca St. James, and more.  You can watch the recorded show at:  https://www.facebook.com/wethekingdom.music/videos/123444939367051/ or watch here:


Also last Friday night was the Midwest show of the Chosen Tour from Sidewalk Prophets. I told you how to get free tickets for this show several weeks ago. As always they put on a great show!  Unfortunately this concert tour is over, but you can now get tickets for their Great Big Family Christmas Livestream. Tickets are available for various dates December 9th through December 13th and these are again "pay what you can", So get your tickets for what I'm sure will be a wonderful Christmas concert. Find out more info or get your tickets HERE

Monday, November 23, 2020

Attitude of Gratitude - Thanksgiving

For several weeks I have been sharing things that I am grateful for. Unfortunately not everyone may have the things that I have listed: home, family, a job, etc. And as we enter into this week of Thanksgiving, it’s easy to look at those around us who seem to have everything and be reminded of what’s lacking in our own lives. This can make it difficult to find joy and to have a spirit of thanksgiving. For many, the holidays even become a dark season of depression. There are countless reasons why someone might find the holidays to be more depressing than exciting, especially in our current situation of social and pandemic concerns. However, there are some things that we can all be thankful for, regardless of our circumstances.

All of us, even those in the best of circumstances, carry some sort of hurt or disappointment that can cause feelings of dissatisfaction with life and feeling as if there’s nothing to be thankful for. Here is a list that hopefully will help remind us that we all need to look beyond our circumstances to what we can and should be most thankful for.

1.  We Have A Place to Abide
As children of God, we are invited to dwell in Him and to abide in His love. This is something to be beyond thankful for! I believe this is how Paul was able to be content in any circumstance he faced (Philippians 4:11-13).  John 15:5 tells us that we abide in Him and He abides in us; apart from Him we can do nothing. Praise God for that perfect union!

John 15:9 says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” When we abide in Christ, by grace, He allows us to bear fruit. As we grow in the fruits of the Spirit we display more of the characteristics of Jesus. We should all strive to be more Christlike, and the good news is that this goal is obtainable and it starts with the blessing of abiding in Him.

2.  Someone Who Sympathizes
Have you ever looked at your life in a moment of despair and uttered the words, “No one understands”? The good news of the gospel tells us that there is someone who does understand. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

We can argue that Jesus was never a husband, wife or a single parent, but Scripture doesn’t say that Jesus experienced every single situation that we’ve experienced. What it does say is that He was tempted as we are. He understands the trials of this life. What this means is that Jesus, who lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25), understands our weaknesses and talks to the Father about us on our behalf. That is something to be thankful for!

3.  Freedom
It’s easy for us in the United States to take our freedom for granted. Most of us can’t even comprehend what our brothers and sisters around the world are going through when they are imprisoned, or even put to death for their faith. But praise God that, as His children, we have freedom in Him even if we are not experiencing freedom from our government. 

Galatians 5:1 says, ”For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” For the child of God, the freedom that we are given from the yoke of slavery - meaning the slavery to sin - is far better than any freedom we could hope for from our earthly authorities. This is something to be embraced and to give thanks for!

4.  We Have A Mediator
Perfection and utter depravity have no place together, which is why God could not dwell with us humans in our sinful state. In other words, we would all be doomed if we tried to represent ourselves before God. Thankfully, we don’t have to! 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”

As our mediator, Jesus represents His people, who are deserving of God’s wrath, making us blameless in His sight. Jesus also represented the Father, showing His great love for us, by bearing the wrath of God in our place. Being thankful for someone’s death may seem ludicrous, yet it was His death that satisfied God’s wrath and bridged the gap between us and the Father.

5.  Prayer
As children of God, we are given the privilege of communicating with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and the Author and Perfecter of our faith! Praise God that in order to talk with Him we don’t need wi-fi or a strong data signal. We can talk to Him anytime, anywhere, completely unplugged.

Unlike our friends on social media, God won’t scold us for our misuse of words or unorganized sentence structure. We don’t have to worry about God misunderstanding or misinterpreting our words. He invites us to pray to Him, Jesus lives to intercede for us, and the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t have the words. This should bring us great relief and make us exceedingly thankful!

6.  We Are Not Alone
It sounds cliché to say we’re never alone because God is always with us, but nevertheless, it’s true. We read in the Old Testament about how the tabernacle was a restricted area for the Israelites because God’s presence was there and only the Levitical priests were allowed to enter. Thankfully, we are no longer under the old law and therefore, as children of God, we have direct access to Him.

The Bible is full of references to God being our strength, our comforter, our shelter, and our refuge. The list goes on and on. What we can be thankful for is that we can, at any time, draw on His strength, find comfort in His Word, and know that no man can pluck us from His hand. We are, thankfully, never alone.

7.  Forgiveness
Have you ever hurt someone and they refused to forgive you? What a terrible feeling! Praise God that He doesn’t write us off, give us the cold shoulder, or hang our mistakes over our heads. Instead, Psalm 37 gives us a beautiful picture of God’s heart towards His children: “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This forgiveness came at a great cost, and is not something we deserve, earn, or are born into. Forgiveness should be at the top of our list of things we’re thankful for, and it should spur us on to give radical forgiveness, as it has been given to us.

8.  The Help to Endure Suffering
Romans 5:3-5 says, “...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

While our suffering can bring us to our knees, even to our deathbeds, we can rejoice and be thankful for the Spirit’s work in us and in knowing that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). This may seem easier said than done, especially when facing a debilitating disease, a failed marriage, or the loss of a loved one. But 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

9.  The Holy Spirit
To me, a fascinating aspect of the Holy Spirit is that He dwells in us (Romans 8:9). But what does He do in us? As children of God, our bodies become a temple where the Father can dwell through His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). He speaks through us (Matthew 10:20), he reminds us of what we’ve been taught (John 14:26), and He convicts us of our sin (John 16:8).

And as if that wasn’t enough, we are told in Romans 8:26 that “ the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” What a gift!

10.  Salvation
Even on the darkest days, when it seems impossible to find something to be thankful for, we can still look ahead with expectant hope to the salvation we were given through our Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Peter 1:1-5 is such a great reminder of this.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”

I hope you have a happy (and thankful) Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Flashback Friday

This week we go back to the 80's & 90's to take a look at artist Don Moen. Don is another Minnesota native, growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the 60's where he attended high school after which he attended Oral Roberts University, a Christian liberal arts school. Moen is known for his worship music, some of which we still play in church today. 

After college, Don became a Living Sound musician for Terry Law Ministries (now known as World Compassion) and traveled with Terry Law for ten years. Following that, he worked for Integrity Media for over 20 years, serving as creative director and president of Integrity Music, president of Integrity Label Group, and an executive producer of Integrity Music albums. He was a catalyst in launching the careers of Paul Baloche, Darlene Zschech, Israel Houghton, and Hillsong United.

Moen's first album for Hosanna! Music, Give Thanks, became the label's bestseller. Give Thanks went on to be certified Gold by the RIAA. Because of Thanksgiving week, the first song I would like to feature is the title track off this album, "Give Thanks". I'm sure you recognize it...


He produced 11 volumes for the Hosanna! Music series of worship albums. His first album under his own name, Worship with Don Moen, was released in 1992. His music has total global sales of over five million units. This album produced several memorable hits such as "God Will Make A Way"


Moen followed this with a number of albums of his own including two, En Tu Presencia and Trono De Gracia, in Spanish. God with Us won the Dove Award for Best Musical. On an Asian tour in 1999 he recorded The Mercy Seat at Singapore Indoor Stadium and Heal Our Land at Yoido Park in South Korea, which was released in 2000. One of Moen's albums, I Will Sing, was recorded at Christian Broadcasting Network.

God Will Make a Way: The Best of Don Moen was released in 2003 and features 19 greatest hits. The title song was written for his sister-in-law and her husband, whose oldest son died in an auto accident while their other three children survived but were seriously injured. Moen's Hiding Place became his first studio album which was recorded at Paragon Studios in Franklin, Tennessee, and was released in the autumn of 2006. I Believe There Is More released in late 2008. His third studio recording titled Uncharted Territory (funded successfully through Kickstarter) released on March 27, 2012. His new Christmas album, Christmas: A Season of Hope, was released on October 22, 2012, and some songs were recorded at a studio in Czech Republic. Moen has released a new album titled Hymnbook as a celebration of reaching over 1 million likes on his Facebook page.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Come As You Are...

 “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32

We need Jesus because we are sinners. That isn’t confined to the small “easy to fix” sins. That applies to ALL sins. We put so much pressure on ourselves, but the truth is that we need Christ. We need him because we absolutely cannot live the way we are called to live on our own.

We shouldn’t look down on lost people for sinning. That’s the most hypocritical thing we could do. We can never forget that we, too, were once lost. We, too, were once drowning in our own sin. And I don’t know about you, but I still struggle to keep my head above water every day. We are broken; we are sinful. Jesus comes in and changes that. If we had the capability to change it ourselves, then we wouldn’t need him. He wouldn’t have had to die on the cross. None of that is necessary if we can “fix” ourselves on our own.

The thing that is so wonderful about Jesus is that he changes something fundamentally inside of us. It’s a change that cannot be described in words, it can only be experienced. You don’t have to change for Jesus. He is the one who changes you.

Even those of us who have accepted Christ aren’t perfect. We need to cut each other - and ourselves - some slack. We need to recognize that, yes, we have to live to a certain standard to be Christians, but that Jesus is about forgiveness first. He forgives us before he changes us, and then he continues to forgive us over and over again.

We have to remember that we are only human. We have to remember why we need Jesus; why his sacrifice was necessary. We have to remember that true change of heart requires supernatural intervention, not human intervention. We have to remember not to get things in the wrong order.

Jesus first. Accepting Christ is the first and most important step. He will initiate the change after someone accepts him into their heart.

We are going to mess up. We are going to fall. We need to pray for the grace and encouragement to get up after we fall down. And we shouldn’t walk by and we look on scathingly to others that may have fallen. We should get down and help each other up.

Remember it's like Crowder tells us in this great song that we sang last Sunday in church, "Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal"...

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Bible Thought: Holiness

What do you do every morning before you head out the door? And, let’s not talk about how long it takes! You do it all because it’s important, right? You want to look different than when you first woke up. Living for Jesus every day takes discipline and effort too. What are some necessary things God wants you to take with you every day? Living for Jesus every day is a discipline. It’s not about what other people are doing. It’s about what God wants to do through you.

1 Peter 1:13-25 NLT
A Call to Holy Living

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.

Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.

For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, 

“People are like grass;
   their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
    But the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

1 Peter 2:21-25 NLT

He never sinned,
nor ever deceived anyone.
He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
who always judges fairly.
He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.
Once you were like sheep
who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
the Guardian of your souls.


How can we try to be more like Jesus and live how God wants us to?

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Gobble Gobble

A few days ago I posted about "The Thanksgiving Song". Last week, five-time GRAMMY nominated artist Matthew West released the official music for his K-LOVE Thanksgiving song, "Gobble Gobble" to add to our Thanksgiving music repertoire.

This song is definitely "tongue-in-cheek." but is a lot of fun. Enjoy...

Monday, November 16, 2020

Attitude of Gratitude XI

 The Thanksgiving holiday is nearly upon us. So, for today I thought I would share a Thanksgiving guide that was sent out by Promise Keepers...

This year, rather than celebrating Thanksgiving for just one day, we encourage you to have a season of Thanksgiving. With family and friends gathered around, select one or more of the family activities to be shared with all. Work with your loved ones to make Thanksgiving a lifestyle, not a day.

Read the selected Scriptures together and allow everyone of all ages to participate.

Thanksgiving Lifestyle — Worship

The foundation of a building is the support structure that keeps everything together. At its foundation, worship is giving thanks. In Scripture, Daniel gave thanks to God even though his circumstances were not to his liking. Spend time this Thanksgiving showing your family how to give thanks during this difficult time in our nation.

Family Activities
- Thank God for being our protector. (Ps 91:1-2)
- Thank God for giving us beauty while looking up at the night sky. (Ps 19:1-6)
- Thank God we are never without Him. (Duet. 31:6)
- Discuss how giving thanks is a choice. (Col. 3:17)

Thanksgiving Lifestyle — Public Faith

A truly thankful person cannot keep their thankfulness a secret. Daniel’s public act of thanksgiving didn’t start with the day his enemies tried to kill him. It was the way he conducted life every day, and everyone around him knew it. Spend time with your family this Thanksgiving season demonstrating that you give God the praise for every part of your lives. Just as Daniel’s enemies were offended, you will offend some. Remember, however, what was an offense to some inspired a king to worship God. Imagine the difference it would make in the lives of those around us if they saw us truly thanking God during these times.

Family Activities
- Thank God for absolutely everything. (James 1:17)
- Let every family member, regardless of age, have an opportunity to thank God in praise. (Ps 145:1-5)
- Share with your family how you intend to lead in Thanksgiving. (Joshua 24:15)\
- Share your Thanksgiving with someone who is alone. All that is required of us is to make the invitation. (Matt 25:34-40)

Thanksgiving Lifestyle — Leadership

Take note that the King Darius knew it was God who had delivered Daniel. It’s clear that Daniel’s lifestyle was intended to honor God, not himself. The greatest act of leadership is leading others to Jesus. Those around us will recognize that it’s not human to give thanks during a pandemic. It’s divine. It comes from God. They will know God is working in our lives. Seeing the joy in us many will want to follow us to Jesus. That’s what being a Promise Keeper is all about.

Family Activities
- Thank God for the opportunity to lead the next generation. (Ps. 71:17-18)
- Assure your friends and family you are following Jesus as you lead them. (1 Kings 3:9-10)
|- Demonstrate to your family thankfulness at all times. (Phil. 4:11-13)
- Bring everyone into the Lord’s presence with thanksgiving. (Ps. 100)

Fun Family Discussion Questions
- What is one thing you want to do before the year ends?
- If you could only eat one kind of dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- If you were given $1 million to give to charity, which one would you choose?
- Is there a food your dish that you disliked when you were younger, but you like now?
- What is something new you learned this week?

Friday, November 13, 2020

Flashback Friday

Today we are traveling back in time for CCM artist Twila Paris. She is a contemporary Christian music singer, songwriter, author and pianist. Since 1980, Paris has released 22 albums, amassed 33 number one Christian Radio singles, and was named the Gospel Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year three years in a row. Many of her earlier songs such as "He Is Exalted", "We Will Glorify", "Lamb of God", and "We Bow Down", are found in church hymnals or otherwise sung in church settings. She was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in May 2015

Paris released her first full-length album, Knowin' You're Around, in 1981, and along the way she has written books, recorded children's music, and created worship songs.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Twila toured extensively. As a new artist, she opened for the Imperials. After receiving her first #1 hit, she began headlining her own concert tours, with such notable opening artists as Wayne Watson, Clay Crosse, Phil Kaeggy, Avalon, Aaron Jeoffrey, Fernando Ortega, Out of the Grey and Michele Tumes. She was featured in the Young Messiah tour and co-hosted with Steven Curtis Chapman both the My Utmost for His Highest and Child of the Promise tours. In the 2000s, she continues to tour but not as extensively. In 2011-2012, Twila participated in the Christian Classics tour with Steve Green, Wayne Watson, and Michael Card.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Paris released mainly contemporary Christian pop songs. But in recent years, she has focused on recording new versions of some of her worship standards and writing new praise and worship music. Her 2005 album He Is Exalted: Live Worship collects a number of favorite songs commonly used in praise and worship of Paris's and presents them in a more typical style of live worship music. After her song "He Is Exalted" was used in churches in Brazil, Paris re-recorded it in the Portuguese translation they were using. This version appears on her 1992 album SanctuarySanctuary won the GMA Praise & Worship Album of the Year, and in 1995, her song "God Is In Control" won a GMA Song of the Year award. She has won five GMA Dove Awards and three American Songwriter Awards.

Many, many remarkable songs, but "God Is In Control" is one of my favorites and is an important reminder for us still today during our unsettled times.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

New Music Releases

 The new music releases this past week are again predominately Christmas songs.

Georgia-born singer/songwriter Austin French dropped a new holiday track with his rendition of "Peace On Earth". 


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Passion has released their first ever Christmas album, Hope Has a Name.

"We have wanted to create a Christmas album for many years, but just haven't been able to find the time as normally we are in full planning mode for Passion Conference," shares Passion's Kristian Stanfill. "With so many things being canceled and changed this year with the onset of COVID-19, one of the few blessings has been time. We had more time to dream, write and create what it would look like to make a Christmas record. The heart of this whole project is an invitation to come and find everything you need in Jesus. Come if you're broken / Come if you're searching / If you need healing / He's where you find it (lyrics from 'Hope Has a Name')."

Here is the title track:

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Acclaimed BEC Recordings' singer/songwriter Tasha Layton's has released her newest single, "Comfort and Joy"...


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Fresh from their GMA Dove Award win as New Artist of the Year, CCM band ​We The Kingdom ​(​Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Rae Cash, Martin Cash and Andrew Bergthold) released their new Christmas single titled "Light Of The World (Sing Hallelujah)."

"‘Light Of The World’ is something we’ve been really looking forward to sharing with you," the group shared on social media. "There’s a lot of darkness in the world. I know we’ve had darkness in our own lives and we’re so thankful that God in His mercy has brought His Light to the world to shine into those places. His light melts the shame of our darkness and that’s what this song is all about. Can’t wait for you to hear it!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Bible Thought: Confess

Some days it’s just not easy to follow God in faith. You don’t feel so perfect, but you know God always is. What if you mess up? God knows you better than yourself, and He is always faithful to you, even when you fail. Prayer is God’s way to get you back on track. Change your focus from your failure to God’s unfailing love. Your hope will be restored and your spirit renewed! 

Psalm 145:8-18 NLT

The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
The Lord is good to everyone.
    He showers compassion on all his creation.
All of your works will thank you, Lord,
    and your faithful followers will praise you.
They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;
    they will give examples of your power.
They will tell about your mighty deeds
    and about the majesty and glory of your reign.
For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
    You rule throughout all generations.
The Lord always keeps his promises;
    he is gracious in all he does.
The Lord helps the fallen
    and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
The eyes of all look to you in hope;
    you give them their food as they need it.
When you open your hand,
    you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in everything he does;
    he is filled with kindness.
The Lord is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.

Psalm 121 NLT

I look up to the mountains
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,   
    both now and forever.

Philippians 4:6-8 NLT

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

COVID-19 Info

You may have heard the terms COVID pods or bubbles or even "quaranteams". Many public health experts have recommended “quarantine pods” as an effective way to get our social and emotional needs met without unnecessarily endangering ourselves or others. Pods are small, self-contained networks of people who you select. Most pods are family units, but pods can also be college roommates, classrooms or even sports teams.

“Being in a pod is like being in a little rowboat together and trying to stay dry,” says Preeti Malani, M.D., an infectious disease physician at Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center, and chief health officer for the U-M community. “If someone from the boat jumps into the water and then tries to climb back on board, the boat could tip – or they could get their fellow passengers wet. Taking on too many passengers could make the boat sink.”

Here is the latest Covid-related information to know...

First, make sure all pod members agree on the basic scientific facts about coronavirus:

  • Coronavirus is more dangerous than the flu or many other viruses. It has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and made millions more sick, including long-term symptoms.
  • It spreads mainly through the air, especially indoors, but can also linger on surfaces.
  • Wearing a mask over the mouth and nose can reduce the chance of catching or transmitting it. Protecting your eyes can reduce the chance even more.
  • People who catch the coronavirus can go for days without knowing they have it – even while they’re spreading it to others.
  • The most contagious days are two to three days before symptoms start, and three to five days after – but can last up to 10 days after the first symptoms appear.
  • The highest risk of catching it comes from being within 6 feet of a contagious person for 15 minutes or more, especially indoors without masks. This can be a cumulative 15 minutes; it doesn’t necessarily have to be 15 minutes straight. 
  • Symptoms can develop up to two weeks after being exposed to a contagious person. They include fever, fatigue, dry cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, loss of sense of smell or taste, headache, other aches and sore throat.
  • Children and teens can catch and spread it, not just adults.

Follow these pod COVID-19 safety tips:

  1. Keep your pod small and agree up front exactly who is in the pod.
    Pledge to be truthful with one another and promise to follow public health guidance. Even if you think of the pod as being the children, teens or adults who want to be together for learning or socializing, it actually includes everyone who lives with a pod member, too. That’s because the virus can spread easily in households or group living quarters. Agreeing to be in a pod, and to let your children or yourself enter other “pod homes” without masks, means you’re taking on the COVID risk of everyone in the pod.

    You should all agree that you’ll tell everyone in the pod if you or someone you live with feels sick. You should all be ready to admit to everyone that you slipped and went to a non-pod event or party where people weren’t wearing masks. And people who aren’t working from home should commit to notifying the pod if they find out that someone at work has the virus or might have it.

    Any brush with the virus means you should uphold the trust that your pod-mates place in you, and stay away from them for the time periods outlined below. Your pod is only as good as its weakest link. Don’t be the weakest link.

  2. Get a flu shot.
    The last thing you need this fall and winter is a false alarm in your pod when someone comes down with a fever, aches, cough or a general “bleh” feeling, and you don’t know if it’s flu or COVID-19. Though the flu shot doesn’t prevent all cases of the flu, it can keep you from getting as sick as you would have otherwise.

  3. Find ways to be together outside, or to reduce indoor risk.
    Even if everyone in the pod is working hard to stay safe, the virus can find its way in. And if you’re indoors in a small stuffy space, close to someone in your pod who has it but doesn’t know it yet, you’re at high risk of catching it. If the weather allows, spend as little “pod time” indoors as possible. When you have to be indoors, keep the ventilation system running and don’t get too close together.

  4. When you venture out of your pod, play it safe.
    Every time you go into the “non-pod world,” you and your fellow pod members increase the risk that you could bring the virus back to your pod-mates. So focus on minimizing trips to indoor locations and prioritizing the ones you need to make most. Even if your state, county, city or town doesn’t have a mask requirement, everyone in the pod should agree they will always wear a mask over their mouth and nose when they’re in public and near other people who aren’t in the pod.

    This is especially true for indoor spaces like offices, stores, churches and temples, schools, salons and theaters, or when doing something that makes people breathe harder like playing sports, singing or working out at a gym. If someone asks you why you have a mask on, tell them it’s to protect others; keep calm and walk away.

    Avoid large gatherings and events even if you wear a mask. When you want to see non-pod people that you know, stay outdoors at a distance, alone or in small groups.

What to do if your pod has a brush with coronavirus:

  • If a pod member has symptoms of COVID-19, the entire pod needs to stop getting together immediately.
  • The person with COVID-19 symptoms should get tested immediately, preferably with a nasal swab virus DNA test, and should share their test results with the rest of the pod as soon as they find out. They should consult with their health care provider about how to monitor and treat their symptoms. They and the people they live with should understand what symptoms require medical care.
  • While they wait for their test results for COVID-19, which can take several days, the person with symptoms should isolate, meaning they stay alone in a closed room in their home, have food delivered to their closed door, and not share a bathroom with others in their home if at all possible. If they live alone, they should keep in touch with other pod members for emergency help.
  • The rest of the people they live with should quarantine, which means staying home except for going to medical appointments, or into their yard, patio or balcony for fresh air. Even if the person who has the symptoms hasn’t interacted with the other pod participants in person, the people they live with have. So, the rest of the pod is at risk and everyone in the pod should stay apart until the test results are known.

With the holidays coming up, have a pod discussion about travel and large family gatherings that may include people who aren’t taking the same precautions you are. If you decide to go to indoor celebrations without masks, or travel to an area with high COVID-19 activity, this means you will need to stay away from your pod-mates for 14 days afterward, to make sure you don’t bring COVID-19 to them. It’s alright to leave a pod if you find out that you don’t agree with the risk-tolerance of your pod-mates. You can still be friends! Just make sure to connect virtually, or outdoors from a distance with masks on.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Attitude of Gratitude XI

We are definitely continuing our non-normal year of 2020... after record snows and record cold weather in October, we are setting record high temperatures in November. Go figure. In spite of being unusual, this past week has been very enjoyable and brings me to today's gratitude - sunshine.

Thanks, Bryan for the photo...
I am grateful for sunshine. That thing that is essential for all life. It gives us light, boosts our energy, and always seems to improve our mental and emotional well-being. Though the days are becoming shorter, I welcome the sunshine in my life, and look forward to a sunny glow through my windows every morning to help me get my day started. Do you ever notice how much more awesome the day feels when the sun is out? And when the sun goes down, it often provides us with some of God's most beautiful handiwork.

As we are told in Genesis, "God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good."

The sun always makes me feel better... and so does the Son. Don't forget, even if it is cloudy and gloomy outside we can always be thankful for the "sonshine" that comes from Jesus every day in our lives.

His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand,
And there is the hiding of His power

    -Habakkuk 3:4



Friday, November 6, 2020

Flashback Friday

 This week's time travel takes us back to the early 90's to feature the CCM band, Jars of Clay. Dan Haseltine, Steve Mason, Charlie Lowell and Matt Bronleewe formed Jars of Clay in the early 1990s. The band's name is derived from the New International Version's translation of 2 Corinthians 4:7:  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us

Charlie Lowell first met Dan Haseltine after noticing that he was wearing a Toad the Wet Sprocket shirt. Pursuing a career in music together was not necessarily their original goal; some of the first songs they wrote together were for music and recording classes they were taking at the time. Their second guitarist Matt Bronleewe joined some time later, and drummer Joseph Quevedo occasionally joined them for some of their early public performances. 

In 1994, the band submitted a demo to a talent competition run by the Gospel Music Association and were selected as finalists. They traveled to Nashville to perform and won the contest. Back in Greenville, they self-released a limited-run of the same demo, which they named Frail, after their song of the same name. The buzz from their performance in Nashville and the demo's popularity resulted in offers from record labels, so the band decided to drop school and move to Nashville. At this time, Bronleewe left the band to finish school and settle down with his fiancée. He was replaced with Matt Odmark, Lowell's childhood friend and fellow McQuaid Jesuit High School alum.

The band signed with Essential Records and started recording their first full-length studio album, Jars of Clay. The band's self-titled debut was released in 1995. One of my favorite Jars of Clay songs was off this album entitled "Like A Child":

When the album single "Flood" began to climb the charts on mainstream radio stations, their record company started to heavily promote the song, turning it into one of the biggest mainstream hits ever by a band on a Christian label. The album, Jars of Clay has since reached multi-platinum certification according to the RIAA. "Flood" peaked at No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 12 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, and was the band's only secular radio hit.  I'm sure that anyone who listened to the radio in the 90's will remember this song.

The band has gone on to release 10 studio albums, 2 live projects, and 10 EPs, along with three compilations. The majority of their albums have charted in the top 10 on numerous charts, including Billboard's Top Christian Albums and the Billboard 200.

Jars of Clay have released many great songs like, "I Want To Fall In Love With You," "Love Song For A Savior", "Worlds Apart", "I Need You", and many, many more.

Jar of Clay has been successful in being nominated for and winning several awards, including prestigious Grammy Awards and several of the Christian music awards, known as the GMA Dove Awards. Some of these successes have been collaborative efforts, including two City on a Hill albums and the inspired collaboration for the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The group has won five Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) awards. You can check up on Jars of Clay at their current website.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

A Thanksgiving Song

I have been presenting a lot of new Christmas songs already in the past few weeks. It seems that most artists are working on Christmas projects, but new Thanksgiving songs are pretty rare.

To help fill this void, artist Ben Rector has just released "The Thanksgiving Song." In his words. "When I started putting together the Christmas album, I realized I hadn't ever heard a Thanksgiving song. I feel like everyone has an emotional connection and a lot of memories around Thanksgiving, just like they do Christmas, so I did my best to write a song that honored that. I hope this song captures the magic and nostalgia that we all look forward to at Thanksgiving. I also secretly hope that this becomes the official theme song for Thanksgiving (this is both based on that I think the song is a very good Thanksgiving song and also that it is the only Thanksgiving song)."

I especially like the words on the last chorus:

So fill your plate and fill your drink
Put your dishes in the kitchen sink
And let the leftover year just wash away
Cause we made it through I do believe the longest year in history
Thank God that it’s Thanksgiving Day 

This is a good song. I hope you enjoy "The Thanksgiving Song."

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Bible Thought: Surrender

This week's Bible thought is about surrender. Lots of times when we read the Bible, we don’t think we can live up to God’s standards. I've got good news for you … You don’t have to do it alone. Jesus has given us a Helper – His Spirit. God wants to guide your life so you become more like Him. It’s your daily choice, and I'm going to warn you … it’s not always easy! But if you follow the Spirit’s leading, you won't believe the huge difference God will make in your heart & in your life! Our relationship to Christ is very important to Him. He calls us His disciples. A disciple is one who is committed to following, whatever the sacrifice. What makes us willing is when we come to trust Who Jesus really is.

Luke 14:25-33 NLT
The Cost of Being a Disciple

A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

“Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

Luke 9:23-26 NLT

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.

Matthew 8:18-27 NLT
The Cost of Following Jesus

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.

Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”

Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.”

Jesus Calms the Storm

Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

So think about it... what is something you can surrender to Jesus, our Lord?

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Livestream Concerts

Some concerts to attend:

If you missed the GMA Dove Awards last Friday, you can watch the recorded program at https://watch.tbn.org/videos/51st-annual-gma-dove-awards. (TBN sign on is required, but it is free!)

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MercyMe is doing a free livestream show on Sunday, November 15 at 6:00 PM CST. If you would like to set a reminder, go to HERE.

I have not yet determined if this is free.... a $3 donation may be required to access this livestream.



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I talked awhile back about the upcoming Sidewalk Prophets livestream concert. The show really is live and if you get tickets, you can request songs for their songlist. Our local show (Midwest Region) will be on November 20th at 7:00.

Features:

  • Access to our High Definition Live Stream Concert
  • Access to re-watch the concert for 48 hours
  • Stream concert on devices including laptops, cell phones, tablets, and select Smart TVs
  • Actively play a part in the show by voting in real time on the band's set list
  • Just one ticket needed for your entire household!
And best of all, tickets are FREE... This is a "pay what you can" model so they would welcome anything you can donate, but it is not necessary. Get your tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-chosen-tour-live-stream-concert-midwest-region-tickets-125658936261.  

I have seen a couple virtual concerts by Sidewalk Prophets and they put on a great show. I hope you can attend.

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Can't believe I missed this one, but a couple weeks ago the Gaither Vocal Band presented a livestream...  Gaither Vocal Band - Reunited LIVE.

History was made when over 20 members, past and present, of the GRAMMY® Award-winning Gaither Vocal Band gathered on one stage for the first-ever LIVE concert reunion. Bill Gaither, Mark Lowry, Guy Penrod, Gary McSpadden, David Phelps, Russ Taff, Marshall Hall and more combined their talents as never before during a two-day event of song, inspiration and laughter. Now you can join the audience and experience unprecedented performances of many of your favorite hits from this legendary group.

Watch the recorded video:


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Finally, This is not a free concert, but tickets start at only $20 per household. 

Join Danny Gokey and his friends Natalie Grant, Mandisa, Lilly Goodman, Evan Craf, Redimi2 & David Archuleta for an unforgettable evening of music in the comfort of your own home, plus live interaction with Danny and exclusive add-ons! There are two times on both Nov 14th & 21st to choose from! Get all the details HERE

Monday, November 2, 2020

Attitude of Gratitude X

This week I was thinking about how grateful I am for current technology, particularly the internet.

Granted sometimes it can be aggravating. For instance some of our church members may have noticed all the problems we were having last week with our church website (livingwordlutheran.net). After many phone calls, switching to new webhosting, and several hours of updates, I wasn't feeling too thankful or gracious in my thoughts about this topic. 😀

In spite of this, I realize that the technology of today allows us to share information easier and faster in ways that could never have been done years ago. I remember getting access to the internet for the first time around twenty-five years ago. Waiting on the phoneline though many beeps, buzzes, and other strange noises just to be able to send simple text messages. In historical terms, twenty years is less than the blink of an eye. Within the last twenty years, we have seen the rise of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, not to mention the smartphone which ties into all of these huge entities. 

Also, this technology has allowed me to keep my job during this pandemic and work from home. Without the internet I would either be going to work everyday or unemployed during the last few months. 

 Not too many years ago, the concept of presenting a recorded video of a church service online was inconceivable and now it is common-place for even small churches with minimal expenditures.

We have vast amounts of information and entertainment at our fingertips. We can buy necessities (and plenty of unnecessary things) online to be delivered to our doorstep, We can communicate with family, friends, and coworkers individually or in groups. We can participate in events from the comforts of our own homes.

Technology has given Christianity a voice to reach a world-wide audience. Historically there have been advances for Christianity when there have been advances in technology. Not all Christian groups have reacted to it as have the Amish. In many cases the Church has been one of the first entities to adopt or profit from technologies. 

There is no question that technology has given us untold blessings. But technology has also been used for monstrous destruction and human misery. This should alert us to the fact that technology, by itself, is not the means of salvation. Releasing the technology genie has caused our world to go out of control. The apocalyptic vision of some superdictator controlling humanity, using the incredible power of the computer or the atom, is no longer a laughing matter. The potential for deception through technology, coupled with the illegal use of technology, has also become a serious concern.

However, the gospel of Christ cannot only hold in check the destructive use of technology by its emphasis on loving others as ourselves, but also provides the antidote for selfish greed, which is behind our runaway buying habits. Jesus emphasized that the abundance of things does not produce happiness.

That power to transform individuals and nations is still available. The "Good News" Jesus brought is that the power to love others as ourselves is available to all, from the Creator. When we have that love, technology will be a blessing to all.