A Treasured Prayer from My Grandfather-in-Law

Years ago, my grandfather-in-law, Pete Austin, gave me this prayer/poem from Henry van Dyke that he cherished and memorized. I came across it today in my studies. It encouraged and challenged my heart again and I hope it will do the same for you: "These are the gifts I ask Of thee, Spirit serene: Strength … Continue reading A Treasured Prayer from My Grandfather-in-Law

The Power of a Joyful Pastor

Phillip Brooks, an Episcopalian rector in Boston over 100 years ago, and author of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" wrote this about how pastors are to serve Christ's church. His main thesis here can be extrapolated to any job: I think, again, that it is essential to the preacher's success that he should thoroughly enjoy his work. … Continue reading The Power of a Joyful Pastor

Reflections to Cultivate Joy for Your Journey

Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ. - William Van der Hoven The surest mark of a Christian is not faith, or even love, but joy. - Sam Shoemaker When I think upon my God, my heart is so full of joy … Continue reading Reflections to Cultivate Joy for Your Journey

The Cross Overcomes All the Enemies of Joy

“Here in the cross is where every enemy of joy is overcome: Divine wrath, as he becomes a curse for us; Real guilt, as he becomes forgiveness for us; Lawbreaking, as he becomes righteousness for us; Estrangement from God, as he becomes reconciliation for us; Slavery to Satan, as he becomes redemption for us; Bondage … Continue reading The Cross Overcomes All the Enemies of Joy

A New-Born King: The Irony – Matthew 2:1-12

Have you ever lived in a city where it was difficult to become an insider? No matter how hard you tried, you always felt excluded and on the fringe. Our experience in church can oftentimes be the same. Have you ever attended a church where you felt like you didn’t measure up and no matter … Continue reading A New-Born King: The Irony – Matthew 2:1-12

The New Born King – The Agony – Matthew 2:1-12

The Agony – How do insiders respond to this news? The birth of this King troubles and agitates insiders… the power brokers of the establishment (both political and ecclesiastical). Rather than rejoicing at this news, they are troubled by it. Now, if we are honest, most of us find repulsive the idea of someone ruling … Continue reading The New Born King – The Agony – Matthew 2:1-12

The New Born King – The Ecstacy – Matthew 2:1-12

The Ecstasy – How do outsiders respond to finding the King? When they find the newborn King, what do they do? When I mention the word ecstasy, I am talking about a state of overwhelming, overpowering emotion. In this case… rapturous delight. See Matthew 2, verse 10. The most arresting verse of the entire passage. … Continue reading The New Born King – The Ecstacy – Matthew 2:1-12