Getting Unstuck

All of us have had the experience of getting stuck. Recently we experienced that in simply assembling a puzzle.  It started off just fine putting together the borders and then we separated some of the colors. We were excited when we found that there were a specific colors and designs that quickly fit together. But then we got stuck.  Continue reading

Joyful Joyful

“Joyful Joyful” is a hymn written by Henry van Dyke, a US born, Presbyterian minister from Pennsylvania.  Van Dyke was born in 1852 and during his lifetime he was considered by many to be one of the leading Presbyterian preachers and religious leaders in the country.   Continue reading

Amazing Grace

Most of you are familiar with the song, Amazing Grace. You may have heard as well a little about the song writer. His name was John Newton. John was born in 1725, his dad was ship captain and his mom died when he was very young.  While still a very young man, his dad had him became a sailor, serving as just a deck hand but later he became the captain of the ship.  This was not a military vessel, part of the British Navy but a cargo ship.  It had all kids of cargo including loads of human cargo, these were slaves, captured, separated from their families and put in shackles and traded, sold in various ports in South American, North America and England.    Continue reading

Morning Has Broken

"Morning Has Broken" is a hymn that was included in many of the church hymnals after it first appeared in 1931. The author was Eleanor Farjeon who lived from 1881 to 1965 and had a number of poems and other literary works to her credit. It was relatively unknown until 1971 when Cat Stevens featured it on his album ”Teaser and Firecast”. While many may just enjoy the melody, the hymn embraces both the first day and the wonder of God’s creation. Continue reading

The Catholic Mass and Agape Feast

Most of us are aware that all Christian Communion practices have their beginnings in the Last Supper of Jesus and His apostles. That Last Supper was actually a Seder meal, and many contemporary Jews would recognize many of the elements—the sharing of the cup, the blessing, the breaking of bread, the sop that was handed to Judas—as part of their Passover celebrations. Continue reading

History of Baptism

The history of baptism in the church is interesting and typically one of the most controversial teachings. Today there is a great deal of emphasis in many denominations on baptism, and over the centuries people have been baptized in many different ways. Continue reading

Measuring Spiritual Growth

Is it a basketball game if no one keeps score?  I remember coaching our church’s basketball team for children.   It was a mixed team with girls and boys including my son, all under 9 years old.   When we played our first game I learned that we weren’t going to keep score.  Continue reading

Catholics vs Protestants

In many families, people believe they can’t attend events at churches other than their own denominations. The Roman Catholic Church formalized this idea a number of times over the years, including in the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, which was first published in 1885.The Catholics were not the first to put together a catechism. The lack of religious instruction that both the clergy and laity had dismayed Martin Luther, and he published Luther’s Large Catechism in 1529. Continue reading

Starting a Saturday Service

Solomon is quoted as saying “There is nothing new under the Sun”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and while many churches are just starting to consider having a Saturday worship service, it’s actually been around for a while. Yes, there is that Sabbath Day vs the Lord’s Day issue but I’m talking about the churches that are finding that a Saturday worship service may be good stewardship of their existing resources and may also open the doors to people that are busy working on Sundays or may just prefer a Saturday service. Continue reading

He Descended Into Hell

One of the lines in the Apostles Creed that often bothers people is the phrase "He descended into hell." The Apostles Creed is ancient, dating back to the 4th century, and while not considered authoritative or inspired in the same way as the Bible, it is still read in many of our churches on a regular basis.  Continue reading

Walk This Way

Most babies go through a number of stages in learning how to walk.  Typically, they start crawling, begin to pull themselves up and learn how to lean on either something stationary or their parents, brother or sister and then finally they can take a few steps before tumbling down.  Continue reading

Thou Art Peter

It’s impossible to talk about the Catholic Church without considering the role of the pope, and for a Roman Catholic it’s impossible to talk about the pope without talking about Peter. I’m a big fan of Peter. He was impulsive, often spoke first before he really thought through the question, and made some mistakes. I am a fan because I can relate. Peter was also the obvious leader of the apostles. He was an amazing man and a great leader, and, like most of the apostles, he was martyred because of his belief in Jesus Christ.   Continue reading

What do Catholics believe?

In AD 380 the Roman emperor Theodosius made Christianity the state religion, calling the new religion Catholic. In one generation, Christians went from being persecuted, to becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire. Between the 4th and the 6th century, much of what we know now as the faith of the Roman Catholic Church emerged. At the center of this was the powerful Bishops including the Patriarch of Rome who took on the name "Pope" by the sixth century.  Continue reading

4th Week of Advent - Peace

This week we celebrate the fourth week of advent.  Advent is a season of for many Christians that includes the four weeks prior and culminating with Christmas    The season of Advent is considered the beginning of the church year, primarily because it recounts the beginning chapters and verses in the New Testament.  During Advent, we also look forward and prepare for the second coming of Jesus.  In the Bible, these prophecies are referred to as the “last days”. Continue reading

3rd Week of Advent - Joy

This week we celebrate the third week of advent.  Advent is the time of preparation including the four Sundays and weeks before Christmas.  Interestingly, before there was any celebration of Christmas, Christians would celebrate the Ephany (January 6th) and prior to that feast new believers would prepare falso for four weeks, for Baptism.    Continue reading