Escaping the Night

  Concetta Antico is a rarity. She has a fourth type of cone in her eye which enables her to see some 99 million colors, where most of us see about a million, [1] An eagle can see a rabbit from about 2 miles away. Then again their vision is eight-times that of ours. Polar bears can track seals by smell for 20+ kilometers [2] . My dog, Missy, heard my dad’s truck turn onto our street which was about .2 of a mile. It gave her time to jump out of my dad’s chair, stretch, and leisurely greet him at the door. That’s because dogs hear higher frequencies than we do. Right now, few, if any of us give a thought about the sheer numbers of things that are touching us and we have no control over it. Various electromagnet waves from TV, radio, Wi-Fi, light, sound, and all the rest of a reality we can’t understand because it is hard to learn all that needs to be understood. And when you start thinking about quantum mechanics things get even more complicated in my case. Spiritual Reality I am

Following Christ

 Tim Wu in his 2016 book “Attention Merchants” as a world in which “You don’t sell things to people, you sell people to advertisers (Wu in Harris).” Google, Microsoft, and Facebook didn’t invent the idea, they just took it to another level.  The start was in the 1830s with the birth of the New York Sun . They undersold their competition, charging a penny, and funded the production of their newspaper with advertising sales. What made them really unique was they went after news that appealed to the masses, “This meant stories about ‘melancholy’, suicides, and lewd murders. Anything to grab eyeballs (Harris).” According to Forbes, and other marketing journals, most of us saw 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. You may not even realize some were advertisements. Last year was hard for many people. Even those like myself who were out in public found things to be strange and odd. Activities, events, vacations, parties, family gatherings, even funerals had the chance to explode into horrible cent

Grace:Unexpected, Unappreciated, and Unused

 Dave Boon and his wife June and a 13-year-old boy, Gary Martinez were headed to a youth group ski trip when they were slammed over a guardrail by tons of snow avalanching down the hillside. It was tossed clear of the avalanche by a tree that the car struck and was left upside-down and pointed back up the hill. Freeing themselves, they were amazed there were no serious injuries. In reflecting on the accident David said, “ The signs say, 'Avalanche Area, No Stopping,' We've driven by their hundreds of times…. We have skied avalanche chutes, worn (emergency) beepers, always carried an avalanche shovel. We've seen avalanches. But in our wildest dreams, we never imagined getting hit in a car by one (O’Driscoll)." Unexpected Jesus comes as the unexpected one. His incarnation was debated, prayed for, and sought but as the warrior king who would displace Rome. N.T. Wright wrote, "Christmas is not about the living God coming to tell us everything's all ri

God's Call

  I started to add up the number of blocked calls on my cell phone but stopped at 140 because I still had to write a sermon. We block calls for a variety of reasons, but it calls down to this. ‘We don’t want to listen to them.’ Both passages this morning deal with God’s calling of us to be His people. These are positive examples of those who did ‘block’ God’s call but sought to understand them and do what God says. Samuel is awakened 3 times by a voice. The third time Eli, Samuel’s mentor, tells him to answer the voice with “Speak, for your servant is listening” (9). In the Gospel of John two followers of The Baptizer, John points out to them ‘ the lamb of God’ (36) so they follow and when confronted by a simple question asks, “Rabbi where are you staying” (38)? In the rest of the verses of John, you hear other calls to those who are gathered. To what does God call us? There are endless answers as to what or where God’s call leads. But His call will not go against Jesus’ descri

Now that you're here, where do you go?

 Apparently, 2020 was not strange enough to keep people from stealing baby Jesus from nativity scenes from community and church displays. From sorority sisters to the Walmart employee who posted a photo of himself with the stolen statue of Jesus on Facebook (Cooper) and (Kulze). But it is not a new phenomenon. December 1953, the year I was born. Detective Friday took on the case of “The Big Little Jesus” on Dragnet. In this case, Friday and Smith (this is before Harry Morgan was on the show) tell the priest they can’t find Jesus. In the midst of the dialogue a young boy, Paco Mendoza, shows up with baby Jesus in a wagon. He had promised the Baby Jesus the first ride in his new wagon for which he’d prayed. Father Rojas explains that Paco’s family is poor to which Friday replies, “Are they Father (Snauffer)?” Case closed. Jesus has been stolen as a prank or as an act of hatred. Paco fulfilled his promise of the first ride in his new wagon. Sadder is that Jesus is often just overlook

Patience is a Virture--so what?

What a year. We’ve been waiting for things to get back to normal. Waiting for schools to start and restaurants to open. Waiting for family reunions, weddings, and funerals. Waiting for test results, the next wave of virus, and a vaccine. Waiting seems to have been the theme of 2020.  What’s promised for 2021? Very likely, more of the same. Normality? Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new head of the CDC said on Wednesday, “I think we should manage our expectations in terms of taking off our masks… over time we will be able to maybe one day, not be in our masks anymore, but I have told my family I anticipate they’ll be wearing a mask for the better part of ’21 (Vanderberg).”  Let that sink in for a moment. What’s your response angry, disheartened, bothered, or maybe apathetic. My guess is that whatever we’re feeling it isn’t relief. But take heart because, for God’s people, waiting is not new. Listen to these two verses of scripture. “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children an

First Steps

 December 23, 1776, Thomas Paine wrote “These are the times that try men’s souls” in reference to “summer soldiers” who fought well in Spring and Summer but gave up and went home in the cold. It was a statement read to the Colonial army at Valley Forge before they crossed the Delaware River and attacked the British. Let me paraphrase this for the Body of Christ. These are still the times that try the human soul . The ‘ fair-weather believer’ will, in 2020 , shrink from the service of their Lord. Unsettled, uncertain, and unprecedented describe the last year. This was the second Thanksgiving Phyllis and I had alone. The first being 1980 when we moved to Abilene Texas. I couldn’t sneak pieces of turkey to John as I carved it. There were no kids begging to watch their shows . In some ways it was empty. There have been other eras in which times seemed empty and without hope. I came across a meme the last week or so. “It’s important to remind people of the true meaning of Christm