Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. This story suggests a tradition that you can use to help your children prepare for the birth of Christ by filling an empty manger with straw. Continue reading Filling the Manger with Straw
The open question at the end of the book is “Will Jonah actually change?” The book doesn’t tie things up in a nice tidy bow, but leaves things hanging with a question that must be answered by both Jonah and also ourselves. God asks us, “And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?” Continue reading Under the Gourd Vine
“To be forgiven is only half the gift. The other half is that we also can forgive, restore and liberate.” Marilynne Robinson Continue reading The Gift of Forgiveness
What happens you make false assumptions that keep you from seeing the beauty around you?
I once spent a disappointed winter mistaking goldfinches at my feeder for sparrows. However, with time and patience I finally perceived their true nature. Continue reading The Goldfinch in Winter
“And then, one day, I was praying, sincerely asking God for some clarification about a sin that didn’t apply to me. And I imagined God the Father – God, my Parent – saying, “Jenn, does this apply to you? How about you stay in your lane? How about you worry about you and let me worry about them? Your job is to love them. My job is to be God to them.” Continue reading Staying In My Lane — Jenn Abel
Today is All Saints Day, a day to remember those women and men who have set us an example of faithfulness and trust. Our scripture lesson this morning introduces us to one such faithful saint, the widow of Zarephath. You might be interested to know that in his very first sermon, delivered in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus singles her out as a woman of faith who was chosen and blessed by God. If Jesus has such a high regard for her, perhaps we should learn more about her and her faith, for she is one of those saints that we celebrate on this day. Continue reading An Unlikely Saint: The Widow of Zarephath ( I Kings 17: 8-24)
God’s commandments have more in common with commitments than you might think. The Ten Commandments begins with a reminder of God’s love. In a sense when God commands us to love him and to love others he’s putting an invitation into our hands. He stands before us not with a lightning bolt, but with the open and pierced hands of Jesus. Continue reading Commandments and Commitments
The dreams we have for ourselves are never big enough. God’s dreams for us are always bigger than we can imagine. We saw this about a month ago when we were studying Joseph. Do you remember? Joseph’s dream for himself was a dream of superiority. He dreamed that his whole family would bow down to him as if he were a king. But God’s dream for Joseph was one of servanthood.
The same is true of Hannah. Her dream was to have son who would remove the grief and shame she felt from being barren. But she also realized that God had a bigger dream. Continue reading Hannah’s Story: A Sermon on I Samuel 1:1-20
Our job is not to blaze a new trail, but to maintain the old trail. We are to follow Jesus and refresh the blazes set so that others will not get lost. God doesn’t need new trail-blazers. God needs people who will faithfully maintain the trails he has marked out. Continue reading Maintaining the Trail
The good news, is that even if we screw up royally God is not going to give up on us. He’s not going to throw out his promises. He’s not going to start from scratch. He is going to take us with our failures and redeem us in Jesus. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love God, even our own sins. Continue reading The Golden Calf: A Sermon on Exodus 32:1-14