Farewell 2012…Welcome 2013!

2013 has already begun in Dubai as I write this.  Soon, it will be our turn here in Chicago.  It is amazing that the world revolves around the sun so accurately that the Winter solstice was achieved perfectly at 5:12 aM on December 21 and we headed back toward Spring.  For more interesting statistics that lend themselves to praising God for His goodness in 2012, follow this link: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/where-was-god-in-all-the-goodness-of-2012

I pray that you all have a Happy New Year and that you grow closer to Jesus Christ in 2013.

Love That Lasts

My wife and I have been reading through Love That Lasts by Gary and Betsy Ricucci.  I recommend the book for all married couples.  At first, I approached the book with the attitude, “probably nothing new in here…I’ve got the basics down…”  Well, my attitude was proved wrong on at least two counts.  First, marriage is a topic that calls for revisitation of Scriptural truths time and time again.  So, in one sense, there may be nothing profoundly novel about this book, but Gary and Betsy take us back to the foundations that keep a marriage strong.  In fact, I would be skeptical of a book on marriage that tries to sell a “whole new approach” to the God-ordained, Gospel-reflecting purpose and design of marriage.  Second, the Ricuccis present the material in a fresh way that bring those classic truths alive with resonating dialogue with the reader.  It has been said that healthy marriages take advantage of marriage conferences and marriage books on a regular basis.  For example, attend one marriage conference every year and read one book on marriage every year, etc.  Well, if you are looking for a good book to bring you and your spouse closer to God and closer to each other, try this Christ-centered resource and see what you think.  Ephesians 5:22-33.

Lessons and Carols at Christmas

Everyone is invited to the Edgewater Baptist Church Christmas Eve Service at 7PM.  The “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” began a tradition at King’s College at Cambridge in 1918.  Eric Milner-White, the newly appointed Dean, used his experience as an army chaplain to lead with more imaginative worship.  I enjoy the traditional opening song “Once in Royal David’s City” as it speaks of the small town where the Christ-child would be born (Micah 5:2 quoted in Matthew 2:6). 

Here is one stanza from the song:

He came down to earth from Heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

More information on the King’s College tradition can be found here: http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/events/chapel-services/nine-lessons.html

Nunc Dimittis

Simeon's Song of Praise

When I first saw Nunc Dimittis, I thought it was like the gibberish you see on a newsletter template (Lorum ipsum etc., etc.).  It actually is the opening line in Latin for Simeon’s Song found in Luke 2:29-32.  The meaning of the Latin is “Now dismiss” and is speaking of Simeon’s praise to the Lord that he may die in peace after seeing the Christ child. 

When we look upon Christ with Simeon-like faith that God delivers on His promises, we too can experience the peace of God.  May the Holy Spirit direct you this Christmas season to look upon “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” – Luke 2:32

Reflecting on Last Friday…

As I walked around Edgewater this morning, it appeared as though there were more parents walking their children to school.  I grieve for these families in Newtown, Connecticut and while we mourn the loss of those killed on Friday, let’s take a few extra minutes to demonstrate love for our families today.  How often we forget to do the “little things” to make sure our family knows we love them.  Seize the moments given to you today to reflect the love of God towards those around you. Yesterday at church, Phill Howell reminded us that in the midst of a suffering world, we have a God who comes down to us…a God who is familiar with suffering and enters into it out of love for us.  This love is seen most clearly in Jesus Christ, the very reason for Christmas – the one who “saves His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)  May we always remember to see the cross in the cradle and demonstrate the love of God to a world that desparately needs a Savior.  John 3:16