Author Harriet Richie relates an incident in her family's life that revealed to her the true nature of Christmas: Following their church's Christmas Eve service, Harriet's family decided to stop somewhere for a late-night breakfast. The only place open that late on Christmas Eve was a truck stop off the nearby interstate.
If I had to describe how I could tell a Christian just by observing interactions, as in a business meeting, I would probably say I could see the fruit of the spirit in the person's kindness. In many ways, sheer kindness is often the mark of a person living as a Christian.
Christians often feel an obligation to pray for those who need assistance, both individually and corporately. Church congregations therefore regularly pray for members and extended family and friends who are struggling. Each church handles such prayers differently, but they usually involve some sort of prayer list.
The pastor of St. Boniface Church, Father Ba Thong Nguyen, also known as Father Martino, had a vision to bring all of the church's Faith Formation children and their parents along with members of the congregation to Veterans Park in Springfield on Sunday to pray for all of the souls who have given their lives for the nation.
By the time you read this, election day will have passed and, barring a runoff, the constant bombardment of negative campaigns will subside, at least for a year. I have come to believe that the fact that any person would spend someone's hard-earned dollars to do nothing but call their opponent a liar should immediately disqualify them from office. But that's just me, and I could be wrong.
The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "When Christ calls us, he bids us come and die." Bonhoeffer, citing the words of Jesus, bid Christians to count the cost of discipleship. For Bonhoeffer, this death was literal; for most other Christians we are called to die to our former selves.
The bizarre and horrible renditions notwithstanding (i.e., Roseanne Barr, Michael Bolton), most people can at least sing the national anthem. Or, I should say, they can sing what they believe is the national anthem. After all, most folks have been to enough civic events and ballgames to have memorized it.
I've got to wonder if Sherriff McDuffie, just as his head hits the pillow at night and he's about to drift off to sleep, ever reviews the events of the day and just busts out with laughter. It's got to happen on occasion.
Anyone familiar with Effingham County sports knows well the friendly but passionate rivalry between Effingham County High School and South Effingham High School in many sports. On grass fields, hardwood courts, clay diamonds, wrestling mats, dirt running trails, and asphalt courts the best of Effingham's teenage athletes battle for the title of county champs.
September 30, 2014|
By Rev. Dr. Bob LeFavi
You've bet your life, and right now you are playing out your hand. In fact, with every day that passes you "up the ante," having invested another 24 hours in your wager. The problem is that the bet is for your spiritual and eternal life.
September 23, 2014|
By Rev. Dr. Bob LeFavi
This past Monday, a young man came to see me at Armstrong. He was referred to me and my department in the College of Health Professions because he had been essentially kicked out of the professional health care program in which he was enrolled, and he was looking for a new major. He was simply told that he wasn't cut out for that job.
If you ask a local pastor the phrase he is most likely to hear when counseling a couple struggling in their relationship, my bet is that somewhere in the top three is the statement, "he (she) has changed."
In the book of Acts, chapter 8, we find the account of St. Peter witnessing to an Ethiopian eunuch, baptizing him and presumably sending the faith back with this new Christian to Ethiopia. Regular church-goers know the story. We can also presume that this convert was the forerunner of the Ethiopian church, which we rarely hear much about, at least not until recently.
One of my favorite radio personalities is the late Paul Harvey, who died in 2009 after 65 years in broadcasting. To me, Harvey was exceptional at getting to the heart of any matter in his topical broadcasts, called "The Rest of the Story."
Sometimes we pastors are humbled by the wisdom we find in others. We think that we, having been schooled in scripture, have a monopoly on wisdom. And then we hear someone speak on life and truth from a deeply personal experience, and we realize we have no such monopoly and our pontificating may be lacking something. Here is an example of a true account that leaves me feeling humble.
NBC's advertising of the "Today" show's Monday morning segment on prayer caught my attention. While the promotions were run continually and ad nauseum, at least they signaled a possible shift by the usually highly secular show toward an acknowledgement, if not appreciation, of things spiritual.