After a successful run of VeggieTales in the House, Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and all the other Veggies are setting roots in the city. In the re-imagined VeggieTales in the City on Netflix, the Veggies are ready for a new set of adventures. All the while imparting valuable and inspirational lessons along the way.
Lent is right around the corner. In a few short days, we will gather for Ash Wednesday in churches, on sidewalks, and in coffee shops to confess that we have not been as faithful as we could be, and to begin this journey we call Lent toward the empty tomb of Easter.
Here are four books I’ve read recently that would be great resources for small groups, sermon series, or individual devotional time.
Down to Earth: The Hopes & Fears of All the Years Are Met in Thee Tonight, Mike Slaughter & Rachel Billups, Abingdon Press, 2016.
In this book for the Advent season, pastors Mike Slaughter and Rachel Billups explore what it means for love, joy, peace, and hope to come down to Earth. The book accompanies a four-week Advent study that opens up Christmas to examine how one helpless baby changed everything.
What makes this a great read during Advent this year, is how relevant it is to current events. While it was written before we had two primary presidential candidates or even an election, reading it post-election is food for the soul. Slaughter and Billups acknowledge that we put too much attention on the wrong things. They write, “Or in arguing about things such as red cups, sexual identity issues, who we voted for, and where refugees should go, are we allowing these issues to create dividing lines between us?”
by Rev. Beth Givens
This week I celebrated the sacrament of Holy Communion twice in 24 hours. That’s not normal on a non-Sunday, and for a good United Methodist like me, I’m up to celebrating 4 times this week.
Seems we are needing a lot of Jesus.
Tuesday night, when I celebrated, it was a part of Election Day Communion. Election Day Communion is a movement among churches of different denominations to draw people together amidst the divisiveness of an election season here in the United States. We offered Election Day Communion in our congregation.
This is the first of what I hope will be a weekly occurrence. YouTubevotionals are for personal devotional time, or for use in a small group, youth group, or a Sunday school class. -JCS
It has been a long – long – election season. It will soon be over, as citizens head to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes. The 1951 Looney Tunes cartoon Ballot Box Bunny is eerily similar to this election season. The cartoon may help us explore the impact of the election season and think about leadership.
This was a sermon I preached at St. Mark’s United Methodist in Richmond. I preached on Exodus 17:1-7 as part of their Complaining is Draining sermon series. This audio is from the 11:00am service. You can also listen on the Podcast app by subscribing here.
Last year I reviewed The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung, with illustrations by Don Clark. This year, an animated short film and an audio book on CD are available.
The Animated Short Film
The short film features the same beautiful illustrations from the book. The Biggest Story: The Animated Short Film grabs the attention of children and parents alike. The classic stories in the Bible are retold by the author Kevin DeYoung, connecting to Scripture’s overarching message about God’s plan to redeem God’s people.
by Rev. Lindsey Baynham
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that 2016 has been the year of realizing what might be inconceivable is not. The year where the impossible is attainable and made real. To describe this feeling, I’ll use the phrase “glass ceiling”. The origins of this phrase are credited to the mid 1980’s when women were referring to this imaginary barricade of glass that prevented them from advancing, particularly in the workplace:
“Women have reached a certain point—I call it the glass ceiling. They’re in the top of middle management and they’re stopping and getting stuck. There isn’t enough room for all those women at the top…”
But what if there was enough room?
When I was a kid, in the cold of winter, we heated our home through a wood stove – a fireplace. One of our chores during those cold months was to bring firewood up to the house so that there would be wood near by in the cold of the night.
The firewood chores, however, started well before winter. Sometimes as early as the summer, but always during the fall. Any trees that had fallen during a summer storm, or that just needed to come down, were fair game. Dad would cut the trees with a chain saw, and then the splitting would happen with an ax. We would be responsible for hauling the split wood to the wood pile and stack it just right.
It was sometime in 2008, while working at Lebanon United Methodist, I got a phone call about firewood. There was someone in our community without firewood to heat their home in the cold winter days. In the county over there was a church who had a firewood ministry, and as such they had a stock pile. They allowed us to use their wood. I called the United Methodist Men‘s president, Claude, and we rode out to load up a trailer full of wood and deliver it to the home in need.