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October 28, 2017, 1:45 AM

Reformation... A Little History

Martin Luther was a monk and university professor in Wittenberg, Germany when he composed his “95 Theses”. These theses protested the pope’s sale of indulgences. Although Luther had hoped to spur renewal from within the Catholic church, in 1521 he was summoned by the Church before the Diet of Worms and excommunicated.

Luther left Worms and was protected by Friedrich, of Saxony. It was at this time Luther translated the Bible into everyday / village German.

Luther also published statements such as: Empowering Biblical references like: “priesthood of all believers,” and that inspired the German peasant revolt of 1524. 

By the Reformation’s end, Lutheranism had become the state religion throughout much of Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltics.

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June 1, 2017, 2:50 PM

What the heck is Pentecost?

What is Pentecost Sunday? Well, in the Christian church, it is a celebration of the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Did you know that Jesus spoke about the promise of the Holy Spirit to His disciples (John 14:26)?

Jesus the Christ showed Himself to these men after His death on the cross and His resurrection, giving proof that He was indeed alive. And then He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit, from whom they would receive power to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:3-8).

It wasn’t until after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, the men returned to Jerusalem and joined together in prayer in an upper room. Then it happened… on the Day of Pentecost, just as promised, the sound of a violent wind filled the house and tongues of fire came to rest on each of them and all were filled with the Holy Spirit. This was the beginning of the Christian church as we know it.

The celebration of Pentecost Sunday reminds us of the reality that we all have the unifying Spirit that was poured out upon the first-century church in Acts 2:1-4. It is a reminder that we are co-heirs with Jesus the Christ, to suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him; that the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is given for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7); that we are all baptized by one Spirit into one body (1 Corinthians 12:13); and that the Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead lives inside believers (Romans 8:9-11).

Know this… the gift of the Holy Spirit that was promised and given to all believers on the first Pentecost is promised for you and your children and for all who are far off whom the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:39).

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April 22, 2017, 12:00 AM

May 14th is Mother's Day!

Mother’s Day is really more than just a day for cards, chocolate, breakfast in bed, and reservations at crowded restaurants. Mother’s Day is a celebration that finds solid support in Biblical principles and commands. You won’t see “Mother’s Day,” in the Bible but you will see text about honoring mothers, revering them, and giving them generous love and recognition for the role they play in our lives. 

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April 20, 2017, 12:00 AM

Pentecost, June 4th, 2017

Did you know that Pentecost is an annual feast celebrated in Jew­ish community? It was celebrated on the seventh Saturday after Passover, a period of fifty days, hence the name “Pentecost” which means “fifty.”

Originally the feast was a celebration of the first fruits of the grain harvest, but by the time of Jesus the Jews had come to associate Pentecost with the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai.

Jews from all over the known world would gather in Jerusa­lem to celebrate the feast, so you can imagine the sounds and the smells and the sights in the overcrowded city.

At the same time Jesus’ followers were gathered together. Be­fore ascending into heaven Jesus had told them that they were to be his witnesses to all nations but they were to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit had come to empower them. And when the Spirit came the Christian Church was birthed!

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November 1, 2016, 12:00 AM

ADVENT

ADVENT

THE HISTORY OF ADVENT

Did you know that within 300-400 years after the death of Jesus the Christ, many Christians set aside an Advent season as a time for fasting, reflection and penitence to prepare for Epiphany, which is a day celebrating Christ's "epiphany" or appearance to the Wise Men or His baptism. With the evolution of Christmas as a special day on December 25, the focus of Advent gradually moved from Epiphany to the "coming" (adventus in Latin) of Jesus Christ at His birth.

Advent later came to symbolize anticipation for Jesus’ second coming also, and the church dropped fasting during Advent. The season of Advent, which Protestants and Catholics begin on the Sunday nearest November 30, includes four Sundays and ends on Christmas Eve. By the way, the Eastern Orthodox Church have a longer, more solemn Advent season.

Many churches and homes now mark this special season with wreaths, candles, special colors and religious calendars. It is a time for anticipating Christmas as the celebration of Jesus' birth, for anticipating His coming anew into our own hearts, and for anticipating His coming again in person and in power at the End.

The word "Advent" does not appear in the traditional English Bible, but the idea behind that word -- the "coming" of the Messiah -- runs through both Old and New Testaments. Luke tells of Simeon and Anna who eagerly awaited the coming of the Messiah, and who joyfully recognized Him in the infant Jesus (Luke 2:25-38). The apostle Paul describes Christians as people who now eagerly await Christ's second coming (1 Cor. 1:7Phil. 3:202 Tim. 4:8). Since neither Jesus nor His apostles specifically commanded Advent (or Christmas or Easter either), Christians cannot be faulted who choose not to observe these religious observances. But neither is there any harm in using these special occasions to remember and to celebrate the important events which are certainly at the heart of our Christian faith (Rom. 14:5-6).

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