What Calendar Did Jesus Use?

I had to write about the Jewish and Christian calendars. Why? The short answer is that I care deeply about discipleship, and the calendar is one of the original discipleship tools found in the Old Testament. It’s not quite as simple as that short answer, however. It’s been my experience that when Evangelicals speak of spiritual formation, we tend to speak in terms of practicing spiritual disciplines, or acquisition of information about God and the Bible, or we urge ourselves toward… Read more

To Try + To Eat: Rosh Hashanah

So many people are interested in being more intentional about learning about the Jewish and Christian calendars, but don’t quite know where to start. I’m very happy I can commend a resource that offers a thoughtful historical and devotional overview of each calendar, but also know that many people feel as through attempting to participate will be a pile-on of extra stuff to do (and extra guilt to feel if they can’t do it). As I noted in the book, we can’t… Read more

Major Fall Feasts on the Jewish Calendar: Infographic

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New Treasures And Old

When I was in third grade, I wrote an A++ essay about Leonard daVinci. My teacher, Mrs. Sweet, invited me to come to a night school class in which she was enrolled so I could dazzle her peers with my powerful insights about the artist/inventor/Renaissance man. In my memory, she had a reaction to my brilliant writing similar to this one. (No doubt the real reason she brought me to her class was because she had to do some sort of… Read more

An Ancient Discipling Approach that works 365 Days A Year

When I was on the programming team at a non-denominational church, we’d open our planning meetings with the prayer, “Lord, guide us as we plan our church’s services”. We’d then pull out the congregation’s master activity calendar in order get a birds’-eye view of what activities were on the schedule. Next, we’d do a little creative brainstorming to think about what music and other creative elements we could use to support the theme of the upcoming sermon series. Where could… Read more

How To Celebrate God’s Faithful Presence Throughout The Moments, Days, Years

At Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience blog today: Nursing our little girl through recovery from open heart surgery, it’s kinda clear: Time is a gift that we sometimes forget we’ve been given. Time is an opportunity to experience eternity in the everyday. Michelle Van Loon is our guide through the major events of the Jewish and Christian calendars. She grew up in a Jewish home and came to know Christ in her teens. The colorful but disconnected puzzle pieces of… Read more

My Place At The Table

The resolution affirmed by 82% of those voting at the recent triennial gathering of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) calling for an end of all American aid to Israel reminded me once again that to be a Jewish follower of Jesus sometimes requires thick skin. Writer Elliott Abrams sums up the language in the resolution: A time bound agreement– so facts on the ground, for example the strength of Hamas or even ISIS in the Palestinian territories would… Read more

What’s In The Stack?

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. — Mark Twain Even as I’ve been in book release mode these last weeks, excited to launch my own book into the world, I’ve been savoring the words of others. During the last few weeks, I’ve been spending time with the books pictured at right, as well as a couple of more works of fiction not in the shot. Here’s a quick review of each: Saints: A Year… Read more

Living Eternity Everyday

From my recent e-newsletter – read to the bottom and check out the contest:  When you think of Jesus’ call to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), what practices come to mind? Evangelism? Prayer? Service? Study? We speak of the importance of everyday discipleship mostly in terms of making sure we slot time for individual spiritual disciplines like worship, Bible reading, and fellowship. But have you ever considered the way in which our calendar shapes our days or informs our… Read more

Church Leaders: Distrust And Obey?

There are some very good reasons for church leaders not to trust a congregant. Some are obstructionists, determined to resist all change. Others engage in politicking and clique-forming. Still others enter the church with agendas, addictions, or abusive tendencies. There is wisdom in maintaining good boundaries with a member possessing toxic tendencies that must be balanced with the call to shepherd even the balky or difficult sheep, not just the lovable ones. But sometimes distrust originates with a leader. If… Read more

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