Written by Rick Houseknecht Monday, 29 December 2014 00:00

Most people appreciate humility when they see it in others. It is refreshing to hear examples of highly successful people who are “down to earth.” Can any such thing be said of the Supreme Being?

God Down to Earth

Absolutely, and more. One of my favorite psalms is 113, in which the poet calls people to extol YHWH in all places and at all times. What makes the Lord so great, so incomparable? He is both distinctive and down to earth: “Who is like YHWH our God, who makes high his seat, who makes low his look, in the heavens and on the earth?” (vv 5-6).

God’s downward look implies action: “Raising the poor from the dust, lifting the oppressed from the ash heap to seat them with princes… seating the barren woman of the household as the joyful mother of children..” (vv 7-9). Some of the “lifted up” and “seating” language describing God’s glory in verses 4 and 5 is applied to his work of exalting the lowly in verses 7-9. It is a recurring theme in Israel’s history that YHWH stoops down to raise up his people.


Written by Susan Disston Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

Advent is a period of waiting that is built into many church calendars for the purpose of focusing attention on the birth of Christ. In sermons, carols, and songs, Christians are reminded of why Jesus came into the world, echoing Zechariah’s song:

And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you shall go before the Lord to prepare the way, to give God’s people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:68-79)

Our world is anything but peaceful.


Written by Charles Zimmerman Monday, 22 December 2014 00:00

Nothing like the Christmas season stresses us out and overloads our lives. Into our already busy lives we add shopping expeditions, meals with family, office parties, extra church services, decorating the house, finding the perfect tree, baking cookies…

A few years ago, I read a time-test that assessed how out of control our lives are and things haven’t gotten any better. I know you don’t have much time to actually mark your answers to the quiz, so just keep track in your mind – yes or no.


Written by R. Todd Mangum Friday, 19 December 2014 00:00

An old superstition says that bad things happen in threes.

I don’t believe in that superstition – but I nonetheless am chilled by the slaughter of innocents this past week that occurred in three horrifying acts. First, there was the news of the Taliban in Pakistan reviving their notoriety for terrorism by carrying out a military style attack on a school, deliberately targeting and killing 132 children. Meanwhile, Boko Haram in Nigeria went on another rampage, again killing andtargeting women and children for kidnapping into sex slavery.

Then, as though to underscore that such terrors are not just in distant lands far away, right here in my home town of Souderton, a man, allegedly in a nasty custody fight with his ex-wife, murdered six people (including the children’s mother right in front of them), before fleeing to the woods and taking his own life

“Come on, God. Why must such horrors happen – at Christmas time no less?” I find myself praying.


Written by Philip Monroe Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

In sex trafficking, as with any scourge, there are two sides to choose from. Either you are on the side of the victims, or you are on the side of the traffickers. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to think that readers of this blog have already chosen to be on the side of protecting, defending, and freeing victims of sex trafficking.

The Well

But wait a minute, not so fast.

There is a way that believers can unknowingly choose the side of the traffickers. Complicity. To be complicit is to enable another to commit a crime. Some forms of complicity are intentional. We might allow a criminal to use our car to rob a bank. Others are unintended, but nonetheless result in aiding the criminal. We might know that abuse is happening in the house next door, but we turn away from what is happening, pretending not to know that someone is being harmed.

Sex trafficking happens in the Delaware Valley


Written by David Lamb Monday, 15 December 2014 09:21

Here’s my one sentence review — Exodus: Gods and Kings was better than expected, and less weird than Noah.

Exodus Movie

(Despite the weirdness, I liked Noah. In terms of the main point of Genesis 6-9 — God’s judgment on human violence — it was more true to the text than most of the crap we feed our children about Noah’s ark, and I’m not just talking about “twosies, twosies.” But I digress.)

Before going to see Exodus (released December 12, 2014), I decided to check out RottenTomatoes.com. The film was at 28%. Not good. We decided to go anyway, but with expectations sufficiently lowered.

If you’re interesting in film-making artistry, I will let you read other reviews. As a Bible guy, I will address two questions.


Written by Dr. Kyuboem Lee Friday, 12 December 2014 10:36

You may never have heard of the Homogeneous Unit Principle, but chances are your church life has been profoundly shaped by it.

Homogeneous Unit Principle

HUP is a key observation of the Church Growth Movement (which enjoyed its heyday in the latter half of the last century) that congregations which focus and tailor their ministry efforts on one homogeneous people group tend to grow numerically the fastest. Perhaps not surprisingly, somewhere along the way HUP transformed from just an observation and a description into a prescription, a strategic principle for churches who sought to grow numerically and for new congregations being planted. One could argue that many of the newer church plants of the last couple of decades were directed by the spirit of HUP.


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