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Why Did God Wait to Tell Joseph?

Pastor’s Column 4th Sunday of Advent December 22, 2019 We are all familiar with the story: an angel appears to the Virgin Mary, requesting her permission to receive the Son of God within her. It is indeed the most awesome moment of human history. Mary is troubled by the greeting of the angel. She quickly ponders some of the implications of what she has just heard. She’s going to have a child and the child will be the son of God. Perhaps, as she pondered, Mary asked questions like this: “What about Joseph? Who will tell Joseph? What will I say to Joseph? Will he believe me?” I find it intriguing that the angel Gabriel does not immediately go to Joseph to explain the situation after Ma

Our Unexpected God

Pastor’s Column 3rd Sunday of Advent December 15, 2019 John in his prison cell sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come or are we to wait for another? From Matthew 11:2-11 In today’s gospel, Jesus does not meet John the Baptist’s expectations. Do you ever feel God has let you down? John did! Suddenly, John finds himself in prison by Herod for preaching the truth, and Jesus has not acted quite the way he had expected the Messiah to act. Jesus, who has been proclaiming he would “set the prisoners free,” has not only made no effort to free John, but apparently has not even visited his cousin. Jesus, of course, has come to set us spiritually free. John preached fire

I am Here to Grow and to Serve

Pastor’s Column 2nd Sunday of Advent December 8, 2019 John the Baptist was unique. The people of Israel had not seen an Old Testament prophet for centuries but they did recognize the real thing when they heard him. People were coming from all over to hear Jesus – and this included many Scribes and Pharisees – the religious leaders of their day. John wasn’t afraid to tell it like it was! But preaching like this got him in trouble pretty fast. John, too, would soon be a prisoner in a jail for speaking the truth once too often. John the Baptist compares our lives on earth to an orchard in today’s gospel (Matthew 3:1-12). We, in the Willamette Valley, are blessed with numerous orchards. Acc

Will You Be Caught By Surprise?

Pastor’s Column First Sunday of Advent December 1, 2019 “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know the time when he will come… What I say to you, I say to all: watch!” Mark 13:33–37 Christ advises us to always be on the watch because we do not know when he’s going to show up in our lives, when he is going to act in our lives or when our life is going to come to an end. What Christ does promise us is that we are almost certainly going to be surprised. The first job that I had at American Airlines many years ago was as a “reservation sales agent”. This was a tough job that paid well with great benefits, but I was very anxious to get a better position with the company. At that time, I was answerin

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