The heart of the wise teaches his mouth,
And adds learning to his lips.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:23-24
An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends. Proverbs 16:27-28
Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith
Christianity is in a transition, at least in North America. Some fear that the faith once delivered to the saints is being watered down with cheap grace or corrupted by bad doctrine. Any given week, one can find some preacher on the Internet declaiming the way other churches are giving in to low standards and abandoning cherished truth, all in an effort to be culturally relevant. But this is not the transition I see happening in the church.
Several brave people received their moments of fame in 2016. The film Sully was about Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed a jet on the Hudson River in 2009 and saved all 155 people on board. I cried at the theatre as I watched Tom Hanks portray Sully’s methodical completion of the feat, and I marveled at his resolve not to leave the sinking plane until all passengers were evacuated.
Christmases of my childhood were magical and full of meaning. At the beginning of Advent each year, we dug special books out of the attic, and my mom read them aloud to my brother and me over and over again. From My Bible Friends’ Bethlehem story — “clip-clop-clip-clop went little donkey’s hooves” — to tales of lonely, misunderstood trolls wishing for someone to love rather than fear them. Each day we opened a window or door of our Advent calendar village.
The Christmas season is all about journeys. People are traveling in order to be home with family. Kids are heading to the grandparents' house. College campuses are abandoned ghost towns.
The Christmas story itself is full of journeys. Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem because of the census. The angels traveled from heaven to tell the shepherds about Jesus’ birth. The shepherds traveled to the manger. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus all traveled to Egypt to escape Herod’s death sentence.
But the most famous journey of all is that of the wise men.
My three-year-old son found the first booklet on a bench outside our local theater. Then, excitedly, he discovered another one on the next bench over. He kept going. On each bench at our shopping center, someone had dropped paperback copies of “The Hero of Hacksaw Ridge” by Booton Herndon, postscript by Doug Batchelor. It was opening night of Mel Gibson’s biopic Hacksaw Ridge, featuring Adventist non-combatant Desmond Doss.
If Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson had been New Testament scholars instead of country music singers, they probably would have used a different word than “cowboys” in their Grammy Award winning duet of an Ed and Patsy Bruce ballad.
“Mamas,” they might have crooned for a 1st century version, “don’t let your babies grow up to be church leaders…
They ain’t easy to love and harder to hold…
Them that don’t know ‘em won't like them
and them that do, sometimes won't know how to take ‘em.”