Jodi Watson-portraitBy Dr. JoAnn Ford Watson

Theological Education is being formed in the love of Jesus for service in His Kingdom. Jesus is the Great Teacher and Instructor of our souls. Theological education is training in the wisdom, knowledge, and love of God.

Jesus touches our lives and transforms us by His grace through the work of the Holy Spirit. Our Christian calling is to attune ourselves to Jesus and his divine love and grace at work in our lives. It is to learn how to respond to the workings of His Spirit active in our lives of ministry.

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MichaelGoldsmithBy Rev. Michael Goldsmith

This is a good time to stop for a minute, get yourself a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate for the non-coffee drinkers), find a quiet spot, pull up a chair and let God give you a Christmas present to last a lifetime.  There are many incredible gifts hidden in the Christmas story, but the one I want to share with you is God’s gift of trust.

Who among us hasn’t at times wondered where God is or if God cares when things are out of hand?  Certainly Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, had to wonder.  In Matt. 1, he’s been hit with the news that Mary, his future wife, is expecting a child and the unbelievable part of the story is that this child is the son of God.  In verse 19 we read, “when (Joseph) had considered this…” Can you imagine him up at night?  Four times in these first 2 chapters of Matthew, the chapters of the Christmas story, Joseph has a dream where God speaks to him.  Each time, God is giving Joseph the gift of trust.  There are four ways God builds trust in our lives.  Let me share them with you.

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Glenn BlackBy Glenn Black

It seems that each year as the advent season approaches my memories immediately take me to December 1986 when I had the pleasure of singing Bach’s Magnificat Fugue with the Ashland University Choir.  The music is as joyful, anxious, and reflective as the lyric itself.  You can see and listen to the beauty of this piece of art by clicking here.

As most of the readers are aware, the Magnificat is Mary’s prayerful response to the new of the angel Gabriel: she was to give birth to a son, the Son, the promised Messiah.  The prayer as recorded in Luke 1.46-55 begins with the words “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  This text is often seen reflected in the meek and humble “Mary” that we see in Christmas pageants and nativity scenes.

In Advent 2014 my heart is less warmed by this Mary and more burdened by the words she spoke in verses 51-53. Continue reading

lutz-bioBy Dr. Mary Lutz

Recently, I helped a friend from church complete a challenging jigsaw puzzle.  In doing so, I was reminded of a phone call I received a few years ago from an area pastor.  He had been working on a puzzle and had effectively reached an impasse.  With roughly 70 pieces to go, he was having difficulty completing the bigger picture.

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