John Schultz

John C. Shultz, PhD

By Dr. John Shultz

I wonder how 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 might work as a New Year’s resolution:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

These words of Paul only make sense (and will only be “resolutions kept”) if we have faith to believe that God is able to handle the challenges that will inevitably come our way in 2015.  I’d like to provide you with a bit of perspective that might strengthen your faith in God’s ability.  These are primarily known as cosmological arguments (the view that there is a divine cause of the universe).  While these arguments will not show that Christianity is true or Jesus was God Incarnate who came to rescue us from sin, they do have a lot to say about God’s capability, power and creativity.  They are important enough to be highlighted in numerous scriptures including Psalm 19, Job 38-42 and Romans 1.

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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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dudley-heroBy Dr. Kevin Dudley

It was in 1701 that French military officer Antoine de La Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac along with 51 French-Canadians established a new settlement. North, along the scenic river connecting the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway, Detroit had been the home to Ottawa, Huron, Fox and Miami Native American tribes and was considered to be prime real estate because of the unexploited commercial potential.

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010D Byron

Dr. John Byron

by  Dr. John Byron

2 Thessalonians 1:3-4

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.”

One of my favorite Jimmy Stewart movies is the 1965 film Shenandoah.  Stewart plays a hardworking Virginia farmer trying to take care of his family in the midst of the American civil war. At one point Stewart’s character offers a prayer of thanks at the dinner table. He is not sure why he should be thankful to God since it is not clear to him how God was involved.

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PaulChilcoteby Dr. Paul W. Chilcote

Teresa of Avila: Called to Abiding Prayer. At the same time that Martin Luther was sending shock waves through the life of the church in central Europe, Teresa of Avila was breathing new life into her beloved Carmelite Order in Spain, and ushering in a new era of spirituality and prayer. In her Life, Teresa described prayer in a way that any common person could understand. She used various images related to water. She used the image of fetching water from a well and watering a garden bucket by bucket to describe what she called discursive meditation or intellectual prayer.

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Dr. Paul W. ChilcotePaulChilcote

Perpetua: Called to Costly Discipleship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer coined the term “costly discipleship” in the 20th century, but women lived this calling as early as the first century, like Perpetua, martyred for their faith in Christ. A document entitled The Passion of Perpetua, Felicity, and their Companions is one of earliest and most noteworthy Christian texts outside the Bible. It purports to include Perpetua’s diary, written in prison while she and her companions awaited execution in Carthage, a document similar in many ways to the prison letters of Bonhoeffer. She contemplates the sacrifice she would undoubtedly be called to make because of her unswerving allegiance to Christ.

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