Here is my 2018 list of books I have read. My goal was 100, so I made it!
- Andrew Jackson: Miracle of New Orleans – Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager
- Child of Mine – Dave and Beverly Lewis
- Killing England – Bill O’Reilly
- Minding the Manor: A Memoir of a 1930s English Kitchen Maid – Mollie Moran
- Grunt: the Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
- Mathew Brady:Portraits of A Nation by Robert Wilson
- Yoga For Anxiety by Mary and Rick Nurries Stearns
- Autism Handbook for Parent: Facts and Strategies for Parent Success by Janice E. Janzen
- When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women for 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins
- Surrender by Wayne Schmidt
- Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington 1848-1868 by Cokie Roberts
- The Autism Book by Robert W. Sears MD, FAAP
- The Roosevelts by Geoffrey C Ward and Ken Burns
- The Games by David Goldblatt
- The Complete Photo to Cardmaking by Judi Watanabe
- The Reason I Jump but Naoki Higashida
- The Public library by Robert Dawson
- Captive in Iran by Maryan Rostampour and Marziyeh Amiradeh
- Grace Points by Jane Rubietta
- The History Buff’s Guide to President’s by Thomas R. Flagel
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- Fire and Fury Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
- A Short World History of Christianity by Robert Bruce Mullin
- A Call to Mercy: Hearts to , Hands to Serve by Mother Teresa
- Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts
- Harriet Tubman:The Road to Freedom by Carherine Clinton
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
- Loving Someone with PTSD by Aphrodite T. Matsakis PHD
- Carole King by Carole King
- The Card Catalog
- The Lost Tudor Princess: the Life of Lady Margaret Douglas by Alison Weir
- Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Walking by Henry David Thoreau
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
- Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
- Sing by keith and Kristyn Getty
- This Is What A Librarian Look Like by Kyle Cassidy
- A Higher Loyalty by James Comey
- The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener by Tammi Hartung
- The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone
- Autopsy of A Deceased Church by Thom S. Rainer
- Buffalo Bills by Sal Maiorana
- The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
- Diners, Drive- Ins, Diver by Guy Fieri
- The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
- The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner
- Along Chautauqua Lake by Karen E Livsey and Dorothy E Levin
- My Bondage and my Freedom by Frederick Douglass
- I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard
- How To Eat a Poem by The American Poetry ( one of them I did not read because it was in another language)
- Really Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs
- The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
- FallingWater Rising by Franklin Toker
- Sojourner Truth narrative of Sojourner Truth
- The Homing Instinct by Bernd Heinrich
- The Facts on World Religions by John Ankerberg, John Weldon and Dillon Burroughs
- Thirty Days With My Father by Christal Presley, PHD
- Great Lakes Warships 1812-1815
- Those Incredible Women of World War II by Karen Zeinert
- The Kelloggs The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek Howard Markel
- A walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
- Under His Wings and Other Place of Refuge by Patsy Clairmont
- Kelly Tough by Erin and Jill Kelly
- Code Girls by Liza Mundy
- The Truth About Islam and Jihad by John Ankerber and Emir Caner
- The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking
- Inside Syria by Reese Erlich
- Bobby Kennedy by Chris Matthew
- The Smithsonian Book of the First Ladies Edith P. Mayo, General Editor
- The Briefing by Sean Spicer
- The Monopolists by Mary Pilon
- Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton
- Fill Up, Pour Out by Mark O. Wilson
- Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Dooerr
- Revolve: A New Way to See Worship by Nelson Searey and Jason Hatley with Jannifer Dykes Henson
- Reunited in the Desert:How I Risked Everything to See My Children by Amin Helle
- Dunkirk by Diane Ank-asik
- The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis
- Eight Days by Matthew Goodman
- 50 Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food by Susan Albers
- Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
- The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
- Chautauqua Institution by Kathleen Crocke and Jane Currie
- Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt
- The Proving by Beverly Lewis
- Good Sports by Jack Prelutsky and Chris Raschka
- Then Levy Said to Kelly by Jim Gehman
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- Herb Gardening by Melissa Snyder
- Fear by Bob Woodward
- Yoga for Pain Relief by Kelly McGongal PHD
- 10 Simple Solutions to Chronic Pain by Blake H. Tearnan PHD
- Modern Holiday by Amanda Murphy
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley
- Then Sing My Soul by Robert J. Morgan
- You’ll Get Through This; Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado
- Finding Your Dreams: From Famine to Feast the Life of Joseph by Jane Rubietta
- Don”t Make Me Pull Over by Richard Ratay
- Susanna Wesley:servant of God by Sandy Dengler
- Hanukkah in America by Dianne Ashton
- The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek
Good evening on this last Sunday of 2018. It’s hard to believe the year is just about over. On Tuesday, we will be going over to our friends at the Methodist Church and getting some pork & sauerkraut to begin the year.
It has been a good week since last Sunday. On Monday, we had a good Christmas Eve service. We did something called a Service of the Nativity. We combined the nativity readings with songs. The service finished with us singing Silent Night and lighting candles. As a point of interest, Christmas Eve was the 200th anniversary of the first performance of Silent Night.
Christmas morning we were up early to go to my mom and dad’s in Allentown, PA. It was a good time. We got to spend some good time with them and then we also did some shopping – we took them out for their anniversary – the next day we hit up some of our favorite eating places – Yocco’s and Chick-fil-A. Friday we had some of the warmest weather since Thanksgiving. We arrived home to no snow – although the weather cooperated and we had a dusting this morning.
Today we had a good service as we celebrated that God is among us. I have enjoyed leading the musical worship over the last few weeks. Following worship, we headed over to the Bradford Ecumenical Home and led a worship service there.
Besides that, Anna and I have been working our way through the Star Wars saga. We have seen Episodes 1, 2, 3 and just finished 3.5. Tomorrow we watch the film that got it all started.
We are looking forward to our children and grandchildren’s visit this week. So we are preparing for that. And that about brings me to the end. Have a great week.
First Sunday of Christmas
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
First Sunday of Christmas
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival.When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual.After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant.
Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
Luke 2:41-52 New Living Translation (NLT)
This account of Jesus at twelve years old is the only boyhood account we have of Jesus’ life. Luke tells us about Jesus birth and then his dedication. For the most part, the Gospel writers pick-up Jesus’ life and ministry when he begins his public ministry, namely his baptism.
Luke gives us an idea that Jesus was a normal human boy except that he seemed to have extraordinary knowledge for a twelve year old. I can only imagine the panic in Mary and Joseph when the found out that Jesus wasn’t traveling with other family in the caravan. It took them three days to find Jesus. They backtracked to Jerusalem and found Jesus sitting among the teachers of the law – not only listening – but asking questions – and they were amazed.
I think the frantic and panic shows up in Mary’s voice, “Why have you done this to us?” It reminds me of a story from sixth grade:
I’ll never forget many years ago, I was sitting in music class in sixth grade. Even then I loved music. We had a substitute that day, but she knew about music and was teaching us about theme and variation, using Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. She was playing the different variations, an unknown to me, I was humming along, but not the melody – the harmony – without music in front of me. To me this was a natural thing and I didn’t even realize I was doing it, when the teacher asked the class, “Who is doing that?” She looked right in my direction. I was one of those kids who kept his nose clean even when we had a substitute. She asked me, “Do you know what you are doing?” Really, you’re asking me…I’m sitting innocently listening to you, my thoughts. She said, “You’re humming. Do you know what you’re humming.” Singing harmony was very natural to me, so I had no idea what she was getting at. She said, “You’re singing harmony!” I already knew that, but was glad I was off the hook. She told the class what I was doing was humming an alternate part and she used it as part of the lesson.
Jesus probably didn’t even realize what was happening – He was so in the moment that he didn’t realize that he had upset his parents. He tried to explain, but then was obedient and returned with his earthly parents.
I think this is a great example of the humanity of Jesus – Jesus who was fully God and yet, he was a normal twelve year old boy. Many years ago, the Wesleyan Church had something called CYC or Christian Youth Crusaders. It was like Pioneer Girls or Brigade Boys. Our theme in CYC was found in the last verse of our passage today and a reminder that we need to grow in our discipleship, even as Jesus did…
Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.Luke 2:52
Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born this day of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Christmas Day | December 25, 2018
In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
John 1:1-14 New Living Translation (NLT)
While this morning is not a nativity text in the usual sense, it does tell the story of Jesus coming to earth. John tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. If you’ve been following along our our #adventarrival on Facebook and Instagram, you will have seen that today’s picture is a picture of the planet Venus, just as dawn is breaking over the hills of Eldred. We have had a particularly gloomy fall. Since October, we have only had about 15 sunny days – and that includes days with mostly filtered sunshine. However, last week we had several crystal clear mornings. On one of those mornings I captured this shot.
Our cellphone doesn’t have the best camera, but it did capture Venus in all of its glory. To quote from our devotional thought for tomorrow:
“Even when all is dark – such as late at night during a power outage, even one candle can light up a whole room. Light always wins over darkness. The light of Christ dwells, or tabernacles among us – in Christ, God has set up shop in our midst so that God may work among us, as one of us in Christ Jesus.#adventarrival
What a great thought as I write this in the pre-dawn darkness on Christmas morning. Jesus came to be the light of the world – to dwell within us. Jesus (God’s son) is not watching us from a distance, but is here wanting to work in us. Jesus came to overcome the darkness. What darkness is in your life this morning that you could use Jesus’ help to overcome? Go to him in prayer. As you worship the baby born in a manger today, give thanks for the ways that Jesus has overcome the darkness.
O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.Amen.
Christmas Eve | December 24, 2018
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Luke 2:8-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
Earlier today, we looked at Luke’s account of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and how Jesus was born. This evening we look at the 2nd half of Luke’s nativity account.
I can only imagine being out in the fields at night. When we think of angels – we think of the word “angelic.” However, I believe that angels were quite scary – after all – in the accounts of angels meeting humans, their first words are “Do not be afraid!” I guess I think of angels looking like the angels in “The Bible” miniseries – Ninja Angels. I mean after all angels are part of God’s army. Angels were and still are scary creatures. Most shepherds were young – like David – and they were the lowest of the low on the social scale. And yet, God chooses to announce the birth of God with us to the shepherds first – and they are the first ones to go see Jesus.
As we concluded this morning we looked at the last thing the angels departed from the shepherds. When the angels leave, the shepherds decide to go check out the birth of the baby. They are the most socialized people, so I sure they go stumbling into town – waking all the people – looking for a baby. When they finally find him, they are amazed…As they leave the manger – the leave town and tell everyone about the birth of Jesus and the people are amazed. What a great story. Several weeks ago, I talked about the shepherds in my message. Were the people amazed at the shepherd’s story because it was a great story – after all, who doesn’t like a great story- – or were they amazed because they believed what the shepherds said. Christ the Savior of the world is born this night. He desires to have a relationship with you.
What does the Christmas story mean to you? Are you amazed because it is a great story, or because Jesus really is the Savior of the world? Think about it.
The year 1968 was a turbulent year in the United States. MLK, Jr. was assassinated, as was Bobby Kennedy. It was the year of the riots during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. As the year came to a close there was a wonderful bright spot. Apollo 8 when to the moon and orbited. It was the furthest distance any human had traveled in space and the first time any human had orbited another celestial body besides the earth. On Christmas Eve 1968 the crew of Apollo 8 gave this Christmas Eve message.