Best of the Week for December 18

In Best of the Week we link to a handful of the best articles, videos, books, etc. that we have come across in the last week. We hope this will point you to some of the right places and give you gospel-rich tools and thoughts for life and mission.

Making New Traditions at Advent

“This time of year is rarely clean and easy, but that doesn’t mean we have to abandon all hope of being intentional. Our new Advent tradition offered a place to start and a pattern to build on as our children grow.”

If you want Christmas to be a “milestone” time for your family, with traditions and fond memories, you just have to start somewhere. Don’t expect to hit a bunch of homeruns your first time around, and it’s ok when your plan disintegrates in the face of short-attention kids or awkward moments with your teens. But start somewhere. Start some new traditions, whether they’re reading, singing, helping someone, making things, or whatever works for you. Just make it about Jesus…and have fun.

God Can’t Multiply What You Haven’t Sown

“It’s only as you put what you have in the hands of Jesus that it’s multiplied. We tend to reverse that. Well, IF God multiplies what I have, THEN I’ll give it away. But God says, ‘Give it away, and it will multiply!'”

Sowing is the hard part. We all want God to grow things: our finances, our capacity to give those finances, our time, faith in certain people, and on and on the list goes. And certainly God does unexpected miracles. But the most common way we see God growing things in the Bible starts with people who sow seeds in faith, sometimes not knowing what the outcome will be or if they even have “enough to give” in the first place. But we have to learn to sow in faith and trust the Lord.

Barriers of Brotherhood: Differences and Disagreements

“While we do not always know why God allows things to happen, we can trust he is using all things for our good as he prunes us to bear greater fruit.”

Disagreement is bound to happen among broken people who tend toward self-centeredness. It shouldn’t surprise us, and it’s not something to be paralyzed by. How we approach it and how we treat each other as we work through it are what matters.

Leave Your Secret Sin Behind Today

“Into the dark dungeon of sin, where we followed our desperately sick, sinful desires, came Jesus. Our Creator knew everything about us…and came anyway to rescue us from our hearts by taking the full punishment for our sin and our unholy shame on himself, and offering us his cleanness and holiness instead. And when he did, Jesus made a door — he became the door.”

Secret sin can feel paralyzing and suffocating. But God has made a way out. Though it is not easy, dig your heels in against it TODAY while there is still time.

What Suffering People Wish You Would Do at Christmas

“It’s hard knowing what to say when someone has experienced a great loss. Saying “I’m so sorry” feels trite, so it’s easier just to say nothing. But for those who are suffering, silence hammers the hurt even deeper, especially during the Christmas season when the ache of loss is intensified.”

In the mist of celebration, let’s be sensitive to those around us who are hurting.

Christian Alexa

This is another good piece of satirical genius from John Crist. Maybe you should add this to your Christmas list!

Have a good week.