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Merry Christmas from Jim and Greta

Watching our sanctuary Advent Wreath lit each week with candles signifying love, joy, hope, and peace, has made me realize just how much we all walk around with inward lights of love, joy, hope and peace.

Whether or not you were one of those who got to experiment with matches or candles, or read old words from Isaiah, you wear those Advent lights in your giving, in your smiles, in your hopes that spill over to so many little actions, all of which walk us closer to Christmas.

Advent Devotion - Week Four

Dear Church Family,

Preparing my "week ahead" calendar today has brought into clear focus how close we are to Christmas! Though that realization brings with it a flurry of "Oh, I must still get this"...and "that still needs to be done" thoughts, it also brings some grateful realizations of how much there is to celebrate.

Advent Devotion - Week Three

Should we Celebrate, or look for another?
Isaiah 35. Matthew 11.2-11

Riding up the elevator a few weeks ago mid-Sunday morning someone turned to me and said "It's working!" At first I thought theses words were addressed to the elevator. However, after a few more moments I realized they were talking about the church. They were off to an early start in celebrating our church's theme for these next few months, "celebrating the gift."

1 Corinthians 6: Lawsuits among believers

This chapter is jammed full of stuff to talk about, but I will try to keep it to 2 or 3 major points.

“When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints?” (v1)

This is the first verse of the chapter and Paul is making a claim:
Morality does not come from the legal institutions.
“Is it right and moral?” Is NOT the same thing as asking “is it legal?”

Advent Devotion - Week Two

Greta McDonaldOur younger grandson, 14 months old, is just learning to talk. He's figured out "mama," and surprised his parents last week when, while watching his 3-year-old brother circle the house pretending to be a train, he came up with a second "word" -- "choo-choo." Then, a couple of days ago, as he overheard a Christmas program on television, he added to his verbal repertoire "Ho-Ho-Ho."

Advent Devotion - Week One

Jim McDonaldIsaiah 2:1-5

When we look back into the world of ancient Israel. Into this world of ploughshares and pruning hooks. While It may be that in normal times, life was about plowing and planting and pruning and praying for good weather. However in times of crisis, things took a different shape.

Holiday Homecoming

Dear Family and Friends:

It’s hard to believe we’ll be back in the Midwest in two days! We’re eager to see family and friends, worried about the cost of living in the U.S. for five weeks, and a little stressed to leave our Copa home and our work here.

1 Corinthians 5

1 Corinthians 5

[Note to the reader: In this chapter Paul talks about some intense, possibly crude, topics – if it may offend or bother you, maybe don’t read this]

A man having sex with his mother (or possibly step-mother). Dude. Eww.

This is the first issue Paul chooses to address. The Greek term is “porneia” which the NRSV translates as “sexual immorality.” Apparently, there is a man who is “living with his father’s wife.” Paul doesn’t tell us who the man is, but focuses on the people of Corinth and their response instead.

1 Corinthians 4

1 Corinthians, Chapter 4.

Many translations of the bible split this into two simple sections: v1-13 and v14-21.

v1-13
This section is all about the ministry of the Apostles. If you’ve been following along with the previous blog posts, this has been a reoccurring theme from the beginning. (DRAMA!)

However, Paul makes some amazing points throughout these verses.

Face to face with Evo and a bloqueo in 24 hours

Flags

I’d just finished teaching my Saturday English class when our local pastor, Juan Paz, surprised Jeff and me with an invitation to the 100th anniversary of the Instituto Americano, a very prestigious Methodist K-to-12 school, in Cochabamba.

It was clearly a “you-must-come” kind of invitation. The Bolivian Bishop, Javier Rojas, would officiate. And Bolivian President Evo Morales, a close pal of the bishop’s, might make an appearance! So we said Sure, we’d be delighted to attend.

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