Advent Day 3 – Good News for November 30

30 11 2010

St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 10:9-13

Brothers and sisters,

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.

The Scripture says, No one who believes in him will be put to shame. There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

The Daily Path: Remember your best friend from childhood? Have you lost touch over the years with that someone who was once joined to your hip? Has a silly squabble kept you apart? Imagine the joy that could be rekindled through a simple outreach. No strings attached. The gift of friendship is more valuable than anything in the Neiman Marcus catalog. Forgive and forget this season of Advent.





Advent Day 2 – Good News for November 29

29 11 2010

Matthew 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”  He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

The Daily Path: In today’s Advent Calendar window, I’m sending you a reminder of the wonderful gift of companionship. What could we offer to the residents of a local care facility? Imagine someone’s parent sitting all alone through this season. How can we light a smile on a lonely face?





Advent Day 1 – Good News for November 28

28 11 2010

Matthew 24: 37-44

Jesus said to his disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

The Daily Path: The first Sunday of Advent is here! Time to head to the mall and start shopping for… GOTCHA!

To help us prepare for the real Christmas, the birth of Our Lord, I’m going to provide a GNTG! Advent Calendar. Perhaps it will help remind us of the true purpose in these next 28 days. Maybe it will act as an aspirin to ease the headache that can be brought on by the holiday rush. It’s also my Christmas gift to all of you, my dear friends, who walk with me on the journey home to God.

ADVENT – Day One: Family

Reflect on a moment in your life when family brought JOY.





Potholes – Good News for November 27

27 11 2010

Luke 21:34-36

Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

The Daily Path: Note to Management: “I would appreciate  large “Road Under Repair” signs be installed at regular intervals along this journey.”

Maybe it’s just my driving, but I seem to hit a lot of the potholes that frequent this highway. It’s not just the obvious vices that line the road, equally dangerous is the spiritual lethargy that sometimes trips us. It’s not unlike Thanksgiving dinner. You hit the table running, filled with enthusiasm and joy. Then 20 minutes after you stuff yourself, you’ve had enough family engagement and fall asleep on Aunt Winnie’s shoulder, deep in a turkey comma.

The spiritual journey has distractions. There are peaks and valleys. Sometimes I feel very close to God. Other times I’m in the back row dosing off. We’re not perfectly enlightened beings. We’re not Porsches speeding along the Autobahn able to reach our destination in a few hours. We’re more like Russian made Volgas, spitting out black exhaust, losing hubcaps and tailpipes with each pothole hit, as we creep ever closer to home on the back alleys of Leningrad.

At the very least I need to aspire to drive out of the potholes, keep my engine chugging along – one filling station at a time. It’s never easy, but I’ll get there.





Thanksgiving 2010 – Good News for November 26

26 11 2010

Luke 21:29-33

Jesus told his disciples a parable.

“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

The Daily Path: I hope you were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with family, friends or someone important in your life. I know that wasn’t possible for many. I couldn’t help but think of someone sitting alone with their shopping cart underneath a freeway. Only vague memories of happier times and the rumble of traffic overhead to keep them company.

I was fortunate to break bread twice with family members. Once on Wednesday night with my wife’s side of the family and again yesterday, with my parents. Both provided joy and reminded me of our bounty. With each came a sense of warmth and well being in the state of family relations. The blossoms are open and revealing their beauty and sweet fragrance. Yet we know that from time to time this will not be the case. There will be disagreements that will break a family into fragments. Perhaps next year not all who gathered this season will be together – feeling anger or harboring a hurt perceived to have been caused by one who just a few short months ago passed the pumpkin pie with great affection.

Today’s reading reminds me that the joy of God will never pass. It’s a permanent fellowship that will withstand beyond time and Grandma’s turkey dinner. I must hold it close when all others falter.





Courage in the Face of… Friends? – Good News for November 24

24 11 2010

Luke 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd, “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.

Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

The Daily Path: I’m reminded of something that I have touched on here in GNTG and among the fellowship of my men’s spirituality group. How often are we afraid to bring up our faith in the midst of those we consider to be “friends”, let alone people we interact with to a lesser degree?

Even some of my best friends would give me the eye roll and move quickly to a conversation transition. I accept this and would never hammer them with the evangelical thunder of a tent revivalist. (Actually, now that I think of it, that would kind of funny to see the look on their faces as I chase them around the room, out the door, and down the street, bellowing, “Hallelujah, brother! Don’t run from the LORD! Come back!” LOL)

My point here is that while we may never have to face physical pain or death for upholding our faith, perseverance is needed through other more common trials. Perhaps more painful than imprisonment is the isolation that might be caused for our willingness to openly give testimony to our faith and spiritual journey. This is where another of Christ’s promises comes into play: I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.





Not Just Coin – Good News for November 22

22 11 2010

Luke 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

The Daily Path: We can give from our wallet or we can give of ourselves. Certainly both types of giving are needed. Jesus points to monetary giving in this example but I think the message is broader than just coin. I’ve found that “being there” for someone in a time of great need can provide incalculable value. I’ve been on the receiving side and can tell you from my own experience that when things seem darkest receiving a note from a friend, an invitation for coffee, or a friendly call, can dig you out of the depths like nothing else. This type of genuine outreach keeps you going when the weight of the world feels squarely on your shoulders.

This week, as we prepare to gather as family and give thanks, perhaps it’s time to think about making one of those calls. Who can we share our spiritual wealth with? Who’s feeling alone or bearing the great weight of worry? Who could benefit from a little joy? Friends, I think our horn of plenty comes in all shapes and sizes. See what can be shared from your pantry of love.