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Theological Insights from Southwestern

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Lessons from my Dad

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I was blessed to have my dad when I was growing up. Not only that, I also knew both of my grandfathers (since one fought at Utah Beach and the other was on Guadalcanal, that was not a given). Not everybody is as blessed as I was. Today, many boys (through no fault of their own) grow up with no dad in sight. Because of that situation, these boys are put at a great disadvantage. One of the true treasures of my childhood was the father-son relationship with my dad. I watched him. I copied him. I learned from him. All other men were measured against him. From an early age, I wanted to be a man like Dad. Read More »

The Perfect Gift for Christ

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The excitement of Christmas is in the air. There is a buzz around all of the holiday activities, Christmas parties, family gatherings and of course, shopping for gifts. Finding the right gifts for extended family can be a real challenge. Questions abound. “Is it Aunt Martha or Aunt Judy that is allergic to nuts?” “Did we give Cousin Billy socks last year?” “How many kids do the Smiths have now?” “Is their youngest a boy or a girl?” Conclusion: it can be really hard to find the perfect gift for someone when you hardly know them. Read More »

How the Birth of Jesus Fulfills the Old Testament

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During the Christmas season, a few Old Testament passages are quoted regularly as prophecies concerning Christ’s birth: Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:2, among others. It is clear that Jesus fulfills these kinds of prophecies. However, is there a larger sense in which Jesus fulfills the Old Testament, not just single prophecies? What I hope to show is how Jesus fits into the larger message of the Old Testament in such a way that He fulfills it. Read More »

Evangelism Opportunities Abound at Christmas

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Christmas offers multiplied opportunities for evangelism. The Christmas season lasts longer than other holidays and involves more activities. What a thrill that the attention of much of the world focuses on Christ’s birth. Great Commission Christians must not miss these opportunities to evangelize during Christmas. I’d like to offer some principles of Christmas evangelism and organize them around three personalities of Christmas. Read More »

Christmastime and Traditions

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Just the word “Christmas” typically generates warm feelings and memories: hot wassail, snowy weather, gift shopping, and most importantly Jesus’ birth. For parents and grandparents, it is important to establish family traditions during the Christmas season emphasizing our Savior. What family traditions did your family practice during your childhood? Are these traditions ones you want to pass down to your children? What traditions do you want to begin? Read More »

What should Christians do with Santa?

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A family friend told me a story of how a while back his child approached him with the following conundrum, “Dad, I believe in Jesus, even though I cannot see him, but I don’t know about Santa because I cannot see him either.” I was struck by the child’s confusion and by the parent’s dilemma. Later, as I reflected on the story, I wondered how Christian is it to go along with Santa. Some people may go over the top, but Santa himself should be harmless, right? Surely, the merry old myth doesn’t undermine the Gospel story. Read More »

Clarity In Your Christmas Preaching

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In my 28 years as a pastor, one of my most harrowing and challenging, yet exhilarating, assignments was that of preaching the message of Christmas. How does one even remotely begin to do justice to the mysterious wonder and glorious majesty of God becoming flesh as a baby born in Bethlehem? Though it remains a staggering prospect, preaching strong, text-driven sermons during the Christmas season likely has never been more important than it is now. Read More »