Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Big Picture

Remembering The Big Picture

Over the last couple of weeks Kristi and I have been looking at some houses online that are for sale. A former student of mine is a realtor in Tampa, so he’s been sending us links to homes with a description and pictures. We decided to pick our five favorites, and compare lists and then narrow it down to what we had in common. This quickly turned into me putting my list away and just agreeing to look at the homes on Kristi’s list! Hey, you’ve seen my apartments and her house, so I think I’m making the right move.

We’ve also been looking the homes up on Google Maps (for those of you who are not into computers, it is a program that allows you to locate specific residences and even to see pictures). You can even determine the scale of the map, from as wide as the entire country, to as narrow as a street. You can even click something called “street level” and look around at the houses in the neighborhood. And as you can imagine, homes that look good in their individual descriptions don’t always look as inviting when you expand the picture to include the entire neighborhood.

Over the last few weeks we studied together about the birth of Jesus from the opening chapters of Matthew, a “street-level” view. I want to use the story of Jesus’ birth to illustrate the difference that expanding out to see the big picture can make.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dealing with Discouragement During the Holidays

Dealing with Discouragement During the Holidays

If my Facebook feed was any indication of how the past year went, lots of people really struggled in 2013-
  • Loss of loved ones
  • Personal loneliness
  • Illness or financial setback

Complicating things is the time of year:
  • Dark, cold, gloomy weather has an impact on some worse than others
  • Seeing others enjoy lots of presents if you are short financially, or dealing with the reality of spending more than you had
  • Looking at happy family photos can really make loneliness more acute
  • This is a naturally reflective time of the year, easy to rehash mistakes and setbacks of the previous year

So I want to offer a word of encouragement, just some basic exhortations from Scripture that I hope can help.