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Being Christian at Christmas

It’s already December—how did that happen?! Just a minute ago, I was packing a U-Haul to take my son to his new apartment at college, and now I have to finalize my plans for Christmas before it’s too late! As my calendar slowly fills for the month (company holiday party, nonprofit fundraiser, professional networking events, holiday celebration nights out with friends, dinner parties), and I save a few late nights for shopping, wrapping and baking, I wonder, when can I fit in Jesus? Despite attempts to try and simplify the ... Read More »

Expectations for a “Perfect” Christmas

Advent has begun once again. We have returned from our Thanksgiving travels, and the Christmas lights are twinkling throughout the house. I have retrieved my Advent devotionals from their spot on the highest shelf in our bookcase, and here I sit once again pondering the meaning of Advent. Longing. Waiting. Expectation. Mystery. The words of Advent sometimes feel awkward and uncomfortable in our hurried, instant gratification world. With Siri at the ready to answer any question with the push of a button and Amazon available to deliver almost anything to ... Read More »

Giving Thanks: An Act of Self-Care

How do you give thanks when you are feeling low? In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, I lacked my usual enthusiasm, instead passively waiting for Thursday to arrive. Last year, my aunt brought a gratitude journal to dinner to record our collective thoughts. Everyone more-or-less wrote the same things: health, happiness, family and iPhones. But this year my family weathered some severe storms: aggressive cancer treatments, substance abuse and addiction, debilitating depression and anxiety and much more. I expect the mood will be different at dinner ... Read More »

A Celebration of Light

When I grew up in Seoul, Korea, there were war drills. Yes, war drills. On the fifteenth of each month, we had a short 30-minute war drill. Sirens went off, and cars and people had to stop in the middle of the streets, or wherever they were, to hide. Also, there was a special drill at night once or twice a year for an hour when no one was allowed to turn any lights on in their homes. When I was very young, the night drills scared me. My mom, ... Read More »

We Need the Holy Spirit

I am not going to write about the election…Well, not directly anyway. Of course you can’t read anything, listen to the radio or simply talk to people and avoid election talk. Irony is everywhere. On Facebook, I watch as Christian friends reenact SNL’s famous “Point Counterpoint” debate, using sweeping generalities, convenient categorizations and not-so-nice words. I hear stories on the radio about young children who are so upset that their schooling is affected. So what’s my point? I need the Holy Spirit to come and rest on me. The Holy ... Read More »

Rapture-phobia

My theological background includes a checkerboard of Protestant religions. The first third of my life was spent in a Pentecostal church (no, we did not handle snakes). The second third in a Southern Baptist setting (yes, we danced). And eventually I settled into the world of Methodists. The beauty of this history is that I am deeply ingrained with a passion for charismatic worship. Unfortunately, the other element that took hold in my psyche was a slight obsession with the rapture. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, in ... Read More »

Practice Makes Perfect

”Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers ... Read More »

Thank You Cards

I received a thank you recently from a friend. It was an email, probably no more than four to five sentences. I was struck that something so brief could have such an impact. This person shared something I had done that I had forgotten. When I read the note, I realized that not only did my action matter to my friend, but I did as well. Few people demand to have their existence validated, but the smile that came to my face reminded me how nice it is when someone ... Read More »

Finding a True Identity in Christ

I was recently inspired by one of Rev. Tom Berlin’s sermons about gratitude. In the sermon, Tom mentioned that gratitude reflects our spiritual maturity. It’s hard to admit that I need to grow in my spiritual life. Still, I felt challenged to practice gratitude not only during Floris UMC’s sermon series but also throughout my life. I often find that lack of gratitude occurs when I hold a lost or confused identity about who I am and who other people are. Last summer, I had a few months during which ... Read More »

FOG: Fear of Giving

Coffee with the Pastors is a recurring event where the pastors lay out, in very simple terms, what it means to be a part of Floris UMC. As a staff member, I have worked this program several times. In fact, I feel confident in my ability to recite the entire presentation. The message is constant. In order to be a true servant of Christ, you must commit to doing five things: worship, grow, serve, share and give. These pillars of Christian life are not new to me at all. And ... Read More »

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