The Greatest Gift
Moving into Christmas week, we receive the greatest gift of all, God’s very own Son took on human flesh. He lived, ministered, died, and rose again so that we might be right with God. How can it get any better than that? It doesn’t.
My blog gift to you:
One of the blessings of the internet is the ability to connect with people, even though we may never meet face-to-face. I have had the privilege of getting to know several bloggers over the past year. I present their blogs (with links) as my gift to readers. Only one have I met face-to-face, long before computers and the internet. Another one I have spoken to on the phone. One I have had no contact with at all. One lives in one of the largest metro areas in the world, one lives in a rural area, one is a pastor, one is a pastor’s wife. For most of them I have posted comments on their sites, and emailed them at times with followup questions and dialog. These bloggers are different ages, live in different parts of the country, come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but they share the love of Jesus.
I may not always agree with everything they write. I didn’t select these because they have the most hits or because they are deemed “popular.” But one thing they all do: these authors make me pause: to think, ponder, reflect, and even challenge me. Most of them have been through very difficult times; while that causes sorrow, it also brings them alive, so that we see their sorrows, their joys, their frustrations, and eventually more clearly, our God. As a result, I have found each of them very deep and profound in what they offer, sometimes with humor, sometimes with insights into family life, sometimes turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, sometimes with humility that catches us off guard, which calls us to repentance. May you enjoy them as much as I have.
My favorite blogs (not in any particular order):
Life in Limits: What a gem this is! Audra lifts the corners of her life and heart and lets us see a young woman and her family through fresh eyes. I love the title of her blog: “life in limits.” Her subtitle furthers that thought: “finding Him in the ends of us…” Her gift of writing will unfold before your eyes. Don’t pass too quickly over this site, you will be blessed to spend some time reading her thoughts and living in light of something new. Thanks, Audra.
Weedon’s Blog. Rev. Will Weedon serves as an LCMS pastor in southern Illinois. His subtitle speaks volumes: “Homilies, Musings, and What-not from a Lutheran Pastor.” We were seminary classmates, he quite a bit younger than I. But we both have a passion for the Lord. If you have questions about Lutheran liturgy, worship, devotional life, Will is the guy to turn to. He injects his blog with quotes from the early Church Fathers, Reformers, “old” Lutherans, and “recent” Lutherans. You will be greatly blessed by reading with him. Thanks, Will.
Weak and Loved: Emily Cook is a wife to Josh (an LCMS pastor), mother to six little ones, and a writer. I have been following her blog for several months and was immediately attracted to her writing and observations. As we became internet friends, she invited me to read and review her soon-to-be-released book, Weak and Loved. After reading it —in one sitting (yes, many hours in the chair)—my response was Wow!!! What a writer! It was a privilege and delight to read the book—you have to read it. I will be posting a complete review as soon as it is published. Her blog gives us glimpses of life with the eight of them in various situations. Your head will nod, you will smile, and maybe even cry, but you will be affected by Emily’s writing. Thanks, Emily.
Sarah Markley: Sarah has an amazing story to tell, one of brokenness, restoration, and the amazing way that God can work with people. Sarah will not let you sit on the sidelines. When she opens her heart, you will feel as if your own heart has been revealed. Her hurts resonate with all of us in some way. She has also spoken at conferences, and so is widely known, probably much to her surprise and humility. She offers much, so pull up a chair and spend some time reviewing her blog. You will be blessed for it. Thanks, Sarah.
Make Me a Mary: What a pleasant surprise for me to find Amy’s blog, recently redesigned, too. As she writes, “Can a frazzled single mom learn to do life on her own with a crazy schedule and a full-time job, on a shoe-string budget in a messy house full of dogs and kids—and still manage to put God first?” We peek through the windows of her life and see the struggles and challenges of answering that question. Open, honest, and broken, Amy offers the reader a chance to see what real-life is like for someone not living “the traditional family” life. What a blessing it is to read her blog, to see her succeed and fail, then being restored by the Loving Lord Jesus. Spend some time with Amy—she will reward you. Thanks, Amy.
Little Pieces of Ordinary: This is one of the more recent finds in blogging. She recently delivered her third child. The blog title says it all, and gems await you as you read. Her subtitle offers this, “A little grace, a little gratitude, a little ordinary wonder.” This is not the spectacular but life as it is lived by her and her husband and their three children. Her latest post about “Held” is precious. Her blog is worth your time. Maybe because I am a grandpa, I love the little events of “ordinary life” that make life extraordinary. Thanks, Ashley.
Theologia Crucis: Dr. Jack Kilcrease takes us to the other end of the spectrum. You need your thinking cap on to read his blog, and that is a good thing. He is a Lutheran layman, and teaches Theology and Humanities at Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI. He engages current topics that are not limited to responses to evangelicalism or the latest fads. Rather he goes behind the scenes to analyze the underlying theology and thinking that goes on in our world today. He engages readers with a style that is intellectual without being aloof. Thanks, Jack.
One Small Town Girl: Ashlie is a wife and mother of two littles one. Her subtitle is: “Seeking truth in the journey; finding grace in the mess.” What a great description of life in general, for Ashlie in particular. Sometimes her insights catch you unguarded, other times you want to join in “laughing til my sides ache.” Thanks, Ashlie.
There you have it
Each of these have been special to me this past year. I like their varying styles, their wisdom, their brokenness, their turning to God’s grace in the midst of everything. May God continue to bless their writing, their living, and their growing in faith in Jesus Christ.