Lent began this week in the life of the church. It is a time of preparation and penitence, a time for deep reflection in the depth of winter's cold.
For the last two weeks, I've spent a significant amount of time at the Cokesbury Christian bookstore in Decatur.
Paying attention is a spiritual discipline. When my wife, her family and I lived in South Florida, we teased my mother-in-law about the fact that she claimed to have seen "white goats" at the nearby on-ramp to Interstate 95.
In 1942, the Second World War was raging throughout Europe. During that time, the villagers of a little town of Le Chambone, France, decided to re-define who their neighbors were and save Jewish refugees from Nazi genocide.
I've been writing columns on spiritual disciplines this month.
The Bible assures us that, "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Last autumn, I held a respectful yet heated email and snail mail debate with a family member who saw the importance of taking a stand on certain divisive social issues relevant to the election season.
I hope that you're reading this. If so, that means that the end of the world didn't happen after all.
Last Sunday, Trinity began its annual Christmas liturgy, which includes Christmas music and sermons related to Advent and Christmas.
At the writing of this column -- on the eve of the election -- I do not have any clue who will win the presidential race.
Be faithful to God and you will rise with Jesus Christ.
JOE LAGUARDIA: Whether worship is traditional or contemporary, your relationship with God is most important
It seems that a church's worship style determines congregational attendance these days.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is a good time for advocacy, support, education, and remembrances of survivors and victims of breast cancer.
Aside from some of my favorite times during the Christian year, such as Pentecost and Advent, we here at my church practice another event that has become a favorite: Christival.
In last week's column, I mentioned a question my daughter asked before her great-grandmother's funeral.
Several weeks ago I had the honor of officiating a memorial service for a dearly beloved friend and churchgoer.
If you were to ask me what religious denomination is growing in the United States, I would have guessed the Pentecostals.
There once was a guy named Jairus. He was a real faithful churchgoer and leader in his community.
When was the last time you hosted a tea party and invited a bunny, a doll, a witch, stuffed bears, and your younger brother?
Every now and then I find myself in the office listening to a person who has just passed through a crisis of faith.
Trying to find a new church can be a daunting, overwhelming, and exhausting task. Whether a person is new to the area or simply searching for a new place to worship, finding that "perfect" community takes time and prayer.
Rockdale readers: My guess is that not many young people from the middle and high school crowd read the newspaper, so I need to ask you a favor -- please pass this along to a young person nearest you.
Last week, many communities in the South saw droves of people turn out for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
Throughout the school year, I order my life around the Christian calender. That calendar begins with Advent and ends with Holy Trinity Sunday.
Although parents get tired of hearing it, a child's cry is a miraculous way God helps us figure out what he or she wants.
When I was trying to think of something patriotic to write about for the Fourth of July week, I couldn't think of anything specific.
In the shadow of some recent deaths of important figures in Christendom, such as theologian John Hick and prisoner-turned-prison reformer Chuck Colson, some seasoned saints have been writing about what God has in store for those who are facing the second half of their life's ministries.
For those who follow the Christian calendar, this day stands between Ascension Sunday (Acts 1:1-11) and Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21). It is a time of anticipation and change, a moment between the old life in Jerusalem and the new Commission to go to the ends of the earth.
"Graveyard Shift: A Devotional in Three Acts"
The Christian journey has its ups and downs, peaks and valleys.
This year marks the bicentennial anniversary of the commissioning of North America's first missionary, Adoniram Judson, and his wife, Abigail.
JOE LAGUARDIA: Time-tested tradition of Ash Wednesday reminds us we are human in need of God's grace
The other day I went into a local Christian bookstore and asked if they carried any children's trinkets for Ash Wednesday -- things like stickers and pencils and stuff.
A wise pastor once told me to always have someone to blame. He told me that when I become pastor, always have a secretary to blame. Little did I know he told our secretary to always have a pastor to blame.. He was joking, of course. At least I think
Some preachers put the "bully" in bully pulpit. All of us can tell at least one story of a preacher who said something that went over the line simply because he thought he could say almost anything from the pulpit.. In fact, the pulpit plays such a central role in
My name is Jonah, but some people call me Jonah the Cranky. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I tell people that if they don't get right with God, I'll zap them with His wrath.Did I mention I'm a prophet? Been one my whole life. Once, in third grade
I'm still confused as to why "flip-flopping," or the act of changing one's mind, is such a big deal in American politics. First it was John Kerry in 2004 who was accused of changing his mind (you remember, "I was for the war before I was against it," and so on); now it's GOP front-runner Mitt Romney who's getting all of the accusations.
At worship on Sunday, during communion, I had a chance to reflect on the Great Recession and recent hardships facing Christ's Church in North America. The lousy economy, a growing atheist movement unashamedly spreading the non-gospel of unbelief, waning baptism and attendance records in churches, and weakening denominations confront Christians with various challenges.
One would think that by now the whole "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" movie hype would have died down. After all, the movie -- about vampires and werewolves and centering on a love story involving a girl named Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) -- was released nearly two months ago.
I remember the first time I got a taste of the charismatic movement inspired by the Brownsville and Toronto revivals of the mid-1990s. I was walking into a family friend's healthfood store and interrupted the friend and another person in prayer. She looked up at me and said, "Hi, Joe, we're glad you're here. Come and catch my friend as I pray for her."
I like easy Christmases. You know, a Christmas with little or no fanfare -- simple Christmases with few bumps and issues.I knew trouble was on its way when I found out on Christmas Eve that a lasagna I was baking was the main entree for that evening's supper. To have it as the main course put undo pressure on my Italian cooking skills. It became inconvenient and a burden.
Embedded deep in the book of Revelation -- chapter 12 to be precise -- there is a scene that paints a very different picture of Christmas morning and the birth of Christ. John, the recipient of Jesus' revelation, records a vision in which he sees what appears to be a woman clothed with the sun. She is pregnant and about to give birth.
"And they shall name him Emmanuel" (Matt. 1:23).
There is something in a name. We at Trinity Baptist know a thing or two about the importance of names. Recently, we heard a rumor that Trinity was changing its name to Grace Christian Church. Although the rumor is not true, there is a church by that same name meeting in our building on Sundays after we meet for worship. Their sign on our front lawn is pretty effective, to say the least.
In the Nov. 29 issue of The Christian Century, the Reverend Bill Goetler writes about a homeless man, Danny, whom he befriended one winter season. Bill writes about Danny's comings and goings and their random meetings in the neighborhood.. In their happenstance meetings in the neighborhood, Danny asks for things
Every Christmas season many parishioners go to the their local retail or book stores and wrestle with that all-important question: "What do I get my pastor?" Well, I'm glad you asked.. I can hopefully help you, dear reader, narrow down some great gift ideas for your beloved clergy
I'm sure most of my readers know by now that I am a movie nut. My daughter takes after me, so, now that she is almost 8 years old, I thought it appropriate that we watch one of my favorite childhood movies together, "The Neverending Story.". "The Neverending Story"
I'm sure most of my readers know by now that I am a movie nut. My daughter takes after me, so, now that she is almost 8 years old, I thought it appropriate that we watch one of my favorite childhood movies together, "The Neverending Story."
The new Bible translation, the Common English Bible, published by a variety of mainline Protestant denominations, is said to rival the New Revised Standard Version in accuracy and usage. As readers get deeper into the translation, however, some find a few nuances puzzling or regrettable.
The new Bible translation, the Common English Bible, published by a variety of mainline Protestant denominations, is said to rival the New Revised Standard Version in accuracy and usage. As readers get deeper into the translation, however, some find a few nuances puzzling or regrettable.. One such nuance is the
A recent Christian Century article asks the question as to whether someone can be saved without having to go to church. Although the answer to this seems obvious -- a person can be saved anywhere, lest the Gideons be out of business -- this question is actually more compelling than it might seem at first.Christians talk about the "unchurched," but what do we do about "unchurched" Christians?