Feature Articles

Dec 16, 2014

Advent Church: A Ritual for Today

For many Christians, we experience the same rhythm in our worship services each week we go to church. Kevin DeYoung lists the typical program: (1) Casual welcome and announcements, (2) Stand up for 4-5 songs, (3) During the set, or at the very end, add a short prayer, (4) Sermon,...Read more +
Dec 16, 2014

Advent Hope: Redeeming the Time

The woman at the coffee bar taps her nails in a staccato rhythm. She turns to me and says, half with irritation, half in apology, “I just ordered a cappuccino. You wouldn’t think it would take so long,” then added, “Sorry to hold you up.” She seemed frustrated and embarrassed...Read more +
Dec 15, 2014

Advent Church: Is the Era of Mega-Ministries Ending?

by Skye Jethani
Ordering a coffee used to mean answering two questions: “Regular or decaf?” and “Black or cream and sugar?” Today Starbucks offers over 87,000 different drink combinations. For decades marketing gurus have said people want choices because customization empowers the individual. But when facing a menu with thousands of drink options,...Read more +
Dec 12, 2014

Advent Church: Celebrating St. Nicholas

by Micha Boyett
On December 6 th when my anxious nature woke me early, demanding I scrub the bathroom, order my nieces and nephews their presents from Amazon, and address my Christmas cards, I rebelled. Instead, I let my kids dress themselves in sweats, put some coffee in the pot, and opened the...Read more +
Dec 12, 2014

Advent Church: Rhythms Make Us Wait for God

Every Christmas Eve throughout childhood until I left home, my family clicked through the same ritual. Timing our departure so he could create the maximum challenge and adrenaline, my dad would rush (with me tagging along to watch the insanity) to Cox’s department store where he would commence his gift...Read more +
Dec 12, 2014

Advent Church: God with Us in Jesus

Every church creates its own culture—a blend of leaders, congregations, neighborhood, city, state and nation, along with language(s) spoken and theological orientation … and we can add music sung and translations sanctioned all the way down to the “right way” to end a public prayer. Some church cultures are blazingly...Read more +
Dec 14, 2014

God's Greatest Gift

In C. S. Lewis’ beloved story The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe , the land of Narnia is under an evil curse. It is always winter, but never Christmas. Only Aslan, the great lion who created Narnia, can break the spell. When Aslan finally comes to Narnia, so does...Read more +
Dec 5, 2014

Advent Hope: Staying Afloat

In the past several months, many of my closest friends have found themselves in the darkest of circumstances, hopeless situations not only missing easy answers but void of answers altogether. I’ve listened to laments of marriage hurts that just won’t heal, unexplained seizures that keep shaking limbs and unsettling lives,...Read more +
Dec 5, 2014

Advent Hope: God Enters In

by Rebecca Ashbrook Carrell
Advent: a season of hope and expectation. Approximately two-thousand years ago, the Jews anxiously scanned the horizon and scoured the skies, looking for the Messiah. Their God had been silent for four-hundred years. Where was their hope? Had God forgotten His people? Did he turn a blind eye to their...Read more +
Dec 5, 2014

Advent Hope: Small Comfort

While the Christmas story has through the ages delivered untold comfort, hope, and joy to the world, I have occasionally wondered why the men and women who first received the news weren’t completely bewildered as they learned the means by which salvation would come. Though questions did arise—Zechariah’s “How can...Read more +

Daily Reflection From Laity Lodge

Advent Reflection: The Roman Empire

If you’re ever in Rome, you might visit the Piazza del Popolo (the People’s Square). This large square is famous for, among other things, its twin churches that form part of the square’s border. In the center of the piazza is an obelisk that stands over one hundred feet high (shaped like the Washington Monument, though not as tall). Though it was fashioned in Egypt to honor one of the pharaohs, the Emperor Augustus brought it to Rome in 10...Read more +