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Showing posts from November, 2016

The Ghost of Christmas Past

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Hespeler, 27 November, 2016 © Scott McAndless Isaiah 43:14-21, Philippians 3:4b-16, Psalm 51:1-12 I t will happen in just a little less than one month. People will go to bed filled with expectations. They will have sleep “with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.” The visions may vary from person to person. The kids will dream of presents and stockings bursting full. The adults, maybe, will dream of turkeys and stuffing and mashed potatoes. A huge number will dream of family, friends and loved ones coming together and what it will be like when they gather.       Christmas, more than any other festival in our lives is full of expectations. That is as true today as it was almost two hundred years ago when Clement Moore wrote his famous poem and included that line about the sugarplums. And expectation can certainly be wonderful, but there can also be a downside to them.
      I remember the Christmas when I was about 10 years old or thereabouts when the reality of Christmas just…

The Tower (Reflections on Mary Magdalene)

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Hespeler, 20 November, 2016 © Scott McAndless – Baptism Luke 8:1-3, Matthew 15:32-39, Psalm 1 M agdalena, I have decided that I want to speak to you today. On some long distant day, your parents will likely tell you the story of how they chose to give you your name. And the story they will tell you, I happen to know, will go something like this: When your mom was only a couple of weeks pregnant with you, your grandma got a phone call from your great Aunt Maggie who lived way out west. She had called to tell your grandma, before your mom had said a word, that your mom was pregnant and that she was going to have a girl.       That event was what prompted your parents to name you after your great Aunt Maggie (whose full name, of course, is Magdalena). And I’m sure you can be proud of being named after her – a strong woman who is obviously sensitive to things that many of us are not.
      But I didn’t really want to talk to you about your Great Aunt Maggie today, but about another woman –…

For a limited time, Caesar's Census, God's Jubilee, the book that will make you rethink Christmas, is absolutely free.

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I am very excited to announce that starting on November15 for 5 days, the eBook version of  my book, Caesar's Census, God's Jubilee, will be available for free on Amazon website. This is a wonderful book to read right now to get a fresh perspective on the Christmas Story in the Bible. Follow these links to download your copy before this extraordinary opportunity is gone. Make sure you share this news with others too! Link for Amazon.ca Link for Amazon.com

Here is some more information about what the book explores: According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus of Nazareth was born during a census that had been ordered by Caesar Augustus and, because of this census, his parents made a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, arriving just in time for his birth. It is a wonderful story that has inspired millions down through the ages, but it is also a story that has left some very puzzled. Questions abound for many readers of the story who have any knowledge of the history of those times. Question…

Gihon, The River of God's Deepening Presence

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Hespeler, 13 November, 2016 © Scott McAndless John 7:37-39, Psalm 137, Ezekiel 47:1-12 T here is a river, called the Gihon, that flows to this day in the city of Jerusalem. It is a small stream, but a vital one, flowing, as it does, in a part of the world where water is scarce and a reliable source can mean the difference between life and death. It is also an unusual river because it is fed by a spring, the Gihon Spring, that is unlike most every other spring in the world. It doesn’t flow steadily, you see. It is an intermittent spring. At regular intervals it surges up and then it stops.       The importance and uniqueness of this river probably had a lot to do with the beliefs that developed about it. And it seems that there were many such beliefs. The ancient Israelites almost certainly saw it as a holy place. This was not necessarily official doctrine, but it was a popular belief. It is, as I explained last week, identified as one of the four rivers that flowed from the original p…

Gihon: The River of Paradise

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Hespeler, 6 November, 2016 © Scott McAndless Genesis 2:8-17, John 5:1-9, Psalm 46 T he second chapter of the Book of Genesis describes a garden – a place of idyllic existence where, the Bible says, humanity first came into being. This garden was perfect – the only place where all life (human and animal alike) lived together in peace and harmony. But the story goes on from there to tell us that the garden was lost and that humanity will never be able to enter it again as long as this world exists.       The loss of the garden has been a powerful idea that has possessed many people down through the ages who have sought for a way to get back to it. Some have sought to do it by questing after the tree of knowledge of good and evil – seeking to reclaim the garden by expanding human understanding. But they have not got us there yet by that route and sometimes have led us far astray.       But what if we could find it in another way – what if it were a place on the map? I mean not a literal …