Author Archives: Michele Edgel

About Michele Edgel

I currently attend St. Paul's Free Lutheran Church in Leitersburg Maryland. I am married to Jim my true soulmate. and am enjoying our walk through this life in Christ together.

Becoming a Welcoming Church – A Book Review

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This book has a church member taking what could be a difficult journey in realizing – Is church as welcoming as you think?

In the six chapters, the author walks the reader through their church with a fresh eye.  Everything is covered – from the physical appearance, website information and any and all facets of the church are reviewed.

I found several items that I thought were helpful and could implemented in any church without cost or a lot of members needed.

I feel that this book is a good and informative read and has a lot of helpful information for any church.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

 

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/becoming-a-welcoming-church-P005796138

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New Month – New Theme

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Wow, it is hard to believe February has come and gone already.  We are all currently in the season of Lent, that period of sacrifice that leads up to the Good Friday, and thankfully Easter.

I hope you have found the posts this past month to be fun, enlightening and most importantly – true to God’s word.  For the month of March it seems appropriate to talk about direction.  You know what I mean – Are you sure where you are going?

Let me put it another way – Are you in the non smoking or smoking section?

Follow us this month and let us help you figure it out if you are not sure.

 

As always

God Loves You And So Do We

Michele

New Month – New Theme

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Well here we are starting a new month, where does the time go?  This  month we will be talking about the different forms of love.  In the English language we have one word for love and it is suppose to cover how we feel about a lot of things.  You may love ice cream, but I am sure that you love your children more.  In the Greek language they have several different words that mean love:

Eros   –  passionate love

Philia –  deep friendship

Ludus  – playful love

Agape  – love for all

There are more but this month we will center on these four.  I hope that you will find the blogs helpful and look forward to hearing from you this month.

As always, if one of us is moved to write about something not concerning love, that is okay, we do as we are compelled.

 

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele

SPURGEON JOURNAL – A Review

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If the fine black leather cover with Spurgeon’s signature wasn’t enough, the colorful, paisley designed spine just adds icing to the cake.  That’s right I am writing this review about a book of somewhat blank pages.  Journals are not created equal, this one would look right at home on any library shelf or your coffee table.  Sprinkled throughout these pages at the bottom are quotes and verses that inspired Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons, and the best part is that the inspiration is tied to the sermon number, so that if you wanted to you could research what the inspiration led him to.

This is a 144 page, lined on acid free paper, blank journal that has a place at the top for a date.  Now it may seem like a journal is just a book of blank pages, and why do I need a fancy looking one, but I must say that this is an absolutely beautiful book.

For those of you serious about your journaling, this is a must have.

http://www.lifeway.com/Product/spurgeon-journal-P005801147

 

Theology, Church and Ministry – A Book Review

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Theology, Church, and Ministry

A Handbook for Theological Education

 

The book is put together by David Dockery, however, there are 3 sections with several chapters each that are written by esteemed members of the theological family.  I want to take just a few sentences to state that I checked the credentials of all of the authors and was happy to find ALL of them cited as being well learned, well respected, well versed and consistent.

This being said this book is not a quick, easy read.  It reads more like a reference book for persons interested in the role education plays in making sure that spiritual leaders can provide accurate, correct and reliable interpretations of the Bible.

Each sections deals with a different aspect of education;  such as, foundation of spiritual education, intellectual discipleship, languages of both the old and new testaments, systemic theology, and the list goes on.  Even though I am not interested in pursuing a theological education, the book actually had interesting parts that I enjoyed.  The review of why having a knowledge of Greek was enlightening as was their stance on online classes (they approve, with spiritual oversight by a pastor).

 

Overall, I would give the book a 5 star rating because it provides accurate, informative and necessary information to those with questions about the necessity of theological education of spiritual leaders, I do not think it is a book that everyone would appreciate but there are parts everyone can receive good information from.

 

I received a free copy of this book for a non biased review.

 

 

The book may be purchased through this link

http://www.lifeway.com/Product/theology-church-and-ministry-P005788294

The Hymn/Song That Moves You?

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“Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through Music.”

This is one of many quotes said by Martin Luther regarding our praise through song.

Think about it, I am sure there is a hymn/song out there that seems to touch you more than others.  I know that it can be a hard decision but I believe that God speaks to us in the song that touches us the most.  Now I also believe that the song can change as we grow in our faith or even as we surmount obstacles in life.  My song used to be “In the Garden” but recently I feel compelled to follow in the footsteps of “Here I Am”.  These words seem to resonate deep within me to be a witness in Christs’ name, without fear of rejection.  I am posting the lyrics to follow:

Here I am, Lord

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin
my hand will save.
I, who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
  Here I am, Lord.  Is it I, Lord?

            I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

 

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my words to them.
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. ……

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will send the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide
till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?

  Here I am, Lord. …..

What hymn/song moves you?   I mean really moves you deep down.  I am interested to see the responses and why those particular words move you.

Now do not be shy, I WANT to know.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele

New Month/New Theme

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Wow, it is hard to believe that yet another month has gone by.  Not only that but another year.  This month the focus will be on music.  We believe that music is an important part of worship and since we recently reviewed the book “Sing”, we have been inspired to delve deeper into the subject.

On a different note:

 

As 2017 comes to an end, my fellow writers and I want to thank each and every one of our readers for their support.  With your encouragement and that support, we have blossomed into a platform of God through out the world.  Of course, we are aware the God himself has had a hand in this, but without people following His voice to us, we would not be able to spread His word and love.  As we head into the new year, I look forward to continuing His work through this blog and hope that each and every one of you know how much you mean to all of us here.

Always remember, never forget

God Loves You And So Do We

Advent – Part 3 – Final Installment

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This is the third and final installment in the Advent sermon given by Jim Edgel.

 

Last week Michele and I were driving home from a friend’s house and were struck by the number of homes that already had Christmas lights brilliantly lit.   And during this week it has become even more so. It was my feeling that this year there are more lights than past years and I wondered why. Especially why there are so many on the homes of those who do not believe in the one who’s birth we celebrate in just a little over three weeks from now. Those who do not understand the treasure that is contained within our faith. I believe the lights that we see everywhere we go are expressions of defiance in the face of hard times. A tangible way to show that when all is increasingly dark – that there is hope. These lights are an attempt on the part of believers and non-believers alike to show that there is goodness and joy to be had. We all need beauty, we all should defy darkness, and we all need hope. The lights of Christmas provide or represent all three. Sadly, however, they do it differently for different people. For many people the lights that they string up represent a sad and futile hope.
                                 The hope of a Christmas like they had as a child and did not know the sorrow of this world –                                           a  Christmas of warm fires, cold snow and sweet aromas
                                 The hope for a family gathering – and a family life like that before they knew the pain of                                                  divorce, the agony of untimely death and the grief that separation brings.
                                  The hope for a world of magic, a world in which Santa Claus and his elves really make and                                            deliver all the toys that our children could possibly desire.
                                  A world in which all the problems and pressures of daily living can be erased if only the                                                  carols are played from the rooftop speakers loud enough.

But for those that do not have the real hope that Christmas represents… this is all in vain.

— The lights of Christmas cannot and will not make Christmas like it was when we were children.
— The lights of Christmas cannot and will not hold back the darkness of sin and sorrow.
— The lights of Christmas cannot and will not change the world and bring us the salvation we desire.

Only the Christ that was born on Christmas day can do that. Only the hope that we have in him, who was crucified for our sins and who rose from the dead and who has promised to return can change our lives and make them worth living. Only the risen and living Lord can make the celebration of his birth something that is more than a brief, frantic and senseless time of feasting until we are sick of sweets, drinking until we are sick of drink, and spending money we don’t have on gifts that our children don’t need – until the rest of the world is sick of our wasteful and self-indulgent ways. For too many people the lights of Christmas are a reminder of the joy that existed in the past, rather than the promise of a joy to come – the joy that is to come when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains. For too many the decorations and the preparations are an attempt to capture for a brief moment the peace of forgetting the pain of the world rather than the triumphant proclamation that the Lord if light, the living God, will soon come and judge between the nations – and that on that day they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks – and that the pain of the world will be ended. Nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. There are many kinds of hope my friends, some are false hopes and some are true.

— It is a wonderful thing to prepare for Christmas by hanging lights and decorating trees and preparing gifts for those you love
— It is a wonderful thing to defy the course of the world and to proclaim that there is a special day – a day in which family and friends may gather and dine together in peace and with joy.

— But it is even more wonderful – when in doing so – you have reason to believe that a day is coming when the whole world will be at peace – reason to believe that when your life is done you will enter into a joy that is eternal – when you have reason to believe the light which only briefly defies the darkness during our Christmas celebrations, will be established forever.

We have such reasons – we have such hope.
And because of that – I – and you – can rejoice at Christmas time.

–Even when the money is tighter than we have ever known.

— Even when jobs are not secure or our health if failing.

— Even when our children have moved far away or our parents have died.

Because of the one who came at the first Christmas – because of his life – his death – his resurrection and his promise to come again – and because even now he is present in the hearts of all those who believe in him – you and I can face the world as it is – and make a difference to it – and be at peace in it.
The light of the world has come – may his light shine from your homes this Advent season and in all the seasons of your days. Amen.

Advent – Part 2 – The Wreath

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This is a continuation of the sermon Jim gave during Advent – Here he talks about one of the explanations of the Advent wreath.

 

“The Advent wreath was first used as a Christian devotion in the middle ages. I suspect Martin Luther had a hand in keeping it popular because the Advent wreath in its present form started in Germany as a Lutheran family custom. It was used as an in home Christian education device; and did not become widely used in churches until the 20th century, and therefore an exact standardized meaning for every part of it would not be possible. I will try to give a good general meaning to all of its components. First the wreath gets its design from the customs of Pre-Christian Germanic and Scandinavian cultures who used candles and greenery as symbols of light and life during winter.
We have a circular evergreen wreath with white flowers, the evergreen symbolizes renewal – In ancient times the cedar was revered as the tree of royalty, it also signified immortality, all these the sign of Christ who reigns as king forever. The circular shape represents the completeness of God. No Beginning and no end. The white flowers represent life and resurrection or purity. I’m sure you now understand that each part could have different meanings, yet lead us to one common meaning. There are five candles; the candles symbolize the light of Christ coming into the world. We have one white candle in the center, slightly taller than the rest, surrounded by four candles which represent the period of waiting during the four weeks of Advent, which themselves represent the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ. There are three blue candles and one pink candle. The weekly progression of lighting the candles symbolizes our preparation through prayer and penitence. The blue color represents Royalty, prayer, penitence and preparation. We will get to the pink one in a minute. We light one blue candle on the first Sunday of Advent this reminds us of the hope Christ brings us. On the second Sunday in Advent we light the Hope candle and a second blue candle to remind us of the peace Christ brings us. On the third Sunday we light the first two and we light the pink candle to remind us of the joy that Christ brings us. Why is it pink? Long ago, the Pope had the custom of giving someone a rose on the fifth Sunday of Lent. The effect was to give some relief to the solemnity of Lent. ”

“Originally, before shopping malls, Advent was a solemn fast in preparation for Christmas, so the custom was extended to the third Sunday of Advent to lighten it up a bit too. On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we light the first three and the remaining blue one to remind us of the love that Christ brings us. Each Sunday the light keeps getting brighter until we celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve and the light is brightest when we light the Christ candle. This, of course, is the slightly taller white candle in the center which reminds us that Jesus is the sinless, spotless Lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins. His birth was for his death and his death was for our birth.”

 

More to follow – Stay tuned

What is Advent – Part 1

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The following is the first in a series of excerpts from a sermon given by Jim Edgel on Advent.  Each day I will post another part of this.  He explains the meaning o advent and some of the traditions we celebrate.

 

“Friends this is the first Sunday in the season of Advent. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus” which means “coming” or “arrival”. The advent of our Lord is the beginning of the “Church Year” and observed during the four weeks prior to Christmas. This is a time for Christians to Prepare their hearts as a welcome place for God and Prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to Prepare for the second coming of Jesus as the risen Christ to rule triumphantly over life in heaven and on earth. During the Advent season our prayers and Bible readings should be focused on preparing us spiritually for Christmas (the first coming), but also for his eventual second coming. That is why Advent services include both Old Testament passages related to the expected Messiah and New Testament passages concerning Jesus’ second coming as judge of all. Also passages about John the Baptist, the precursor who prepared the way for the Messiah. Jesus is the light of the world. We who have sat in darkness have seen a great light, the light of Jesus Christ, our salvation.  We are reminded of the light that Jesus brings us by lighting the candles in our Advent wreath.”

 

Next time – The Advent Wreath  – Stay tuned.