Christmas: Being Present to Glory

In Advent, Christmas, Consumption, Culture, Formation, Pastoral Ministry, Purpose and Meaning, Soul-Care, Spiritual Formation by Bizgainey2 Comments

The lyrics of the sacred song fly through celestial air.  Like a volleyball in a winner-take-all championship match, they are launched to and fro.

Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. they go.

These are no lightweight lyrics.

No, these lyrics are stout – laden with a density befitting the Divine!…
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Advent 1: Look Up, Your Redemption is Drawing Near!**

In Advent, Christmas, Contemplation, Culture, Delight in God, Desire, Discipleship, Formation by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, suggests that we are a people of deep and unending desire.  He further states that our unending quest for satisfaction reveals a deeper and often confounding truth about what it means to be human!

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant…
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God Bless Us, Every One!

In Christmas, Culture, Formation, Fully Awake, Loneliness, Purpose and Meaning by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

God Bless Us, Every One!

Just before the light of Christmas morning beams into Scrooge’s newly minted heart, the gloom of Christmas Yet-to-Come settles deep within the bowels of his soul.

Of all the apparitions, this is the one Scrooge fears most.

And, to the reader’s eye, this is certainly the most intimidating Spirit of them all!…
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The Ghost of Christmas Present: A Journey Into Joy

In Blessing, Christmas, Consumption, Contemplation, Culture, Formation, Purpose and Meaning by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

The Ghost of Christmas Present: A Journey Into Joy

From the prison to the poor-house, Scrooge discovers what life requires of us who have been given so much.  He also learns what life exacts from others when we hoard our resources and live from a place of scarcity rather than abundance.

The opening scene of Stave Three introduces us to the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Dickens invites the reader to imagine a lavish feast at a King’s table. A table overflowing with bounty and abundance.

Upon entering the room, Scrooge …
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Wanting to Extinguish What Must Be Explored, Pt. 2

In Advent, Children, Christmas, Culture, Spiritual Formation by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

Wanting to Extinguish What Must Be Explored, Pt. 2

I remember the moment when my calling to minister within a congregational context solidified its hold on me.

As I recall, it was a moment filled with complexity and confusion.  It was a moment that required soul-searching prayer and heart-piercing surrender.

The prayer and surrender piece took all night.

Yes.

It was a chilly wintry evening, really down-right cold.

I was a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, entering my final three semesters, preparing to pursue a Ph.D. with plans to enter …
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The Ghost of Christmas Past: Wanting to Extinguish What Must Be Explored

In Advent, Blessing, Brokenness, Christmas, Imagination by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

The Ghost of Christmas Past: Wanting to Extinguish What Must Be Explored

Everything about the Ghost of Christmas Past is exceptional.

Everything.

While televised renditions attempt to capture its essence, all of them fail – some miserably so.

But, of course, how could they not?

The Ghost that Haunts Us All

Dickens imagines a complex and contradictory apparition.  Conveying the essence of the Ghost of Christmas Past is like trying to describe an ancient, angelic being.  The kind of being lodged in the bowels of Apocalyptic books like Daniel or …
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Three Reflections from my Evening Spent with a Ghost

In Advent, Christmas, Family, Family Night, Formation by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

Three Reflections from my Evening Spent with a Ghost

It’s customary for our family to watch Holiday specials during this time of year.

It’s also equally customary – for me – to plead with my wife and daughter to resist the urge to search for these specials on the Hallmark channel.

Thankfully, removing Hallmark from the list of options leaves us with wide a wide assortment of Christmas classics that bear the test of time.

We rarely, as a family, agree on which Christmas special to watch.

Last night was …
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Christmas Morning: Opening the Gift of a Porn-Free Life!

In Addictions, Christmas, Consumption, Formation, Freedom, Freedom from Porn, Marriage, Men Against Porn, Pornography by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

The Christmas season is one of gift-giving and receiving.  In all likelihood you will, on Christmas morning, celebrate this gift-exchange tradition with friends and family.  You may gather around a tree, in a living room, near a fireplace, etc. and open gifts shared by those who love you and those whom you love.

If you happen to be struggling with your porn addiction during this season, you’ll likely be disengaged from this life-giving moment.

You may, in fact, totally check out.

Indeed, if you’ve been trolling the web for porn …
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A Daily Prayer for Peace: Haunt Me With Your Holiness

In Advent, Blessing, Christmas, Prayer, Spiritual Formation by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

Overwhelmed this last week of the Advent Season? Unprepared for the mad dash this week may become?

Perhaps this prayer, prayed daily, might help you ‘clear he mechanism’ and celebrate He who is worthy of celebration every season, all year-long!

A PRAYER TO RECAPTURE THE HAUNTING HOLINESS OF ADVENT

Dear Father,

May this season, often flattened and frenetic, bound by a life with little room for you,

expand to receive the haunting presence of your holy love: the beauty of your glory revealed!

Haunt me with a sense of your …
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