by Arlin L. Scharfenberg
In the September 2020 issue of The Messenger, Dr. Layton Friesen describes disruptions that COVID-19 has had on our traditions, especially in our churches. Many of the events that we as believers enjoyed in our places of worship have ceased or dramatically changed. Continue reading Earthly Disruptions or God-Given Opportunities
by Andrew Unger
In this most famous passage of Ecclesiastes, Solomon (or was it The Byrds?) tells us “there is a time for everything.” There is a time, he says, to weep, to search, to scatter stones, to dance even (although not in our churches, apparently), and even a time to laugh.
Sometimes I wonder, though, if we have abandoned the laughter as eagerly as we seem to have left out the dancing. Continue reading A Time to Laugh and a Time to Speak: Ecclesiastes 3:1–8
by Garry Koop
Some Christians are willing to die rather than kill. Regrettably too many are not. When Christians refuse to die, wars break out and Christians participate, if they have not started them to begin with. When Christians refuse to die they will do essentially anything, say anything, or think up anything to stay alive. Violence, coercion, manipulation? You bet! When Christians refuse to die, they cease to live in or like Christ Jesus. Continue reading When Christians Refuse to Die: Ode to a Life of Peace
by Heidi Dirks
Many adults will remember what they were most excited to do when they reached the age of majority. Whether voting, signing legal documents, or buying alcohol or spray paint, age matters. Age can open up opportunities or impose restrictions. These opportunities are not given based on merit, rather they are bestowed solely based on legal age. Continue reading Examining My Privilege
by Layton Friesen
An old bit of Christian wisdom that is being sorely tested in this pandemic says, you become what you make a habit of. If you want to become a compassionate person, for example, get into the habit of doing compassionate things, and as that habit takes deeper and deeper hold of you, you will become a compassionate person. To become a compassionate person, body, soul and spirit, you need to develop a long pattern of compassionate actions. Continue reading A Christian Does Christian Things
by Kimberly Muehling
Many churches struggle with what to do with their children when they are in church, and yet mourn the exodus of youth and young adults. How do we both have and keep children in church? Continue reading Following Christ With Children in the Church
By Professor Andrew Dyck
As a boy, I picked raspberries for several summers. Whenever I had filled a flat with fruit, the farmer would weigh it on a balance scale to discern two truths: the truth of how much I had picked and the truth that I had not hidden rocks or dirt clods under the berries. The pointer or tongue of the scale pointed out the truth of my berries’ mass. In Latin, the tongue on a scale is its examen. Continue reading Examine the Day
Discussion and Discernment
by Bruce Hamsher
I still remember today what recess felt like when I was in the third grade. That year the game was kickball.
More pointedly, I remember the awesome red ball we used. It was the kind of ball which was somewhat solid, yet spongy enough that when it hit that sweet spot on your foot, it seemed to soar in the air for a mile. I also vividly remember the classmate who never thought he was out. (You probably remember this guy too. Every class had one.) Continue reading Kickball and Peacemaking
by Pastor Andy Woodworth
There is a short Old Testament phrase that I have found intriguing during these past weeks of this global pandemic. It is used by people like Joshua, Gideon, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel when they simply reached the place where they perceived things had become hopeless. Tired, frustrated, and out of ideas as to how to resolve their respective crisis situations, they threw up their arms and exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord!”
This word alas is less of a word and more of a sound or cry of exasperation. I would call it the sound of despair. The sound of hopelessness. Continue reading The Path of Hope
By Ken Zacharias and Brad Brandt
Paraguay is not a strong tourist destination. It is often overshadowed by surrounding, bigger, and more noteworthy countries when describing beauty, progress and peoples. It is a landlocked country with just over seven million people and where 90 percent of the population speak Guarani as well as Spanish. Continue reading Paraguay: Old News? Not When Christ is at Work in New Ways!