Reflections at Advent

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Some time ago, I noted that Facebook gave me the option of seeing what my information looked like to a friend or a stranger. Since everything I post on Facebook is public, by my choice, there was virtually no difference.

However, the exercise got me to thinking about what I looked like to anyone who saw me on social media. How did others see me?

As I scrolled through my posts, imagining how a stranger would react to what I put there, I realized that what was there wasn’t what I wanted to be there. There were cynical statements, uncaring comments, and some (just a little, because I have a brain) political rhetoric thrown in.

It wasn’t who I wanted people to see me as.

So I deleted a bunch of it.

And then my social media presentation of myself was more to my liking.

But, if you’re still reading, you’re probably thinking:

Well, Steve, it seems that all you did
was to cover up who you really are
by deleting what you didn’t want others
to know about your heart.

Yeah. That’s what I did….. At first.

But then I got to thinking.

The look into the mirror that my social media accounts provided allowed me to look into my heart. And after the simple process of deleting online posts and comments, I turned my attention to the deeper process of correcting some inner attitudes — by taking them to the cross and surrendering them to the Holy Spirit.

Reflection — it’s an exercise that serves us well, if we really want to grow.

This Advent, Curwensville Alliance is going to talk about Reflections beginning this Sunday (12/2/2018).

Not reflections, as in looking at the past, but reflections as in looking in the mirror.

We’ll look at how this holiday season influences us and see what kinds of mindset we’ve allowed it to create. And then, by God’s grace, we’ll look to the Spirit of God to transition us from who the reflection says we are to who God wants us to be.

Join us.

At 8:00 am – Traditional Worship Service
At 10:45 am – Today’s Worship Service.

We Build Men Who Love God

The title of this blog post is a value of Curwensville Alliance. We own it. If you want to know more about it, you can click here, where I speak of it in some detail.

Read any good books lately?

Several years ago — maybe 2005 — I invited some men to join me in growing our faith. At first, we met very early in the morning. If memory serves, some men of strong commitment met at 5:30 a.m. in the nearby truck stop. We moved from there to a few more local places. Currently, we meet at The Dutch Pantry.

Each week, the guys read a chapter of a pre-chosen book in advance, highlighting things that stand out and jotting down any thoughts or questions they might have about the content.

The group has varied in size from as many as 18 to as few as 3. It probably averages 8-10.

The agenda of our gatherings is simple.

  1. Order breakfast.
  2. Share stories from your past week.
  3. Pray and eat breakfast.
  4. Discuss what stood out in the book.
  5. Hang out until you have to go.
  6. Leave a good tip and pay for your meal.

As we began, many guys were reluctant to join.

“Pastor Steve, I like breakfast,
but I’ve not read a book
since I finished high school.
And back then, I hated it.”

I encouraged them to give it a try, and to their credit they did.

So, here, well over a decade later, a list of books we’ve read include.

  1. Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas
  2. Rumors of Another World: What on Earth Are We Missing?, Philip Yancey (I’m not sure we finished this one.)
  3. A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines: 12 Habits to Strengthen Your Walk With Christ, Patrick Morley
  4. Uncommon, Tony Dungy
  5. For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women, Shaunti Feldhahn
  6. Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul, John Eldredge (We might have read this one twice.)
  7. The Love Dare, Stephen Kendrick
  8. Hero: Becoming the Man She Deserves, Fred Stoker
  9. Secondhand Jesus, Glenn Packiam
  10. A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom: Journeying Through the Christian Life, James Emery White
  11. No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women and Children, Paul Coughlin
  12. The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of Christian Faith, Timothy Keller
  13. The Resolution for Men, Alex Kendrick · Randy Alcorn · Stephen Kendrick
  14. Who Do You Think You Are: Finding Your True Identity in Christ, Mark Driscoll
  15. When Will My Life Not Suck?: Authentic Hope for the Disillusioned, Ramon Presson
  16. The Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler
  17. The Me I Want to Be, John Ortberg
  18. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ with Bonus Content (Designed for Influence), Dallas Willard
  19. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, Timothy Keller
  20. Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There, Leonard Sweet
  21. Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms, Tim Tebow
  22. Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness, Eric Metaxes
  23. Seeking Allah,  Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi
  24. The Tech-wise Family, Andy Crouch
  25. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller
  26. The Pursuit of God by AW Tozet
  27. Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, Dennis Rainey

For a group of guys, many of whom said they don’t like reading, I think they are doing well.

What have you read lately?

You’re welcome to join us. Interest has grown so much that there are now two groups meeting. One Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. and one Tuesdays at 7 p.m. See me or Tim Smay for information.

-Pastor Steve