By Paul Koch

When I was a child, I disliked clothes shopping. You remember the days when mom would hold up outfit after outfit and have you try them on one after another to try to get the perfect size (which was usually just a little too big so that you had room to grow). Getting new clothes back then was necessary, but it wasn’t all that memorable. However, these days, getting new clothes is a lot of fun. While it’s been a while since I’ve bought a new suit, there is an awesome feeling when you wear a new outfit. The clothes can actually make you feel better. Perhaps they make you feel more accomplished or more respectable. You can buy clothes that make you feel more free or spontaneous. Clothes go far beyond being practical and protective. They can make a statement or even help you achieve your goals. There is truth in that old saying that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that clothes are the driving force in your life, but they aren’t impartial to who you are or what you want to be, or at least they can be.

By Cindy Koch

Have you followed the footsteps of Jesus? Sometimes I think I can be kind enough, sometimes I think I can love like he did. Every once in a while I have a really great day when the sky looks a little bluer and I’m pretty proud of myself for my gentle tongue and thoughtful actions. But then there is the day when I lose it, I am angry at just about everything. How can I possibly get any better? Is this Jesus stuff not really working for me? Sometimes I think I need to take a good hard look at my walk.

By Hillary Asbury

My favorite thing about studying in Italy was getting the chance to travel and see religious art and architecture around the country.

The history was so rich, and I absolutely relished being surrounded by it. Everywhere I traveled there was a main cathedral, usually at the city center, always referred to as the “Duomo,” not for the often domed architecture but for the Latin word for “house.” As the city’s main dwelling place of God, it was often built imposingly large, made to be visible (and the campanile, or bell tower, heard) from any point in the city. It was a beacon, the center of daily life.

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament text for Transfiguration Sunday, February 11, 2018, is from the second book of Kings. The text is II Kings 2:1-12 and is the account of Elijah being taken up into heaven in a whirlwind right before the eyes of Elisha, his chosen successor. There are several interesting things to consider in this text, especially as one considers why it was chosen to compliment the Mark account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. We especially want to look at two things: 1) The aspect of death and resurrection demonstrated in this text and 2) the movement through water into eternal life/heaven that is so prevalent in the pages of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.

By Paul Koch

The story of our Lord’s baptism in the Jordan River is one of my all time favorite texts from Holy Scripture. This is the text that begins our Lord’s public ministry. It is here in these waters that he makes the definitive step from being Jesus born of Mary to the Savior anointed by God to redeem all of mankind. It is an exciting and dramatic moment full of intrigue and drama that we don’t want to miss out on. In fact, I believe that in this simple and short text we find the very heart of our hope and confidence as the children of God. For this isn’t just some quaint history lesson, but a record of how it is that our Lord atones for our sins. This contains our assurance to endure as brothers and sisters in Christ.

By Paul Koch

So here we are once again standing at that strange moment in the year when we are going to turn the page on the calendar. Tonight, at the ringing of midnight we will welcome in the year 2018 and say goodbye to 2017. There will be celebrations around the globe as different cultures mark the passing of time in their own way. Some will be at late night parties with friends and family, some will gather in big cities and countdown the final moments with total strangers. I, for one, look forward to a champagne toast and a kiss from my bride as we ring in the new year. One of the great things about New Year’s Eve is it’s a rare moment when we stop and consider the passing of time. We turn our attention to the years that have already gone by and the pondering of how many years we may have left. Amid the parties and the celebrations there is a real attempt on this night to reflect on our use of time.