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Epiphany: When Jesus was revealed to the world.

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The holiday which grew into Christmas.Epiphany (in some churches it’s called Theophany) falls on 6 January. Well, unless your church still follows the Julian calendar, in which case it’s gonna wind up on 19 January. It comes right after the last day of Christmas. In fact Christmas is celebrated on 25 December because of Epiphany.See, Epiphany celebrates how Jesus was revealed to the world. True, the Christmas stories figure that was with the angels and sheep-herders, and maybe with the magi. But technically he was revealed at the beginning of his ministry, at his baptism, where John the baptist identified him as God’s son.John 1.29-34 KWL29 The next day John saw Jesus coming to him.He said, “Look: God’s ram, taking up the world’s sin! 30 This is the one I spoke of!‘The one coming after me has got in front of me’—because he’s first over me. Jn 1.1531 And I hadn’t seen him! But I came baptizing in water so he’d be revealed to Israel.”32 John testified, saying this: “I’ve seen the Spirit…

Feedback, and orthodoxy tests.

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Questions? Comments? Email. But remember, my feedback policy means I can post it. Especially if it’s a question plenty of others might have.Some of you know TXAB has an email link. Whenever I redesign the site, the link gets moved around, but it doesn’t feel like placement has anything to do with how much mail I get. Besides, when people don’t know the email address, they tend to stick non-sequitur comments at the bottom of articles, and get ahold of me that way. Hey, whatever works. Just remember I do have a feedback policy around here.Most of the TXAB emails are theology questions. People wanna know about God, and I’m all for that. People wanna know how God thinks about this or that subject, or what Jesus teaches, or how Christianity tends to lean. I point ’em to the scriptures, offer my studied opinion, and remind ’em I’m not infallible—but Jesus is.People likewise wanna know about other people. Whether a Christian ministry, or famous preacher, or widespread teaching (or even littl…

The Daniel fast.

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Every January, the people in my church go on a diet. Most years for three weeks; this year we’re formally doing it for one, but some folks may choose to go longer. We cut back on the carbohydrates, sugar, meat, and oils; lots of fruits and vegetables. Considering all the binging we did between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it makes sense to practice a little more moderation, doesn’t it?What on earth does this practice have to do with prayer? Well y’see, the people don’t call it a diet. They call it a “Daniel fast.”It’s an Evangelical practice which has taken off in the past 20 years. It’s loosely based on a few lines from Daniel 10. At the beginning of the year, Daniel went three weeks—that’d be 21 days—depriving himself.Daniel 10.2-3 KWL2 In those days I, Daniel, went into mourning three weeks. 3 I ate none of the bread I coveted.Meat and wine didn’t enter my mouth. I didn’t oil my hair for all of three weeks.So that’s how the Daniel fast works. At the beginning of the year, we likewis…

Why you’re not gonna read the bible in a year.

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Well you’re not. Let’s be upfront about that. It’s because you’re doing it wrong. January’s coming, and with it come a lot of new resolutions, many of which you’re probably gonna break; I already discussed why.Among them will likely be a resolution to read the bible. The whole bible; not just your favorite bits. So you’ll grab one of the popular reading plans and get started. And won’t finish. You’ll peter out around March. Maybe sooner.No I’m not just saying this out of pessimism. Nor lack of confidence in your ability to be self-disciplined. I’ve known plenty of Christians with plenty of self-control, yet for the life of ’em they can’t manage to get through the bible. It really frustrates them.I know why, of course: They’re doing it wrong.How do you read a book? Well, we first gotta assume you read for enjoyment. Many don’t. Therefore they’re already not gonna enjoy reading bible, ’cause they don’t enjoy reading anything. Their reading-comprehension skills aren’t gonna be all that g…

Give to the truly needy. Not the greedy.

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I read a number of blogs. Some because I like the writers; some because I like the subjects the writers bring up.In one of those blogs, for the past two weeks, the authors temporarily quit writing articles about Christ Jesus and how to argue with others about how to view him follow him better. Instead they’ve been writing ’bout why their ministry is so meaningful.They do this every December. That’s because they’ve set up a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and can take donations. Since it’s the end of the year, and maybe you’ve not given as much tax-deductible charity as you might’ve liked, perhaps you could donate to them. Plus someone’s offered them a matching grant: For every dollar you donate, the grant throws in another. They’d love to get their mitts on as big a pile of cash as they can. So they’re a-begging.Plus—I kid you not—they’d love to install an espresso machine in their coffee bar. It’d be so valuable! ’Cause whenever people stop by their offices, and wanna talk theology w…