Monthly Archives: December 2014

Russia 2015 trip update

Friends, Thank you to all who prayed for and contributed to my upcoming trip to Russia (February 23 – March 9, 2015). The trip is now fully funded. Last week I was able to purchase airfare, reserve hotels, and apply for the visa. Please continue to pray as I prepare my lessons. Thanks, I’m in your debt.

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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in Prayer, Russia


2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in News stories, Personal growth


Taza Chocolate

Taza Chocolate in Somerville, MA (Boston metro area) offers one of the more informative and entertaining tours we’ve been on. This afternoon, Carol, Jon, Manda & Phillip, and I toured their factory. The company specializes in stone ground, organic chocolate. We had a very informative, energetic, and entertaining guide during the hour-long tour .. and we had all the samples of chocolate we could eat. As you can see, everyone styled the latest in hairnet fashions except for me, since I have no hair to cover. 🙂 Great afternoon.

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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Family & Friends, Fun, Massachusetts, Photos


Can you have religion without God?

Can you have a God-neutral faith? Can you have religion without God? Can you have the benefits of church and yet have a hesitant or non-existent faith?

Author T. M. Luhrman, a professor of anthropology at Stanford University, answers all of these questions with “Yes” in her article, “Religion without God.”

She concludes the article with these thoughts,

Religion is fundamentally a practice that helps people to look at the world as it is and yet to experience it — to some extent, in some way — as it should be. Much of what people actually do in church — finding fellowship, celebrating birth and marriage, remembering those we have lost, affirming the values we cherish — can be accomplished with a sense of God as metaphor, as story, or even without any mention of God at all.

Yet religion without God may be more poignant. Atheists trust in human relations, not supernatural ones, and humans are not so good at delivering the world as it should be. Perhaps that is why we are moved by Christmas carols, which conjure up the world as it can be and not the world we know.

May the spirit of Christmas be with you, however you understand what that means.

Ms. Luhrman’s conclusions reminded me of what the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 regarding what will take place in the last days.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be … having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5)

People try to find meaning in religion and rituals. Yet they completely miss the point that salvation, forgiveness, purpose, significance are only possible through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Posted by on December 28, 2014 in Church, Culture, News stories


A long story short

Once upon a time … they lived happily ever after.

34 years

Happy 34th anniversary to my lovely bride. May God grant us many years together serving him.


Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Family & Friends, Photos


Feasting by the Fireplace

Last night, Carol, Jonathan, Amanda & Phillip, and I journeyed to the Salem Cross Inn at West Brookfield, MA. There we enjoyed the Fireplace Feast, a 1700’s style feast of prime rib, potatoes, butternut squash, spinach pie, rolls, seafood chowder, and apple pie with whipped cream. We started the evening with a wagon ride around the property, followed by mulled cider or mulled wine as we watched the chef make the apple pie and the prime rib roasting in the fireplace. Both Jon & I took a turn at the cauldron stirring the chowder. The demonstrations were interesting, the ambiance enticing, and the food was tasty. We all agreed the chowder, rolls, and apple pie were the best part, along with ambiance and atmosphere. It was a great, fun, and filling evening.

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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Family & Friends, Massachusetts, Photos


Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Luke 2-10-12

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Posted by on December 25, 2014 in Christmas, Scripture