Advent Calendar 2015

Advent is the time in the church calendar when we wait for the coming of the Christ child. It is marked by the observation of the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. Each Sunday of Advent the church observes a different theme of this journey: hope, peace, love and joy. Candles are lit as the light of the world (Christ) is drawing closer to us.

During this time, we are called not to run to the manger but to wait… that’s right…. wait… for Christmas. Sure some people have decorated their entire house on November 1 but Advent calls us to slow down, be more reflective and wait. It is through this intentionality that we begin to see and experience the message of hope, peace, love and joy in our own lives and the world around us

There is something freeing, however, in slowing down. We are able to take in all that is around us and see how God is moving in our lives in ways that we would have looked right over had we not taken a moment to be reflective and aware.

How are we using this time of Advent to prepare and to wait? Are we rushing from store to store buying mountains of gifts, trying to equate our love for someone by how big the price tag is?

Don’t we want Christmas to be something more than lights, too much food, elves on the shelf and Santa? Why can’t this time of Advent propel us into a deeper sense of the Divine around us and with us? Where are the places God is leading us to? These are the thoughts that we take with us during this journey to the manger.

Use this calendar each day of Advent to prepare yourself for the coming of Jesus into the world.

Each day has a scripture and something to pray for or to reflect on. Let us journey to together to find the Christ-child, the source of all hope, peace, joy and love this Advent.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

 

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Advent Calendar 2015 PDF

Advent Calendar 2015 word


Creative Commons LicenseAdvent Calendar 2015 by Rev. Evan M. Dolive, M.Div. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Easter 2015 Message

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Flowered Cross at Northwood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Beaumont, Texas. Taken by Rev. Evan M. Dolive.

Below is my Easter sermon based on John 20:1-18.

Easter blessings to you and yours.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


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He Is Risen!

He is Risen!

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” 8 Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16:1-8 (CEB)

 

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Happy Easter!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Photo Credit: He is Risen! by Karen Hunnicutt, on Flickr. Used Under Creative Commons License 2.0.

Ash Wednesday 2015 Sermon: The Journey Awaits Us All

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[audio http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/89bdmz112r/20150218-183451.mp3|titles=Ash Wednesday 2015 Sermon: The Journey Awaits Us All|animation=no|loop=no]

 

 

Remembering 9-11-2001

 

NYC Twin Lights 9/11 "Tribute in Lights"  Memorial 2005

New York 9/11 Museum


Photo credits:
NYC Twin Lights 9/11 “Tribute In Lights” Memorial 2005 by Jackie via Flickr Used Under the Creative Commons License 2.0
New York 9/11 Museum by Pete Bellis via Flickr Used Under the Creative Commons License 2.0

Redemption In Christ

Redemption in Christ (Taken at FUMC- Orange, Tx)

Published via Pressgram

God Is Making All Things New

Below is an article I wrote for a newsletter for the hospital I am working for.


2013 has come to a close we find ourselves in the midst of 2014. Every year people resolve to make the New Year better, more fulfilling or even less hectic than the one before. These resolutions or promises are guides that will help us reach our goal of bettering ourselves, our family or our community. Some people want to exercise more, learn to cook or stop biting their nails. Others want to volunteer more, worship more fully or step out in faith by responding to a call or stirring of their heart. And yet some can be quite different like the woman who ate every meal at Starbucks for an entire year.

The New Year is a way to reflect on the life that has gone by in the previous year: the struggles, triumphs, blessings and heartaches that we have felt. All of these events and emotions form us into the person we are today. We are not the same person we were on January 1, 2013 and we will not be the same person on December 31,2014. We are being transformed and changed by the power of God and the experience we have with God through worship, nature, prayers, the sacraments and the scriptures.

Every day is a possibility to see how God is interacting with the world and in our lives.

In the Bible, at the end of the Book of Revelation, we find that God declares that one day God will make all things new. This is the declaration that is given to all of humanity. One of my favorite hymns, “This Is the Day of New Beginnings” speaks to the power of new beginnings and how we are not alone in them. The words are printed below.

This is a day of new beginnings,
time to remember and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing,
laying to rest the pain that’s gone.

For by the life and death of Jesus,
love’s mighty Spirit, now as then,
can make for us a world of difference
as faith and hope are born again.

Then let us, with the Spirit’s daring,
step from the past, and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find.

Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.[1]

As we journey in 2014 not knowing what is ahead of us, let us go in faith and know that God will be with us every step of the way.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan Dolive

[1] Copyright © 1983 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.; Words © 1975, 1995 Hope Publishing Co

When Humanity Rears Its Ugly Head

This is my latest article for the Orange Country Record.


This week marked the fourteenth year anniversary of one of the worst acts ever inflicted on another human being.  On June 7, 1998, James Byrd, Jr., a Beaumont native, was savagely murdered.  He was murdered not by accident rather for the simple fact that he was an African-American man.  In one gruesome act, three white supremacist let intolerance of another human begin blind them to drag a man behind a truck until his death in the small Southeast Texas town of Jasper.

One of the three who took part in Byrd’s murder, Lawrence Russell Brewer, never apologized or sought forgiveness in the public eye. In fact, before his execution in 2011 he said, “As far as any regrets, no, I have no regrets. No, I’d do it all over again, to tell you the truth.”  A chilling answer.

Humanity on the whole has never been perfect.  Wars have been fought over small amounts of land; people in roles of authority overstep their boundaries in search for more and more power.  There are even laws are in place to protect individuals against bad business practices and to ensure our food is handled safely.

In the book of Genesis, the author writes that at the end of the creation story, God declared that the world was “very good.”  It must have been a really nice place, but not so much now.

In the midst of all of this, the Church is called on to make sense of it all.   The church is called to try to bridge the gap that seems to exist between what should be and what really is, to try to answer the question of why there is such a disparity.  Surely not all of this is consequence of sin way back in the Garden of Eden.

Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, once wrote in his text “The Seven Storey Mountain”: “It is only the infinite mercy and love of God that has preserved us from tearing ourselves to pieces and destroying [God’s] entire creation long ago. People seem to think that it is in some way a proof that no merciful God exists, if we have so many wars. On the contrary, consider how in spite of centuries of sin and greed and lust and cruelty and hatred and avarice and oppression and injustice, spawned and bred by the free wills of men [and women], the human race can still recover, each time, and can still produce men and women who over come evil with good, hatred with love, greed with charity, lust and cruelty with sanity. How could all this be possible without the merciful love of God, pouring out [God’s] grace upon us?”

At our best humanity can be full of compassion and love and care, but at our worst humanity can be greedy, hateful and repugnant.  Contrary to popular belief followers of Christ are not immune to this.  Some of the worst atrocities ever committed have sadly been in the name of God.  For some, this is an indication that Christianity does (or did) not care of people’s relationship with God rather their focus is on being correct.

Christ’s ministry on earth was grounded in the notion of love, care and acceptance.  Christ came to establish a way of understanding and relating to others as well as to God.  But more than that Christ was the embodiment of the Divine on earth.  As Christians we strive to emulate Christ in all that we do but sometime we fall short.

I have no answer to what drove three men to brutally kill another human being.  We can blame their upbringing, we can blame drugs, we can blame violent video games, we can blame a health care system that doesn’t adequately treat those with mental illnesses.  But that is too easy.  In the end we have to look inside ourselves.  Stories like this one make our stomachs turn into knots over the loss of innocence.  At some levels we empathize with Byrd family but know that it is the human condition, a condition that is in every person on earth, which drove these men to kill.  Does that mean we will do the same? No, but it does mean that it is not some external influence that is causing crimes around the world; it’s the simple fact that we are human beings, driven to do what we want, when we want it with no regard for others.

This is what Christ came to stop.  The answer to the human condition must be found in the gospel.  Christ’s message of love was revolutionary and it can do the same for us today.  The gospel can restore people to completeness and wholeness.

At the end of the day, people like Lawrence Russell Brewer are children of God, created in the same divine image as the most religious, well-intentioned Christian.  It might be hard to believe, but it is true.