Yesterday, one Journey paragraph mentioned alliteration. Can we say another word on that? Maybe there was a day when a topical sermon was effective with the key words or points all beginning with the same letter. I have my doubts about that today. I’ve done alliterative sermon points. Used to. Can’t remember the last one, however, since my sermons now are almost all textual and expository. Again, who hasn’t heard sermons where the words are forced so they’ll fit a scheme? One man’s opinion here is that alliteration ought to be retired in sermons. Has gotten too gimmicky. (I’m braced for the preachers’ reprisals.) Continue reading

During the Lord’s supper today, John 18:1 caught my eye: “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it” (NIV). Prayer doesn’t often change the challenges we must face, seldom does it improve our situation, but rather by prayer God prepares us to meet the trials or temptations with self-control, purpose, and faith. Then, we can glorify God. Jesus prayed and went into Gethsemane where he was betrayed. He knew all that was going to happen to him (v. 4), and with the power invested in him through his prayer, he walked straight to the cross. We can do the same. Continue reading

Fans a-whirring, no wind stirring, windows open, temperatures in the 80s and 90s when the torrential rains abate. Other than that it’s a normal Christmas — stores packed, drivers going crazy in the streets, neighbors getting loud in celebration. Everyone’s gearing up for the midnight supper so common in Brazil. (Below, Daniel and Leila decorated our Christmas tree this year.)

[In a blog move, the pic dissolved into thin air. Trying to find it …]

And at the office earlier today I bopped out a nifty Christmas poem using the meter of the famous, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It just really fell into place, though I spent some time tweaking, and added four lines later. Here’s the first part: Continue reading


Yes, I like Christmas in Brazil, because during this time of year you can buy a chocottone. You can buy one in the stores from the big industrial corporations (not recommended), and they aren’t bad.

But the best ones are made in the local padaria, you buy it the day it’s made. Some people make their own, like this lady. If you make one, I’ll come help you eat it. Continue reading