Posts by Bryant Perkins

Posts by Bryant Perkins

Birthday cake

Just Desserts

Walking through Wal-Mart earlier this week, I noted all of the King Cakes on display. Originally, these were baked in celebration of Epiphany, the commemoration of the Magi visiting the baby Jesus, observed on January 6th (if you have ever wondered about the origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas, they run until the Eve of Epiphany on January 5th). Over time, they became associated with the entire Pre-Lenten season, known variously as Shrovetide, Carnival, or, most prominently in this…

The Lord Looks on the Heart

We just celebrated Valentine’s Day a couple of days ago, and last night was our annual Valentine’s Banquet here. The way the story is usually told, the holiday traces its origins to a Roman priest who was imprisoned during an outbreak of persecution under the Emperor Claudius II in the 3rd century. He ran afoul of the law for performing clandestine weddings for Christians in the army who were forbidden to marry and was consequently sentenced to death. While awaiting…

Josephus on John the Baptist

From time to time, I think it is beneficial to compare what we find in Scripture to historical sources outside the New Testament. Since we talked about John the Baptist in our sermon last week, it might be interesting to note what the Jewish historian Josephus has to say about him. About this time Aretas, the king of Petra, and Herod the Tetrarch had a quarrel on account of the following. Herod the tetrarch had married the daughter of Aretas…

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

One of the greatest traditions that is specific to this congregation is what takes place after a person has been baptized into Christ. Everyone present forms a circle around the auditorium (well, ideally it’s a circle—usually it’s more of an irregular polygon, we’re not too good at this part), joins hands, and sings, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” This serves as an impressive reminder of the life-changing significance of faith in Christ expressed in baptism. It is even more…

Make the Right Choice

In 1988, Dan Quayle was selected as the running mate for the Republican Presidential candidate, George H. W. Bush. Within just a few hours of that announcement, he faced the most intense scrutiny of his life. One of the questions revolved around his enlistment in the National Guard during the Vietnam War: did he use personal connections to do that, and did he do it to avoid going overseas? In a news conference the day after his selection, he answered…

O Come, All Ye Faithful

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John…

O Little Town of Bethlehem

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.– Micah 5:2 Phillips Brooks was born in Boston in 1835. On his father’s side, he was descended from John Cotton, the great 17thcentury Puritan minister. Whether that influenced his path or not, after graduating first from Harvard and then from the Virginia…

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

And in the same region, there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of…
Pumpkin background for thanksgiving and halloween.

Straying Pilgrims

We all think we know the gist of the story of the first Thanksgiving. The English settlers known as Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in November 1620. After establishing a colony, they endured a harsh winter. But through the help of some friendly American Indians, they were able to survive and plant some crops. When a bountiful harvest came through in late 1621, they and their native allies all got together and celebrated, giving thanks to God for his provision.…
Happy couple standing with umbrella

Count Your Blessings

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess 5:18)  Paul exhorts us to give thanks to God regardless of our circumstances in life. But that’s hard. Sometimes conditions are less than ideal; at other times, they’re downright bad. We all feel overwhelmed by life at times. In those instances, we are so close to our own problems that we think they must be greater than anyone else’s. It seems…
various food ingredients

Taste and See

The proof is in the pudding. That’s one of those idioms we all know; it means that the end result will tell whether or not our efforts or planning were successful. But the phrase doesn’t make much sense when you really break it down: why is the proof in the pudding anyway? It becomes clearer in knowing that this is a shortened form of the original phrase: the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The word proof here…

Homecoming

The most famous story Jesus ever told is about a homecoming. We find it in Luke 15. One day, a young man went to his father and demanded his share of the inheritance. Then he left home and traveled to a distant land, wasting all of his money in wild living. When hard times hit, with no other recourse, he hired himself out to a farmer who had him feed pigs. Jesus could not paint a more dramatic picture of…