Advent 2022: Rich in Love

Posted December 22, 2022 by Christina Curato in Advent

My sister's life is a living testament to her name: Jessica—meaning "Yahweh exists." There were many times in her life where doctors didn't expect her to live, times when even secular doctors exclaimed "miracle." I could write about how she had a genius IQ at eight years old and was in a nearly year-long coma by nine years old due to an unfortunate medical malpractice. Her journey is long (15…

Advent 2022: Loving Without Fear

Posted December 21, 2022 by Kathy Bernal in Advent

When I was younger, I never wanted to have children. Pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering all seemed too messy for me. I preferred instead to focus on my goals and aspirations of becoming a lawyer. Children seemed like nothing but a distraction. However, now that I reflect back on that time in my life, I realize that it was not stubborn career determination preventing my desire for a family.…

Advent 2022: A Mother's Love

Posted December 20, 2022 by Jessie Horton in Advent

This Advent season, I've chosen to contemplate the theme of love. People say that there is close to nothing like a mother's love. Looking to Mary, mother of Jesus, as well as my own mother, I know that this is true. Christ's perfect love redeems and comforts us. But when we look at Mary, we also see an example of undying, unconditional devotion. We see her love for Christ and her love for God…

Advent 2022: Love Ripples Outward

Posted December 19, 2022 by Bettye Carpenter in Advent

In the spring of 1973, we came to South Main Baptist Church to hear Dan Yeary preach on Sunday evenings. At that time, we were in the process of adopting an infant and completing our master's degrees. Our adoption application was complete, we thought, so we returned to Alabama to complete our graduate work. All things worked together for us, but not without some significant hiccups.

Monday Over Coffee: "Getting Home"

Posted December 19, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Not long ago, circumstances conspired such that I found myself sleeping all night on a metal bench in an airport, forsaken by all but the graveyard shift at the usually bustling terminal and a handful of other weary travelers. When a TSA employee roused me from my fitful slumber at 5:00 AM and told me to move along, I obediently arose, my contacts sticking to my eyes, the strap of my…

Advent 2022: Fourth Sunday of Advent, Love Beyond My Attention Span

Posted December 18, 2022 by Adam Cogliano in Advent

Growing up, Christmas mornings always began with tinges of impatience and irritation. Year after year, my brother and I knew that we were not allowed to go downstairs to unwrap gifts until my father grabbed his video recording device. Through the years, my father's device of choice changed from a larger camcorder to a smaller camcorder to an even smaller phone camera, but every year, he was…

Advent 2022: Reflect on Joy

Posted December 17, 2022 by SMBC in Advent

This time of year can get outrageously busy. To-do lists get long, calendars get full, and the busyness of the season can start to sap our joy. We may know, intellectually, that love is the most important thing about this season, but we still fall short of putting that love into practice. We invite you to take a moment and reflect on how you can follow Jesus' command from John 15:12—to love…

Advent 2022: Moments of Joy

Posted December 16, 2022 by Earlene Rentz-Turner in Advent

I find it comforting to know that the angel who appeared to the shepherds might have been familiar with joy. I realize that angels are messengers, and I do hope they were able to identify with this joyful message. I also hope they were able to "feel the joy." I find it interesting that the angel began the announcement by trying to alleviate the fear of anything that might compete with the…

Advent 2022: Love Leads to Joy

Posted December 15, 2022 by Zane Spoede in Advent

There are a lot of things that bring joy into Advent. For some, it may be presents; for others, it may be seeing family. But I have learned that my biggest joy comes from growing in my relationship with God. Because the truth is we wouldn't have any of the joys of Advent, or of life, without God. Now, I know that we can sometimes try to make this too simple, when, in reality, it can be very…

Advent 2022: The Most Powerful Thing You Can Do

Posted December 14, 2022 by Mel Musgrove in Advent

"Stay Gentle" by Brandi Carlile isn't found on any religious chart, but it is undoubtedly spiritual. I like to think that Mary sang a verse like this to Jesus as she raised Him in a world that was quick to harden His heart and His hands. Perhaps this was in the echoes of great joy that was to be for all the people. Mary must have known all too well that her Son would go through life…

Advent 2022: Joy Incarnate

Posted December 13, 2022 by Michael Raimer-Goodman in Advent

International Women's Day, March 8, 2022. Meru County, Kenya. We didn't know how many women would show up. We had never planned an event like this—where we invited women from 25 villages spanning more than half the size of Harris County. These women, part of Sodzo International's "Come Together to Belong" program, gathered with 8,000 other women weekly nearby their homes. This was different.…

Monday Over Coffee: "Absence"

Posted December 12, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

"Patricia Ann Funderburk lived a life of grace and cheer with the full heart of a selfless servant. She was born on October 8, 1935 in Hominy, Oklahoma, and passed away peacefully at home with her family on December 8, 2013." That's how I began my mother's obituary when I undertook to write it nine years ago this past week. May I share a little more:

Advent 2022: The Joy of the Journey

Posted December 12, 2022 by Greta Buehrle in Advent

Have you ever considered which character you would be in the Nativity story? I'd want to be part of the Magi. You see, I love to travel. If I had my way, most of my days would be spent trekking the globe. The only thing better than traveling might be planning the trip itself. There's scientific evidence to back up this pre-trip felicity. A 2014 Cornell University study proved that the…

Advent 2022: Third Sunday of Advent, Joy Fulfilled!

Posted December 11, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Advent

I learned a great deal via Schoolhouse Rock, that series of brief three-minute animated shows utilized by ABC to—with a combination of catchy tunes and clever lyrics—smuggle some elementary education in grammar, civics, history, and math into young cartoon-addled minds on Saturday mornings in the 1970s. They were wildly successful. "I'm Just a Bill on Capitol Hill" was how a generation of kids…

Advent 2022: Reflect on Hope

Posted December 10, 2022 by SMBC in Advent

Wish lists are very popular this time of year. Letters to Santa, Amazon wish lists, and last-minute text messages from the mall are filled with things we desire. On the radio, people dream of getting a White Christmas, two front teeth, and hippopotamuses. There's nothing wrong with wishing. But as people who have placed our faith in Christ, we have something better than wishes. We have Hope.…

Advent 2022: Ready to Ride

Posted December 9, 2022 by Mary Stedham in Advent

It was an extremely cold morning, even by West Texas standards, but the weather didn't deter our elated five-year-old son Nathan for a moment. He bundled up (as he was told he must) and out into the yard he went. Santa had left him the big-boy bike he had hoped for, and he was ready to ride! Now this is the same youngster who had just a few months earlier passed me as I arrived home one…

Advent 2022: Hope, An Anchor for the Soul

Posted December 8, 2022 by Jana and Kelly Bryant in Advent

Movie fans may remember when the first Star Wars movie was released in 1977. If you saw it then, it was quite the epic story. Fewer may remember though when it was rereleased in 1981, we learned it wasn't just the beginning, but the middle of the story of the Jedi warriors, Luke Skywalker, and The Force. The movie was retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Advent 2022: Be Hopeful

Posted December 7, 2022 by Isabella Alas in Advent

When my parents got divorced, I found myself constantly asking why this was happening to me. My world was collapsing, and I felt helpless knowing there was nothing I could do. At the time, I had not joined South Main and I wasn't attending church regularly. I lost sight in my faith, not because I was angry with God, but because I just wasn't connected. Although I hoped things could be…

Advent 2022: The Promise of Hope in the Lord

Posted December 6, 2022 by Ethan Gwaltney in Advent

We've done more waiting than usual the past few years in our house. Maybe you can relate. We've waited on some good and beautiful things, like the newborns in our Sunday School class who will be celebrating their first Christmas this year. And we've waited on some very hard seasons to pass when we've lost close loved ones. Waiting can be brutal.

Advent 2022: Saved You a Seat

Posted December 5, 2022 by Mary Campbell in Advent

I made the decision to join South Main in a Jewish deli. Like so many of us, I was initially drawn to South Main for a plethora of reasons: the inspiring and theologically rich sermons, the unforgettable music, the breathtaking sanctuary, and so forth. Every time I visited, I would discover a new reason to come back.