Archive for December, 2010

Sharing the Light!

December 25, 2010

Today my church spread out all over the county and took homemade cookies to people who have to work on Christmas Eve. This has been a tradition for about 8 years. We go to the firehouses, police stations, hospitals, medical offices, businesses, shops, gas stations, dry cleaners and even restaurants. We thank them for serving our community and offer prayers for them. Attached to the cookies is a Christmas card from our church explaining that we do this for one reason: so they will know that God loves them. This year we delivered to 80 locations using about 1600+ cookies!

The stories from the delivery teams are heart warming. One lady turned down the plate of cookies thinking we wanted a donation. When they explained it was a gift with no strings, she started to cry. She told them that she had been resentful that she had to work when most of her friends were off today. She said she had wanted to go to church, and instead the church came to her. I thought this was profound because that is exactly what Jesus did.

Christmas means that God chooses to come to us! So, the folks who follow Jesus, should take the church to those who are hurting, lonely, resentful and do not yet have the light of God shining in them. I pray you experience Jesus, the babe who rescues us, this Christmas and into the new year. He chooses to dwell with us – will you choose to let him live and shine in you?

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Don’t Touch the Shepherds!

December 14, 2010

I can imagine a watchful parent saying this to children in Jesus’ day when the Shepherds came into town looking for the baby born in a manger. Shepherds were a dirty lot. They hung out with sheep, slept in caves, sat by campfires and were generally poor, dirty and unkempt. Shepherding was not a desirable, good paying job so this group included vagabonds, liars and cheats. YET God in his infinite wisdom chose this group to be his heralds and witnesses when he sent his only son to be born into the world!

There is a huge lesson here for all of us. God came to the lowest of the low and appointed them to tell the best news in the world. So, that means God will come to us regardless of our baggage and past sins. This means when God does reveal himself to us, he EXPECTS us to go and tell everyone about the experience. The shepherds were uneducated, oppressed and unpopular. Thankfully this did not stop them from telling about the babe in the manger and how God came to them. So nothing should or can prevent us from telling how God has blessed and transformed us. The world needs to hear this and is craving such GOOD NEWS!

Recently our church was asked to adopt poor families for Christmas. 76 families, a relatively small number, were adopted by our very large congregation. Most people chose to give money which will be used to bless many families. I wonder if people did this to avoid having to touch, smell and be exposed to the likes of modern-day shepherds? It is easier and less risky to just send a check and not have to get to know personally the suffering, poor and troubled people in our community.

I think that charity surrounding Christ’s birth should involve more than just making us feel the “Christmas spirit.” Charity based in God’s transforming love embraces our neighbor. I hope and pray that people will choose to come alongside the poor and hurting in our community – to walk with them into a new year and share with them the good news of faith through words and actions. We can walk with a family as they exit poverty and constant suffering. It requires the unconditional love of a follower of Jesus to empower them and help them stand in this difficult economic time. Like the angels said, “Don’t be afraid!” Love your hurting neighbors – come alongside them and spread God’s GLORY in our community. Don’t take the safe route, take the Jesus route, right into the hearts of the hurting and needy among us.

Impossible? Nothing!

December 7, 2010

I know I have it backwards. I was just trying to get your attention. The angel explained to the Virgin Mary that she would have a son because nothing is impossible with God. She would go onto witness the impossible made possible over and over in her son’s life. Water was turned into wine, 5000 were fed with just 2 fishes and a few loaves of bread, the blind received sight, the lame walked, Peter walked on water and Lazarus came back from the dead.

Christmas teaches us that nothing is impossible with our God. A poor maiden from Nazareth gave birth in a manger to the King of Kings, the savior of the world. Wise Men led by a supernova knelt and worshipped this obscure child. Shepherds heard a choir of angels. This child confounded the temple priests. His heavenly Father resurrected him after three days and then turned the world upside down through 12 simple disciples.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH OUR GOD. Whatever you are facing, give it in faith to our God. Imagine God taking over, making things right and trust God for a complete and thorough response to your prayer. Be open and receptive to the answer God delivers even if it does not match your expectations.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH OUR GOD. Your marriage maybe on the rocks, the fun is gone, the future bleak. Your kids are impossible and rebellious. Your job is tenuous and your finances shaky. Turn it all over to the Christ of the manger. He changes lives, heals the sick and brings hope in our generation too!

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD. Maybe your church is struggling with finances like mine and almost everyone I know. Call on the God of the impossible to rescue and raise up your church. Expect him to do it. Show up in worship this week expecting a blessing and for lives to be touched by the grace of God. Throw yourself into Kingdom service without doubting your abilities and the results – God works in mysterious and wondrous ways.

Tell someone this week: NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH OUR GOD.