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December 23, 2010 1 comment

What’s the good word? In what will likely be the last entry for me this year, I wanted to spend some time around the theme of Christmas- go figure, and the new year.

I love Christmas! Call me old fashioned, call me a sap, but I really do love Christmas. As I watch the Christmas décor go up before Halloween can even be a memory for us, every year it bothers me less to see it go up that early. So, I sit here on the 20th of December writing this January newsletter article realizing that Christmas is only 5 days away. I also know that on the 26th of December, Christmas stuff will go away and the Valentine’s Day cards will go into the card bins. It makes me sad. Surely the incarnation of God as a baby born of human mother in a cave deserves just a bit more from us than one day. What happened to the twelve days of Christmas?

With January, comes a new year, and with it a renewed hope of better things in 2011. New goals, new jobs perhaps, new resolutions. I guess it really is a NEW year. But that was the purpose behind Christmas. You see, God coming down and taking the form of a human was something completely new. God deciding not reign from on high totally separate from us, but becoming one of us and loving us was new. In Revelation 21:5 we are reminded: “Behold, I am making all things new.” But by coming down, what did God make new?

The Lord Jesus Christ has set before us a new way of life. The old way of life was, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” But, we are unable to keep the commandments. We couldn’t do it for ourselves. Jesus sets before us another way: “So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it…”(Romans 4:16). “Behold, I make all things new,” says Jesus, and then he makes his people into his children. There has also been born in us by the work of the Holy Spirit a new life, with all the new feelings, and new desires, and new works, which go with it. The Spirit of God is the kindling of new life in us.

What does it mean that is Lord Jesus makes all things new? A new birth is possible for us. There is enough of light in our souls that when we come to confession we realize that we are in darkness; and can reach out to Christ. Listen to Him say, “Behold, I make all things new.” There is nothing so old that he cannot make it new—nothing so fixed and habitual that he cannot change it. We can be made new. You have got to love Christmas! And that’s the good word for today! Merry Christmas, and all the best in the New Year! See you in 2011!

 

 

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Love

December 16, 2010 1 comment

What’s the good word? Love is on my mind lately. Perhaps it is because my message this Sunday is focused on it. Perhaps it is because Stacie and I watched “Love Actually” the other evening. Great movie by the way. The opening of the movie goes like this:

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport. General opinion makes out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, I don’t see that. Seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy but it’s always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge, they were all messages of love. lf you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.

I’ve been spending a lot of money lately, but I have to stop and ask myself have I been spending a lot of love? Probably not as much as I should, espeically to that guy that took my parking spot the other day. This weekend I will ask the question: But what is it to love something or someone? We have one word for love- love. But in scripture we are taught that there are 3 types of love. Eros- the erocitc love. Philios- the brotherly type of love (think Philedelphia), and agape- the Godly love, the undconditional love. When Christ tells us to love one another he uses the word agape. When Christ says that “For God so loved the world”, he uses agape. I think he may be trying to tell us something there. I mean come on, I love my wife, but I also love Rudy’s BBQ. I don’t think she would be too happy to be in the same category as Rudy’s…they do have good BBQ!! Love is a word we need to meditate on today, for it has grown very ambiguous. In cases where true love indeed exists, toward our children for example, we know because it is expressed as much in action as in feeling. Parents serve their children, and are completely devoted to them, as are husbands and wives in a loving relationship.

The currency of love then is service; what and who we serve are the what  and who we really love. Perhaps Hugh Grant is right in the movie, perhaps love actually is all around us, but perhaps we need to pay attention to what it is we actually are loving. And that’s the good word for today!

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What’s This All About?

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? I’ve been thinking alot about the first chapter of our staff book we are reading called “Crazy Love”. Excellent book by the way. I know I’m only 2 chapters in, but really, I’m already pondering the things I am reading, and by now you can really tell if a book is good or not. Here’s something for you-“To just read the Bible, attend church, and avoid “big” sins- is this passionate, wholehearted love for God?” Yeh, that’s the first quote that I get greeted with when I open up the book, and it’s not even in the first chapter, it’s in the preface. I NEVER read the preface. I didn’t think there was ever any good stuff in the preface! Well, what do you think? Is that all there is? I believe if we are truthful, most of us think that’s all there is to this walk. OR, are you like me and feel as though something is wrong? How many of you have read the New Testament and wondered if we in the church are missing it? I hope I’m not the only one, then I will think I’m really crazy! I believe God longs for more from the church. I think many of us, if we were truthful with ourselves would admit that the church isn’t doing too well. There’s a whole generation out there that loves Jesus, but not the church. I get an awful feeling deep down in my stomach when I think of how we are missing out on all that God wants for the people God loved enough to die for. Do you? I don’t know about you but I agree with Francis Chan here- we need to stop givng people excuses not to believe in God! Another way of putting it is this- let’s be known for what we are for rather than what we are against. We are about to celebrate the birth of Jesus. He was born into this world to be a humble servant, but Jesus never begs us to give Him some small part of ourselves. He actually commands everything from his followers. So, where do we go from here? Do we adjust how we live daily, or do we stay the same? And that’s the good word for today.

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