Thursday, December 07, 2006

It’s Christmas time again. Hard to believe isn’t it? It’s hard for me to believe for many reasons…I’m quickly approaching 30 and I am amazed at how time is evaporating. I can remember that it was this time last year that I began the Semper Reformanda e-mails…then it turned into the emerging reformer/semper reformanda blog. It was this time last year that a young lady named Kristy Bailey called me and asked me if I could preach her mother in laws funeral…I had no clue that this young lady was the quite “Kristy Fister” that I went school with…you can imagine my shock when it hit me that she married CHASE BAILEY…the craziest kid I had ever met in my life…literally…I could write a series of blogs based upon the stories I could tell of that kid in school! I had no clue that just two weeks after I preached his moms funeral that they would both be converted to Christ, would become two of the fastest growing spiritual newborns I have ever seen in my life, would become two of the most faithful servants Southside has ever been blessed with and that they would so quickly become the closest friends Naomi and I have ever had.

It’s been a year since Christmas 05…does the speed of the passage of time stay the same or accelerate? I hope it doesn’t go any faster than this…I’ve got too much to do and too many places to see and plant churches in...so far I’ve got my eyes on Dallas, San Diego, Phoenix and back to the Akron area. I’d like to call those places home at some point before I die. On top of all that I’d like to live and work in planting a church or two (or a dozen) in a third world country, either in South America or Africa…somewhere hot, rugged, dangerous and hard, please. I want to be found dead at the age of (no less than) 100, lying face first in the jungle somewhere with a Bible in my hand, written in the natives tongue of course…dead from exhaustion…that would be sweet! But the work here is not nearly done and I feel like I’m running out of time. Southside needs to be further established and rooted and now Eastside is on the plate…

Oh well, back to the topic. Christmas, lol.

Last year’s blog stirred some of you up, do you remember it? It was quit a rebuke now that I look back on it and read it again. My rebuff centered around how many “Christians” were flipping out over Wal-Mart and other big time retailers prohibiting the phrase “Merry Christmas” by their employees or in their advertising materials…yet many if not most of those very same Christians had no plans whatsoever on attending the worship gathering at their own local church ON CHRISTMAS DAY! In fact, many of the largest evangelical churches in the country actually CANCELLED their Sunday worship gathering on Christmas…which was just outrageous. The rebuke was warranted.

This year however I don’t have any indignation and I have no fire to breathe. I’m hoping and praying that you and your family will stop and take time to worship during this most Holy time of year…Advent. The word ‘advent’ means coming.

He came. The “branch” of Isaiah came and “bore fruit”. The “fountain” that Zechariah spoke of “opened” and cleansed the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” from their sin and impurity! He came. The very one like a “son of man” seen by Daniel has come and has been given “authority”, “glory” and “sovereign power” and we are thrilled to learn, understand and trust that “his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed”!

Again, just as the ancient Hebrew Prophet Zechariah foretold, He came to cleanse His people from their sins, impurity, guilt and shame. And that is indeed what He has done! Amen! Your kids need to understand this…He is our champion, our Savior, our Redeemer, our hero! Not Santa Claus…Jesus! Jesus is the one due all the glory and honor and praises! All hail the power of Jesus name…let God’s Holy Angels who are prostrate…FALL! I implore you, make Jesus a superstar during this season of the year in your home. Tell your kids and grandkids how desperately doomed we’d be were it not for Jesus. Tell them again and again. They need to begin to grasp how incredible the Christmas message is…that God became flesh to save His people from their sins!

Christmas in our culture has the potential to be a tremendous tool to inspire awe, wonder and worship in your home and in your heart. Or you can go into dept buying presents for people who you may or may not even like in order to keep up with everybody else in the family, stress out about how many homes you have to visit and how many cookies you have to bake and whatever else and totally delude the power and potential for deeply spiritual worship of this time of year.

The danger is not forgetting about Jesus during Christmas…no Christian would truly “forget” Jesus. The danger is not appreciating Jesus during the Christmas season. We can very well neglect to mediate upon Jesus and what the big deal is even about. The purpose of giving gifts is to illustrate the point…that the sending of Christ and His mission is the Fathers gift to all people. What a shame it would be for your kids to not “get it”.

Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year. I can not encourage you enough to make it a point to worship with your church family on Christmas Eve. If you do not have a church family, find one and join them that day for worship. If you don’t know where to find a good church family, contact me and no matter what part of the country you are in, I can and will help you find a church family to worship with on Christmas Eve.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:2-7 NIV

1 comment:

Naomi said...

AMEN!