Due to the loss of a family member I will not be posting this week.
I will however be back next week!
The real spirit of Christmas is a spirit of hope. The message was announced by angels that a child had been born. This was no ordinary child, Jesus was different, not from earth but from heaven. In Star Trek the brave explorers go boldly where no one has gone before to seek out new life. The UFO enthusiasts anticipate the coming of a superior life form to this earth. A new life, a superior life came to this earth 2,000 years ago!
-John 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. -John 17:14,16 I am not of the world. -John 18:36 My kingdom is not of this world:
People do a lot of crazy things in the hope of finding a new quality of living-a new career, a new location, a new spouse, a new name, a new physical appearance, new friends BUT the same old problems still follow them.Only in Jesus Christ can we find a new life!
-Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. -2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The real spirit of Christmas is a spirit of new life for all that will receive. One of my favorite Christmas songs when done right is "Joy to the World" but the birth of Jesus did not bring joy to everyone.-Matthew 2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Jesus brought Joy to those who understood scripture and loved God!-Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. Jesus is the source of Joy today.
John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full-Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
There was excitement among the shepherds - Luke 2:15-18 They were excited about their search and encounter with Jesus. The Christian life should be a life of excitement - why? Because it is easier to do something you are excited about be it attending worship gatherings, praying, reading, worshipping, witnessing, working.When the fires of excitement burn low, we need to let the real spirit of Christmas touch our hearts.
There were people anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jesus.Simeon and Anna - Luke 2:25-32, 36-38-they were in tune with the Word, the Spirit and the times. As believers our lives should be marked by a spirit of expectancy, daily expecting God to show up and do something! Daily looking for the return of Christ because we can get to a place where we are no longer living in expectancy and then ‘old age,’ or a dryness of spirit sets in.The real spirit of Christmas can restore expectancy.
Our highest calling is to worship our Creator. The world in general no longer worships YHWH. The three kings worshipped - Matthew 2:1-2, 11. Worship opens the treasures of our heart and lays them at the feet of Jesus, it is interesting when our worship can become routine, dead, unfeeling. The real spirit of Christmas will restore life and feeling to our worship!
So what does all this mean? Similar to the Grinch, let the real spirit of Christmas get a hold of your life, it will completely change you and it is not for a season, it is for an eternity.
Some People try to steal Christmas. This time of year, more often than not, We hear of some shopper, whose presents weren’t bought. They have gone in the store, there intention was clear, to fill their pockets with all kinds of gear. The tapes and the CD’s, little toys or robots. All because they thought they were good girls and boys. Christmas they think is just free for the takin’ and when caught they think the clerk was mistaken. What causes people to think that Christmas can be stole. Could it be they have been misinformed by a diabolical foe?
Stealing Christmas is more than just filling our pockets, or taking gifts from someone else’s car. We steal Christmas when we get caught up in other things rather than the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, and those things become the central focus of our celebration. Santa, and Frosty, and reindeer and sleighs can point to the Christ of Christmas or they can steal it away, it is all in how we present it.
All the Who girls and boys would wake bright and early. They’d rush for their toys! And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! That’s one thing he hated! The Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!Then the Whos, young and old, would sit down to a feat, and they’d feast! And they’d feast! And they’d feast, Feast! Feast! Feast! They would feast on Who pudding, and rare Who roast beast which was something the Grinch couldn’t stand in the least! And then they’d do something he like least of all! Every who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, would stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing. They’d stand hand in hand. And the whos would start singing. They’s sing! And they’d sing! And they’s ding! Sing! Sing! Sing! And the more the Grinch though of this who-Christmas sing, the more the Grinch though, “I must stop this whole thing! Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now! I must stop this Christmas from coming! But how?
Thoughts...part 2 coming sooner than next Monday!
OK, Listen...this book is a must read! If you have ever owned a dog this book will resonate with your funny bone. I didn't even know that it is a best seller!
This book will appeal to four distinct groups of people: pull-my-finger dads, dog owners, people called Walter, and friends of people called Walter.
Walter is based on a real-life dog who lived in Fredericton years ago and was renowned throughout the New Brunswick capital for his room-clearing abilities.
I have a "must read" book list below, and this one was just added.
In our world of seriousness, we need to lighten up a bit...this book is a sure fire way to do it.
I am part of a new church experience. This experience is fantastic, overwhelming and terrifying all at the same time. But here is my issue...my ramble...
Is the church to be looked at as a hospital or a hospice? People become part of a church for a variety of reasons. People leave churches for a variety of reasons. The one thing that I see in common is that people will come into a church setting with hurt and pain, and others will leave a church setting with hurt or pain.
Now, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to acknowledge that churches are not perfect places because they are made up of people. BUT....The way I see it is that people have a choice. People have a choice to work at getting better and healthier, or people can sit in thier muck and filth and not do anything about it.
At our church we talk very openly about refuge, repair and rejuvenation. The problem with a motto such as this is that many people what to stay in “Refuge.” They want to hide. It is sort of like the difference between a hospital and a hospice.
Let me say that I believe that it is ok to hide for a period of time...that is what Refuge is all about, but when do people start the process of healing? Of repair? Is there a starting time?
When you get sick what happens? First our bodies tell us that something is wrong. We usually get a confirmation of that when we go to the doctor. But if we are seriously ill, what do most people do? They go to the hospital. When at a hospital, you are there for a reason. But as soon as you walk in through the door, you begin to start the process of healing. The nurse takes your vitals, checks your history and depending what your injuries are, they may have to hook you up to an IV, give you a shot, clean and bandage, even stich a wound. As you stay there longer, they will have you eating properly, walking after surgery, using the washroom and even doing physio therapy…but you are in the process of repair, of getting healthy. You do not intend to go to a hospital to stay sick!
But if you look at the idea of "Refuge" as a hospice, that means you will lie there until you die. You assume that there is no hope to your condition, that it is terminal. If you seen refuge as a place where you can sit in your stink...then what is the point of getting better. Why wash and clean up if I can just sit down and rot. There is no point to eating properly, or of walking, there is no point to physio, it is just a matter of time…then one is gone.
Gone in more than one way. The first is that they leave the community, only to go to another place to soil it with their muck. Not concerned about cleaning up, rather only concerned about the fact that they have pain and are clear to let everybody know it. It is like the drunk in the emergency ward. He finds himself there because he got hurt falling down, but in his condition he believes that he is the only one in discomfort and that the staff should treat him as the highest priority.
Many of people fall into the lie that pain and suffering robs of us options. Yet, in the midst of hurt and pain we have options of 'how am I going to respond to my situation.' Then the classic question is "Am I going to be bitter or better?"
Any one can become bitter, it is easy to ripped apart everything and become apathetic, skeptical or cynical…anybody can do that! But it is a rare person who in the midst of hurt, pain and suffering responds to become a better person.
We have a choice to be bitter or better.