Friday, December 26, 2014

A Good Lingering!

This past month has been really busy. I have participated in The Journey to Bethlehem (see my last post) programmed and run lights for a large Christmas program at a church with a full rock band doing TSO songs and some acoustic and a Capella acts. I have also been working at the local mall selling calenders and games. Then on Christmas Eve I ran lights for the Christmas Eve services at All Shores Wesleyan Church, which consisted of a folky acoustic styling.

Needless to say, on Christmas Day I was pretty tired. And yes, we did have family over to our house so I got to do some cleaning before they came.

After all of this I chose to spend Christmas Day away from my computer and specifically away from email and social media. I feel like we often rush through Christmas. We get our gifts, spend 1 hour at church on Christmas Eve talking about Jesus, and run around between family events and parties.

I have heard mixed reports of what the Church as a whole has done with this focus in the past. One has suggested that the early church spent very little focus on His birth. They were more concerned with His resurrection. Another suggests that, at some point in time, there were groups that would spend weeks focusing on the birth of Christ.

Through this season I have tried to keep up with a reading plan from All Shores reading short scripture 6 nights a week. Some weeks I have done better than others and sadly this week was one where I didn't keep up as well.

I want to encourage you to do a couple of things as time moves away from Christmas 2014:

1. Don't move to quickly. Take some time to ponder Christ's birth this week. I know it isn't easy to make time for things, but don't just move on with an attitude of "I did that, now let's go to the next thing"

2. At the same time, keep Christ's ultimate mission in mind. Jesus came to "seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). In Luke 4 He quoted Isaiah 61 for his mission statement:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

3. Seek to join Jesus in His mission.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Behtlehem or bust!

Greetings Warriors and Scribes of the King!

I hope this holiday season is going well for you. I have had quite a busy time. Last week I had the pleasure of working alongside believers from about 25 churches of varying backgrounds in presenting "The Journey to Bethlehem".

This was an interactive theatrical event that lasted for 3 nights. We bussed people from a church to a park where 2 guides would walk them down a trail to meet the magi, shepherds, a scribe named Morticai, and eventually to Bethlehem and then the manger. Oh, and they were harassed by roman soldiers along the way. Some little kids were terrified by the soldiers, others, both young and old, were harassed even more because they would not stop laughing. We then bussed them back to the same church for cookies and hot cocoa. I was one of the guides. Over the 3 nights over 3,700 people experienced this. We had thousands of cookies donated, most of which were actually homemade by families and church groups (that is a lot of baking!).

One of the things we overlook in the story of Jesus birth was the travel. We forget that it was not safe for Mary and Joseph because of animals, robbers, and even Romans. I would not be surprised if Mary and Joseph were able to travel in a group because so many people needed to travel for the census, but I don't know for sure as people would have been going to many different cities.

In all this danger, Mary was about to give birth. So she was uncomfortable to begin with. Then, you have to realize that Mary would not have been counted in the census because women were not counted. All that way and she wasn't even counted; although she was taxed (Romans loved their money).

Is there something God is challenging you to do that does not seem normal or safe? Maybe he wants you to volunteer somewhere that is out of your comfort zone. Not all things God calls us to are dangerous, in fact many are not. But sometimes they are. God protected Mary and Joseph by sending them down to Egypt when the babies were about to be killed. He actually used a dream to get them moving. You may not be charged with the care of God's only baby boy, but you are under His protection when you obey Him. Instead of steering away from danger, trust Him in the danger. Sometimes He'll steer you away, but other times He'll just walk with you.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Flash and Power

Hey guys. Sorry I haven’t gotten a new blog up in a while. We have been busy with moving into a new house and I have had some problems connecting with wifi at our new house.

So I’ve been thinking about a recent episode of “The Flash”. No, this is not the cross over episode, although that is a great episode. Yes there are SPOILERS in this post. A meta-human that feeds on electricity starts causing massive trouble around town. In an encounter with them Barry loses his powers. You see this guy drained so much energy out of him that they paused. As they went on to explore the issue with his problems, he came and attacked Star Labs, sucking power from the city and allowing the Clock King to cause a terrible situation at the police station, putting several lives in significant danger, including Iris.

Back to the Flash, they decided to try to charge him with electricity on the bar of the treadmill. You see a slight little vibration in Barry, but he still can’t run. As the night goes on, the situation gets more dangerous. Eventually, Caitlin Snow checks him and finds that he should indeed have his speed. His cells are all operating at the normal “Flash” efficiency. She challenges him to believe it. Then, Doctor Wells calls out the meta-human and gets into trouble, of course. 

Right at the point in which Doctor Wells would be killed, Barry gets his speed back. He didn’t receive back his belief until someone was in absolute danger. He had his power all along, but he lost his trust in himself. Barry has a lot of pressure on him. The pressures of the department for his job, his desire to have Iris in a deeper relationship. His desire to help people and save lives as the Flash. As soon as he lost his powers he doubted himself. When his body was physically recharged, he still doubted. 

As followers of Christ, we are the same way. We fall into a sinful pattern such as lust or an angry attitude and we feel like we can’t get out of it. 2 Peter 1:3 &4 tell us:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

God has already give us the ability to rise above these sins. We just need to trust Him for the power. We need to believe it. Now, this power does come “through our knowledge of Him who called us”. God doesn’t give us rules He won’t empower us to follow. We often fail to use this power. Often we simply don’t think it is available. We think God is so sick of our sin, why would He give us any power? But, the reason He makes His power available to is to get away from that sin. God loves redemption. To come and die for our sins but NOT provide the power to overcome the patterns they lead to would not fit with His agenda.

There is one more side to this: the more we sin, the more likely it will negatively affect those around us. Sometimes we don’t wake up to the need to change until someone around us is really hurt by it. When it comes to lust and a single person, we often don’t even realize that lust now will affect our spouse later as it affects our expectations and desires. Flash didn’t get working again until someone’s life was in danger. Don’t let things get that far.