Thursday, December 29, 2016

This is Why Christmas Happened

Imagine being in the best place ever. Don't get hung up on it looking like other people's best place ever. Just imagine a place that you never tired of, never grew weary of being and could never imagine some place better.

Best place ever.

Now imagine the best person ever. Don't make this about a boyfriend or girlfriend. Forget the possibilities of tension. Just imagine a person that you never grew tired of, never grew weary of being around, and could never imagine someone better to hang out with.

Best person ever.

In the best place ever.

Now imagine a scenario in which I could give you something to stop hanging around with the best person ever, in the best place ever. What kind of trade would it take? What kind of deal could I make you?

Seems ridiculous, right? What could I possibly have to trade you for being in the best place with the best person? You'd have to be a fool...or at least be fooled into thinking there was something else...something more.

Maybe this sounds stupid to you. Maybe you're sitting there thinking to yourself, 'If I am content thinking I have the best possible situation, why even consider the possibility of something better? Why want for more when I'm already perfectly happy?'

Or maybe you want to at least hear me out. Perhaps the offer intrigues you. Upon hearing the trade offer, which is little more than a curtain hiding a lie, imagine what the best person ever thinks as you actually take the trade.

What would have to happen to cause you to hide from the best person ever in the best place ever?

But this is basically what happened in Genesis 3. I was reminded of this truth as my awesome wife reminded the kids of our church that the Christmas story began in Genesis, where we see the reason why Jesus had to come in the first place.

This is why Christmas happened.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Party!

It seems everyone is busy all the time these days. And then December comes and we all believe we have some superhuman ability to squeeze 25 hours worth of stuff into a 24 hour day.

Sorry, I don't know how well you math, but it doesn't work so well. As a church, we often attempt to remove some of our regular programming to afford families more time together.

So what do we do when Christmas lands on a Sunday? How do you cancel when the holiday is supposed to be about Jesus? I have seen larger churches do so, and I understand. When you depend on a large volunteer group week in and week out, giving them a break seems like the right thing to do.

We also depend on volunteers, but somehow it doesn't feel the same. So, if you look below, you'll see an invite to a Birthday Party on Christmas morning. I know you have your normal Christmas traditions. So does my family. I'm encouraging you to join us as part of your family tradition this year.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Overjoyed or Disturbed?

In Matthew 2, the Magi come to visit King Herod. They ask about the King of the Jews. We’re told King Herod is disturbed and all Jerusalem with him. He asks the chief priests and the teachers of the law for details on where the Christ was to be born.

Why are the chief priests disturbed?

Why all of Jerusalem?

King Herod being disturbed, I get. He was a king, and the mention of another king coming would naturally be seen as a threat. King Herod responds and acts throughout this story just as we should expect him to act.

But the teachers of the law? Were they not focused on the prophecies at all? Jesus came quoting the Law and the Prophets. I assumed God’s people would be about looking for the Messiah. They knew enough to tell Herod the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem.

And why didn’t they go to Bethlehem? They hear that a star has been seen, and that foreign kings are coming to see this baby born, but we have no record of them checking it out for themselves. Understand, this is before Jesus said anything offensive. This is before He focused on children and sinners and tax collectors. This is before He exposed the evil hearts of those who were supposed to be Israel’s shepherds.

I didn’t see Cubs fans waiting their entire lives for a World Series championship and then skipping out on the celebration. We’ll celebrate the next one.

Something very wrong was going on in the hearts of these teachers of the law, these followers of God, that they chose not to respond to the movement of God. Something was amiss when they heard about the coming and decided to simply not go.

The Magi continued on, found Jesus, and worshipped Him.

        The teachers of the Law decided not to go, not to seek, not to worship.

The Magi are described as being overjoyed when they found Him.

        The teachers of the law were disturbed.

Where is your heart this season? Are you seeking? If you were to accidentally stumble upon God moving in your midst, would it bring you joy? Or would it disturb you?