Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

It does not require a degree in psychology to determine we Americans are obsessed with the future. All one needs to do is read the newspapers or listen to the radio and you will find a proliferation of prophets, pundits and prognosticators eagerly attempting to predict what the future holds in an effort to quench this insatiable thirst. Many gullible folks will quickly turn to the astrology section of the newspaper, trusting they will find what “the stars” hold for them in the future.

Some will visit their local psychics, who will gaze at tea leaves, read tarot cards or some other method of hocus-pocus to “determine” what the future will bring. Some of us trust our intuition, minds or intellect to study all sorts of “megatrends” to get a leg up on what these portend for the future. No matter the means to which we may resort, we want to be in the know regarding the future.

However, only One truly knows the future, and that is the omniscient, sovereign God who rules the universe. It is an unfortunate circumstance of this mortal life, but we all must contend with the stubborn fact there is a shroud of uncertainty cloaking the future. And since God is the only One who truly knows the future, it is a monumental mistake not to include Him in our plans. This is the fatal error many commit when creating their grand schemes for future success.

As the beginning of a new year is fast approaching, many are quite concerned as to what it may bring forth, while many are in the process of making plans in hopes to make it a successful one. Perhaps the best advice for both situations, at least from a spiritual perspective, has been provided by Henry Ward Beecher, who said, “Every man should be born again on the first of January.” What better mindset than this to purposefully reconnect with God and start the New Year with a fresh page and a re-invigorated spirit.

Frances Havergal wrote:”Another year is dawning dear Father. Let it be, in working or in waiting, another year with thee”. Include God in your plans, and with this type of attitude, you will have the settled reassurance that no matter what the future brings, God will be with you!

Thank you for your service to Christ this past year. Let’s endeavor to make this the best year ever in our church’s history!

See you on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

CCA Christmas Program

Wow! That’s all I can say about the fantastic Christmas Program our school put on last evening. I am amazed every year and this year was no different. If you missed it I feel sorry for you. You missed a big blessing.

The High School musical was phenomenal. What a presentation of the gospel and the meaning of Christmas. You guys did an outstanding job! Thank you!

The elementary production of “Angel Alert” was superb! Those kids amaze me with their memorization, singing and humor.

Our music director puts his heart into every Christmas program and it shows. Great job Dave!

What an enjoyable evening. If that didn’t bless your heart your heart is broken!

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have been involved in church work for over 35 years. I do not exaggerate when I tell you our Christmas Program is by far the best I have ever seen. Thanks guys!

May God bless all of us and may I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

See ya Sunday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pride or Humility: Which Cloak Do You Wear?

It has been said that we are never more like the devil than when pride fills our heart. Pride, at its core, is the root from which all other sin originates. As we all know from the Book of Genesis, it was Adam and Eve’s prideful notion that they “could be like God” that first introduced sin into God’s good creation. And as world renowned evangelist Billy Graham has noted, the road to hell is paved with pride.

In stark contrast to the sin of pride, we have the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who walked this earth as God robed in human flesh, and by so doing demonstrated the epitome of humility in action, as the Apostle Paul so eloquently explains in the second chapter of the book of Philippians:

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Now the reason I bring this dichotomy to your attention is quite simply this: Someone may be watching you. That’s right. Right now someone may be watching you. It may be an acquaintance who is trying to justify their questionable behavior by observing that your own behavior is not consistent with your beliefs. It may be your child or another young person who is scrutinizing how you handle life, your heart, your manner of speaking, or how you respond to the, well, let’s say the less “lovable” people you may encounter in your daily routine. Whether you engage these people and the issues of life with a prideful attitude, or are cloaked in a spirit of humility will greatly influence those around you.

Some do not want to recognize this responsibility. However, as Christians we do not have the option of shirking this critical area of our personal conduct. Inevitably it is thrust upon us. Though, fortunately, the truth claims of Christianity do not rise or fall on our personal testimony, but rather on the testimony of Jesus Christ, it is nonetheless imperative we represent Him to the utmost of our ability. We are either a positive role model, such as the young quarterback of the Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow, or we are a negative one such as... well, I’ll let you fill in the blank.

It has been said that the best safeguard for the younger generation is a good example by the older generation. As a Pastor, a coach, and a teacher I am constantly reminded of that fact. Humility should be a vital part of the character I display for the young people whose lives I might impact in some measure. Jesus prevailed in humility. As His ambassadors, we should strive to emulate our Lord’s example. I know it would change how we live our lives, raise our families and build a nation.

See ya Sunday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Reason for the Season

Luke’s familiar narrative of the angels descending to earth and announcing the birth of Christ to a group of humble shepherds is one of great joy! After the angels had delivered their message and returned to heaven, the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem and “see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us”. There they found the Christ-child, and afterwards, having recognized the magnitude of what had been revealed to them, they went about proclaiming the glorious news!

On the other end of the spectrum, we have John Grisham’s classic book “Skipping Christmas”. It is the rather hilarious account of a family that intentionally decides they would not celebrate Christmas at their house in any form or fashion. Grisham humorously describes the complications and difficulties encountered by this family as they try to “ignore” Christmas. Truth be told, it’s one thing to try to ignore Christmas, it’s another thing to miss it all together.

Years ago our family was traveling to spend Christmas Day with relatives. I remember passing a motel on the roadside and seeing one lone car in the parking lot. I couldn’t help but wonder about the poor individual to whom this car belonged, and whether they were even aware it was Christmas Day? An overwhelming sense of loneliness swept over me as I contemplated how dreadful it must have been for that forlorn soul who I suspected was missing Christmas.

Many characters were used by God in the birth of His son. Of course there were Mary and Joseph, and the Wise Men. Ah! And how about those shepherds! All of them were integral to the historical narrative surrounding that first “Christmas”, and I am certain after they had experienced this astounding, awe-inspiring event they would never conceive of missing it!

But while many have discovered and reveled in the inherent joy surrounding the Christmas story, sadly many others have missed it altogether, and even more tragically are those who, as the family in Grisham’s story, deliberately refuse to acknowledge the wonder of what is truly being celebrated.

To find Jesus is to find Christmas. Not to know Him means you have missed the true significance of Christmas.

I trust in your life Jesus is more than a just season and Christmas just an empty celebration. I trust that you have made him your Savior. The scripture says “His name shall be called Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins”. And that ultimately is the “reason for the season” of Christmas!

See ya Sunday!