Christmas & worship

mangerJust my opinion here, but I don’t think you can separate genuine Christmas from worship – they’re more than mutually compatible.  I think they’re interdependant.   If you give it much thought, it seems pretty impossible to separate the two when you consider that God took on human flesh, humbled Himself to be born into a dark & sinful world, spending His 1st night in a feeding trough for an animal, to an unwed mother.  Add to the mix that some wisemen who studied the stars & who were considered to be the philosophers of their day show up with some really nice gifts & fall on their knees to worship this baby, along w some smelly shepherds who had an angelic enounter & were EXTREMELY excited. 

Here are some reasons to worship: 

  • God came to earth to live in human skin
  •  an angelic announcement got the shepherds all stirred up!
  • God warned Joseph about Herod trying to kill baby boys & Joseph protected Jesus by moving to Egypt
  • Jesus didn’t “lay low” during His human experience – He was completely & thoroughly engaged w humanity
  • Jesus loves us as much today as He did the day He died on the cross

What are some other reasons that cause you to worship Jesus?

gifts continued

presentsLast night at church, I spoke about generosity.  I think this is an interesting topic, given the current economic climate in the US.  I’ll cut to the core quick here:  I think that particularly in this season, it would be extremely appropriate for us to consider the different ways that we can give to Jesus, besides monetarily.  I think we can give Him our service, keeping in mind what He talked about in Matt 25:40, when He was discussing visiting the sick, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry & thirsty, receiving the stranger & visiting those in prison.  In the context of the parable Jesus is sharing related to all of these needs, Jesus explains that when we care even for the least person, that we’re caring for Him.

We can also give more of our self to Jesus – like the sinful woman who washed & dried Jesus’ feet w her tears & hair, and anointed Jesus head w expensive oil.  Jesus explained the heart of her generosity when He said, “He who has been forgiven much, loves much.  But he who has been forgiven little, loves little.”  Let’s love Jesus alot.

p.s. can i just say that i’m UBER-EXCITED bc i get to go snowboarding tomorrow w some cool peeps.  yahoooooooooo!

Christmas series – gifts

Gifts are a really big deal at Christmas – especially for people who feel love by receiving gifts (you can actually feel MORE love by giving than receiving, but that’s a different blog).  Anyways, here’s an interesting thought – what are the various “gifts” people gave to Jesus?  Here’s an example:  Simon gave Jesus a gift of service by carrying His cross to Golgotha for Jesus.  What are some other gifts people gave / brought to Jesus?

Christmas has a lot of different facets

I’m thinking of doing a blog series leading up to Christmas thinking & conversing about its different facets (worship, giving, preparation, new life, . . . . . ).  What do you think?  I like the idea, but would be even more interested to do it, if you would consider adding to the dialogue over the next week or so. 

My plan is to blog pretty much each weekday & we could converse about a facet for a few days or so.  Let’s do it, ok?  ;0

compliments of denverintranslation

Christmas w kids

Its really good to experience Christmas w kids & I’m discovering this moreso w each year.  I love their questions:

  • why do people celebrate Christmas if they don’t believe in Jesus? – David
  • who has the last birthday of the year in our family? Answer by Isabell:  Jesus
  • are we having birthday cake for Jesus’ birthday?  – Benji
  • what made the men from the East who came to give Jesus presents, “wisemen”? – David
  • what were the shepherds doing in the field at night when the angels came to visit?  Were they staying up late when this happened? – David
  • what are we doing for families that don’t have enough money for Christmas? – Isabell

They’ve asked me LOTS more, but these are just a few off the top of my head.  Kids can really distill things to the most important points – cutting through the fluff.  I love it! 

bellie_kid_ethiopiaIsabell is really excited because she’s in our church’s kid’s Christmas program this weekend as an actor, singer, dancer & cheerleader.  She’s SO EXCITED!!!!!  Benji has his Jr Kindergarten program on Wed – he’s Gabriel.  I think he makes a very fitting Gabriel – announcing w great joy, enthusiasm & volume the birth of Jesus.  I think David kind of prefers the cerebral approach to the season.  Whatever the case, they’re all fabulously unique & I am more than in awe of them & their observations.

a possible God bridge

Bridges are used to connect to things that would not otherwise touch or connect.  This reminds me of spitting off the bridge of the isthmus of Corinth to see how far it was to the bottom – but that’s a different story. 

Anyways, we use lots of things for bridges – ropes, wood, cable (consider your most recent zip line experience), cement, communication, etc.  While we generally understand & are grateful that Jesus is God’s bridge to connect with humanity – I think that our Father has some things in our daily living that serve as bridges to connect us to Him. 

Consider:  in Philip 4:19, Paul tells us that God supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory.  This verse is often taken to mean that God meets our needs (He provides for the things we need in life).  The context of this verse supports the idea that God gives us the things necessary to match the needs we have.  However, given my simple mind, I also read this verse to say that God gives us needs.  The reason I bring this up is because if you’re like me, I’m more motivated when I have a need than when I’m “content” or in a satisfied state.  I find that often I am more drawn to God when I’m in a state of disequilibrium than when life is smooth.  Could it be that God can use the needs in your life as a bridge for you to use to come to Him?  Don’t shoot the messenger (me), but this is something to consider.  🙂

Finished my Greek final

I’m sitting in class having (participle of time) just finished (perfect stative) my final.  We did (aorist) alot of work related to Romans 5-8 (dependant clause) & I’m kind of pumped because I can basically read much of Romans 5-8 in greek (content clause).  As a side note, I’ve memorized (perfect, consummative) so much grammar stuff that if you were talk to me now (conditional clause), you might rightfully think that I’m a bit on the freak side (possibly optative but probably indicative). 

  Holy Cow!!!  Whoever thinks of this stuff is really smart – would that I could attain such intellectual heights.  😉

Needless to say, I’ll be happy to head home in the snow & brace for tomorrow’s onslaught.  I also have to say that I’ve been having some completely outrageous times w God, hearing Him w tremendous clarity, sensing His presence, connecting to His love . . . . . in my heart, I’m so captivated by Him.

invitations

mtn_snow1I’m deeply moved by the goodness of God to me – maybe even moreso, how much He pursues me or even likes me.  When I listen & watch, I find His invitations to be with Him in a variety of situations.  Try these on for size:

  • driving home from the mtns in a snowstorm, stuck in traffic w opportunity to go deep into my heart to be with Him
  • the stillness & quiet of a snowstorm in the mtns – a blanket of His presence
  • long talks w friends at deep levels in our walks w God – hearing God speak to me through these conversations
  • having the chance to mentor one of my boys about how God speaks to him through His dreams
  • praying w Reece about concerning heartfelt issues as we drive home
  • listening for His voice in various conversations w people

I think that God likes to be with us a whole lot more than we realize.  I pray that you would see His invitations for you to be with Him.  Here’s a post that is insightful & rich:  sue.  We’re all so very needy.