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meaning of Christmas

December 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I can’t say that my Christmas this year has been anything other than unusual. Sure, last year I thought things were off when I spent an hour in the car with my wife and dog in white out conditions stranded on a country highway, but compared to this year, that was somewhat normal. I have been trying to redefine what Christmas is and its been pretty tough to be honest.

For years, I thought that Christmas was all about coming home to family and sitting around a table to enjoy a family meal and then over to the tree to exchange gifts. The essence of family was at every turn and with every piece of pie or cup of coffee. Even in our blizzard last year, we were able to spend it with my wife’s family, whether we wanted to or not. We were stuck!

This year I have had to adjust what Christmas means in my head. I have learned more this year that it means loving one another than anything else. Since Christmas Eve, I have spent countless hours being by my dad’s bed in the hospital. I could never have imagined this would be what my Christmas was like, but now in retrospect I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The fact is I am with my family.

It’s been hard on all of to struggle with the idea that Dad will never remember this Christmas, nor do we know when he will get to come home, or if he will. What we do know is that we are family this Christmas, whether in a hospital room or around the dinner table at home.

I wonder if what I am feeling now was a little like what the disciples felt when they were spending their last meal together the night before Jesus was crucified. They sat their laughing, sharing, loving one another has friends and family. They sat with Jesus and they broke bread with him and drank too. They enjoyed every minute of that meal together and while it was their last, they made every second of it count.

So at Christmas, I have learned to spend it with those you love and like the disciples did, make every second count. You never know when it will be the last meal you share.

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Categories: Community Tags: , ,

It’s not the goal

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I have been corrupted. It’s true.

I’ve bought into the idea that my happiness is somehow a primary concern to God. I’ve been sold on the idea that this life is about me. I don’t know how it happened, but it’s true. I can’t even begin to trace back when the transition occurred from God-centered to Me-centered. I am sorry its happened though. It’s affected my ministry, my marriage, my friendships, how I read the Bible. It’s effected everything.

I was challenged yesterday with the idea that what God wants for and from me is my heart and worship. Honestly, if he doesn’t have that he doesn’t care about my happiness. It’s not in the Bible. You can search, its not there. It’s through my worship that happiness may be a by product, but its not the point. Its as much a by product as contentment, as security.

Have you been corrupted? Take a long look at your life. How has  this thought of your happiness superseding the worship of God affected your life? I wonder if as a Christ follower I can stand up for truth. This is one of those areas I believe Christians are duped nine times out of ten. We are suckers for this worldy theology and its driving us apart. We begin to introduce this stuff into our marriages, our workplaces, our church and its creating division between all of us.

What happens when our worship begins to take precedent over our happiness? What happens when we set our eyes on God and nothing else matters. How dramatically does this change our world?

Over this Christmas season, I challenge you with this idea. Are you like me? Have you fallen for this too? What can you do to put God in first place?

Categories: Worship Tags: , , ,

What to do when you don’t want to be the ‘Hands and Feet’

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Even as a pastor in a church who is constantly looking for volunteers, I understand that to an attender, the call for help is often way too much. In past years, while I have attended, I would sit in the pew, being as anonymous as I could, and listen at all the pleas for help in just about every area of ministry. I’d open up the bulletin and see that 75 percent of the announcements were to serve. All I could help but think about was, “Why do they always have to keep on asking?! I’m sick of hearing this!”

Be honest, do you ever think this way?

I mean, there are all these other people, why do I have to have the guilty conscious? Sometimes I want to have “me” time. Is that so much to ask?

There are just those times we all feel like this. We say to ourselves, let someone else do it. We say, I don’t want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We may not say the latter just like that, but our unwillingness to move says plenty. So, what do we do when this happens? How can we get back in the game?

Let me outline a couple of things. I am guessing for someone to think these words, one of two things are true. First, they already serve way too much. Second, they are serving in areas that don’t match their giftedness. I am going to be honest. When I am not teaching on Wednesday nights and I hang out with the youth, I go home exhausted, not wanting to come back. This is clearly an area that does not fit my giftedness. I am willing to help, but its not the area in which God designed me to flourish.

Most of the time, its the latter of the two. Isn’t enough to just be willing to serve in an area, even if it means its not apart of our gifting? Well, sure, thats nice, but what happens when you get burned out and find yourself in church avoiding any calls for help in or out of your gifting?

Look at this verse from 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

If we were only to use the gifts we have received to serve, do you think God will reward that with exhaustion and burnout? I don’t think so. He rewards that with something great. It’s time each of us discover what that gift is in our life and how we can use it as the hands and feet of Christ.

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If you would like more information on gifting and how to serve in the right area, please contact Nick at the church office (384-5038), or email him at adults@thirdcitychristian.org

the BIG ‘D’

December 2, 2010 Leave a comment

These three words, “the big D”, bring up all sorts of connotations in our mind. Immediately most of think about divorce. That is what we’ve been trained to do. However, when you begin think about divorce, you may as well turn your thoughts on to death as well. I remember the country song from several years back, “I’m going to the Big D, and I don’t mean Dallas” were the words that almost began to glorify divorce. It’s like we have this thing that for so many years was looked upon as an outrage, or by many a sin, and we put it into  a catchy tune and look what’s happened.

Now, while divorce is such a hefty topic, I actually don’t want to talk about divorce. I want to talk about another ‘D’ word: Decision.

Let’s talk about the decisions or the choices that we make. As I look more into marriage ministry and marriage statistics, my counseling sessions and all the reading I do in publications on marriage I see one main point. The point I see is on the decisions we make.

I’ve seen couple make a decision on giving up on a marriage. I have seen individuals make decisions on having an affair. I have seen individuals put pride along with an assortment of other items in front of their marriage. I have seen couples also make decisions to sacrifice for their marriage. I have seen them make the decision to work hard on their marriage. I have seen couples who decide for their marriage, not against it.

It’s the decisions we make in our marriage that will say a lot about us in the end. What decisions are you making in yours? Maybe your single and reading this. What decisions now are you making to ensure that your marriage will be one you can be proud of. Everyday we have a decision to make. Everyday, God challenges you and I with a decision to either follow Him, or go along our own path. It’s our decision.

If you have been challenged by what I’ve been writing on marriage, I want to hear from you. What decisions are you making? How is making the right decision affecting you, how about the wrong decisions?