Sunday, December 21, 2008

Indescribable Jesus

Today is Sunday, and we have had 4 days worth of snow! So much so that we contemplated what we should do with our services. We kept our service schedules and had great turn outs, awesome energy, passionate worship, and served FREE LATES for the first service. People drove in our Western WA blizzard, and some even walked to church... WOW!

Our focus was how Jesus is The Indescribable Gift and I read a writing from D.S. Lockridge entitled The Indescribable Christ. It was his best attempt to describe who Jesus is. It' inspired me and our church to see Jesus and know Jesus in this way. Here it is... enjoy and Merry Christmas!

“He’s enduringly strong, He’s entirely sincere, He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. He’s God’s Son. He’s a sinner’s savior. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s supreme. He’s preeminent. He’s the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest idea in philosophy. He’s the fundamental truth in theology. He’s the miracle of the age. He’s the only one able to supply all of our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick, He cleans the lepers. He forgives sinners, He discharges debtors, He delivers captives, He defends the feeble, He blesses the young, He serves the unfortunate, He regards the aged, He rewards the diligent, He beautifies the meek. Do you know Him?Well, my king is the king of knowledge, He’s the well-spring of wisdom, He’s the doorway of deliverance, He’s the pathway of peace, He’s the roadway of righteousness, He’s the highway of holiness He’s the gateway of glory, He’s the master of the mighty, He’s the captain of the conquerors, He’s the head of the heroes, He’s the leader of the legislators, He’s the overseer of the overcomers, He’s the governor of governors, He’s the prince of princes, He’s the king of Kings and the Lord of Lords.His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Well, I wish I could describe Him to you. But He’s indescribable. Yes...He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible, He’s irresistible. I’m trying to tell you, the Heavens cannot contain Him, let alone a man explain Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. Well. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my king!He always has been, and He always will be.

I’m talking about He [who] had no predecessor and He [who] has no successor. There was nobody before Him and there will be nobody after Him. You can’t impeach Him, and He’s not going to resign. We try to get prestige and honor and glory to ourselves, but the glory is all His. Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, and ever, and ever, and ever. How long is that? And ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and when you get through with all of the forevers, then "Amen."

Oh I wish I could describle Him to you! ~ By D.S. Lockridge

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let It Snow... Will it Snow?

Luke 2:19 NKJ "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart."

Here in Western Washington we don't really get a lot of snow. So when we, do I love it... but what I hate, is all the hype of getting snow and getting none! Like a little kid, I anxiously await the snow to fall, looking out the window all the time, hoping to wake up to the muffled silence of white snow covering the front yard and the streets. The crazy thing is that just up I-5 one community got 23 inches! Here in Milton... zero, zilch, nada! I don't understand it.

How does this apply to the verse? Mary was visited by an angle declaring that she had found favor and was chosen to give birth to Jesus, the one who was promised to set all mankind free. Imagine the 9 months of questions, anxiously awaiting for this to happen, and wondering of what all that means. Who did she tell? Who could she tell that would believe her and understand? How could you keep something so amazing to yourself?

Then the time to give birth comes and there's no fancy hospital, but stable. No nursing staff, barn animals. No immediate family there to witness and share in the event, but unknown shepherds who were visited by a choir of angles. And when they found Jesus and told Joseph and Mary of how they heard of it, the bible tells us that she pondered all this in her heart. Did she really understand what was happening? Was she disappointed?

Of all the people that we think should have or could have been notified, these unknown shepherds received a singing telegram of the worlds greatest gift given to God. We don't even know their names. Why did they receive this incredible news (23 inches of snow), that all people were looking out their life's window, anxiously awaiting hope and relief?

In the midst of Mary's pondering, she still believed, and put her faith into action by doing her best to raise up her first born son, who happens to be Jesus (no pressure). For two years she is living on edge, being visited by the wise men who tell her that King Herod wants to kill Jesus and calls for the massive killing of all male children two years old and younger. Did Mary understand all that she was getting herself into?

Sometimes we experience the unexpected while anxiously waiting our expectations to come falling out of the sky! When the anxiously anticipation doesn't happen and we get the unexpected, we ponder in our hearts too. The economy takes a nose dive and our retirement is loss, we get notice that we are being laid off of our job, the doctor finds a lump that they aren't sure about, your teenage daughter tells you that she's pregnant, or your parents tell you that they are getting a divorce... all these things can lead us to not understand and to ponder: "God, don't you care? Where are you?"

The truth is; He's right there. We may not understand it, we may not be comfortable with it, but that's doesn't mean that God's not aware and doesn't care. God often gives us enough information to get us moving forward toward His plan because if we knew all the details, we would run the opposite direction. Christmas is about hope in the midst of uncertainty and questions. It will snow... a new day is coming, His faithfulness will come to past!

God, many of us are looking out our window of life, anxiously waiting for a breakthrough, an answer to our life's situation. In the midst of our pondering, may we never stop believing in the message of Christmas! There is hope for our finances, healing for our bodies, restoration in our relationships, the best to come for our kids! We look to You and believe... it will snow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Christmas List

What do you want for Christmas? My wife and I have asked our girls this question, and sure enough they had their list. At the top is a Wii. I remember as a kid, each year I had my big items: new bike, big wheel (do you know what that is?), radio controlled car, train set, Atari game system, walkman (tape player with headphones)... I know this dates me!

Maybe it happens to all of us as we get older, but the question; "What do you want for Christmas?" isn't as easily answered. We know that Christmas isn't about getting gifts or giving gifts, but about Jesus Christ being born and the incredible impact He made to this world. Distinguishing time (BC vs. AD), removed the bondage of law and religion and restored relationship between God and mankind through His death and resurrection, paying the debt of all our sins. Jesus... the Son of God. Emanuel... God with us. Our Savior and Lord... the friend of sinners.

What do you want for Christmas? Let me ask this another way... what are you wanting Christ to do in your life? This is what I would say is my Christ List... courage to meet the challenges in my life, wisdom for the decisions that need to be made, relationships to be mended that are strained, that my marriage and family will grow stronger, better control of my tongue, not becoming easily angered, finances for our church, jobs for friends that are without...

What is your Christ List? What is it that is close to your heart, pressing in your life, what's deeper and more meaningful than the latest gadget that you are needing God to do in your life? Let this Christmas begin a new work in your life. Allow God to be involved in a greater way.

God, you have blessed me with so much, and there is so much more inside of me that I need. Don't let me become so consumed with the things around me that I neglect those things in me that I deal with each day, and don't let me try to do it on my own. Help me unwrap my tendency to do things my way and find Your strength and will working in my life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Lights

Of all the different decorations we put up, my favorite things are lights. They set the mood and add so much... white lights are my choice.

Light has always held significant spiritual imagery throughout scripture: light was the first thing God created, it's a symbol of goodness and blessing, the battle of darkness is conquered with light. And unlike the some of the other introductions of the birth of Jesus, the Gospel of John speaks of Jesus as coming as THE Light of the World.

"The One who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world." - John 1:9 NLT

One of the things I want to do this Christmas is to give the gift of light. What does that mean? With the news being full of negativity, speaking of the declining economy, one tragedy after another... which only breeds worry, doubt and fear; I want to bring a message of good news like Jesus did. I want to set a positive mood in the lives of people just like Jesus did: to encourage them in practical ways, stir hope within their hearts, lift their spirit and instill confidence deep within.

Think about giving something this Christmas that is more precious than the most expensive gift you could ever buy... give yourself! Don't just give a gift, BE a gift! Through our words, acts of kindness, being a helping hand or a listening ear, or our house becoming a home. This requires the giving of ourselves... genuine care for others. Be a living light!

God, during this time of year, help me go beyond myself and see the value of those around me. What I have to offer may seem so little to me, but priceless to them. May my words be seasoned with grace, my actions pure, my hands gentle and caring... like you. Help me reflect the light that you embodied.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just A Man

Matthew 1:19 "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man..."

I was reading this verse today and this statement made me think about what it's like being a father. The truth is: I'm just a man... trying to do my best, having issues of my own far from perfect, overwhelmed sometimes, wanting to provide for my family, to be a good role model, raise my girls with integrity and character, learning as I go hoping I don't mess things up too bad... I'm just a man.

I can't imagine what sort of feelings and thoughts Joseph had. He and Mary aren't married yet and he gets news that she's pregnant, and an angel has to come and clear things up because his mind has ran to some crazy heartbreaking imagination. How did he handle all that?

I often wondered why there isn't much said about Joseph as we see Jesus getting older. Mary is still around, but where is he? Was it too much for him to handle? Did he die while Jesus was young? The bible doesn't really say.

Being a parent, especially in today's society, can be very nerve racking. The violence, war, changing values and the moral culture, the tolerance of lifestyles and those expectations being taught to my girls... not to mention the daily pressures to provide for the family and watching how I behave because they are watching me and will learn to do things and handle things the way they see me doing it!

However, I believe I found encouragement in this same statement. In my eyes I'm just A man... but in God's eyes I'm just THE man! He gifted me with these children and says to me: "you're exactly the one I have chosen to teach, love and nurture them to become what I [God] want them to be! Yes, you're just a man, but with Me... you're a just man, and just the man I want to do this!"

God, thank you for giving me these amazing gifts... I need Your help to be just the man You want me to be. There's so much I don't know and not able to do, but You are growing me to be what You see deep inside of me. Help my girls to see You in me, and cover my weaknesses.