Archive for the ‘Perspective’ Category

“Fight fire with fire!”

I’ve always thought that was such a stupid statement.  Adding fire to fire only creates an inferno that’s even harder to put out.  No, you fight fire with water.  You fight with fire’s opposite.  You find fire’s neutralizer.  Water douses the flame.

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Several years ago, back in my college days, I had several friends who attended a campus ministry at a local church where it was discovered that the college/high school minister had been sleeping with students in his college ministry.  Seriously.  He would lead these vulnerable girls to Christ, then have sex with them.  As certain key leaders in the ministries of other organizations (myself included) found out about this, they went to the pastor of the church to inform him of his staffer’s sin and plead with him to take action.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the pastor said he already knew.  His college minister had already “confessed” the whole thing to him, and pledged to stop.  What was even more surprising is that the college minister would remain on the staff, as if the whole thing had never happened.  “We need to show him grace,” the pastor said.  Then he scolded those confronting him that they were Pharisees merely intent on spreading gossip and that even the girls involved had been instructed to remain silent and not become “divisive.”

Now, I am all for forgiveness of sins.  I’m all for the restoration of fallen leaders, whenever it’s possible.  The way that many “Christians” treat people caught in sin sickens me more often than not.  I say that to make it clear that I’m not approaching this from a point of legalism, nor do I find any solace in seeing people face the consequences of their sins.  But to see this pastor treat his college minister’s sin like it was…nothing – I was floored.  There was no discipline, no counseling, no meetings with the church’s committees or deacons, no counseling to help these now spiritually-wounded young girls.  This pastor simply allowed the guy to remain in staff position, where he would still be leading girls he had had sex with.  In short, it was a cover-up – a scandal this pastor and this minister tried to keep out of the view of their congregation, too afraid that knowledge of it would destroy their church.  The pastor continued preaching.  The college minister continued teaching/leading crowds of students – as if nothing had ever happened.

This is the point that you might be tempted to argue, “What’s the problem?  He confessed to his pastor, and he was forgiven.  Now you really ARE being a Pharisee.”  Honestly, I’d love to be able to say everything worked out, in spite of our fears.  But the truth is, there was no repentance.  There was no discipline.  The college minister committed a sin – maybe even a crime – and had to face ZERO consequences.  So what do you think happened next?

Sadly, the college minister did not cease his sin, but continued to pursue girls in his group sexually, eventually sleeping with several more.  Once more the pastor and his minister were confronted, only this time the pastor become angry enough that he practically began screaming at these community “Pharisees” to get out of his office.  “You Pharisees don’t know how to forgive people!”

Eventually – as is normally the case with any scandal – these girls whom the minister had been sleeping with (and then told to keep quiet) broke their silence and started talking about what had happened to them.  The church found out about the scandal, and overnight, a thriving community of about 300+ people dwindled to a small church of less than 20.  The reputations and future hopes of two ministers lay in ruins.  And girls who had been led to Christ – then led into a bedroom – ran away from this whole “Christianity” thing, bitterly wounded and doubting anything that had ever been told to them about Christ and what it means to be a Christ-follower.

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You can’t fight fire with fire, and you cannot fight sin with sin.  But too often I see people try.  People sin, and rather than fall on their knees in repentance, they run straight into more sin.  In the above-mentioned church, they tried to fight sin with cover-ups and angry accusations of legalism, as if by doing so the problem would eventually just disappear.  Instead, the very thing they were trying to avoid happened, and the church and their careers lay in ruins.

People who fight sin with more sin often fall into a sickening spiral, usually becoming either (1) isolated or (2) accompanied by a bunch of “yes-people” who validate their position.  There is a lesser chance of repentance.  There is often more and more cover-up and denial of wrongdoing.  Hearts become increasingly hardened.

And the scariest part?  I think it’s epidemic:

  • I’ve seen many people lie to help keep a previous lie from being exposed?
  • I’ve seen pastors and other church leaders living in adultery who, rather than face their sin, attempt the impossible task of trying to live two lives – one open, and one secret.
  • I’ve seen people privately (and publicly) bash their friends or family members (or even their church leaders) then go to an open forum like Facebook or blogs like this one and talk about how great their walk with God is that day.
  • I’ve seen people in leadership fail to be good stewards of their ministry, then blame everyone around them for their failure.
  • I’ve seen more “Christian” marriages than I can even count at this point spiral towards divorce wrapped around weird justifications like “God wants me to be with another man” or “this is the only way I can be closer to God.”
  • I’ve seen more and more Christian young people run into pre-marital sex, but instead of repenting, justify their behavior behind countless excuses like “it’s normal in today’s culture” or “but we love each other.”
  • Scariest of all:  I’ve seen Christians get so wrapped up in the web of their sin, that they begin to question – or even re-write – their entire belief system about God and scripture just so they can find a way to keep their sin a justifiable part of their lives.
And the one thing I’ve seen in virtually ALL of these circumstances is that things always get worse for the people involved.  Fighting sin with sin never ends well.  I’ve seen it divide churches, destroy leaders, wreck marriages, tarnish reputations, and tear apart friendships previously believed to be able to withstand anything.
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Let me be clear about why this troubles me so much.  Basically, it comes down to this:  When we attempt to “fix” sin through our own means – a means OTHER than repentance (the confession and turning away from our sin) – we actually deny ourselves the very real power of restoration that God’s grace provides.  Don’t miss how important this is:  In our attempt to AVOID the consequences of our sins, we are – in reality – DENYING ourselves the very power which could heal us.  Instead, we inexplicably place our faith in our own “ability” to cover and hide and justify our sin, rather than put our faith in a God who promises to forgive us if we confess our sins to him:
 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.   – 1 John 1:8-10.
You fight sin with repentance.  You’re going one direction (sin), then you choose to turn around and go in another (not sin).  There is no other way, because only the grace that comes with repentance heals the damage sin has done in our lives.  Bam!  That’s it.  Don’t be deceived by our Enemy into believing that another sin is ever the answer.  We have to hate sin as much as God hates it.  We have to confess from it, turn from it.
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.   – 2 Corinthians 7:10.
Worldly sorrow gets us nowhere.  A lack of repentance leads to spiritual death.  You cannot sin, remain unrepentant, and then go around talking about how great your walk with God is, thinking you’re just basking in his love and his “overlooking” of your sin.  That is nothing short of being delusional.  Yes, God loves you (absolutely!) – BUT have no doubt that God is weeping over unrepentant sin (after all his own Son died for it).  He wants us broken, on our knees, desperate to purge ourselves of the sin in our lives:
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.   –  Psalm 51:17
I believe He is desperate to see His people quit putting our faith in ourselves and religious platitudes and truly get on our knees and repent, so HE can restore us.  Why would we deny ourselves that kind of a restoration?!  Why would we trade the power of God that can transform us for the idol of our own power?
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One more thing:  If we want to see repentance, then we – as Christians, as leaders, as churches – need to get better at making this easier for people to do.  Throughout history, we have perverted this call for people to repent into a license to abuse them spiritually over everything from homosexuality to the consumption of alcohol to whether it’s appropriate to wear jeans to church.  No, we need to be the first people in line rejoicing when people truly repent and the first people to pick them up when they fall to help them get going again:
  “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.”      – Luke 17:3
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Repentance is not an optional component of our faith.  It is the water with which we douse the fire of sin in our lives.  It is not the act of saving ourselves.  Rather, it is the means by which we allow the saving power of God’s grace and the transforming power of His Spirit to transform us into the kinds of people he wants us to be.  Why would we settle for anything else?

There have been three times in my life that I’ve been utterly embarrassed.  (Okay, there are probably more, but these are the ones that stick out).

THE WRONG BATHROOM:

I was once at a high school football game at a stadium I hadn’t been to before, and I made the simple mistake of using the women’s bathroom instead of the men’s.  It was empty when I went in, so I had time to get good and “situated” before I heard the sound of girls entering the room.  In a panic, I attempted to flee, only to meet more girls face-to-face.  I remember frantically searching for a way to explain myself, and I wound up blurting out:  “I was in here looking for my brother.”  Almost as soon as the words were out, I realized I’d just made an even greater idiot out of myself.  I’m in the WOMEN’S bathroom, looking for my little BROTHER.  That’s when I did my best Napoleon Dynamite and just ran away in shame.  (Fortunately, I never had to encounter those people again).

THAT’S A…HAND???

I was on a long road trip with some friends in college, and it had turned dark.  Most of us were sleepy, so we were contorting ourselves to try to get comfortable in the seats of this small SUV we were riding in.  At one point, I remember leaning up against the window, and stretching my hand out to the seat in front of me.  My hand felt something odd on the back right side of the seat in front of me, so – being curious and extremely sleepy – I started poking at it, honestly thinking it was a deformity in the seat.  Suddenly the “deformity” yanked away, and I realized it was the hand of the girl riding in the front seat (whom I barely knew).  I can only guess she thought I was trying to simply grab and hold her hand.  AWKWARD.  We never spoke of it again.

THE WORST

I was at church once a few years ago, and I walked up to a couple of my friends conversing in the back of the auditorium.  I looked at one of the guys and – simply to make small talk – said, “Hey, leave him alone.  He doesn’t have any money.”  We chuckled and went about meeting and greeting people in the room.  BUT… it turns out the one guy was indeed actually asking the other guy for a loan to get through some tough times.  I ask you… how to you recover from that kind of utter foot-in-mouth moment?

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Embarrassing moments often stick with us because they strike at the heart of our character.  Maybe it’s good to have our ego bruised once in a while, lest we become too “full” of ourselves.  Sadly, however, embarrassing moments often strike down our confidence and can stick with us for years – maybe even making us live in fear of future embarrassment.

But, as Christians, we can’t live in constant fear of making a fool out of ourselves for the right reasons.  We must not be afraid to live a life the way Christ wants us to live it.  We must not be afraid to tell people, “Yes, I believe in a risen Savior.”

Yes, there are things that should embarrass us.  We should cringe horribly when people – claiming to act in the name of Christ – do crazy things like picket funerals of fallen soldiers or badmouth other denominations.  We should be embarrassed when prominent leaders fall into sin – NOT to beat up the the one caught in sin, but to become increasingly vigilant that we do not make such mistakes ourselves.  Maybe this could be called a “righteous” embarrassment – which, simply, is learning from your mistakes and sins and being much more careful in the future.

But when we become embarrassed about our faith – even to the point of denying our faith, in whole or in part – we forget the real humiliation that Christ suffered on a cross for our sins.  We forget the sacrifices of so many saints before us who made it possible for us to believe today.  And we forget that we have a mission – not to hide our faith from the world – but to proudly proclaim the gospel to all who need to hear it.

In the Message translation of Proverbs, Solomon writes:

Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom; hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family. (Proverbs 28:7)

Also in the Message, God tells Israel in the book of Isaiah:

Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed. Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short. (Isaiah 54:1)

I read this to mean that God has got our back, if we are doing the work he has called us to do.  The question is:  Are we trusting in our own confidence… or are we trusting in God’s strength?

It is always worth pondering…

Have you ever felt like you have let God down?  That in spite of all that he’s done in your life, you have still turned your back on him.  That you’ve neglected the gifts he’s given you.  Maybe even…denied Him.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with this daily.  Sometimes, it’s because I’m overwhelmed by how great a sinner I still am.  Other times, it’s because I look at myself and I see wasted potential – that, though I haven’t denied Christ directly, I’ve denied the power of Christ by neglecting to nurture the gifts he’s given me when it comes to my career, my family, and even how I relate to people one-on-one.

Then I re-read this:

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?[e]

   “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

   “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

   “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

   “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

   Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

   Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”   Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”   (John 21:15-19)

For years, I’ve read this and thought, “Ouch… that is harsh.”  As if Jesus is saying to Peter, “Okay, buddy… you denied me, so guess what.  One day you will have to die for me.”  It almost reads like Jesus is scolding Peter.  (And given Peter’s response of “What about him?”, it’s easy to think so).

But the more I reflect on this passage, the more I feel like Jesus wasn’t trying to discourage Peter, but encourage him.  Don’t think so?  Then bear with me a second.

Peter, in spite of repeated promises that he would never deny Jesus, did – in fact – deny Jesus three times, just as Jesus predicted he would.  Seeing what was happening to Jesus – being arrested and held for trial – it’s safe to say that Peter’s loyalty was overshadowed by sheer fear that he would face the same consequences.  So he denies Jesus, and now Jesus – resurrected from the dead – is walking with him down the beach, posing a simple question:  “Peter, do you love me?”

Can you imagine what Peter is feeling?  On the one hand, he’s certainly thrilled and amazed to see his Savior alive again.  But on the other, he’s carrying around this incredible guilt at his denial of Christ.  And he’s obviously defensive and scared about what Christ is telling him will happen to him.

But you have to look deeper:  Peter denied Christ to save his own skin.  Yet here is Jesus, telling Peter that one day he will – in fact – die for Christ.

Jesus is telling Peter that even though his character and loyalty failed him, and he denied Christ in the past, that one day he will not run or deny Christ, but die for him – that even though he’s failed to live up to his faith in the past, he will not fail in the future.

“Peter, one day, you will be the kind of man you want – and I designed you – to be.”

I hear those words encouraging me, because I’ve denied Christ.  I’ve denied his power in my life.  I’ve denied what he’s designed me to be.  I sin.  I wimp out in my faith.  I cower in fear when confronted.  I neglect the gifts he’s given me.  And looking back at this track record, I think I’d be scared to death if Jesus called out to me and said, “Kevin, do you love me?”

But I pray to hear the same thing Peter heard – that one day I will have the courage and the will to be the kind of man of God I’m designed to be.  All that is left for me to do is to decide:  Shall I dwell in a mediocre faith, too immobilized by fear and selfishness to truly make a difference?  Or will I choose to truly love Christ, and do whatever it takes to make the message of his love known?

That’s Entertainment!

Posted: January 30, 2009 in Church, Crosspoint, Perspective

My doctor is awesome.  He’s both a good doctor and a man of God who, in many ways, ministers to his patients as much as he treats them for their illnesses.

Why bring this up?   Well, yesterday, at one of my frequent doctor visits (lately), he and I were talking a bit about church.  We talked briefly about Crosspoint.  Not a lot, mind you, just a minute or two.  But the last part of our conversation has been knocking at my brain ever since I left his office.

He commented:  “Too many churches try to entertain people.”  Then he said, “If you leave church every Sunday thinking, ‘That was fun,’ something’s probably wrong.”

I’ve been digesting his comment and my responses to them a lot.  My short answers to him were (1) We do not entertain without purpose, and we (2) don’t leave every service just jumping up and down screaming that was FUN!!! (though we do that a lot!).

Here’s the longer answers.  YES, we do entertain people.  I believe it is a sin that we’ve taken the most amazing message in the world – the Gospel of Jesus Christ – and made it boring as heck.  Too many churches and Christians (myself included at many points in my life) have reduced Jesus to a wimp in a Miss America sash and made church feel more like a funeral home (or a museum to times of Christianity ‘past’) than a dynamic, life-changing gathering of the body of Christ where God’s Spirit moves and changes us forever.

The “entertainment” aspect of what we do is not simply to entertain.  That is empty.  And this is something I think about every week as Crosspoint’s Creative Arts Pastor.  Not just “what” elements to put in the program, but “why” and “how” are those elements going to grab people’s attention so their minds can be focused and their hearts aroused to hear the word of God.  It’s entertainment with intentionality.  Jesus never performed a miracle (so entertaining they drew HUGE crowds) without turning it into a moment for teaching people.

As for being “fun,” hmmm…  Shouldn’t new life in Christ be “fun,” if by that word we mean full of the Spirit and full of the joy that can ONLY be found in Jesus Christ?

That said, there have been many Sunday mornings where I – and many others – have not walked out of church yelling, “That was fun!”  Instead, they are walking out reflective – maybe even broken – about the sins in their lives and their need to turn away from them and engage in a relationship with Christ.  They aren’t laughing and jumping for joy because they have been convicted by God to change their lives – to let HIM begin a work in their lives.

To be fair, I think my doctor understands and would agree with these things, and I respect him deeply as a physician and as a Christ-follower.  But the conversation re-affirmed for me why we do what we do at Crosspoint.  We are caretakers – messengers – diplomats – vessels – the lucky-shlumps-who-have-the-opportunity-to-share-the-love-of-God-with-someone-else – We are the people willing to take up the cause of connecting people with Christ.  And we will do whatever it takes short of sin to make that happen.  Period.

Random bits

Posted: January 17, 2009 in Church, Crosspoint, Perspective
  • Thanks to everyone who braved the cold and helped take part in the video shoot on Thursday morning.  Video turned out well.  I hope it gets people “reThinking” serving on Sunday morning.
  • Chris Tomlin’s “God of this City” is a new song (for us, anyway) we’ll be worshipping with on Sunday morning.  Given the changes happening in our church to expand our vision to reach people in and beyond the city limits of Decatur, I do not think there is a more relevant song.
  • Twitter is an amazing tool.  Used it for the first time ever to recruit people for the video shoot.  Technology is a powerful weapon.
  • New people are getting involved in the art and video teams, and they’re talent/expertise is blowing me away.  I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish in 2009 (and beyond).
  • If you feel like Satan is beating you down (read previous post), ask yourself this one, small question:  “What do you think has Satan concerned enough that he’s trying to stop you from doing it?”
  • Thought from previous post:  Satan cannot take us out of God’s hands, but he can try to keep us from being God’s hands in this world.
  • As Dave likes to remind us:  “We’re running a rescue mission at the gates of hell.”  It’s going to get messy.
  • Think about this:  The reason we know about Christ today is, somewhere along the way, someone died to get that message out.
  • In America, we do not truly know the religious persecutions of history (and other nations).  We gripe about interpersonal conflicts, the music being too loud, and whether or not the pews should be green or red.  We don’t have to worry about being beaten, outcast, or maybe even crucified.  We are freakin’ pansies by comparison.
  • Litmus test:  “Would you still claim to be a Christian if you lived in Rome around 70 A.D.?”
  • My Jesus is not the Miss American Jesus holding a sheep with the purple sash with a hairdo out of a commercial for shampoo and conditioner.
  • This is my Jesus:  “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like blazing fire,  and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.  He will rule them with an iron scepter.  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16).
  • There is nothing that Satan can really do, is there?
  • Man, I’m pumped!

Subversion

Posted: January 14, 2009 in Church, Crosspoint, Perspective

In the past few days, I’ve thought a lot about how Satan attacks us – and he does, to be clear. 

***

Let me digress a second:  As I’ve blogged before, Satan is real and he hates us.  But knowing how he attacks us is important.  As C.S. Lewis pointed out in the preface to The Screwtape Letters, Christians/people tend to make 2 mistakes when it comes to Satan:  (1) Seeing demonic forces behind every bad thing that happens, or (2) not seeing them at all.

For me, it’s easier to lean towards error #2.  After all, when someone brings up Satan or demonic forces, images from The Exorcist pop into my head and it almost sounds like something out of sci-fi or horror.  Or it’s the stuff religious nuts over-spiritualize when they want to blame everything on Satan rather than take responsibility for their own sins (I’ve definitely seen that one – when people say, “the devil’s attacking me,” and all you want to cry back is, “Stop looking at porn, then, you moron!”.

But here’s the truth – you work in/serve in/lead in a church long enough, any doubts you had before about Satan’s existence and his hardcore means of attacking us will be laid to rest quickly.

Digression complete.  Back to my thoughts.

***

I think one of the ways Satan has been attacking us lately is to snowball us.  By that, I mean little things here that add up to more little things there that suddenly become big things, and suddenly we’re overwhelmed and immobilized by the pressure of all these little things.

This past Sunday is a case in point:  Details were going wrong.  Things were happening like the power going out mid-worship song, having a drink spilled on me right after that, developing an abdominal muscle cramp in the middle of the last song so bad that I had to hurry off the stage so I could do something simple like breathe and stand up at the same time.  And this is just the short list.  Throw in more things and the occasional personal sin issue or interpersonal misunderstanding, this list doesn’t just add up – it explodes exponentially.

The snowball effect.  One thing goes wrong, then another, then another, suddenly you can’t move, ’cause you’re in over your head (and yes, I stole that from Shane Falco in The Replacements).  Your frustration increases, and your focus diminishes.  When you’re leading and serving in what I think is the MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD (reaching the lost), frustated and un-focused (or worse) is EXACTLY where Satan wants us to be – where we become impotent as servants or leaders.

And these are just the small things.  Imagine how this works when it’s large things.  People who are under the attack in their finances, their marriages, their parenting, their past sins, and maybe even their health.

You see, Satan does not have the power to snatch us out of God’s hand.  But he does have the power to try to keep us from being God’s hands in this world.  He can discourage us from pressing on and being effective as soldiers in a war for the souls of the lost.  If we’re demoralized, it’s easier to give up than keep on fighting.

And if this is where God let us rot – under Satan’s attacks – then this post would end right here.  “Sorry guys, didn’t mean to screw up your whole outlook on life.  Buh-bye, now.”

No, God does not leave us here.  He has this uncanny ability to take anything Satan does…ANYTHING HE DOES…and use it for his own glory.  Small example:  When the power went out mid song Sunday, yes, it was distracting – but we did NOT stop praising God.  We pressed on, and the moment became more powerful than anything we’d “programmed” in our service planning.  Thank you God, for reminding us that this service is about You and not us – and that you’ll be glorified no matter what (or who)  happens to try to derail your work.

I’ve seen people draw closer to God after losing a loved one.  I’ve seen people turn an addiction to porn into a ministry to help others get out of addiction to porn.  I’ve seen people who were once at each other’s throats become best friends.

You see, God has this uncanny ability to take something that sucks – something wrong, something horrific, something evil, and transform it just like he transforms people.  There is subversion – a sneaky reversal of Satan’s will.  Satan attacks, but God still wins.  Don’t you think that pisses Satan off just  a little bit?  To know that God can take even his worst attacks, and transform them into yet more opportunities for people to connect with Christ.  BAM!  Rejoice when Satan attacks us, because – even though we couldn’t kick him in the cahoneys – God CAN.

And this past Sunday, he did.  In spite of everything that went wrong, God got MORE glory than we had planned and people’s lives were changed.  If that doesn’t recharge your batteries (to serve/lead, etc.), I don’t know what will!

Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

All things, good or evil, work together for good…  I’m blown away that our God can do that.  Aren’t you?

Christmas Eve Eve Eve

Posted: December 22, 2008 in Family, Perspective

Finally feeling the weight of just how much I have to do between now and Christmas.  Life has been pretty busy, and the pneumonia I was fighting off earlier this month didn’t help me get things done.

Still to do:

  • Finish shopping.  Have most of this done (woohoo), but there are some odds and ends I need to wrap up.
  • Shop for food.  Duh.  You gotta eat Christmas Day.  Wait…do you?
  • Clean up the kids’ bedrooms.  It’d be nice for company not to trip over stuff.

Can I get this done?  Who knows.   This stuff is not what this holiday is about.  Never truly has been, never will.  Much in the same way we talk about church, Christmas has its share of sacred cows – traditions you dare not break.  That’s sad, really, because the gift of God’s son was a break from everything traditional.  Even HOW he came to earth shattered every expectation:  Born of a virgin, sleeping in a feeding trough, only visited initially by a few shepherds.  No hooplah.  No Bethlehem parade.  No Black Friday sale.  No turkey.  No decorations.

Who would’ve thought the hope for our entire world would’ve arrived almost unnoticed?

It’s amazing how God turns over our traditions and our expectations so that HIS way is not confused with OUR way.  Awesome, isn’t it?