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"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

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The Maker Has Made Himself Known: Make Him Known

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2018

What part of God’s world do you love?

Last weekend we investigated a two-way relationship with God, “Because He loves to give the gift of making Himself known to you, He also loves it when you give Him the gift of making yourself known to Him.”

 

In the same manner, “God so loved the world that he gave,” is His extravagant invitation for us to love God’s world as He does and participate in making the Maker known to others.

Pause for a moment and experience the exquisite joy of the angelic declaration first shared with a group of shepherds.  Luke 2:8-12

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Embrace the Good News!  Jesus’ birth, sinless life, miraculous ministry, death and resurrection are for “all the people.”

At the birth of Jesus, Bethlehem becomes God’s centerpiece of lovingly drawing all people to Himself.  God loves to make Himself known and demonstrate His love for all people.

People who have lived rough, messed up lives are included in God’s love story.

  • Men – David, the King and King Solomon (Matthew 1:6, 7)
  • Women – Tamar (Matthew 1:3) and Bathsheba (Matthew 1:6)

People considered undesirable and unwanted are shown they are desirable, wanted and loved by God.

  • The shepherds (Luke 2:8)

People who deny the true and living God are included in God’s loving Self-revelation.

  • The magi (Matthew 2:1)
  • “even the most pagan of pagans may respond to Jesus if given the opportunity (cf. Jonah 1:13-16; 3:6-4:1, 10-11). For one special event in history, the God who rules the heavens chose to reveal himself where pagans were looking.” Keener, Craig S.. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 100). Eerdmans Publishing Co – A. Kindle Edition.

People who love the true and living God are also recipients of God’s love and Self-revelation.

  • Joseph – Righteous (Matthew 1:19), humble, obedient (Matthew1:24), gracious, gift of discernment
  • Mary Highly favored, the Lord is with you (Luke 2:28), I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word (Luke 2:38)

The Good News of great joy is for all the people!

“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”  John 6:35-37

“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires (whosoever will) take the water of life without price.” Revelation 22:17

What part of God’s world do you love?

  1. Do you love people who have lived rough, messed up lives and are waiting for you to explain and show that they are included in God’s great love?
  2. Do you love people that others consider undesirable and unwanted who long to be included in God’s circle of love through you?
  3. Do you love people who deny the true and living God and are looking for you to bridge the gap to God’s love?
  4. Do you love people who love the true and living God and hope you will love them too?

Someone near you is waiting, longing, looking and hoping you will make the Maker known to them.

Jesus’ statement, “God so loved the world that he gave,” is His extravagant invitation for us to love God’s world as He does and do our part in making the Maker known.

Posted on 22nd December 2018 in Christmas, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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MCA Christmas Pastor Appreciation 2018

Sound a trumpet in Alaska!  It’s the MCA Christmas Pastor Appreciation Weekend!  Each year, as Chairman of the MCA Board of Directors, I am blessed to give honor to the MCA Alaska Pastoral Team.

Honoring our Pastors in Australia, Burkina Faso, and other undisclosed locations happens at another time and in other ways.  This weekend is for the Alaska team.

We love the people God has put together for the purposes of “Glorifying God and Growing People to Their Full Potential in Christ.”

These folks are all out, pedal to the metal disciples of Jesus and servants to everyone they meet.

Although they are not on the MCA Pastoral Team, we ALWAYS honor our Bishop and bride, Superintendent Roy William Welch and Dori Welch.  Best leaders on the planet today.  :0)

Huge shouts of love to this group of AMAZING prayer warriors, Bible teachers, soul winners, gifts of the Spirit ministers and all around servants before the Lord and His people.

In all of ten weekend services we are receiving a Christmas offering to be equally divided among these twenty-two team members.  A full-time member is blessed with a full share of the offering and a part-time member receives a half share.

(I couldn’t get WordPress Gallery to work, so what follows is a random spacing of the photos)

Daneé Redfearn Julie Martins Zyla and Alex Esteban Blaine and Robin Schmidt Heather and Marc Toro Kassy and Jonathan Redfearn Howard and Rezia Hansen Moe and Zelda Tali Becky Rose David and Deborah Wilson Edgardo Montano Doug and Celeste Leaf Zion Burgess Staci and Mike Borden Mary Ann Pruitt April Samber Maritza Ruiz Duron Mark and Val Burgess Tracy and Bryan Fick Drew and May Hansen Dori and Bill Welch Miriam Montano
Posted on 16th December 2018 in Christmas, Christmas Photo, Pastors  •  Comments are off for this post
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The Maker has Made Himself Known: Make yourself known to Him

The Third Sunday of Advent 2018

Have you ever had a secret admirer?

Who is your secret admirer? It can be hard to tell who’s been secretly sending you gifts or romantic messages, especially when he or she doesn’t want you to find out. You will need to use all the clues you can find. Look carefully at any messages or gifts that they have sent you. Ask around to find out who might be crushing on you. Be aware of the people in your life and keep your eyes peeled for potential admirers. Be careful and be patient. Your secret admirer is probably shy at the prospect of talking to you in person, so try to be tactful and respect his or her privacy.  https://www.wikihow.com/Find-Your-Secret-Admirer

God is no secret admirer.  He LOVES to love you lavishly (1 John 3:1), publicly, extravagantly, unbelievably and eternally!

An unknown love is discouraging, depressing and unrewarding.

God, the One who loves you beyond human capacity to understand, is not a secret lover.  He knows you and everything about you.

Isaiah 43:1

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you: I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

Psalm 139:1-6

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

There is NO DOUBT! God knows you and loves you.

This encourages us to embrace a couple of questions:

  1. Do I know myself?
  2. Do I present the self I know to God?

1 Corinthians 13:12 is insightful on love and knowing.

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

To be dependent is to only receive. (Creates indebtedness)

To be independent is to only give. (Creates impoverishment)

“Even God who is uniquely self-sufficient lives in the triunity of persons in a full giving that is a full receiving, and a full receiving that is a full giving.” Gloria Patri (2007), Nicholas Ayo, page 52

God is perfectly healthy in every way.

Because He loves to give the gift of making Himself known to you, He also loves it when you give Him the gift of making yourself known to Him.

We are invited into a “know and be known” relationship with God.

“The One who knows be best, loves me most.”  Bill Gaither

The Advent Text for this week is Zephaniah 3:14-20.

Verse 17 is the pivotal fulcrum for the experiences and expressions of the other verses.

 

3:14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!

 

3:15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.

3:16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak.

3:17 The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing

 

3:18 as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.

3:19 I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.

 

3:20 At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.

 

We are to sing aloud.

We are to shout.

We are to rejoice and exult with all our hearts.

 

 

Why?  The Lord has taken away the judgments against you.

He has turned away our enemies.

He is in our midst and we shall fear disaster no more!!!

 

 

We do not fear and we do not let our hands grow weak.

We stay strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

 

What is the Lord, our God, in our midst doing?

He is a warrior who gives victory.

He rejoices over us with gladness.

He renews us in his love.

He exults over us with loud singing.

 

He removes disaster from us.

 

 

 

He deals with all our oppressors.

He saves the immobile

He gathers the outcasts and exchanges our shame into praise and renown in all the earth.

 

 

He will bring us home at the time He gathers us.

He will make us renowned and praised when He restores our fortunes before our eyes.

Because God loves to give the making of Himself known and also loves to receive the making of ourselves known, we respond energetically with King David in Psalm 139:23, 24

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Prayer

Thank you, Father God, for loving to make yourself known.

Although I am dependent upon You, I don’t want You to do all the giving.  I respond to your gift of making yourself known by truthfully, authentically and openly giving you the gift of making myself known to you.

Although you are independent of me, I don’t want to do all the receiving.  Please receive my open and honest making of myself known to you as my heartfelt gift.

AMEN

 

Posted on 15th December 2018 in Christmas, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Attention Span and Unexpected Joy

Before we get to the subject matter of the day, I find words, their history and meanings, interesting.  For example, I recently learned that the word “Prom” is short for promenade.

Promenade is defined as, “a paved public walk, typically one along a waterfront at a resort.”

We are thinking through elements of unexpected joy resulting from surprises.  The Jesus life, at first glance, could never produce joy.  Yet living the Jesus life is the most joyful expression of humanity.  The Jesus life produces unexpected joy.

In “Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected,” Tania Luna and Leeann Renninger expound upon the science of surprise.

  • Surprise: our reaction to unexpected and misexpected events. (Is it an emotion? A cognitive state? No one knows for sure. Surprise is mysterious like that.)
  • Schema (plural: schemata): a mental framework for understanding something.
  • Surprise sequence: Freeze, Find, Shift, Share (plug into the moment, get wildly curious, change your perspective, and talk about it with others).
  • Duh Face: the true facial expression of surprise (seemingly dopey, actually fully absorbed in the moment).

When our schema is interrupted, the surprise sequence (freeze, find, shift, share) commences.

Let’s introduce the concept of attention.

  1. Transient attention is instantaneous and involuntary.
  2. Sustained attention requires something consistently intriguing and continuously offering new perspectives.

Jesus’ birth and His call to live the Jesus life TOTALLY interrupts our natural schema.  Surprise!  Luke 2:1-21

The birth of Jesus and the celebration of His birth provides opportunity to focus (transient and sustained) on God and His love of relationship with you.

  • God created us for friendship, relationship, and fellowship with Him and each other.
  • The friendship, relationship, and fellowship was interrupted by sin.
  • Only God can restore the shattered relationship humanity.

Our relationship with God has been paralyzed by sin.  We can’t dance on God’s great dance floor because we are separated from God and paralyzed by sin. Broken friendship, shattered relationship, and fractured fellowship depict our relationship with God.  Until FATHER God steps in.

  • Restoring relationship with humanity required God to become human, thus the birth of Jesus, fully God and fully human.
  • Justice requires human penalty for human sin. Jesus, representing all humans, met the demands of justice by dying through Roman crucifixion.
  • In that moment, there is a dead God and the living Which wins?
  • Three days later, the Living God resurrects Jesus from the dead.
  • All human beings are now able to have eternal friendship, relationship, and fellowship with God and are invited to His eternal celebratory prom. Revelation 19:6-9

Can you imagine the HUGE sense of despair if you were not invited to God’s heavenly prom, called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?

Our heavenly prom, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, will have more surprises than we can even imagine and the unexpected joy will be beyond measure.

InvitationSurprises. Unexpected joy.

Jesus’ birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection are God’s loving invitation for you to walk again and that walk is down the aisle with Father God at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

My favorite sentence of 2017, “I may be having a bad day, but I am having a day.”

2 Corinthians 6:2 states, “Today is the day of salvation.”

Place your trust in Jesus for salvation and you too will walk again now and then down the aisle of God’s great prom (a paved public walk, typically one along a waterfront at a resort}, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Posted on 24th December 2017 in Christmas  •  Comments are off for this post
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Unexpected Joy: The Birth of Jesus and Poverty of Spirit

In “Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected,” Tania Luna and Leeann Renninger expound upon the science of surprise.

  • Surprise: our reaction to unexpected and misexpected (Is it an emotion? A cognitive state? No one knows for sure. Surprise is mysterious like that.)
  • Schema (plural: schemata): a mental framework for understanding something.
  • Surprise sequence: Freeze, Find, Shift, Share (plug into the moment, get wildly curious, change your perspective, and talk about it with others).
  • Duh Face: the true facial expression of surprise (seemingly dopey, actually fully absorbed in the moment).

The ways of God (schema) in our world are a mystery.  Ephesians 3:2-3

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.

Essentially, the joy of life in the kingdom of heaven is unexpected because it flows from the mysteries of God.  Consider Paul’s personal difficulties in Philippians 4:11, 12 and 4

Let’s call “the administration of God’s grace” the way God manages His household (the kingdom of heaven).   In Ephesians 3:9 Paul has the responsibility to “make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery…”  Paul’s assignment is to make plain to everyone the way God manages His Household (the kingdom of heaven) with gentiles.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is a revelation of the mystery of the internal life of citizens of the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus reveals how God manages His household (the kingdom of heaven).

The Sermon on the Mount is an autobiography of the King of the kingdom of heaven.  The Sermon on the Mount reveals the character, morality, and interior life of Jesus and invites us to be like Him in every way.

The Bible highlights, especially in the details of His birth, Jesus’ poverty of spirit.  2 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Language is not adequate to capture the enormity of Jesus emptying Himself of divine prerogatives and becoming human.

In the birth narratives, God goes to the extreme to show His Son’s poverty of spirit.

  • Un-married and pregnant
  • Without shelter
  • Wrapped in cloths and placed in a feed trough (No where to lay his head)
  • Announced first to shepherds
  • Immigrant refugees in Egypt
  • The reason Herod slaughtered the innocent children
  • He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.
  • Beaten beyond recognition
  • Crown of thorns
  • Whipped within one stripe of death
  • Beard plucked
  • Carrying his own cross
  • Nailed to the cross
  • Spear pierced into his lungs
  • Laid in a borrowed grave.

THEN – Unexpected Joy – Matthew 28:1-10

There is unexpected joy in the (schema) mystery of being poor in spirit.

Maybe the 1951 Carol of the Drum best captures our poverty of spirit at Christmas.

Little Baby, Pa rum pum pum pum,

I am a poor boy too, Pa rum pum pum pum,

I have no gift to bring, Pa rum pum pum pum,

That’s fit to give the King, Pa rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, on my drum, Pa rum pum pum pum,

Mary nodded, Pa rum pum pum pum,

Then he smiled at me, Pa rum pum pum pum,

I am bent over as a beggar, penniless and bankrupt of any spiritual asset.

I bring nothing to the table.

My very best amounts to filthy rags.

My only spiritual hope is God.

Unexpected Joy!  For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Posted on 10th December 2017 in Christmas  •  Comments are off for this post
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Unexpected Joy: The Beatitudes are an Autobiography of Jesus

For most people, Jesus the Messiah was unexpected. The Messiah would be revealed, but not now, not here, not like this, not from there.  The unexpected Jesus produced resistance and fear.

A gift you receive for Christmas is wrapped beautifully and delicately.  Upon opening this exquisite package, you discover a completely unexpected gift.  You had hoped for this gift but not now, not here, and not like this. The unexpected present produced receptivity and faith.

In “Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected,” Tania Luna and Leeann Renninger expound upon the science of surprise.

  • Surprise: our reaction to unexpected and misexpected events. (Is it an emotion? A cognitive state? No one knows for sure. Surprise is mysterious like that.)
  • Schema (plural: schemata): a mental framework for understanding something.
  • Surprise sequence: Freeze, Find, Shift, Share (plug into the moment, get wildly curious, change your perspective, and talk about it with others)
  • Duh Face: the true facial expression of surprise (seemingly dopey, actually fully absorbed in the moment).

Tania and Leeann suggest an experience we might call a surprise irony.  “We’re either biting our nails because we don’t know what to expect or we’re twiddling our thumbs because we know exactly what will happen next.”

“Surprise Seesaw: too much predictability leads to boredom, whereas too much surprise leads to anxiety. A balance between predictability and surprise is ideal (but, as any experienced seesawer will tell you, tough to master).”

They state this dilemma powerfully, “We feel most comfortable when we are certain, but we feel most alive when we are not.”

Jesus is too much of a surprise for many people. His teaching on citizenship in his kingdom threw off the predictability of the Jewish religion as it had come to be experience and expressed.

God’s relationship with humanity is filled with surprises.  This was part of Jesus’ teaching to Nicodemus in John 3:8, The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

Sometimes God’s words in Malachi 3:6 are misunderstood.  “I the Lord do not change,” is a statement about the character of God.  His holiness does not change, keeping His promises does not change, being holy, love, and pure does not change.

God’s interactions with people change regularly.  Ephesians 2:3,4

Jesus is saying, in the words of our supporting authors today, “Embrace the unpredictable and engineer the unexpected.”

We love to proclaim this time of year, “Joy to the World, the Lord has come.”  It is true and is a challenge to the predictable and expected of our lives.

Jesus’ calls us to live differently than we might have ever predicted or expected.

We are learning to embrace the unexpected joy in Jesus’ unexpected teaching.

Unexpected joy and blessing are huge surprises in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  Every beatitude is seen in the birth of Jesus.

The First Beatitude

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:2
  • And they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us). Matthew 1:23

The Second Beatitude

  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • And he gave orders to kill all the boys, in Bethlehem and its vicinity…Matthew 2:16

The Third Beatitude

  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby…Luke 2:8-15

The Fourth Beatitude

  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him. Matthew 2:1-2

The Fifth Beatitude

  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • To those on who his favor rests. Luke 2:14

The Sixth Beatitude

  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. Luke 1:46-55

The Seventh Beatitude

  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:14

The Eighth Beatitude

  • Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • And he gave orders to kill all the boys, in Bethlehem and its vicinity…Matthew 2:16
Posted on 27th November 2017 in Christmas  •  Comments are off for this post
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Jesus is the New and Living Way: Blessed!!!

Jesus is the New and Living Way to interact with God.

The first covenant opens with God:

  • Bringing order out of chaos, turning what is formless and void into form and fullness. Genesis 1:2
  • Blessing the excellence of His creation. Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31

The second covenant (New and Living Way) opens with Jesus:

  • Bringing a new order out of chaos, turning what is dead form and emptiness into God’s new form and fullness.
  • Blessing the excellence of those who will be His new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17, Matt. 5:2-11

When we think of God’s interactions with creation and people we must think:

  • Excellent goodness
  • Excellent blessings and Divine happiness

The translated word for “blessed” in Matthew 5 includes the following meaning:

“Blessed describes a believer in an enviable and fortunate position from receiving God’s provisions and favor which extend the benefits of His grace.”  HELPS Word Studies

Jesus is God’s Tuning Fork – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNuDxc9tZMk

It is in the Sermon on the Mount that we learn the “Resonance of Jesus.”

When you strike the Jesus vibration you are in tune with the New and Living Way.

God’s blessing and favor help you strike the Jesus vibration and in that tune you have great blessing and joy.

Notice the chord that is made with three tuning forks.

When the frequencies are in harmony:

  • God commands His blessing. Psalm 133:1-3
  • You have great joy.
  • You resonate with God and others and they resonate with you.
Posted on 18th December 2016 in Christmas, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Jesus is Life!

In my message today I am seeking to bring our attention back to the Person, Jesus. Christianity has it’s propositions, but is not initially “Propositional Truth.”  The core essence of being a follower of Jesus is “Transactional Truth.”  Because Jesus is a Person, He must be known transactionally (two living beings transacting – or two people in relationship).

Jesus washing feet of modern man wearing jeans

It is through transaction with Jesus that we understand it is His Personhood that makes all propositional truth true.  For example, “Why is good good?”  Good is good because Jesus is good.  Because of the being-ness of Jesus we have the proposition. “Why is evil evil?”  Evil is evil because Jesus is good and the opposite of who he is is evil.

There is an obvious Great Disparity between, on the one hand, the hope for life expressed in Jesus – found real in the Bible and in many shining examples from among his followers- and, on the other hand, the actual day to day behavior, inner life, and social presence of most of those who now profess adherence to him.  “The Great Omission” by Dallas Williard

Who Jesus is

  • The only-begottenSon of God,
  • Begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons),
  • Light of Light, very God of very God,
  • Begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;

What Jesus did

  • Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven,
  • and was incarnateby the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
  • He was crucifiedfor us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures,
  • andascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;

What Jesus taught and believed

  • His birth, death and resurrection initiated the Kingdom of God
  • He alone is the key to entrance into God’s Kingdom

It is good to know who Jesus is, what Jesus did and what Jesus taught and believed.  Let’s call the portion that we know – understanding.

The Great Disparity is caused, in part, by what may be properly named “Theology Idolatry.”  John 5:39, 40

Sometimes in my understanding of Jesus I fail to see the beauty of Jesus the Person!  Isaiah 33:17

The key isn’t in just understanding who Jesus is, what he did and what he taught and believed.  The key is in knowing Jesus the Person.

  • John 1:10
  • John 17:3
  • Philippians 3:10

The Great Disparity vanishes when I see the beauty of Jesus and become his apprentice.

Then I begin to realize that Jesus even sees some beauty in me.

Posted on 20th December 2015 in Christmas, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Happy Sad

Woman hiding under the happy mask.  Hypocritical,  insincere, twBack in the day I heard Amy Grant singing, “I’ve finally found the reason that I’m happy sad.” This lyric deserves a hearty laugh, I thought at that time. “Happy sad.” Impossible! thought my unseasoned heart. One is either happy or one is sad.

Forty or so orbits around the sun later I am starting to get it. Not only is happy sad possible, it may be a key indicator in personal well-being. Those who can hold opposites at the same time may have the best grasp on the reality of life.

Forty days after the joy and celebration of Jesus’ birth Mary hears the words, “A sword will pierce your soul too.” Puzzled? Yes. Shaken? No. Mary held celebration and crucifixion in her heart at the same time.

It really is “The most wonderful time of the year.” Our tree is decorated, the kitchen filled with sweet delights, the standing prime rib is ready for the oven tomorrow, and Tim Allen is busy saving Christmas on the television. More importantly, Jesus is both Lord and Christ. Our hearts are filled, not with only His birthday party, but with Him. He is among us! Happy.

In the past two weeks I have been involved in the lives of five people who surprisingly died.  No one was expecting any of them to die.

  • Gary – 67 year old father and grandfather
  • Chelsea – 21 year old friend
  • Tavita – an MCA Island Revival member
  • Hannah – 23 year old student
  • Keith – 68 year old life time Christian minister

Five wonderful people gone much too soon.  I attended four funerals in the past 10 days.  Sad.

Just a few days before these five died Debbie Burger left this life for the next.  To my knowledge all six of these dear folks simply went to sleep for the night and awakened in eternity.

Tomorrow is my annual December 24th shopping spree with a friend and my two sons.  For thirty years my friend and I have made this annual splurge.  I am very much looking forward to the day.  At the same time I will be sharing the emotions of my almost cousin Kent who, for the first time in his life, is celebrating Christmas without his father.

Today, if you are feeling happy sad, you can rejoice that you have a high degree of maturity and can hold the tension of paradox.  It seems to me that God is, at times, happy sad too.

Amy’s song got it right.

 

 

Posted on 24th December 2014 in Blogs, Christmas, Simple LIfe  •  Comments are off for this post
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MCA Church Christmas Celebrations

The first Christmas was all about a young and small family. Make this Christmas about family too.

MCA Church celebrates the family with two family style events this joyous Christmas season.

Wednesday evening, December 18, from 5:00- 7:00, we gather as a church family to eat and celebrate loving relationships both in our personal families and in the larger family of God. You will be treated to the Grandest Baked Potato Bar.

Sunday evening, December 22, beginning at 6:00, our Family Christmas Celebration convenes. This is a totally fun evening with many options: Horse drawn wagon and sleigh rides, Reindeer, Karaoke, a family style program with music, fun, and laughter, finger foods, cookie decorating, and much more.

Grab a friend, relative, associate, and neighbor and let’s celebrate the birth of Jesus.

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Posted on 17th December 2013 in Christmas  •  Comments are off for this post