Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ah, shepherd again!

There is a nativity in every other yard in your neighborhood right next to the LED Frosty (no less than 3 in my house and 1 backup) and 3,000,000 kids “had” to be a shepherds in the Christmas play again this year even though they wanted to be a wiseman. You know, wisemen get to wear crowns and dress cool and carry gifts.

We see and hear this stuff so often we let go in and out without a second thought. But don’t let the frequency of these symbols rob you of the awe of the God we serve! Angels didn’t appear to Frosty when the King was born and He wasn’t delivered by Santa.

NO! The King of the World, our Savior, the Messiah came to this world born to a no name couple, laid in a barn animals food trough and announced to sheepherders working the night shift. DAH DA DAH!! (Insert loud trumpets here!) Doesn’t sound that exciting does it? But it is!

Each and every one of those is an example of the unexpected God we serve. He'll show up anytime and anyplace when you least expect it. And the way Jesus was brought into this world was just the start.

Every step of His life was filled with the unexpected…

-Started teaching the teachers when he was 12
-Got baptized when it was thought he should haven been doing the baptizing
-Touched the sick and contagious when everyone else had run them away
-Loved the rejected when everyone else told them they'd done to much wrong to be loved
-Made the blind see with a touch
-Calmed storms with a spoken word
-Walked on water
-Fed 5,000 and 3,000 TILL THEY WERE FULL with a couple fish and a loaf of bread
-Withered the life out tree to get his point across– now there’s a sermon illustration
-Chose fisherman to spread the message about the Gospel
-Went one on one with the Devil twice and lived to tell about it
-Did I mention he walked on water
-Predicted his own death and HIS RESURRECTION
-FORGAVE the UNFORGIVABLE
-Granted MERCY to a deathbed sinner while He Himself was dying
-Then DIED AND ROSE AGAIN just like he said he would!!

I challenge the jolly man in the big red suit to try pull off any those tricks. Come down a chimney and deliver toys...huh! Now that's boring!

We serve a big God! A God of the unexpected! Don’t let the frequency and novelty of the season rob you that!

“[The Shepherds and the Angels] And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”- Luke 2:8-11

Merry Christmas friends!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You too

A couple weeks ago I was absolutely moved by a CD that a friend dropped off for me to listen to. (Thanks Dawn G.) It was an entire album of Christian artists doing U2 songs called In The Name Of Love : Artists United for Africa. You have Sanctus Real doing Beautiful Day, Starfield doing 40, Jars of Clay doing All I Want Is You, tobyMac doing Mysterious Ways, yeah! And does it get any better than Chris Tomlin doing Where The Streets Have No Names? Well, yes it does get better…sorry Chris you know I think you da' man, BUT, Nichole Nordeman doing Grace brought me to my knees!

If you’ve got an extra 99 cents I highly recommend, no I insist, you go to iTunes and buy this right now! I mean now! As in leave this blog, download it, listen and then come back and comment on how that song moved you on 100 different levels.

Waiting…………….waiting……………waiting…………………waiting…………….

Great glad you’re back. Did that song rock or what?!

What I found was interesting was how I had heard all these songs before and have always enjoyed U2, but when I started in on this CD and heard them with, what is my mind was, a “Christian flare” it changed everything about every song. I mean you don’t even have to know the lyrics or have ever heard a U2 song to read all those titles and easily believe these were Christian songs written by these artists. With the exception of 40 which if you knew the chorus was loosely based on Psalms 40 then you’d be convinced as well.

So this poses an interesting question. Just like hearing all these song before and not seeing something spiritual in them do you go through life the same way? As in are you trying to see God in all things even though they may not necessarily be labeled by the world as “Christian” activities? Job, hobbies, standing in line at grocery store, eating at a restaurant, etc. Or are your Sundays so different from the rest of your week it’s like you are living two different lives? Ugh, that will take the fun out of our jam session won't it?

Colossians 1:15-20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Six times in the Colossians 1 scripture it refers to Him in all things or everything. How can you read those two verses and not see that God is involved in EVERYTHING we do? He’s not just chillin’ at the church waiting for us to show up on Sunday mornings. Look for Him in your everyday life…it will change you. He is there.

[insert thumb snapping here] … Grace, she takes the blame…She covers the shame… Removes the stain…

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Someone

Here is one the first writings I did back when I first started feeling God move and change something within me. I didn't know what I was going to do with it at the time but I had to get it our so I wrote it into an essay. I guess something inside of me always hoped I'd have a format to preach it so this week I had a chance to do so. What I've posted below is the essay version.

Someone

1 Thessalonians 5:15 “…always strive to do what is good.” (TNIV)

The season following Thanksgiving and preceding Christmas is my favorite time of year. The exception to this is Black Friday, when I lock myself in the closet and would rather eat cold SpaghettiO’s all weekend than make a grocery trip to Wal-Mart.

Why would the days between and not the holidays themselves be my favorite? Once the sale signs have come down there is transformation in the people. It starts innocently---opening the door for a person you might not usually open the door for, and then over the month it slowly spreads into an all out joyfest by everyone you come upon. It’s contagious! Or is it? Do you really think it’s just the cool weather, the Christmas lights, the store fronts, the smell of a fire place burning, getting a good deal on a 15” flat screen TV, or is it literally “the Reason for the season”? Ah, now were on to something!

Much like the chicken or the egg. Does the Lord just fill our hearts this time of year and that sparks the outpouring of joy and good deeds or these start within us and then Lord comes in because of our actions? Yes. I agree with both sides depending on where you are in your walk with the Lord.

Whichever side you want to contend with there’s something common in both…the Lord. My thought is there is always a seed of joy and compassion in everyone. Then that person has the choice to cultivate it, but Someone has to start it.

Someone has to be the door opener.

Someone has to be the person that takes the Salvation Army Angel off the tree.

Someone has to be the one who gets an underprivileged child a basketball, GI Joe, and full suit of clothes even though they only asked for socks.

Someone has to stop and visit a friend you know is lonely.

Someone has to start the food drive and deliver it to the women’s shelter.

There has to be a Someone! As long as there’s always Someone then there’ll always be the Lord there to pour out the joy…Christmas or NOT!

That brings about an interesting question, why can’t the feelings and actions we have this time of year always exist?

We know the Lord is always there, but there’s not always that Someone. There’s no reason you can’t anonymously buy a lonely elderly person’s supper at the cafe in the middle of July, or stop on a cold day in February to help a woman change a tire. Good deeds and joy are needed for 365 days not just 30. Imagine what would the world be like if the Christmas Spirit was in everyone year round?

Oh but it is there, Galatians 5:22-23 says, “ the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Wow! That sound a lot like the traits we exhibit during Christmas, but this passage says we have these within us all time when we have Jesus.

Yes! It’s the Holy Spirit, it’s Jesus, it’s the Lord, it’s not just the reason for this season it’s the reason we exist. He’s the reason for everything that is around us, and the reason we have hope for the future.

Your seed is planted. Now cultivate it, and then it’s up to you if the joy in your heart is to become an annual or an evergreen.

Be that Someone all year! It has to start with one!


Tyson Brown
December 1, 2005