Hiding Christmas gifts

December 16th, 2015

I heard a story on the radio the other day about hiding Christmas gifts. I’ve never been much for finding out, sneaking around or even shaking my presents. i have kids and a spouse who seem to be the kind that look for their gifts. As i was listening to the story each of the most “popular” hiding places was mentioned: under the bed, in the closet and/or in a drawer. then there was some quote by the experts to try something different like at a neighbor’s house, mislabel the present for someone else or put them in dirty/scary places if you truly don’t want the recipient to discover their new treasures.

Like many things in life this went to a spiritual place and i thought about God “hiding” the Messiah in a manger. That is not a typical place for a king or especially the Savior of the World. The timing was perfect, the setting mundane.But as we find and receive Jesus we are truly transformed. Paul talks about the mystery being made clear that God, through Jesus, is saving the world! If it had happened any other way would we, as sinful people, realized it? Maybe, but hiding in plain sight for all the world to see and discover for themselves, why do some still miss Him?

advent musings and devo ideas

December 9th, 2014

Waiting. Play a game with your kids and a stop watch. Set it up by making this a contest to see who can guess when a minute has elapsed. Press start on the watch and have your children guess when a minute is up. Have someone record each guess until the minute is over. Closest to the actual 1 minute mark “wins.” Try 2 minutes for a challenge. This illustrates our skewed sense of time and we tend to think it moves faster that it seems.

Waiting is watching and wanting but not having. It is often the hardest thing about life. I used to think it was waiting when I was a kid and i wanted it now. But, now as an adult waiting seems even harder.

As a culture we don’t like to wait. We’ve invented tons of technology to shorten the wait. We have microwaves, drive thru’s, expressways, online shopping and measure computer speeds in kbs, that is kilobytes per second! We also dislike waiting so much that we distract our waiting with music, TV or other noise.

Waiting has always been especially hard at Christmas time. Ask your kids. How many excited little ones have spent the night awake in bed waiting for Christmas morning and the presents that await?

There are several scriptures and examples of Luke 2:25 mentions Simeon as waiting for the consolation of Israel. How does the scripture describe Simeon? Righteous, devout, Holy Spirit filled. What do those characteristics have to do with waiting?

Then Galatians 4:4 reminds us that waiting on God is a good thing because God’s timing is perfect. The “fullness of time” illustrates how waiting and God’s timing go together. The culture, language and roads of that Roman era were key to the spread of the gospel. In another instance in Luke 12:36 Jesus reminds us to always be ready even though we wait. And Titus 2:13 reminds us we are waiting for something even better than Christmas, the second appearing of Jesus.

Christmas is about waiting. We wait for family to arrive, for meals to get ready, for presents to be opened. But we also need to wait for Jesus. Yes he is already here but if we plan out our schedules to the minute, drown out spiritual reminders with noise we really might miss Him. Take some time and pause wait a minute or two in silence. Light a candle, turn out/dim the lights and thank Jesus for being Christmas.

What are some things you remember waiting on?

How does waiting help you be a better person?

What if God waits on us and our obedience to Him?

The Choice is Yours

November 20th, 2014

Read Psalm 115. Here is a great Psalm with some powerful consequences about praise contrasted with idolatry. First the Psalmist comments on the serious trouble with idolatry. Primarily we become like the very thing, material or immaterial, we worship, v.8. Those idols are so powerful and subtle but they can’t even grunt, v.7. Wonder why we have passive Christians? Could it be that they have an idol problem that has left them idle?However, the Psalmist makes a break when realizing the powerful and loud declaration of God’s blessing and protection.  16 The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,    but the earth he has given to the children of man.17 The dead do not praise the Lord,    nor do any who go down into silence.18 But we will bless the Lord    from this time forth and forevermore.Praise the Lord

Winners

October 2nd, 2014

Everybody loves a winner. Just look around the sports landscape and listen to fans for a minute and you can tell if their team is winning or not. They are loud and heaping praise or criticism depending on the previous game or season. One can also follow the award shows and check out the popularity of the newest band or best actress as they begin to soar.

The scripture has something to say about victory, too. 1 Cor. 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

This win is over sin!

Look what I found!

August 6th, 2014

We had just returned from a mission trip when my oldest asked if I had seen the bomb. I asked what bomb and where and he mentioned how he had read about a bomb that had been found while preparing a foundation for a building in the exact city we had just been doing ministry in across the pond.

I was thinking about that later and considered a couple of options. One could ignore it and go ahead and build on top of it and around it. Another possibility could be to build close but not too close. And still another choice might be to carefully remove the bomb and then start building.

It became immediately clear that we do that with “bombs” in our hearts and lives. Maybe in a time of prayer or accountability we “find” a bomb, a thought or attitude that is clearly dangerous. What do we do? Similar options exist but only one will set us free. Ignoring it only prolongs the issue and potentially makes it much worse. Simply building somewhere else repeats the same mistake. The gospel response requires us to “move” it through confession and repentance. Thank God you found it now, with His help, do something to remove it.

Ugh, i forgot

March 17th, 2014

don’t you hate it when you forget something so obvious or repetitious like…wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. It is SO obvious to everyone else that you are either dumb or stupidly forgot…or don’t care which is dumb because everyone else is doing it, right.

What is it about these meaningless mistakes that makes us feel so…?

Some of you have been planning your green outfit for months now, or red, or pink, or whatever day it is next week or month. You don’t count. But for others it really might not have even been on the radar. They are still wanting to know why you’re supposed to wear green? and Who says?

I think I have felt this way most often (no this is not about wearing or not wearing St. Patrick’s day green) when something happens and my first reaction is ugh, blaming or complaining and not…praying. Or worshiping! finally later in the day or the next morning I’m praying and feeling the Holy Spirit reveal one of (or several of) those moments and feeling so stupid again. I should know better and do better. Then, there is grace and the gospel and the urging of the Holy Spirit to keep on and keep up. I read we are to “walk” and that is a daily experience.

Lent, i give up

March 5th, 2014

here is an compilation of what twitter users are giving up for Lent. I couldn’t give up chocolate but maybe that means I need to.

Interesting list!

Great marriage conversation starter

November 21st, 2013

you may know the quirky video hit, What Does the Fox Say? Try it for marriage.

Les and Leslie Parrott work with couples and marriages and have written some great resources. This is a great devotional thought to get you two talking. What do you say?

http://www.lesandleslie.com/devotional/what-does-the-fox-say/

Picture of Jesus

October 8th, 2013

I just read an article about a school that was forced to take down a picture of Jesus in a school hall that contained other pictures of important historical figures. More than that the school is going to pay $95K to the ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation to offset their court costs! Here is a link to the article:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/10/07/ohio-school-district-agrees-to-keep-portrait-jesus-off-wall-pay-5g-fine/ 

The reasoning was that it is unconstitutional and causes “permanent and irreparable harm” to students. How do we know that? No one will conclusively say if movies, music, TV and violent video games have any relationship to recent violence but a painted picture of Jesus produces irreparable harm? Incredible! Let’s get those researchers studying the various forms of entertainment and see what they find out.

Could it be possible?

April 25th, 2013

I read an interesting article about the outdoors, animals and more. The article covered reverse extinction or de-extinction. In other words through technology and knowledge of genetics it may be possible to bring back species of flora and fauna that have been extinct for some time, http://www.fishgame.com/news/?p=18922 We can only wonder what will be possible in a few years and what will be wise

I brought it up last night with the fam sitting around before bedtime. We talked about what animals we would like to see alive…passenger pigeons, dodos and others (no unicorns! hmmm). Then we talked about Christianity, what would we like to see alive and thriving again in our world, church and lives. Someone mentioned a hunger for holiness, a hatred for hypocrisy, a church that explodes with growth, etc. We had a great time thinking and it seemed to strike everyone that there is within us, Jesus, Christ in you the hope of glory.

What would you like to see?