Friday, December 11, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
As a pastor getting ready for Christmas means planning sermons, and making sure that worship is meaningful and pointing us to the coming of Christ. Not just the baby in the manger but the second coming when the Kingdom of God reaches its fulfillment.
However as a father I am really enjoying my 3 year old's excitement as Christmas approaches. She loves it all. We had some snow the other day and she yelled "It's Christmas", I had to tell her that it doesn't only snow at Christmas.
I guess the big challenge for us will be how do we help her become just as excited about the real reason for the season. We have time and she is enjoying playing with her little people manger scene. That gives us some opportunities to tell the story. That is when she and her baby brother are not fighting over baby Jesus. (There may be a sermon in that.)
My prayer this week is that as we progress toward that blessed day that we truly appreciate the many gifts that God has provided for us and that we are excited and looking forward to Jesus with that same excitement that our children have as they wait to see Santa.
The early Christians used to greet each other with the word "Maranatha" which literally means "Come Lord Jesus!"
Monday, November 23, 2009
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture." Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."
Even with all that is going on with the economy, the war on terror, and our own personal trials and tribulations; I believe with all my heart that we are a people and a nation that has truly been blessed by God. Of all those who "give thanks to Him and praise His name" we should be at the top. I’m convinced that if we were to make a list, we would find that we have much more for which to be thankful than just our material possessions. Like you, I’m sure, my list would include the major things life, health, family, friends, and the nation we live in, despite all its flaws. But even more than that, I’m thankful for my salvation, my church family, and the grace that God showers upon me each day.
Our introduction to Junction was a prayer service held on Tuesday September the 11th of 2001 at the courthouse. My wife Laurie and I had just arrived in town about 30 minutes before the service was to start. We met several of the other ministers and their wives. As we talked about it afterward Laurie and I were glad that we had arrived when we did. We are very thankful to have come to a community that shares a unity in Christ that is not found in other places. It is not common to have Christians from so many different faith traditions all come together and worship as one in the body of Christ. With Jesus we have so much for which to celebrate on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Day is my favorite holiday.Mainly because it doesn’t commemorate a battle or anyone’s birthday or anniversary. It is simply a day set aside to express our nations thanks to God.
In 1789, George Washington made this public proclamation. (Now I will quote only a little part of it, "By the President of the United States of America. A proclamation: Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, - and "Whereas, Both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me `to recommend to the people of the United States a day of Public Thanksgiving & Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God.’ "Now, Therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. . ." So read the very first Thanksgiving Proclamation.
This week we pause once again to give thanks. And one would assume that because of the example of our forefathers, and because we today have so much, that we would be an extremely thankful people. But it is often just the opposite, isn’t it? The more we get, the less thankful we become, the less mindful of God we become, & the more we want.
I think that the 100th Psalm was written to deal with that attitude, to remind us of our need to be thankful. I think also that there is a real danger in this season of determining our thanksgiving on the basis of how much we have. "Do I have enough turkey to gorge myself sufficiently? Is my money in the bank secure? Am I healthy?" And we let these things determine whether we are or aren’t thankful. The Psalmist says that all of these things may change at any time. They may drift away, or they may burn, or someone may steal them. The only thing we have for sure is our relationship with God. And that is what the 100th Psalm emphasizes. Just scan the Psalm it reminds of that the basis of our thanksgiving is the Lord.
Oftentimes the place where we meet to worship God is called a "sanctuary," indicating that God is there. But God is everywhere. He is with you as you drive on the highway. He is with you when you work. He is with you as you care for your children. He is with you every moment of your life. That is the source of our thanksgiving, isn’t it? I pray that this will be a meaningful Thanksgiving for you all.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
I know that since we have returned to Junction that we have not put any effort into updating the blog but starting this week we will try to get at least one post up a week. Both children and Jim and Laurie are doing well. Keep an eye out for new posts and pictures.