Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Greatest Birth Announcement

I remember sitting in the hospital room in Round Rock when Landon and Logan were born. At each birth we made the birth announcement via text message and Facebook. We reported all the important details: name, weight, length and the health status of mother and baby.  Family and friends came to hold our boys, love on us and shower us with gifts.  Those are joyous memories.

These memories remind me of the greatest birth announcement in history:
"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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12
The angel is heralding the good news for all mankind. Verse ten is comforting because we reminded not to fear.  In Star Wars Episode One, Jedi Yoda states, "Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering."  Fear grabs us and holds us hostage.   We can respond emotionally a few ways: stress, anger, and spite.  We should not fear because according to God's plan, Jesus' blood will end our suffering.
"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart Where? Down in my heart! Where?Down in my heart! I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart Down in my heart to stay."
Jesus brings you and I joy.  Joy can be defined as, “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” He is the greatest gift and the angel wanted those who heard this proclamation to know we can find our joy in Jesus Christ.  Many things can bring you and I temporary happiness: a new car, the latest CD, a brand new TV show, a girlfriend or boyfriend, but only the true joy comes from Jesus.  The amazing thing about this proclamation is this joy is not exclusive - it is a joy that all people have access to.  When we believe in Jesus, we become recipients of the joy from Jesus, we also get the opportunity to share the greatest birth announcement through our lives to all those who have not heard.

The birth announcement includes Jesus humble beginning.  Scripture tells you and I the, “baby [was] wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  He wasn’t born in a ornate palace or to a wealthy family, but a righteous woman, Mary.  Considering humility, you and I can become humble in our walk with Christ and more effectively serve our neighbors - not for reward or self gain, but for His glory.

During this time of Advent, may we reflect upon the greatest birth announcement in history - the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.  He offers you and I the greatest gift we could receive, salvation from our sins.  Have you heard the news?  Have you shared the news?  Tell someone this season about Jesus and what He has done for you.  Blessings and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Making a Mess or Following Jesus

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 29:19-20
On the mountain Jesus with all authority in heaven and on earth He charged the disciples to go.  The above passage is known as the Great Commission.  This passage of scripture is the call to you and I to do something.  

We are not allowed to attend church each Sunday in order to put a check mark by our list, sit in our reserved pew and than get home in time to make sure we do not burn the roast.  Jesus words are the same than, today and in the future, but we sometimes need to be reminded that this charge is not optional. 

Have you ever left a toddler in the bathroom by themselves for a few moments?  Typically the outcome of this choice will be a toddler playing in the toilet water or playing with the toilet paper - basically a mess!  Sometimes, we get stuck in the bathroom all alone and start to make a mess with our thoughts, words and actions.  

Laziness and complacency creep into our lives when things get messy.  Proverbs 16:27-29 states, "A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.  A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.  A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good."  Scripture tells you and I laziness and complacency can cause us problems.  I think sometimes we can get lost in just being Christian only by name - and that's where Proverbs 16:27-29 reveals what happens.  Conniving thoughts, harsh words, undermining others, leading others down a path of fleshly life - messy.

When supervising a toddler in the bathroom, we can correct and direct the child.  We need to get back to what God has called us to do.  It is in these times when we need to be reminded of the Great Commission.

Jesus invited you and I to follow Him.  When you and I follow Him we cannot ignore the Great Commission.  As individuals and churches if we are not fulfilling the Great Commission, Jesus' invitation to help share the good news, than we become like the toddler in the bathroom - just making a mess of things.

Our job as followers of Christ is to make disciples.  It is not the sole job of clergy, staff or deacons, but all those who follow Christ.  If you and I aren't living the Great Commission, than what are we doing?  I want to encourage myself and others who follow Christ to begin to live the Great Commission.  Talk about Christ with others.  Share your story.  Show people who you know scripture that will point them to Jesus.  Talk about the football game, but talk about Jesus too.  We need to be about the verb go - go into our homes, neighborhoods, commerces, jobs and living it out.

Are you a toddler stuck in the bathroom making a mess?  Or are you out telling others about Jesus?  Let us get back to the Great Commission and do what Jesus tells us to do.