Let’s have a party at church.
Yes, let’s have a New Year’s party!
Now to those of you who have a “service” on New Year’s Eve: this may not be for you. You may already get it. But for the rest of us….
The church should have a party. Let’s share what Jesus has done for us. Let’s eat together (have communion) Let’s share, and laugh and sing, and even dance (innocently of course.) Let’s celebrate. For those who can’t celebrate at the moment, just being in the company of friends may soothe a sad heart.
The point is this: the church should be the center of all life. Even on New Year’s eve the church family can share life together. We should be the kind of people that want to spend time together. Let’s celebrate what God has done in our lives this 2014 and look forward to what God wants to do through us in 2015. We don’t need to booze it up- Jesus has satisfied us and we don’t need to get drunk or high to make us feel good.
I pray the Lord gives me opportunity to do this as a church leader…right now I am not in the position to do so. I pray that God will open up the door for me to bring Jesus and the church to the center of our everyday lives. That’s what Jesus meant when he said to, “Go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations.” I am tired of the church- that is the Body of Jesus- being second or third or last in our everyday lives. Our Christianity should pervade every part of our lives-school, work, celebrations and social arenas- and in that way we can invite others into the goodness and the hope we have. Let’s be so open that all can see the life- and the hope- we have.
So, let’s have a party…at church.
I pray that the Lord will continue to speak to each one of you!
May the Lord bless you, keep you and make His face shine upon you…and give you peace…
Happy New Year, 2015!
One of the things that really bother me sometimes is silence- silence about the hard things: those difficult and controversial topics that we see and hear around us.
When Jesus walked the earth, He did not shy away from the hard things. Why do we?
Humanity needs the church to step up and address such things. Not in a judgmental way, but lovingly and truthfully. Yes, the Bible has already addressed these things but not everyone reads or understands it in it’s correct context, right? So as leaders, ministers and scholars in the church we need to bring the truth to the forefront. We need to talk about things and behaviors that are hurting people, destroying families and killing our culture. We can’t be shy. We can’t be quiet.
Why are we quiet? Why do we more often talk about the things that are less important? Maybe, just maybe, this is why some of our churches are empty, or ineffective.
If we love others we will warn them of dangers ahead, right? If someone is walking off a cliff won’t we try to stop them? Should we say…
“If you want to do it who am I to judge.”
“It’s not my business.”
“I can’t talk about that.”
“I don’t have time.”
“They will be angry.”
“If I say something then they would know… I did the same thing.”
Why are we quiet? Good question. Any answers?
Lord, help us address the hard things. Make us speak up. Make us shout the dangers ahead, especially if we have already been there and know truly how bad it is. Help us save our children, our neighborhoods, our communities. Our world.
Thank you, Lord. With your help we can talk about the hard things. Give us strength and wisdom and the power of Your might and Word. Amen!
There are a multitude of philosophies this time of year. If there is one thing about growing older is this: you’ve tried it all. So my philosophy for the New Year after trying and considering so many is this… Be ready to complete the calling in your heart.
I know some of you say, the heart is deceptively wicked above all things– you can’t listen to your heart. This is true to a certain extent. However, you CAN listen to your heart provided it is guided by God’s Spirit. I believe there is one ultimate truth- a timeless truth which has spanned millennia in both spoken and written form and changed the course of history unlike anything else. As long as your heart is guided by God’s truth you can listen to it.
God has formed each and every one of you and He guides you. That guidance is found in written form. So read it.
When you stop reading God’s Word you get off course. Your focus is off. Bad attitudes creep into your heart, eventually wrong words slip from your tongue and bad behavior is seen in your life. God’s Word keeps you on a straight path.
For those of you who are unaccustomed to God’s Word, what we call “The Bible,” the basic – and even not so basic- truths are there. Do not get caught up in all the accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures, or the Old testament. They need to be read with wisdom, discernment and understanding of history. Begin with the Christian Scriptures, the New Testament, where you will find simple grace and love and mercy and (more) easily understandable guidelines for life.
And then PRAY, and do what God is telling you on a personal level. Listen to what God tells you in your heart. You know God is the one who gives you dreams and aspirations, right? As long as they are good, noble and are not (selfishly) ambitious. If your heart is right then listen to it. Go for it! Complete your aspirations and follow the path set for you.
Last night I was talking to a bright young college sophomore. He is an engineering student at the University of Delaware who is also in the ROTC (Recruit Officers Training Corp) program. He is the son of a friend and also happens to be a friend of my own son. They have grown up together. I asked him how things were going at the university and can you guess his answer? He didn’t give the pat, plastic face answer we often give (because it hides our weakness and struggle) of “fine.” He gave an honest answer. He said, with a smile, that it was hard. I admire that, and from his demeanor and watching him grow up and knowing he has faith, I am confident he is on the path God has for him. God doesn’t always give us easy assignments, usually they are hard. Life is usually hard. But when you are on the path God has for you there is purpose, direction and a deep joy, that we can call contentment. When you are on the right path, even if it is difficult at times, you can do it. When you are doing what your heart tells you to do, knowing that God has directed your heart, then you are ready for the New Year.
So are you ready for the New Year? Get in touch with your Maker. Walk in truth and love and follow the leadings in your heart.
But what if you don’t see the necessity in following God’s will for your life? Then consider the following parable Jesus told as written in the Gospel according to Matthew, verses 1 to 25.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.
The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out:
‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
This passage, in particular, speaks to God’s people, those who have devoted their lives to Him. You must be ready and waiting to meet him at any moment doing what He has called you to do. Otherwise you are NOT ready. Lord, have mercy if we are not.
I am so thankful that when I have not been ready to meet Him, He has been patient and guided me. When He speaks to you, be sure to listen. Be ready.
Have a happy New Year 2014 and God’s blessings to you!
Forgive all my typos and bad grammar…I wanted to get this out today, the last day of 2013. Love to all.
There are many philosophies in this world. Especially after you have aged, been educated, traveled, met numerous individuals, read many books, and watched many documentaries you have heard many different opinions, religions, mindsets, philosophies etc. I am no exception. But what has got me-really got me- after seeing and doing it all- is Jesus.
He said he was God. He said he came from God Almighty- the Creator of the Universe. He also showed himself to be God by performing miracles (miracle after miracle after miracle) and being raised from the dead. He had compassion. He had more love than anyone could muster. He had more love than all of us combined could muster. (Who else would die for another even though he never made mistakes himself?) Jesus had the words of life- what He taught changed people (and still does) and gave hope, a hope that nothing else could give.
Most of all, I follow Jesus because He gave me a new life. After trying all the other philosophies out there, nothing else could change me or make me right- ONLY Jesus. Jesus made me RIGHT. Not perfect, but right. He gives us His righteousness. He is the only one that is right- perfectly right- and when we place our faith in Him, He makes us right, too.
There is only one that is righteous- Jesus. He never made a mistake. He came to earth as a man- fully God yet also fully a man, and in His humanity, He never sinned. When we believe in Him we become righteous, too, because His death- which He endured even though He did nothing wrong, atoned for all of our unrighteousness. He paid a price He didn’t owe. So, when we put our faith in Jesus we are forgiven of all our mistakes (all, big and small) and we become completely and totally right. Right, righteous, forgiven, made whole, restored, redeemed, no fault, fully alive, fully well, hopeful, not lost, not confused, at peace. Right.
This is why I follow Jesus.