So what's with all the hoopla?
Christmas day falls on Sunday this year. Some churches are having multiple services on Christmas eve and are closing their doors on Sunday to let folks spend time with their families. Others are having services on Sunday.
And folks are all up in arms about it.
Nowhere are we commanded to have church on Sunday. Now if we have to pick a day (and we prettymuch do) Sunday seems like the best choice since that's the day of the week Jesus walked out of the tomb.
I heard a guy on the radio pose this question: What about the guy who only goes to church on Christmas? What about if he would only get saved then and nobody was having church?
Anyhoo. I'd love to know what you all think. I'm not going to church on Sunday Dec. 25th. But I WILL worship the Lord Jesus that day.
I love Christmas. Don't get me wrong. But it is still a season, right? Would it be possible to leave stuff up until Easter then use the death and ressurection of Jesus to close out the celebration of His birth. Seems that would bring things full circle.
This is still my favorite time of year. I just love it and if I had more money i would SPEND it. But it makes me think how much would people notice if we just forgot the whole Jesus aspect of Christmas and simply gave stuff to each other and got a few more days off work? Then folks would only have to go to church once a year, on Easter, and then maybe they could, i don't know, watch more TiVo?
Home Depot now sells "Holiday Trees". I mean, really. Either bone up and call it a Christmas tree or just sell "Decorative house greenery" and let Hannacah and Ramadan and Kwanza have whatever they put up. France went totally secular. It's worked our great for them. Just ask the riot police.
All that to say, I really DO like Christmas.
So, if you do read this, please give me a holler so I know. Post, "I'm here" or something. I'm really sorry to have not posted. I've been thinking about LOTS to post...hopefully someone would like to read it.
I was reading in A.W. Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy and came across something that fascinated me.
“What we see in nature is simply the paths God’s power and wisdom take through creation. Properly these are phenomena, not laws, but we call them laws by analogy with the arbitrary laws of society.”
We (meaning people in the West and in general) assume that the laws of nature are the foundation of things. We assume that the law of gravity, the noble gas laws, the laws of thermodynamics, etc. are what form the framework of our natural world. But that is not the case. If Tozer is right, then these laws are only how God works in our world. Like invisible scaffolding, His power holds up His creation. We examine our world by science. It is the method by which we observe and make sense of the natural world in which we live. Science finds the rails of the scaffolds, tests and retests them, and makes those rails Laws because for the world to work like we think it does those things must remain constant. They remain constant because God does not change. His power and wisdom remain a forever always upon which the whole of creation rests.
Sadly, we see science as the enemy of theology, even of God. It should be the scientists who bow most humbly before Almighty God and praise His mighty works. There was a day when that happened but I do wonder if we will ever again have our
“Grant that God is infinite and self-existent and we see at once that He must be all-powerful as well, and reason kneels to worship before the divine omnipotence.” A.W. Tozer
I really like clouds. All kinds. Especially storm clouds. We get fantastic thunderstorms here in Texas and they never cease to amaze and fascinate me. We were driving yesterday to Lubbock, out in West Texas (for the geographically challenged, we were heading west with the sun backlighting everything), and there were huge storms brewing.
Being that I was driving I found it much more difficult to cloud gaze, but with my utterly amazing wife helping I got a couple good looks.
Have you ever watched clouds grow? They do that. They move and contort and billow and boil and the angrier the storm the more awesome they are. I look at thunder caps 50,000 feet tall (they get even taller) and I am simply amazed at how small I am and how huge God is. These storms which seem to come out of nowhere are larger than even our tallest mountain and they suck up all the hot, awful air, give us rain, and leave things a little cooler than before. What a blessing.
They also make hailstones, damaging winds and tornadoes but those to me just reinforce our limitations. We can't stop tornadoes or ask them to go away or sue them for damages. They are outside of our control. Now God is not a mindless whirlwind nor does He destroy life for fun. But He is outside of our control. He doesn't have to get my approval to act. If He did then only those who I think are 'worthy' would receive His grace. And if I'm honest I would not even include myself in that category. But God is not limited to my categories. He is far more than the sum total of every human thought. He is simply amazing. Awesome. Beyond our control, above our manipulation; He is transcendent and I love Him because He is so.
All that because a storm rolled into town.
What amazes you?
I have read a half-dozen baby magazines and now know about the benefits of breast feeding, how to design a nursery, and the option of banking cord blood (umbilical cord, that is.) I knew nothing about any of these things but now I do and I think that being a dad requires me to learn about a lot of things I have no idea about.
There's all the "gear" like car seats, stroller, baby monitors, a whole genre of diaper stuff, onsies (is there a twosie?), baby slings, baby blankets, baby bottles (and they apparently keep improving on the bottles) and a whole industry around baby skin care products. Wow.
And what if we have a girl? I can't braid hair to save my life. There is so MUCH that I just don't know and it can be, well, exciting and a little overwhelming. I am utterly terrified about bringing a new little wiggly person home and Jenny and I literally do not know what we are doing. And yet I look at other people and they have kids and their lives still go on and their kids make it so I guess we can too.
"Blessed is the man whose quiver is full" says the Psalmist. He gets it. This child is for us an unimaginable blessing. Jenny was telling me yesterday that all her thoughts keep going back to our baby growing in her womb and she was wondering if that was ok. I asked her what else she thought she should be doing and she didn't know. I admit that we are really, really excited but what we are excited about is meeting the child God has created and given to us to care for. What will he do? Who will she witness the gospel to? What people will know and love Jesus because of this child?
I am learning that "I don't know" is a good answer. It's good because it's honest. There are so many things I just don't know. But I'm learning. And I get to learn them with the most amazing woman.
The idea of being a dad is growing...
Things I can buy for $17.00:
- 34 cans of coke from a machine (are they still 50 cents?)
- one gallon of gas
- a really nice steak at the butcher
- a cat from the pound (no connection with the steak)
- enough pairs of socks to sew a sweater
- One doozie of a dinner in Guatemala City
Ok. Now on to the reason for the post. The movie was Kingdom of Heaven. It's about this one fella who becomes a Knight during the crusades and is supposed to protect the people of Jerusalem. I won't tell anymore plot other than to say it was pretty darn good. Here's why:
It makes it clear the the Kingdom of Heaven is not yet on this earth. Why? Because life can be pretty crappy here! People get sick, hurt and have loved ones die. People kill each other. Does anyone remember that's bad? We get a story every week about a little girl being abducted, raped and murdered. A LITTLE GIRL. And sometimes i feel myself getting used to it, well, not used to it, but it blends into the background. I realize that i cannot grieve every atrocity committed on planet earth but i can grieve the ones i know about. Anyway, the star of the film (Orlando Bloom) makes all his decisions based on this one premise:
People are more important.
Money? Power? Property? Religion?
People are more important. What a concept. And in the real Kingdom of Heaven, people will value each other as Jesus intended when He made each one of us.
I look forward to that.
I have been told that it doesn't really hit the dad until the child is actually born. I can see some truth to that. But I was hit with an awesome reality: I'm already a dad.
I know that there is no kiddo to feed and take care of....but wait...YES THERE IS. There is a person the size of a butterbean growing inside of my wife and he or she has a heartbeat. I know that because I saw it beating on the sonogram. How cool is that!!!
I was actually out mowing last week and it his me that I am a dad and responsible for feeding and taking care of my wife and through her the baby. Now that is being a husband! I stood there with the mower still running and just raise my face to the sky and thanked my Heavenly Father for this amazing....thing. Life. How awesome.
Anyhoo...so I am really pumped. We don't have a name yet, but we'll get one once we figure out some more stuff.
With the engulfing joy of being a dad comes the weighty responsibility of being a dad. But I am ready to take that on. I'm not saying that I have any idea what that is nor do I have ANY idea what we are getting into, but I am ready to get into it. I hope that makes sense. I am ready to be a parent and the thought of being a parent with THE MOST amazing woman ever is just the coolest thing i can think of. Whew.
Well..enough ramble for now
I've been on a river in a raft...being towed by a canoe. And that's rafting. Sort of. I didn't wear a life-vest and we really just floated. It was more like tubing but in a raft.
I've also been on a RIVER in a raft. Where I wore a helmet and a vest and you are floating but not just floating. You are moving. You're moving fast and there are like six of you and everyone has a paddle and no one wants out of the raft and in front of you are waves and crash and BOOM and it's awesome. But it's a little scary too because sometimes all you see are the waves and the roar, and when you can see the roar as well as hear it you know you are on a good run.
Life feels like we're on the raft. In the RIVER. We're excited and going faster and faster and there is a lot to be aware of and responsible for and, and...
We love it.
Because man, i tell you what, we have a Good Guide. He knows the waters ahead. He has never lost a raft much less a rafter. And the spray and the roar...they are scary, but His voice is louder. His direction stronger than any spray, straighter than any swirling eddy. He is God and through these rapids He guides our little boat.
And I can glimpse others on this RIVER. They are running, moving, crashing in the spray and I can hear them hollering, I can hear them shouting, I can hear them worship as we are all guided together.
I've been rafting before.
But never like this.
Never this real.
Let's keep going. I've been told the RIVER gets even better further on.
Ok. So I have the opportunity to give a little sermonette (like a sermon, but made with Splenda) discussing "what is worship" and I would love you to throw your hat in so I can get some of your thoughts.
SO. What is worship?
p.s. The reason I put that title is because Psalm 70:4 says this:
"But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, "Let God be exalted!"
"Let God be exalted!"
Thanks for your input
I don't know much, but I know that sin...stinks. Who knows what life was like before Adam and Eve took that fruit, but I know it was good.
Now there are all those things.
And yet....there IS joy, the IS life, there IS peace, there IS hope even in the midst of all that is so bad. Even in the midst of the space that I take up there can be these things.
Of course that creates tension.
But isn't tension the element that keeps us interested? Doesn't tension keep the story moving, keep us hooked. Without tension we would never have relief, resolution, redemption.
How amazing it is that people can be involved in the story of God. They have been all along. They will be forever.
Everything changed. Everything got worse. But everything doesn't have to stay that way. I can't wait to see what come next.
There's a lot going on, of course...Jesus is answering John the Baptist's questions about Him. Yes. Even John the Baptist doubted. He rebukes that generation of people and then gives stinging woes to cities around the area. Things like "it will be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for you." Wow.
Then, after all that, Jesus says to these same people:
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Jesus' invitation is not new to me, but i had forgotten the context. God desires that people come to Him. How is that possible? I haven't murdered anyone, but my heart is wicked and dark and yet..."Come to Me" Jesus says.
Jenny and I have decided to go with RMI to Guatemala. This is not news to some of you, but it's news none the less.
We are really excited/scared about the whole thing and really look forward to the next year or so. I'm not sure when we would leave; that depends on a number of things like when we can raise support, I still have to graduate, and other such things.
All in all though we have been very surprised by people's reactions to the news. All are very excited and a little sad and I guess we are the same. It's wonderful and yet we will miss a bunch of wonderful people (particularly you in the College ministry). But what example would we be if we knew God was calling us to something and we didn't go just because it made us sad?
Anyway, that's the News.
Of course, college football season is over and there is with that another sadness. But of a different kind.
At least the Red Raiders went out on a high note. :-)