"... for your sakes he became poor." - 2nd Corinthians 8:9
When Jesus stepped down out of heaven, He did this for us. Sounds good right? That God wrapped Himself in human flesh and became one of us.
Heres the thing. Its too easy to get caught up in this "us" language. Its very easy for me to say that God did this for us, but when I say that God did this for me... it gives me pause. It catches my breath. God did this for Chris? "For Chris' sake, Jesus became poor"? For God so loved Chris?
I don't feel worthy.
I still don't feel worthy.
And yet this is God's Word to me. This is the meaning of Christmas to me. That God did this for Chris. Jesus is my Emmanuel. He is my Savior. He is my Lord.
If you happen to be reading this, you need to know that Jesus willingly became poor for you as well.
Christmas is for us. But please also know that Christmas is for you.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
"It will seem like all hell has broken loose—sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar and everyone all over the world in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking.
"And then—then!—they'll see the Son of Man welcomed in grand style—a glorious welcome! When all this starts to happen, up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way!"
He told them a story. "Look at a fig tree. Any tree for that matter. When the leaves begin to show, one look tells you that summer is right around the corner. The same here—when you see these things happen, you know God's kingdom is about here. Don't brush this off: I'm not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won't wear out.
"But be on your guard. Don't let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it's going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don't go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that's coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man."
~ Luke 21:25-36 MSG
How can anyone pity anyone who is doing the will of our Lord? Is there anything sweeter on earth than to do the will of Him who loves? And if it gives one some trouble to carry it out, the sweetness is all the greater.
~ from Meditations of a Hermit, by Charles de Foucauld
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I recently decided to go back to school to pursue a Doctor of Ministry degree at Ashland Theological Seminary, focusing on the area of spiritual formation. I will be taking my first class early next year and am getting started on my reading. The following is the required reading for my first class,
- Richard Bauckham, Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World. GrandRapids: Baker, 2004.
- Amy Hanson, Baby Boomers and Beyond: Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions ofAdults over 50. Somerset: Jossey-Bass, 2010.
- Brian McClaren and Tony Campolo, Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.
- James K. A. Smith, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucaultto Church. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006.
- N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. London: SPCK, 2006.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
On this past Monday night (December 6th), a group of 12 couples and individuals watched the 13th and final lesson from Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. What a wonderful class it has been! We have spent over 13 hours with an incredible financial advisor who has a heart for God. And although I can honestly say that there was a lesson that I didn't enjoy, here were my favorite classes:
- Lesson 3 - Cash Flow Planning. Unlocking the secret of developing a monthly spending plan that really works.
- Lesson 4 - Dumping Debt. Debunking some common debt myths! Dave reveals the truth about credit lies and gives a plan to walk out of debt with confidence.
- Lesson 5 - Credit Sharks In Suits. What is a credit score, anyway? Dave unpacks your credit rating and shows how to handle collectors when they call.
- Lesson 7 - Clause and Effect. Dave walks through the world of insurance, carefully explaining what we need—and what we need to avoid.
- Lesson 13 - The Great Misunderstanding. This lesson challenged the way most people think about money. Dave showed how generous giving can completely revolutionize attitudes and improve finances, business and relationships.
For the last class, Bonnie and Joe had a cake made up for us as we celebrated our 13 weeks together.
As a class we kept track of a couple of numbers.
1. Debt Paid over the last 13 weeks of class.
2. Amount Saved over the last 13 weeks of class.
3. Debt Avoided (from credit card offers, etc.) over the last 13 weeks of class.
AND HERE ARE OUR CLASSES NUMBERS (minus a few who were absent)
Debt Paid over the last 13 weeks of class... $39,363!
Amount Saved over the last 13 weeks of class... $24,555!
Debt Avoided over the last 13 weeks of class... $277,437!
Debt Avoided over the last 13 weeks of class... $277,437!
Wow... I am so thankful to have taken the class, and I will miss gathering with my brothers and sisters on Monday nights.
If you have never taken Financial Peace University, I'd like to personally recommend it to you. We have another class starting on January 22nd from 9am-11am. Normally, FPU costs $100, but the church is covering the first $50, so your cost is only $50. Please consider this class, it will change your family's financial future.
Facebook: The Original Version
by Greg Asimakoupoulos
It's a book of faces (leatherbound) in which I've looked and where I've found profiles in courage, downcast eyes and blemished skin like mine.
Adam's wrinkled face is old and Moses' face is fierce and bold, while David's ruddy countenance suggests a poet's soul.
In Esther I see bravery.
In Ruth I see true loyalty.
But in poor Job's revealing brow I see the scars of pain.
The Virgin Mary has a glow while Judas' head is hanging low.
The way each person faces up to truth is clearly seen.
In Peter, Paul and Timothy each face reveals the likes of me... afraid and flawed yet claiming faith reflected in their eyes.
But most of all there is a face in whom I see amazing grace.
His smile pictures haunting love that seeks until it finds.
This Facebook finds God friending me just as I am without one plea.
It's bound to be the means by which I recognize His face.