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Archive for November, 2009

Familymas?

Yeah really…that makes a lot of sense right?  Well I thought the same thing until tonight when I was driving to meet some friends for dinner while listening to 98.5 Atlanta’a home for the holiday’s and soft rock favorites.  I was enjoying some lovely Christmas tunes (some more than others) when syndicated radio talk person Delilah (please don’t take my man card…I was simply trying to hear seasonal Christmas music) began to share in a thoughtful moment about Christmas.  She encouraged her listeners to not focus on trying to find the perfect gift or throw the perfect Holiday party, but instead focus on what Christmas really means.  I was like yeah Delilah tell em now what it’s all about, hit a Christmas home run. Christmas is about family!  What!?  I quickly went from attentively listening to apologist in a matter of one word.  She would go on to explain all the neat things family’s could do to make this Christmas a special and memorable one without presents…and apparently she forgot to say with out Christ.  Christmas is about Christ chiefly and nothing else.  Without Christ there is no Christmas, and no reason to celebrate.  The real danger lies in what Delilah left out, Christ.  But there is also danger in what she said.  Gift’s party’s and yes even friends wont and can’t satisfy the deepest longings of your soul.  If you go into Christmas hoping your family will ultimately make you happy, then you are in for a major let down and committing idolatry along the way.  Gee Charlie Brown, it’s 2009 did you not hear what Linus said Christmas was all about?  He sure didn’t say family.  So for all the Charlie Brown’s out there (I once was one) Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus Christ the true Son of God.  If you try to find joy and peace in any other person or place you will be let down and most likely find yourself singing Elvis’s version of Blue Christmas in your heart for the next month.  But you don’t have too, and Jesus is the answer for the Blue’s and for all sinful idolatries at Christmas time including your family and mine.

Luke 2:8-14

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14“Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

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It only took 20 minutes and I’m back.  The air was crisp, cool, and clean (well for Atlanta anyway), just the way I like it.  Four years to the day of Richmond Suntrust Marathon I did something quite unexpected, I went for a run.  This was not merely a run however, more of a celebration.  I have not been able to run much if any since coming down with Chronic Fatigue almost three years ago.  Over the past two years I have had my health renewed by God and caring physicians.  Running, of all types of exercise still seems to be the most demanding. I currently lift weights 2-3 days per week and play tennis 3-4 times.  I am 100% better than I was almost three years ago, and probably 95% of where I once was health wise.  Tonight I decided it was time for a run, a run that would celebrate three things in my life, accomplishment, health, and friendship.  I first ran today because it commemorates a great day in my life, the day I finished my 2nd marathon.  I wore my marathon shirt to work today at Tech because that is one of four shirts I earned.  Secondly, I ran to say thanks to God for His faithfulness and goodness to me.  He is always faithful, and he did not have to make my body well again.  He has given me most of my strength back physically, and increased my strength in every way greatly.  Thirdly, I ran for a friend.  My Great friend United States Army Captain Dave Dice got back two days ago from serving his almost year-long Chaplin duty in Iraq.  I spoke with him today, it was one of my favorite moments from the past year.  Four years ago he ran Richmond with me (though he went off and left me after the 2nd mile).  We both completed a grueling marathon and drove back nine hours to Louisville, KY just after the race.  As I ran I thanked God for Him, his life, his ministry, his friendship.  God may take Dave and I different places and countries in life, but we will always have Richmond, and we will always be brothers in Christ.  It was a night to commemorate a significant day in my life.  Tonight for twenty minutes I also welcomed myself back to the world of runners (if only for one night this year), and mostly to welcome back my brother, my friend, and my favorite soldier Capt. Dave Dice

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I was talking with someone today about the tragedy yesterday at Ft. Hood.  I commented to my friend that one would think an Army Base would be a relatively safe place considering all the highly intelligent and trained men and women who serve our country so proudly.  My friend replied that no place is really safe anymore.  We talked about how a mad individual could come on our college campus and do the same thing.  You or I might be in the mall, or at church, or in a restaurant.  The point is, no place is completely safe or immune from a tragedy such as the one yesterday at Ft. Hood.  But there is good news, although it is impossible to be completely safe anywhere, we can be certain of our security.  As Christians are certain that our salvation and eternal home in heaven are secure thanks to Christ.  The world and its evil can take our lives, but they can’t take our souls, those belong to Jesus The Nazarene.  My heart and prayers go out to the family’s whose loved one’s live were needlessly and carelessly ended by a man acting as an agent of evil.  The Ft. Hood tragedy is a sobering reminder of the fallen state the cosmos exists in.  We believers long for the day when Christ will return and crush the enemy under his feet in triumphant victory.  Until Christ returns, we will pray and we will wait in faith. Knowing fully that we are not safe in this world which is not our home, we have a secure and unbreakable bond with a Savior who has overcome this world and through Him so will we.          

Ephesians 1:13-14  

13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

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Your Life As Worship

I don’t know if you have ever considered your life as worship, but I hope you will.  Many, consider worship to be what they do on Sunday mornings while attending church for a few hours.  Worship at least Biblically is something much more.  True worship by a follower of Christ involves every area of a believers’ life at every moment.  Or as Pastor John Piper said once in response to this question, “What does God want from me?”  To which Pastor John replied, “all of you, all of the time.”  This means the way you spend your free time, what and how you work, the music you listen to, the words you speak to and about others, how and why you spend your money are a reflection of your worship.  Now, what you may find in all those things is that you do them all for you and your own personal gain.  Well, that is called self worship and people go to hell for rejecting Christ and living like that.  The alternative is to offer every area of your life to God as a way to worship him and point others to Christ.  John Piper is also famous for saying, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”  People will really begin to see the authentic nature of your faith and mine when they see we have no need greater than that of Jesus Christ.  Like when our need for Christ becomes greater than our need to have a country club membership, or when we sale our expensive sports car to buy a more practical care and give an offering to a young couple who has decided the East Africa is the place God wants them to serve.  When Christ becomes greater than our need to be liked by others, have more and more and more money, to be successful so others will admire and respect you.  Christ must be greater in our lives than all these things and more, or he will often be perceived as less than these things by unbelievers because we value them as much or more than Christ, which of course would be and is idolatry.  My idolatry growing up was I wanted to be great at sports.  I wanted people to remember my name for years to come and tell stories about “back when I played ball”.  I wanted to play for future glory.  God who gave me every talent and ability I ever owned did not take kindly to that, as he does not share his glory with anyone else.  He humbled me greatly and showed me a mighty, and just, and powerful, and loving Father who demands that if his children follow Him they represent his name well, and glorify him not themselves.  We are all so good at making dichotomies in our life where we want certain parts to belong to God for him to bless and be glorified in, while in other ares we would just rather keep those to ourselves.  I mean after all you did start the company from scratch, or before you got there the company had been in the red for the past two years and now we are the best manufacturer in our region, or your just naturally gifted with humor and relationships, and your golf game…well you’ve been working extra hard on that and the results have been amazing.  It’s so easy for us to pat ourselves on the back and say well done self.  Do we fail to realize God is the giver of all good things?  That he wired us to be creative, skilled, practical, relational, athletic, and brilliant for his glory and the good of others.  That is whatever you are, whether all of the above or none (different attributes) you use them for God’s glory in your work, church, tennis club, alumni association, and especially home life.  Each moment of each day in whatever you are doing you are worshiping.  My challenge to you is to let your life (every last detail of it) be an offering of worship to God the Father through God the Son.  Let Him receive the glory, and you will receive true joy and satisfaction. 

Romans 12:1-2

 1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may rove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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