Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let's Conspire Together this Holiday Season

Many of us have been planning and preparing for Thanksgiving dinner for the past few weeks and are already planning for the Christmas season. The flurry of events and activities that focus on fun and food often leave me unsettled and empty. Oh, we pray at the meals, but that seems more a token than anything else. So my thoughts at this time of the year tend to see how we can be more Christ Centered.
So I thought how we as a body could make Christ more central. Then I thought of a Conspiracy. A conspiracy is acting together in harmony toward a common end. So lets conspire together to make this holiday season more centered on Christ. Specifically, this season, let’s conspire to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All.

Worship Fully
It starts with Jesus and it ends with Jesus. This season is not primarily about family, friends, and food. The holiday season is a yearly reminder on our calendars that we are called to put down our burdens and lift up a song of thanksgiving up to our God. Enter this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest. He is the reigning and coming King!

Spend Less
Americans spent a total of $28.5 billion on Thanksgiving alone last year, and 90% of that went toward food. According to the American Farm Bureau, the average cost of a Thanksgiving Day feast for 10 was $44.61 last year. That's cheap considering that includes turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and everything else. The rest of the money was spent on Thanksgiving decorations and other festive trimmings. But there is also the Thanksgiving travel. Many families spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on travel to visit their loved ones for Thanksgiving, the busiest travel holiday in North America. Christmas is much higher! It is probably too late to make changes to our Thanksgiving celebration but it is not too late to cut back on Christmas spending!

Give More
God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that the holidays should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift the holiday season can offer and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found shopping. Turn off the television and spend quality time talking. Invite someone over for dinner or coffee who needs Jesus. Take time to bake really good cookies and give them to a neighbor or coworker. Take time to make love visible through relational giving.

Love All
When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins. By spending less during the holiday season, we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help the most. You don’t have to look across the world to see people in need, look across the street.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shout for JOY!

I ran across this question on a blog today and it made me think about my own worship, raising my own questions.

Have you ever thought about the fact that shouting is commanded in Scripture?

Psalm 66:1: "Shout for joy to God, all the earth..."

Shouting is a very undignified thing to do. Important people don't shout. Prideful people let others do the shouting. What or who do you shout for? A sports team? In anger? To get someone's attention? It makes me pause and think, 'what do I do or do not do and why do I do or not do it?'

Shout in joy for God.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

When You Don’t Feel Like It, Take Heart :: Desiring God

When You Don’t Feel Like It, Take Heart :: Desiring God

Friday, November 6, 2009

Are you Gossiping? Nine questions to ask yourself.

Question of the Week:
Concerning your many conversations with others, how do you know when it is OK to share information and when it could be useless or destructive to do so?

Kevin A. Miller (Is This Gossip? 9 questions to help you decide) provides some great questions to ask yourself before you share information with others:

1. Am I telling this to someone who can do something about the problem by helping the person or offering discipline or correction?
2. If not, am I telling this to someone who is wise enough to help me sort out my feelings and courageous enough to make me do the right thing: to confront the person or to confess where I was at fault?
3. Is this news approved for sharing?
4. Am I breaking a confidence? If so, is it only because the person is endangering someone's life, including his or her own?
5. Am I willing to say from whom I got this information so the information can be checked for accuracy?
6. When I say this, does it break my heart?
7. Have I taken the time to examine my life and confess to God how I also sin like that?
8. Am I praying for the person?
9. Would I feel comfortable if someone were saying this about me?

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be" (James 3:9-10).

taken from Pastors Weekly Briefing from Focus on the Family.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A look at an example of Christianity gone amuck

The Gospel-Driven Church: Six Flags Over Jesus