I love Christmas. I love the celebration atmosphere. I love the extra time I get to spend with my family. I actually enjoy walking through the University Park mall, taking in all of the eager shoppers searching for that perfect gift and joining me in lamenting the replacement of Cinnabon with Ben’s Pretzels a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong Ben’s Pretzel fan, but even a Ben’s covered in cinnamon sugar is no Cinnabon, you know?
Let me get to my main thought, minus the calories. Make sure in your heart you take time to embrace the real reason for Christmas – Jesus. Isaiah (Isaiah 9:6) said it so clearly hundreds of years before Jesus was born – he is a Wonderful Counselor, trust him to be. He is a Mighty God, invite Him in. He is an Everlasting Father, call on Him. He is a Prince of Peace, receive Him. Be prepared to share this truth from Isaiah as you are out and about this week!
Mad at God? The Bible and modern day Christianity are full of people who’ve been there, done that. The question is how are you going to respond?
What would it look like if you were to respond like the two women in the Gospel of John whose brother Lazarus had just died? In their pain, their hurt, their outright anger, they approached Jesus and let him have it (read it…it’s in there…they blame Jesus for their brother’s death).
Perhaps the most powerful thing about this story in John 11 is not even the raising of Lazarus from the dead, but the response of a caring savior to the women’s anger and hurt (note how Jesus responds…I’ll let you read that on your own).
What would it look like this Christmas season if instead of running AWAY from God in your anger, you ran TO God with your anger? I think He’s waiting for you…
Find a great church that teaches the Bible and start the journey…
The Gatlinburg homeowner whose home was saved from the fire declares, “God is good.” Does that mean God is not good to the neighbor who is standing in the ashes?
The family who celebrates the addition of a new born baby to their family declares, “God is good.” Does that mean God is not so good to the other family who has tried in vain…for years…to conceive?
Scripture simply declares this – God is good. Regardless of the circumstance, He is good.
I don’t think we need to stop using the phrase God is good as it lines directly up with Scripture. But a genuine faith in Jesus Christ is one in which you can look every circumstance in the eye, good and bad, and declare this truth – God is good.
That right there is easier said than done.
“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.” – Psalm 25:8 (NIV)
Re-Post: I first blogged on this back in 2009, but thought I’d bring it back as I’m going to use this audio again in this week’s message…
One of my dad’s favorite things to do when we were kids was to get the tape recorder out and interview us/record our voices. The first tape (which was reel to reel by the way) is dated back in 1968. Last summer, as a bit of a labor of love, I got all of these tapes out and transferred them to mp3 format.
When I heard the clip below…well…I cried. I pray I’ve been as affirming to my kids (starting when they were only a few months old like I was). I’m using this in my message tomorrow (May 17th).
(fyi…the little kid giggling in the background is my sister Shayne Cripe)
Here’s a copy of the discussion notes for the class I’ll be teaching this weekend at the Indiana School Of Ministry. Feel free to download them and use your tablet/phone/laptop or whatever to fill in the blanks.
Theology of Worship – ORD 301
2016 Teaching Notes
MASTER KEY LIST_current
I don’t see a demon around every corner, but I believe they are there. There is spiritual warfare going on all around you. I’m not sure you need to give a whole lot of time in figuring it all out as long as you remember the most important piece of information for the Christ follower:
- No weapon formed against you is going to prosper (Isaiah 54:7)
- Your God is seated far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can ever be given (Ephesians 1:19-22)
- As you submit to God and His will, His plan, His desires, and resist the Devil, he must leave (James 4:7)
- The one inside of you (Jesus) is greater than the one who drives the spirit of this world (1 John 4:4)
Now is not the time to roll over and give in to the spiritual attack. Now is the time to dig in and put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand your ground! Don’t give in to the attack of spiritual apathy which pulls you away from God’s people and His church. Don’t give in to the idea that you need a break from your time in the Word and prayer. Don’t give in to the emotion of anger toward God as you feel he is not answering your prayers – this is the Devils ‘plan A’ for you…recognize it and stand against it!
Dig in for the battle church…YOU WIN!
Join me in praying through these Spiritual Warfare Prayers inspired by Ephesians 6:10-18.
See you in church!