Happy 1st Sunday of Advent!!!
May your preparations this Christmas season bring you joy as we anxiously await the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May we not get caught up in the secular definitions of this season.
May we not lose sight of the meaning of this season.
May we not get caught up in the marketing hype of this season.
Christmas is about one thing and one thing only…
Let’s prepare and celebrate rightly to the glory of God our Father…
Loving God, we praise for this gift of life, Jesus Christ our Lord. We praise you that you came to us in such a humble way in order to show us your amazing love to a sinful people. We praise you that we can have a sure and certain hope through faith in Jesus. May our preparations this Advent season bring you glory and may we take advantage of every opportunity to proclaim the real meaning of this season. In Jesus name, AMEN!
The Pastor -|—
Happy 3rd day of Christmas everyone.
In case you forgot…Christmas liturgically lasts 12 days. It’s not a one day celebration and then we move on. Actually…the joy of Christmas is something we should celebrate year-round. I’m not suggesting that you keep your Christmas tree up all year and not change out the Christmas music from your multi-disk CD player. What I am suggesting is that we remember all year round why Jesus was born for us. It is way to easy to pull down the decorations and move on after the accepted amount of time to have decorations up has passed. You see…the promise of Christmas is not just a one point in time kind of thing. The promise of Christmas is a light that shines in our dark world 24/7; 365 days a year. That is something worth celebrating all the time.
Saying “Merry Christmas” to a store clerk in February might produce a strange look but sharing the joy of Christ shouldn’t (but still might). So “Merry Christmas” to you this day and everyday as we bask in the glow of God’s love.
The pastor -|—
Posted in Christmas
This is such an exciting time of the year. I love the worship services and the Christmas preaching. I love the family gatherings and the yummy food. I love the Christmas cheer and even the ugly Christmas sweaters. It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.
This past week I have been feeling anything but 100%. A nasty head cold (with a 101.6 temp a week ago yesterday) made Christmas preparations difficult. My wife got my yuck on Wednesday and is still recovering. But through it all sermons got written, worships got planned and God was glorified. Satan did his best to try to derail me but as I wrote about earlier, it was a nice shot but not nearly good enough. Christmas Eve worship was a blast and I can hardly wait to get out to Belmont to lead Christmas Day worship.
So from me and my wife to you and your family, we hope and pray you have a wonderful Christmas as we give thanks and praise to our great God for the gift of Jesus Christ. May the Light of the world bring you peace not just today but throughout the whole year. Let us set aside our differences and seek to forgive as we have been forgiven. Let us re-prioritize our worship that God through Jesus Christ is the focus and not something/someone of this world. Let us find strength and hope in the promise of Jesus’ return as we seek to take advantage of every opportunity to share the Good News with all.
God bless and have a very Merry Christmas!
The pastor -|—
Happy Advent 4 (almost Christmas)!
The Mayans were wrong; and we’re still here (is anyone actually shocked?) And now we get to prepare for a grand celebration as we continue to wait for Jesus. But don’t worry; you don’t have to run around scrambling to find that perfect gift. You don’t have to rack your brain trying to figure out what to give the King of the universe for his birthday. After all…what do you give someone who has everything? You give him the one thing that we can give and the one thing that he desires the most.
That’s what Jesus wants…our worship. And not just on Sunday mornings (or at Christmas and Easter or other times we find ourselves in a church building) but God wants our worship everyday, 24/7, 365 (or 366) days a year. Our worship is all that is desired.
It may not seem like much but God is pleased when we give him everything that we are; when we come before him with our songs of praise and thanks; when we lifts our hearts up to him. For you see…worship is a response of faith; it flows out of your love for God. And if we are worshiping God with all our being…well…God is excited.
Too many people, though, think that worship is about being entertained…it’s not. It’s about giving ourselves to God. And if we are refreshed or encouraged then great…praise be to God. For anything we get out of worship is a gift from God to be used for his glory; to lead us back to worship. So in the end, worship is not about how we benefit but rather what we can give back to God. If you have the mentality that worship is all about you then you’re being selfish. It’s like going to a Christmas celebration with the sole expectation of bringing a great haul of gifts home.
This Christmas give back to Jesus the very thing he desires from you…your worship. Praise HIM with all that you are. Thank HIM for all that he has given you. And worship HIM always and forever.
Merry Christmas and Amen!
The pastor -|—
There are really no words to explain this picture. Sometimes you just have to lighten up and have some fun. But replacing Joseph and Mary with Martin and Katie Luther bobble head dolls might be going a little too far though
Have a very fun and merry Christmas!
The pastor -|—
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Here’s another remind for you ~ It’s all about Jesus.
And how can we dare say it’s about anything or anyone else? I mean…he will save his people from their sins. There you have it. It’s pretty straight forward. Forgiveness of sins…which means everlasting life.
Wow…that’s pretty awesome.
When Zechariah was met by the angel Gabriel and told of the wonderful news that he and his wife, Elizabeth (who was well beyond normal child-bearing years), was going to have a child, Zechariah was hesitant.
“Give me proof.“
The angel was a little miffed and said that he stands in the presence of God and shouldn’t have to give Zechariah proof. Therefore Zechariah is struck silent until their baby (John the Baptist) was born. Then Zechariah sang the praises of God. Better late than never, but either way, God came through because our awesome and grace-filled God is faithful.
“he (Jesus) will save his people from their sins.”
You want proof? Look to the cross:
Jesus DID save his people from their sins.
There you have it ~ It’s all about Jesus. Praise be to God!
The pastor -|—
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. [Luke 2:1-7]
Do you still remember?
Do you still remember what this season is all about?
Do you still remember why we run ourselves crazy and tired this time of the year?
Do you still remember?
For the past week or so, my wife and I have been preparing for our Christmas open house that we host every year at the parsonage. I look forward to spending time with people over some Christmas goodies, hot apple cider (and of course some Christmas themed coffee) and some Christmas cheer. I enjoy receiving people into our home and visiting. But the preparations can be stressful… especially this year with more on our plate:
~ We are in the adoption process so we have paper work all over the place (not to mention the emotional toll this process takes).
~ My wife is recovering from minor knee surgery and is not as mobile as she would like to be.
~ Then there’s all the baking and cleaning (that my wife tries to do in her “limited” condition).
All of this adds up to stress and frayed nerves…
And many of you can probably relate to this. I know I am not the only one running around trying to get a multitude of things done. It’s crazy…and sometimes we forget.
This is why I am diving into the Christmas story EVERY day. I don’t want to lose sight of the joy of this season. I don’t want Satan to turn this season into something that it is not. I don’t want to strive to make myself look good but rather God. After all…
This is about a baby
This is about a Savior
This is about God’s amazing love. And…
This is not about me (and it is not about you). This is about what God has done and will do for you and for me. We just can’t lose sight of this. People around us (whether they know it or not) are counting on us not to lose sight of what this season TRULY means.
So I challenge you and encourage you to take some time EVERY day to read the Christmas story. Soak in the wonderfulness and joy. Bask in the grace and love of God. Receive and be filled…and…
It’s Christmas time…PRAISE BE TO GOD!
The pastor -|—
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
[2 Corinthians 9:6-8]
Apparently today is Cyber Monday; a day dedicated to “amazing” online deals. Millions of people will flood the Internet in search for those must have items for themselves or for Christmas gifts. I can not even begin to imagine the amount of money that will be spent today on stuff. Sure…there is stuff that I want, but is there stuff I absolutely need?
I can think of many people who need stuff that I take for granted. I can think of many charities and ministries that need assistance that I take for granted. So instead of cyber spending I am going to be cyber giving today (leave it to me to buck the trend). Instead of spending money on myself or on stuff, I am going to be spending money on others. And I challenge you to do the same. In the midst of your Cyber Monday shopping remember to do some Cyber Giving; remembering those who are less fortunate.
Here are some ideas on how to celebrate Cyber Giving Monday:
(1) Commit to give a certain percentage of your total Cyber Monday shopping total to a charity/ministry. (i.e. Giving 10% — Spent $200 — Total gift $20)
(2) Take your Cyber Monday spending total and give that amount to a charity/ministry.
(3) “Cyber shop” (not actually buying anything) and give that amount to a charity/ministry.
(4) If you buy toys for your children also buy some toys to give to your local Toys for Tots.
(5) Cyber shop for someone in your community that can’t afford to buy presents for their kids.
And I am sure there are many more things you can do on this day to help someone out. Most of us have enough stuff, but others do not. Let’s cheerfully cyber give to the glory of God.
The pastor -|—
The pastor needs to rant a little bit today so I hope this is worth your time to read:
I saw a post on Facebook today that said the White House, for the first time this year, has referred to the Christmas tree as a “Holiday tree”.
Here we go again…
This bugs me to no end. Our country’s leadership is trying to be politically correct by saying “holiday tree” when all the awhile they are being oppressive to Christians. They are trying to be inclusive of all faiths all the while they are excluding Christians. Our leadership is doing everything possible to respect and honor other religions but refuse to honor Christianity. Apparently it is O.K. to recognize other faiths but heaven forbid we recognize Christians. I understand the separation of Church and state, but there is a point where that is taken too far.
Now…I totally understand that Christmas trees are not biblical but this renaming of the Christmas tree is just one more reminder of how our government is doing everything they can to do away with anything Christian related. You see…the Christmas tree tradition was created to celebrate Christmas, not New Years or Hanukkah or any other holiday. This brightly lit and beautifully decorated pine tree is meant to help us celebrate Christmas, so don’t call it what it is not meant to be called.
Be proud and bold in your Christmas traditions and let’s not let those in power try to take those traditions away. Say “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” and not “Happy holidays”. Be full of Christmas cheer and remember the reason we celebrate this time of the year. Be sure your actions reflect the love that God first showed the world through the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
It’s Christmas…plain and simple.
Have a great day and a blessed Thanksgiving weekend. Be safe.
More winter storm madness on the way…
Christmas week was a crazy week with that nasty winter storm that dumped 20+ inches of snow on us. It changed plans, canceled/postponed worship services and basically shut down SW MN for a couple days. Well…round 2 is on the way…but not has big this time (but maybe more dangerous).
Wednesday, Jan. 6 we are in a Winter Storm Warning until Wednesday night and then a Blizzard Watch until Thursday afternoon. Normally I would be giddy with excitement but I have two funerals this week. There is family traveling (or trying to travel)…so now my prayers are for safety…once again. What is it with winter weather and bad timing this year? I just want to enjoy a snow storm without worrying about stuff going on at church.
In any case…please pray for these families as they travel and I will pray for a snow storm that fits my church (and personal) calendar a little better (I can dream…can’t I).