Posts Tagged ‘Holiday’

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

A Word of Hope
It’s hard to believe that 2012 has already come and gone. Today is the last day of 2012 and tonight we will celebrate the beginning of a new year. New Year’s Eve is a time we celebrate with friends and family. It’s on this night that we plan huge parties, buy fireworks, and fix a big spread of food (which we plan to make our resolution to lose in 2013) and faithfully ring in the beginning of another year.

As you look forward to 2013, I want to invite you today to look back on 2012. How have the events in your life this past year made you a stronger person today? What is it you experienced in 2012 that will help you embrace 2013? Maybe it’s a new job or a new relationship that you received this past year. It could be the loss of someone very dear that reminds you to celebrate life each and every day. Whatever it is that comes to your mind as you look back, may you look forward with great joy in knowing that our God who loves you also walks with you each and every day. As you celebrate tonight, give thanks to God for all God’s blessings in your life. Celebrate your life’s blessings ;, remember those who have gone before you and rejoice in the fact that we are all on this journey together.

musicGod so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.—John 3:16

Many people really complain that  stores and radio stations play Christmas music far ahead of the season: “The ‘world’ has kidnapped Christmas!” But since it is the feast of God’s love for the world, shouldn’t the whole world celebrate?

We might wonder if the message of Christ, broadcast through so much Christmas music, makes a difference to anyone who is not a believer. But it can. The Spirit of God works in many different ways to bring people to faith in Jesus. And for some people, as a friend of mine once said, “It only takes one Christmas!”

Does our Christmas celebration tell the whole good-news story? John 3:16 certainly touches all the main points: God’s love, for the world, shown in the gift of the Son, so that whoever believes has eternal life.

This year, let’s have the kind of Christmas that tells the whole story. How? That’s a good question to ponder.

A friend told his family one year that they would be getting smaller presents, because he was handing out cash to homeless people. Some families skip their big dinner on Christmas to serve a meal at a shelter. Another person may finally smile at that lonely classmate or neighbor and break the ice to begin a friendship.

There must be a world of ways to show God’s cosmic love to even the non-believer, the question is…how will we do it?

Last night I watched the movie, The ten Commandments. Many people consider this to be an Easter tradition. I loved that movie and I used to enjoy sitting around Easter Day watching many more of the classic movies about Jesus but today I have noticed a huge emptiness as void as Jesus’ tomb itself. The it hit me, Jesus has disappeared from Easter.

When I was growing up in the late 60’s and throughout the70’s, you saw the word Jesus as often as you saw the word Easter, but not anymore. As I’m sitting here typing this blog, I have the TV on for background noise and I hear the word Easter a lot, but not one mention of Jesus. I have searched the TV guide to see when I will watch the next movie about the life of Jesus, but there are none to be found. I feel like we have lost the true meaning of the day.

So where did Jesus go in all of this? Of course we know He’s still here, but I mean where did He go a far as the world is concerned, and why? The answer is simple, we have become lazy in the Christian ranks. We stopped believing that we needed to continue to tell people about Jesus and expected them to come to us. We quit telling the story of Easter and why our Lord did what He did and expect them to understand the Holiday. We have allowed the Muslims and others to talk to our neighbors while we read the Bible by ourselves. The Church has stayed in it’s walls polishing it’s ornate fixtures and forgotten the people in the community. In short, we allowed Jesus to be kidnapped.

One of my favorite parts of the Easter story is after Jesus was resurrected, He came back to tell His followers what would be expected of them until He returned. One of the greatest requests that He made is call the great commission which is explained to us in Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Jesus has been taken from us and it’s our own fault. He paid the ransom for our sins, but we have quit on Him. Getting Him back is simple, we need to get out of our houses and Churches and meet the people where Jesus did…in the world where they live. We need to be sharing our faith at all time in all places. Until all of us are willing to do this we will see less and less of Jesus every Easter. Are you willing to be an accomplice in the kidnapping of Jesus?