Archive for December, 2011


“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you’” (Genesis 12:1).

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).

We must know that the heart of God is that we be a missional people. The similarity between the two focal passages cannot be ignored. From the call of Abraham in Genesis to the Great Commission given by Jesus, we have the same Sender, the same command, the same mission, and the same object–the whole world. To be a missional people is to have a heartbeat that beats with the Father.

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“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1-2).

As followers of Jesus we are expected to be multipliers of our faith. Four generations of believers are represented in today’s focal passage. Paul is writing to Timothy, a young man he has brought to faith in Christ. Timothy is challenged to invest his life and faith into others who, likewise, will reach out to those who cross their life’s path. To receive the faith is a privilege; to transmit the faith is a responsibility.

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“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

Too often our sense of joy is determined by the successes or failures of the moment. As excited as the disciples were that the demons were subject to them, Jesus offers the reminder that this is but a present tense moment. A more enduring joy is to be found not in our present tense success but the security that is ours for all eternity; not in what is but what is to come

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“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Would you be surprised to discover that Jesus was a man whose life was filled with joy. He was a man of deep convictions and delightful disposition. His influence is revealed with every turned page of the gospels. The masses flocked to him; children loved him; sinners found an audience with him. He lifted the spirits of the broken-hearted. His presence was infectious and transforming. He really knew how to light up a room.

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“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…” (Colossians 3:12).

If others are drawn to Christ it will least likely be the result of our theological convictions. Most likely it will be the consequence of having seen a compassionate heart. Alongside the unwavering conviction of our beliefs must be the qualities that reflect the concern of a compassionate heart.

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“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest…’” (Luke 2:13-14).
To give glory to God is acknowledge his preeminence; that he exceeds all others.  This doxology is the climax of the Christmas story.  When the magnitude of this story is considered, it evokes our worship and praise.  It was true of Mary, the shepherds, the Magi.  But what about you?  Whatever else you might do this Christmas don’t forget to worship the One who made it all possible.

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“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Thinking of your greatest Christmas ever conjures up a flood of memories; weighing things in the balance–the mitt, the football, the video game system, the doll house, the swing set.  Maybe it wasn’t material but relational–the husband, son, or daughter returning home from the front lines of battle; the wayward child returning home unexpectedly; a gravely ill parent getting out of the hospital for that one day to join the family for the last time.  As wonderful as these memories of Christmas past might be, they pale in comparison to the very first Christmas when God’s love was introduced in a way it had never been known before.

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“While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth” (Luke 2:7).
No other birth in history has carried the significance of this birth.  Hope was birthed that night in Bethlehem.  The incarnational God, God in the flesh, reached into our broken and wounded world; to sit where we sit; experience what we experience.  In times of desperation, when tempted to cry, “Why doesn’t God do something?” we do well to remember that He has.  He has come into the darkness of our world to be the light of eternal hope; to remind us again and again that God is still at work; birthing new possibilities out of our present circumstances.

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“After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him.  Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
They were truly wise.  While we most often think of the Magi in connection with the gifts they offered, the greater wisdom is seen in the giving of themselves.  Of the two verbs in this passage, “worshiped” and “presented”, that they worshiped is the most significant.  The gifts of the wise men were incidental.  The highlight is that they gave themselves to the King of kings.

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“But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law…” (Galatians 4:4).

While most scholars place the birth of Jesus between 7 B.C. and 2 B.C., the church has never been certain of the specific date of Jesus’ birth. The fourth century saw Western Christianity adapt December 25 as the designated day to celebrate the birth of Christ while Eastern Christianity embraced January 6. Others still, because of the differences in the Gregorian and Julian calendar, celebrate Christmas on January 7. Whatever the date might have been, what we know for certain regarding the birth of Jesus was that, providentially, the fulness of time had come. The time was just right for the Messiah to come into the world. It was a Divinely appointed moment in history.

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