Christmas Thoughts

Christmas is not Coming, it has Come! / Sinclair Ferguson.

When I was a child, Christmas seemed to die every year by bedtime on December 25th. I know now why that was true for me, just as it is for every child. It was because the true meaning of Christmas eluded me. In the true sense, Christmas never did really ‘happen.’ I was looking in the wrong direction for the wrong things instead of in the right direction for Jesus. The truth is, Christmas is not coming. It has come. The Word already has been made flesh. He already has lived, bled, died, and risen again for us. All that remains is to receive Him. For Jesus Christ Himself is the meaning of Christmas.

The Discovery of Christmas / G.K. Chesterton

“The great majority of people will go on observing forms that cannot be explained; they will keep Christmas Day with Christmas gifts and Christmas benedictions; they will continue to do it; and some day suddenly wake up and discover why.”

King Jesus is the Greatest Gift of Christmas

King Jesus, you are The Gift above all possible gifts.
The gift given by God the Father;
the Son who is begotten not created.
You are my Redeemer, my Representative, and my Substitute.
Nothing compares with you.

And this is the wonder of all possible Wonders:
that you came down to raise me up,
that your movement from heaven to earth is incomprehensible,
that your everlasting love is beyond my understanding,
that you were born like me so that I might become like you.

This is the wonder of your Love:
that when I am unable to rise up to meet you,
you draw near to me on the wings of grace,
and raise me up to your heart.

This is the wonder of your Power:
that when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart,
you united them in your incarnation –
being fully human and fully God.
You united this humble creature with my glorious Creator,
so that I am now in unbreakable Union with you.

This is the wonder of your Wisdom:
that when I was completely without hope,
with no will to move toward you in affection,
with no intellect to realize my doom,
you came as God-incarnate,
to save me completely, totally, and eternally.
You came as the perfect man:
to live the life that I could never live, and
to die the death that I deserved to die,
to shed the blood required to pay for my sins,
and to attribute your perfect righteousness to me,
so that your Father would delight in me,
even as he now delights in you.

Spirit of God, set me ablaze with holy imagination
That I may see the true Gift of Christmas.

Help me to imagine
that I am with the watchful shepherds;
that I might hear the good tidings of your great joy,
so that I may:
believe in Christ,
rejoice in Christ,
give praise to Christ,
and ever adore my King.

Place me in the stable of my King’s birth,
along with the lowly animals;
that I might gaze with them and look into the gracious face of Jesus,
and through your merciful eyes be lifted from my shame.

Let me sing at the side of Old Simeon,
who held King Jesus as a baby in his arms;
that I might also hold Him near to my heart,
and sing with delight that I am His and He is mine.

Precious King Jesus,
You are the true gift of Christmas, and
the greatest of all possible Gifts.
All the trinkets of earth, and
All the treasures of heaven,
could never offer me –
a greater prize than you.

Amen

A Great Discipleship Article

There is a great discipleship article over at Gospel Coalition: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/erik-raymond/take-your-medicine/

Here’s my favorite quote: ”Whatever God calls us to do (law) is anchored in the truth of what God in Christ has done for us (gospel). The trouble is we love us some law. Too often, we zoom past the indicatives while picking up a bucket full of daily imperatives. For some of us, our spiritual grammar is worse than our written grammar. To this, Ferguson writes us a script. “Thus the motivation, energy, and drive for holiness are all found in the reality and power of God’s grace in Christ. And so if I am to make any progress in sanctification, the place where I must always begin is the gospel of the mercy of God to me in Jesus Christ.””

Learning this is huge for me because I definitely “love me some law!” Fantastic article and good plug for Sinclair Ferguson’s book, “Devoted to God.”

The Lost Virtue of Moderation

Have you noticed over the last decade that it seems that the United States has become a nation of uncontrolled extremes?  In saying this, I’m not referring to a particular tribe or group.   I’m talking about ALL of us.  Every conversation, every movement, and every thought proposition seems to be dominated with radicalism. 

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The Gospel is a Banquet

If you ask most active Christians what the Gospel is, you will get some version of “Christ died on the cross for my sins so I can have eternal life.” And while this is certainly “good news,” Pastor and Theologian Ralph Erskine would want us to know that it is not the “full banquet” of the Gospel.

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Christianity is a Relationship

When I was a younger Christian and Student Minister, I would often emphasize to my students over and over again that “Christianity is a relationship.”  Strangely, that was not always a popular thing to say.  In fact, I was often criticized by older pastors who warned me against saying such a thing because it was pietistic, mystical, and based on emotion rather than the firm foundation of scripture.  This always confused me. 

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Can you help Hope Christian Counseling?

If you can help us financially, big or small, we would be so grateful and we give our word that we’ll be as faithful in using your gift as you were in giving it.

Click here now to give online.

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Hope Counseling / Dec 2018

Friends and loved ones, Martha Jo and I are very excited about the upcoming year.  As many of you know, we resigned our positions from Surfside Presbyterian Church this past August.  As we consider what ministry Christ will call us to next, we are both convinced that a large part of our ministry will include Christian counseling and discipleship.  This ministry will be called Hope Christian Counseling.

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1: The Yoke of Christ

Yoke of Oxen

Read: Matthew 11:25-30
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;

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2: A Living Sacrifice of Love

IMG_8771Read: Romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

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