Saturday, December 25, 2010

Silently, How Silently, This Wondrous Gift Is Given

The British poet U.A. Fanthorpe (b. 1929) was the first woman nominated as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. I love how her poem BC:AD captures the unremarkable circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus.
This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future's
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.
Christians celebrate that ordinary night as the most extraordinary event in human history, for on that night "God was in Christ, reconciling the cosmos to Himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Merry Christmas to all!!!!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas Message

Luke 1:37... For with  God nothing will be impossible.
    As we read the Christmas story tonight we will once again be reminded of angels, shepherds, a carpenter's son named Joseph, a young girl named Mary, a baby boy named Jesus, and a caravan of traveler's bring gifts.  For many people that is the scene of Christmas.  The message is one of peace and salvation.        
However, there is a deeper truth that stands out in the Christmas story that I want to bring to the front.
    Think with me for a moment.  Mary was probably 13 or 14 ... the angel's visit had been more than a bit of a surprise ... and his announcement more than unbelievable.  No one could blame Mary for having a question or two.  "How could I have a child," she wondered, "when I have known no man?"
     It is important to note that Mary's question reflects her confidence in God to perform the miracle.  She was not asking for a sign.  She was enquiring how ... not if... God would perform this miracle.
   The angel explained that "the Holy Spirit will come upon you (Luke 1:35),  and told her of Elizabeth's miraculous birth (v.36).  Then the angel said, "for with God nothing will be impossible."

 Mary replied, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord!  Let it be unto me according to you word (v38).

   This is the Christmas message I want you to hear.... this is the message many need to hear.  Christmas is about peace, joy, and salvation....but Christmas is also about TRUST.  Peace, joy, and salvation are only possible as we TRUST God to accomplish His purpose and plan.  God's purposes for us far exceed our human abilities to accomplish them.  Our efforts can't succeed apart from Him, and that's exactly how God intends it to be.  When God reveals His plans, He is also promising to fulfill them.  TRUST Him -- and remember, with God, nothing is impossible.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas Prayer....

This was spoken in space on Christmas Eve by Frank Borman, Apollo 8 space mission, 1968.

Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love in the world in spite of human failure.
Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.
Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.
And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace. ~~~~~
It is my prayer that all who read this blog have a merry Christmas....and don't forget to unwrap God's gift of love and peace.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Confessions of an Auburn fan

Confessions of an Auburn fan

For those who are not aware, I was born, raised and live in a state where football is a god. There is little doubt of the magnitude of that statement.

The two largest universities have rich traditions in football and in the past three years alone, Alabama went 12-2 and 14-0 and Auburn is 12-0 this year; plus a Heisman trophy winner last year and apparently one this year.

I have been an Auburn fan all my life. I don't know why especially when most in my family where Alabama fans. I was once as passionate about football as any because I simply lived in the state of Alabama.

But these past few years has not been good for the state of Alabama. As a pastor, I have witnessed first hand how attendance and offerings would be negatively affected the Sunday after a football loss. The bitterness and wrath between the two schools has only grown more in depth. The "talk" around this state with its history, last three seasons and then the Cam Newton situation has been nauseating.

As Auburn plays for the SEC Championship today, I will watch it. I hope they win and that Cam Newton has a great game, but let me make these confessions:

1. My sustaining joy has not changed this year even though Auburn has won. I had to come to place several years ago that if football changed my joy; then it had to big of a hold over me.

2. I believe the best thing that could happen to the spiritual condition of the state of Alabama is for both teams to go 0-11 and tie in their game. (I actually said that publicly last Sunday in my message). Pride, arrogance, bitterness, wrath, anger and division do not make for a healthy spiritual lives and churches.

3. I would gladly give up (remember I am an Auburn fan) the undefeated season for our churches to experience the genuine presence and touch of God.

You see, I believe if a person can act one way on Saturday and then another on Sunday; there is an idol in their life. Don't misunderstand me - I DO NOT WANT OUR CHURCHES TO BECOME FOOTBALL GAMES. Our churches have something FAR BETTER, EXTREMELY BETTER than any football game can ever offer even if it is an undefeated and championship season.

The presence of God manifested through the Holy Spirit is "better than life." And oh, I hunger for it. EVERY SUNDAY!! EVERYDAY!!! Not just ever-once-and-awhile. If Nick Saban can "preach" to his players the importance of "every play, every down in every practice and every game" to do to the best of your ability - how much more the church of the living God.

So, Auburn and football is secondary, if even that. I want to enjoy God and His presence more than anything else. "Nobody has done me like Jesus!!" I look forward to worshipping Him today, tomorrow and everyday - if Auburn wins or loses. It don't matter. My joy will not change. Just give me Jesus!!! and His Spirit!!!!