Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday Musings ... on Tuesday

Since yesterday was considered a holiday and I was out of town enjoying Christmas with all my kids and grandkids I will do my musings today. Christmas was wonderful. Our grandkids, and their parents, came to our house for a couple of days before Christmas, then all of us went to my son and daughter in law's for Christmas evening and Monday. We had a great time playing games, laughing, exchanging gifts, enjoying each other's company and eating. This was the first Christmas for our adopted grandson and our new son in law. Both survived relatively unscathed. We didn't allow the new son in law to see us at our uncut best until after he said "I do". Too late to change your mind now, you are one of us.

I enjoyed worship so much on Christmas morning. The atmosphere was great. People responded well, they hung around a long time sharing with each other after worship, attendance was decent, and best of all there were several who commitments to Christ. Now that is a very merry Christmas.

Sunday was the last of the series on the names of Christ from Isaiah 9:6. The focus this week was on the Mighty God. I got a little fired up while preaching this one. What a great realization the God is Mighty. He is Mighty to save. In Luke 2:11 the shepherds were told that "a Savior" had been born for them and all the people. In John 3:16 we are told that God gave his one and only son that we might be saved. Christ is mighty to save, we need to confess, accept and live this out. Christ is Mighty to sanctify as well. I Thessalonians 5:23-24. He sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter, guide, strength and sanctifier. You must confess, surrender and continue to live this each day. The surrender is ours, the strength to live it is His. The surrender must be sacrificial. This cannot be casual. It is a total giving of all we are and all we have and all we will have to Christ for his will. This is nearly always something that we realize the need for when we try to conquer struggles in our life and realize we are incapable of doing in our own strength and wisdom. It is often called a crisis moment, I don't really care what you call it, I just want see believers take this step of maturity and growth. Christ is mighty to sustain us in all areas of our life. He will finish his will, he will guide you and he will give you the courage to persevere. God is still God, no matter what you are facing. Christ is mighty to share. He shared his all with us, we are called to share him with our world.

What are doing with Jesus? Are you still trying to live in your own might? What will you do next?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Musings ...

Yesterday was an outstanding day. Last night was our annual Dessert Theatre. We have a musical progam, usually with drama, the place is decorated up in extra ways and there are tons (at least it seems like it) of delicious desserts for all to enjoy. This year our children did a Christmas musical entitled Joyland. The 49 children involved did a great job. We had nearly a full house and people had a great time. The pastoral staff, spouses and fiance' provided breakfast for the church as our Christmas gift to the church body. Everyone seemed to have a great time. Our attendance in worship was outstanding as well. The only negative on the day was that the giving was the lowest it has been in many weeks. Overall it was a memorable day with many good contacts, great fellowship and most importantly the "good news of great great joy" was presented to many people.

The message was number three on the names and roles of Jesus from Isaiah 9:6. This week we examined the name and role of "Everlasting Father". This can be a difficult one for many people because their relationship with their earthly father is not great. We are in a crisis mode in our country in the area of fathers, because too many of them are either absent physically or do not have a healthy relationship with their children. This often creates struggles for people in their relationship with Christ. Scott J. Larson has written "A whole new mission field has developed in America: Fathering fatherless kids." I don't think churches, or followers of Christ, are doing much in this mission field.

When it comes to the Everlasting Father remember: many things are temporary God is eternal. How many things in your life have been around for 5 years, or 10, 25 or more? God is still God and he is eternal. Remember Dad is not leaving, he is the Everlasting Father. Look at Joshua 1:5, Deuteronomy 31:5 and Hebrews 13:5. With all of the planned obsolescence (are you impressed that I have know that word?) in our society it is awesome to know that God is still God and he is sticking around. He is not leaving you, he is not forsaking you. He is everlasting and available to you. Remember his love is everlasting. His love is not conditional, partial or temporary. Remember, his plan for you is eternal. He created you and has plans for you and he is not looking to replace you. He desires to spend eternity with you. Remember, he desires to be Dad. A close, intimate, personal and loving relationship with you. Not a distant, disappearing or uncaring person, but your Dad. The one who comforts, protects, confronts, cares, motivates and loves you. Becoming a father (for us humans) is biological, but becoming a Dad is relational. The Everlasting Father desires to be Dad.

How is your relationship with the Everlasting Father? Are you allowing him to have that role in your life? Are you doing anything for the fatherless around you?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last Sunday's musings ...

This week has been a long and difficult one. I was gone Friday afternoon until Sunday morning. I was with 4 great college friends for our annual weekend get together. It was a great time as usual, I got up early Sunday and drove back home for Sunday's worship. I learned of the death of a 41 who was the father of a couple of former teens and then a couple of other happenings that were not good. Then on Monday I drove a couple of hours to attend the funeral of a 29 year wife and mother of 2 toddlers. She was my youngest daughter's best friend while I pastored in that town some years ago. She was at our house often and my daughter was at her house often. Her parents were great workers in the church. I just knew it was one I needed to attend. The service was how a believer's service should be, but it was still difficult and I am brokenhearted for her parents, grandparents, husband and children. Then on Wednesday I attended the visitation for the 41 year old Dad and tried to express comfort his teenage children. This was not an easy week, I guess that contributed to me not posting anything about Sunday until now.

Sunday was a difficult (as stated above) but good day. I continued the Christmas series on the names of Christ from Isaiah 9:6. This week we looked at the name, and role of, Prince of Peace. The Prince of Peace relieves fears. In Luke 1:29-30 the angel said to Mary "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God." There are well over 300 times in scripture that we are told to not be afraid or fear not. The name and role of Prince of Peace is so powerful and very much needed by all of us. Relieving fears doesn't mean that Christ will always take away what prompted our fears, but he will relieve us of the fear. If we allow him to he will relieve our fear. The Prince of Peace gives us a source of courage. The Prince of Peace gives us the ability to shine through the chaos. Think about this, light has its greatest impact in the darkest times. When things are bright light doesn't stand out, it is in the dark that light has it's greatest attraction. The Prince of Peace will comfort and carry you when needed. Great confidence should come with this knowledge. Too often we want to be comforted and carried even when we don't need it. Remember, we need to be confronted at times and comforted at others. A problem exists when we get those confused. The Prince of Peace should be shared with others. This is not someone for us to keep to ourselves. The declaration from the angels to the shepherds in Luke 2 was "good news of great joy will be for all the people." Notice it is for "all the people" which means we are to share this information and experience. This peace, and certainly the Prince of Peace, is not to be hoarded, but shared.

Do you recognize the Prince of Peace? Do you live in the knowledge that you have him available to you? Do you regularly share this knowledge with others?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Monday Musings ... on Wednesday

It has been a hectic few days. We discovered a lot of water in our basement on Friday. Evidently a main drain tile that goes right by our home clogged and then broke. With all the rain we have had recently the ground was saturated and had to go somewhere, it was literally coming up through the floor in a few places. Our neighbor got it worse than we did. Spent several hours on Friday and Saturday getting the water out, getting any loose rugs out and then shopvaccing it out of the carpet and pad in the other areas. One of our young moms from church and our small group helped us for quite a while on Friday. By Sunday it was obvious that the carpet and pad were ruined. So on Monday 3 guys helped me move everything, then get the carpet up and out and then all of the padding. It was then obvious that all the carpet tack strips were ruined as well as all of the baseboard wooden trim. So I kind of forgot to post my Monday Musings on Monday.

Sunday was a good day, in spite of our basement issues. Began a Christmas series of messages on the names of Jesus. Took part in a special tree lighting service in our town sponsored by Hospice. It is to honor and remember loved ones who have died. Our small group met at the church since the kids couldn't play in the basement and the smell wasn't the greatest from all the water.

Worship went well even though the band was missing a guitar and bass. Attendance was good in spite of many, many people being out with illness. The series is focusing on Isaiah 9:6 and Luke 1 and 2. Looking mainly, but not exclusively, at the names given in Isaiah 9:6. This week we looked at "Wonderful Counselor". The Hebrew word translated wonderful comes from a word meaning miraculous. I love that picture of Jesus as our "miraculous counselor". Isn't that cool? One author said that the Bible gives 256 names to the Lord. I haven't gone through and counted to fact check that stat, but I know the names are given to represent His different roles. In the iconic Christmas movie, "A Wonderful Life" Clarence (George Bailey's guardian angel) says to George: "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives and when he isn't around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" No life has impacted our world as much as Jesus has. What is missing if He is not in your life? Who is this Wonderful Counselor?

The Wonderful Counselor is the one who guides. He guides through the Word. We often miss this guidance because we don't read the Bible and therefore don't know his guidance. He guides through the Holy Spirit. He guides by the example of how he lived when he walked the earth. The Wonderful Counselor is the one who cares. I mean really cares. This care results in compassion. A feeling that impacts not just the emotions but one's actions. He cares and feels what you go through. The Wonderful Counselor is the one who understands. He listens, he knows and he understands what you are going through. Being understood is a powerful thing. The Wonderful Counselor is the one who intercedes. Look at Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:26 and Isaiah 53:12. He stands in your place, as he did on the cross. He stands between you and temptation. He goes before you. He translates what you try to say into what you mean as you pray. The Wonderful Counselor is the one to follow.

Not having the Wonderful Counselor in your life would leave "an awful hole" wouldn't it? Are you trying to fulfill the Wonderful Counselor's roles yourself? How is that working for you? How as the Wonderful Counselor impacted your life? Are you sharing the Wonderful Counselor with those around you so they are impacted by him as well?