So it begins, the crazy season of Christmas. The infamous “BLACK FRIDAY” has passed and a few diligent shoppers are nearly finished purchasing gifts. Other shoppers stayed home gearing up for Cyber Monday while laughing at all the crazies who fully embrace the anticipated Black Friday.
As your pastor I must confess, for three consecutive years I left my warm comfortable bed at 4AM with a single purpose. I was driven by the intense desire to experience Menards. There is a sick excitement in standing in tremendous line (500yds), free candy canes, and a detailed map of the entire store. I truly missed the experience this year but there is always the possibility of next year.
I am going to say the majority of our country loses sanity by the time Christmas rolls around. The majority of Christ followers included. We have to be here, we have to be there, this program, that program, dinner for the family, dinner for the friends, stress, in-laws, decorations, a little more stress maybe. I truly am sick and tired of the stress that accompanies the season. It grieves my heart really. When it comes down to it the majority of our stress comes from the choices we make or don’t make. When we say yes to the “hoopla” of Christmas what inevitably happens is we find Jesus having very little room in the season that is named after him. We don’t say yes to all the hoopla of the season at once. It happens little by little until we find ourselves just hoping for it all to end.
So now what hope do we have left? What hope exists for celebrating the humble arrival of Jesus our Lord and Savior? The only hope we have is returning to the SIMPLICITY of CHRISTMAS. How do we do this, what does this look like?
We begin by “Putting First things First.” 1) Assess the prior Christmas season. 2) Identify the decisions that lead to high stress. 3) Say no when faced with some of the same decisions this year? 4) Enjoy restoring Jesus to the throne of HIS SEASON.
"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." -Matthew 2:2
The United States is the third highest nation in the world for unchurched people.͟ This was one of the opening statistics that were given to us at ReEquip this year. When this was said, I thought it couldn’t be true, but thinking about now this becomes true.
One of Jesus’ last commands on Earth and our mission as Christians is to ͞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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20) As Christians are we charged with making disciples and bringing others to Christ.
This doesn’t always mean that people will just come to a church or just ask you about God. When Jesus was on Earth, His ministry was not just at the temple. Actually most of His discipleship and teaching took place outside the church. He was on this Earth for roughly 30 years before the public knew that he was the Son of God. He build relationships with people and then started His ministry. What the church needs today is Christians that have in mind to make other disciples that make other disciples, and so on, while building relationships with others.
The youth group is going through the armor of God this month and one of the pieces of armor is feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:15)
This means that they are ready to share the gospel. Without these we are stationary Christians, shoeless Christians. Many people know that Jesus is the truth and they have a right relationship with Jesus but they are not READY to share the good news of Jesus with anyone. They are shoeless. They are stationary soldiers. We do not need more stationary people, but ACTION packed Christians who want to be ready to share the peace of Christ with the people around us.
So as we go through our day, who are those people that we can go to and bring to Christ? Who can we minister to that God has brought our way?