Showing posts from 2017


When the angel announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God, he didn't conclude the announcement by saying, "Therefore, we'll put you in a mansion and bring you catered meals every day and you'll have servants at your beck and call." One might argue that such a woman deserves such luxury.  But that's not the life God calls you to. He calls you to a life that comes with a price tag. He calls you to a life of sacrifice. Mary was arguably the greatest woman who ever lived, and yet, instead of being given a life of luxury, she was called to live a simple life. Her husband was a carpenter. They lived in a poor community in Galilee, which might be compared to living in Appalachia. When she was 8 months pregnant, she was required to take a long journey to a distant city, where she gave birth to her child, not in a comfortable home, surrounded by a loving family, but alone, in a stable, surrounded by farm animals.  The fact is that sometimes the ro


This is a season of expectation and it's a season of preparation. Christmas reminds us that God comes to us when we need him. Some of you need him desperately to come into your life. Jesus wants to enter your existence. Just like he came into a world that needed him so badly 2000 years ago, he is ready to enter your world, too. If your life is cold and empty, he wants to fill it with joy and passion. If you feel like your life is going nowhere and will never be merry and bright, he wants to guide your path so that you're going somewhere. Let this be a time in which you prepare your heart to receive the promises of God. There are people who will flock to hear a good sermon or a great teacher or a talented worship leader — and they come for the entertainment value, and they leave without ever confronting the need for change in their lives. You prepare to receive the promises of God by stop playing religious games and get serious about living a life devoted to God. The wa


It's a fact of life that a great deal of inequity exists in our world. There's a lot of pain and a lot of suffering. We're sometimes pretty good at looking the other way 11 months out of the year, but there's something about the Christmas season that calls our attention to many of these situations. It's easier to be generous during the Christmas season, simply because the opportunity for generosity presents itself much more frequently during the month of December. I want to encourage you to take advantage of as many opportunities for generosity as possible. No doubt within your circle of influence there are people for whom the road is currently crooked and rough. We are called to make the curved roads straight and the rough places smooth. “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall be come straight, the rough ways smooth.” (Luke 3:5) A father told me recently that the two words he would use to describe Chr


Throughout history there have always been those who said that history has no meaning, no direction, no purpose. It's just an endless cycle of random, meaningless events. There's no shortage of those who believe that today. Christmas teaches the opposite. So does the second coming. They teach us that God has not abandoned us. He is not ignoring us. He has a plan and a purpose and he's inviting us to get plugged in to it. You may think that the world is spinning out of control right now due to the circumstances around you. But God has not abandoned us. He's still in control. In his time, he will intervene again in history, as he did on that first Christmas day. Maybe you're struggling financially, maybe there's trouble at home, maybe you're uncertain of what the future holds, and you may think that your life is just a random series of chaotic events but Christmas is a reminder, and the promise of the second coming is a reminder that God has not abando


I was driving down the road a while back, singing along with my 70s Sirius station, when suddenly my brake light came on. What do you think my reaction might have been? "Oh, I'm sure it's nothing. If I ignore it, it will go away." I'll tell you that that was not my reaction at all. I was in Colorado on vacation at the time, deep in the Rocky Mountains, and there was no way I would try to navigate those winding hills with brakes that were less than fully committed to doing their job. Otherwise, I could try to take a curve and wind up in the bottom of a gorge. So I took the warning seriously and had my brakes checked out. In the same way your anger is a warning signal that something needs to be dealt with. In fact, any negative emotion is a warning signal that something needs to be dealt with. The apostle Paul said, “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” (