Sunday, December 09, 2012
This week was an overview of many of the actions and events that shaped Jesus' ministry in the first two years. It was so much that I had difficulty trying to decide exactly which of the amazing things Jesus did to focus on. So I went to the Upper Story - "Who Is This Man?"
Jesus was completely man, but he was also God in the flesh. So I thought if we looked at the impact that Jesus had on History and Culture (well, some of it or we'd still be there) and then turned to face what Jesus said about Himself - the "I Am" statements - maybe we'd understand just Who He was.
Two sources you'd benefit from reading are Dr. D.James Kennedy's "What If Jesus Had Never Been Born" and John Ortberg's "Who Is This Man?" which is available now as a book, but before that was a series of messages at his church. They really help the reader understand Jesus' impact from both a secular and sacred point of view. I leaned heavily on both today.
By the way, I am blessed to serve with a selfless group of people at New Hope. All over the ministry of our church are many fingerprints. People work hard, give sacrificially, and show up to work and encourage each other. They lifted me today. Praise God.
Saturday, December 08, 2012
Our Christmas tree is up here at the Wilson house. That's giving us all the warm memories from many years as a family. Bunny did a great job this year decorating and we're really enjoying the season.
On our tree, if you examined it, you'd be able to find a time line of our family's history through the ornaments that hang from each branch. Over the years we've accumulated quite a few, and every one carries memories of where we were and what was happening in our family.
On two branches, there are felt ornaments with pictures of two little boys contained within them. Probably cost 25 cents to make, but to us they are priceless. In years past, sometimes the boys would move them to the back. But they always seem to find their way out front again. On several branches hang ornaments that are reminders of the years Bunny spent working as a manager of a Hallmark store in Macon Mall. We've got Snoopy and Woodstock, Frosty the Snowman, and all manner of reindeer - even Santa in a Corvette!
Bunny hangs one each year that was one of her favorites when she was a little girl. There are others we got on shopping trips, or picked up because of what they said to us, like the one carved from any olive tree near Bethlehem. Then there are the dog bone ornaments for Daisy and Ellie the mini schnauzers and Chloe and Henley the Great Danes, faithful friends absent now but who we still remember in love. And there are some ornaments gathered while we've been here in Valparaiso - like the Flip Flops one that makes me smile. We try to buy one or two when we go on vacation, and you can find a fleur-de-lis and one that looks like St. Louis cathedral in New Orleans that reflect our latest trip.
It's so easy for us as we look at the tree to turn it into a sentimental journey. Christmas is that, but it so so much more, and to lose that in the memories would keep us from the one memory that makes all the difference.
So each year, among the family ornaments, midst the memories, we take care to place another ornament - a nail hung by a scarlet ribbon. It's placed near the inside of the tree, away from the lights and glitter, and you'd have a tough time spotting it unless you knew it was there. But we know it is there, at the center of it all.
It reminds us what we should be looking at every day, not just at Christmas.
15 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. 16 For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels— everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.
Col 1:15-16 (MSG)
I love my family, and appreciate the blessings we've been given and the memories we share. But more than anything else, I want to remember, I want everyone to remember, to base our lives upon what God revealed through Jesus.
For everything, absolutely everything, not just Christmas, got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.
Whatever you do this Christmas, don't miss that. Don't miss Him.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
I was driving into the world's largest Air Force base on my way to my work at Eglin Elementary, my mind already on what the day was bringing - assessments, benchmarks, meetings, and more. So I rolled up to the security guard as I do every work day and handed him my badge. As usual I said, "Good morning. How are you today?"
The young man, an Air Force security policeman, stood there impassively and looked my badge over, and returning it said, "Not too good, actually."
I took my badge and dove away. It hit me about ten seconds later what he had said, and with a solid line of traffic behind me, there was no returning. It's been a source of prayer for me ever since.
If a young man like him, on duty and in uniform, feels free to express those thoughts to me, a complete stranger that could have been anyone, or a friend of anyone on the base (his boss, his bosses' boss, etc.), then how bad must his day have been?
Or was it just an unguarded moment?
Regardless, I'm praying for him, and for another opportunity.
From what I can tell from the Bible, Jesus never missed those sort of openings. He seemed to have an intuitive sense of just what people carried as baggage or struggled with as questions or doubts. One author tagged Jesus as "the Noticer" and I think that's a good frame to put Him in. He just saw hurts and read the hearts of the people He came in contact with.
I want to be that guy.
I know I can't fix people. Lord knows I'm still a work in progress. But the Holy Spirit can and does change people forever. I just want to be there when He does.
So pray for that airman. And pray for me, that I might see the heart of the One who gave His life for me completely replace mine.