Friday, December 21, 2018

Look what has come to the world!

Well, we have almost arrived at Christmas. There are only a few more shopping days left. Schools are drawing to a close. Traffic is getting lighter. Families are gathering. For many, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

But all is not idyllic in this fallen world. This week people will feel the loss of loved ones and the disappointment of family. Others will be reminded of financial hardship. All of us can look out and see the effects of global conflict, global poverty, and global injustice.

But it is Christmas, and that means GOOD NEWS! The best news in fact. Pastor Darrell Johnson puts it this way, "The early Christians looked out on a world as challenging, as frightening, as confusing, and as overwhelmingly broken as ours, and they did not say, 'Look what the world has come to.' What the world has come to is not the content of our message." Instead, Johnson points us to the true focus of Christmas: not "what has the world come to" but "look what has come to the world" - the Savior, King, and Redeemer. Johnson quotes the missionary E. Stanley Jones who said, "[The early Christians] saw not merely the ruin, but the resources for the reconstruction of that ruin.”

This is exactly the message of Micah that we come to this Sunday and again on Christmas Eve, when we will look at the nature of the promised Shepherd-King who will rule in justice and might (Micah 5:3-6). It is a message that culminates with the glad tidings that we have a God like no other, "...pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love" (Micah 7:18).

So whether you be merry of heart or struggling to find joy, ring the bells! Christ has come to the world!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2018


Lately I have been reflecting on the number of words that I use in the course of life. Part of it is an occupational hazard. Literally thousands of words per week are required in pursuing the vocation God has given to me. Then, there are the words at home, the words online, the words in the marketplace, etc. As we know, words have the power to build up or tear down, to clarify or confuse, to wound or to heal, to lead to life or to death. I often lament how frequently my words - intentionally, unintentionally, carelessly, or simply as a result of the difficulty of communication - have achieved the less desirable result over the more desirable. Over and over again, my words reveal my need of a Savior.

Contrast that with the perfect clarity with which God speaks. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs (Hebrews 1:1–4).

The Savior that we need; the Incarnate Lord that we welcome this Christmastime, is the perfect, final Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1,14). To borrow the words of Mary, “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”! (cf. Luke 1:47)

So as we venture forth on a sometimes storm-tossed vessel of words in the tumultuous seas of life and relationships, may we find our anchor in our Lord, the Word of Life!

I look forward to seeing you Sunday. Pastor Daniel will be opening the wonderful prophecy of Micah (Micah 5:1-6) that points to a Savior arising from Bethlehem. Feel free to read ahead and soak in the wonderful words of promise!

Grace and Peace (good words to end on!)

Friday, December 7, 2018


How are you being provided for? In the season of Advent I often think on this idea of provision. We enjoy the provisions of the Lord in friends and family. We enjoy the provision of breaks in the middle of busy lives. Most of all, we bask in the provision of a Savior to a world in desperate need of saving!

Our congregational meeting this past Wednesday also highlighted the Lord's provision to us. We reflected on all the ways that God has provided for us as Christ Church throughout 2018: people to minister to and with, opportunities to teach and learn from God’s word, and the financial wherewithal to steward and pursue what we believe God has called us to. We see the provision of two new elders and the return of veteran leaders to respective posts.

While we give God thanks for providing all this and more, his provision is also not something we can presume on in ways that we may humanly expect. We know, for instance, that there are Christians suffering thoughout the world who are still loved by God. We know that we still deal with the effects of a fallen world in bodies that break down physically. We know the provisions in the crowded stores are not affordable to all. We also know that God’s people lose their way from time to time and face consequences of not walking in God’s gracious provision.

As we continue through Micah this Advent we will wrestle with a people who lose their way by focusing on these themes in chapters 2, 3, and 6. Feel free to read ahead and wrestle with our neediness even as we anticipate God’s greatest Provision, Jesus.