Anticipation of a child!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our youngest daughter Klaire just turned 4 years old and one of the things I’ve noticed about her this year is her anticipation for the big day. Do you know what I’m talking about? Our two other daughters are older now and although they love Christmas and are excited about it – it’s just not the same type of excitement.

For Klaire, she’s constantly asking questions; how many more days till Christmas? Daddy, am I going to get any presents? I’ve been good! How many days till Christmas? And her favorite song has been “Oh, you better watch out – you better not cry – you better not pout because I’m telling on you!”

She is so excited about Christmas. And as I have watched my little girl – play with the lights on the tree – sing Christmas songs – ask about the little baby Jesus – and her presents – I’ve been reminded of how we seem to grow out of the anticipation – of how we take the gift – the Christ child for granted.

Could it be that we sometimes think that just because we say “Merry Christmas” and put a manger scene up in our home that we understand – we get what Christmas is all about – but do we.

So this morning, I want to encourage you to stop and focus on Christ – go ahead – I want you right now to think about Jesus – what is the first image that comes to your mind – what do you think of –Holy, salvation, risen, baby, forgiveness, peace, King, friend, father?

Now, think about this – those are all true – but He is so much more – He is more than all of that. The crazy thing is that what ever view of God you have this morning – whatever comes into your mind when you hear the name of Jesus – no matter how grand – how Holy of a picture you have in your head – He is greater than that – He is more than that – no matter how high your view of God is – it’s not high enough.

In the NT we have John – the one whom Jesus loved – the beloved disciple – he understood Jesus – and yet in Revelation chapter 1 when he sees Jesus in His glorified state – he says;
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.

John had a high view of God – he understood and yet when he saw Jesus – it all changed. So, you and I need to understand that whatever our view of God is right now – He is greater than that – He is higher than that – and when you and I see His face – it will be more than amazing!

Psalm 145:3 says, Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

Did you hear that? You see, if you and I think we know how great God is – we are wrong – we can’t fathom it.

Isaiah 55 says; 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We can’t even describe His greatness – our words just don’t fit. So, when you think about Christmas – I want you to think about our God in heaven who is greater than anything you and I could ever imagine – and He came down into human form – He humbled himself into that form – for you.

My challenge to you this morning is to find time to truly think about what Christmas means. And may we learn to live again with the hope and excitement of a little four year old – because Christ was born in Bethlehem.

He is our Defender

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Recently a friend sent me an amazing video that reminded me of spiritual warfare. We know that the devil loves to attack and slow our progress. He loves to catch us off guard - get us down - hit our weak spot - and keep us from living the life God has intended for us to live. And yet we sometimes forget that Satan is our defeated enemy. We should not live our lives in fear or doom & gloom. Christ is our great defender - He is for us - and you better believe that He has your back!

I believe the thing God has been teaching me lately is that I need to do all I can to keep my focus. I need to rise up every day and put on my armor because the Christian life is a battle. Just because Jesus is my defender doesn't mean I can just go and make stupid decisions. It's the opposite - because He is my defender - I need to make sure I am giving Christ my full 110% focus- all the time. No matter what you are facing this Christmas - take heart - turn your focus to Christ - the King of Kings - the baby in a manger - the Savior of the World - and yes, your Defender. Then, run the race and run to win.

Paul said it like this;
I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 (New Living Translation)

Catalyst 2009

Once again this past October I attended the Catalyst Leadership Conference along with a couple of friends. This was my fourth Catalyst event and I have yet to be disappointed. I believe in this conference so much that I paid my own way and even bought a ticket for a friend. Below I have listed some of the reasons I attend and a short highlight video:

*I love to be around Kingdom focused Leaders
*Catalyst challenges me to think outside the box
*It inspires me to continue on this journey
*It's a time of spiritual renewal
*I love to be around people who do things with excellence
*I love to learn from people who are reaching the lost for Christ
*I go because I want to learn and grow as a leader