Monday, December 29, 2008

joy in december

George Winston's tribute to Bach's
"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

from the manger to the cross

It's not just about the manger, where the baby lay.
It's not all about the angels, who sang for him that day.
It's not just about the shepherds, or the bright and shining star.
It's not all about the wisemen, who travelled from afar.
It's about the cross, It's about my sin,
It's about how Jesus came to be born so we could be born again.
It's about the stone that was rolled away, so that you and I could have real life someday.
It's about the cross.
It's not just about the presents underneath the tree.
It's not all about the feeling that the season brings to me.
It's not just about coming home to be with those you love.
It's not all about the beauty in the snow I'm dreaming of.
It's about the cross.
The beginning of the story is wonderful and great, but it's the ending that can save you,
and that's why we celebrate.
It's about the cross, it's about my sin, it's about how Jesus came to be born so we could be born again. It's about God's love, nailed to a tree, it's about every drop of blood that flowed from Him when it should have been you and me. It's about the stone that was rolled away so that you and I could have real life someday.
"It's About The Cross" (Go Fish)

Monday, December 22, 2008

children's christmas service

Our Children's Christmas Service was last night, and I was very pleasantly surprised at the good turnout considering the -10 degree wind chill. Talk about a "bleak midwinter"!
It all went very well, and I think there was more music and musical instruments involved than I've ever seen at one of these things.
We had a trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, piano, guitar, hand chimes, and even a hammered dulcimer! The kids did a good job and had a good time doing it. They especially enjoyed the "Happy Birthday to Jesus" party afterwards. I just love Christmas, don't you?

Monday, December 15, 2008

missing jesus

It's that time of year again, when statues of Baby Jesus start to go missing from Nativity scenes around the country. But this year some churches are fighting back with GPS technology.
The devices can be attached to the statues so that they aren't obvious to thieves, and they can be easily removed. The chips can guide police to the stolen figurine so they can determine if the thief is a prankster or plunderer.
Maybe the fact that the wise men could be bearing a GPS chip inside their gold, frankincense, or myrrh will be enough to deter potential baby Jesus burglars.
This story is a good reminder to not let anyone steal Jesus away from you this Advent Season, as some continue to try to take Christ out of Christmas.
Martin Luther wrote it so well :
"Dearest Jesus, holy Child, Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be, A quiet chamber kept for Thee."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

those pesky associations...

What can we learn from the arrest of Illinois Governor and Obama buddy Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges?
Maybe that Obama's associations with unsavory characters really do matter after all.
The media wanted to sweep them all under the rug during the election, because when you put them all together, its not a very pretty political picture.
Reverend Wright, Father Pfleger, William Ayers, Tony Rezko, Rashid Khalidi, Louis Farrakhan, ACORN, the list goes on.
And now, Rod Blagojevich.
It's getting harder and harder for the media to keep sweeping these things under the rug, because the mounds of you-know-what keep piling up around them.

Brrrrrr! (update)

The oceans have been cooling since 2003.
Sea ice is growing at the fastest pace on record.
A rare 50 year arctic blast is cooling the west coast.
There are fears of a coming freeze worse than the ice age.
Alaskan sea glaciers are advancing for the first time in 250 years.
And for the second straight year the earth is cooling, not warming.

Does anyone still believe in global warming?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

celestial sight

It was quite the celestial sight when Venus and Jupiter lined up with the moon last week for a rare lunar/planetary conjunction. Hope you got to see it - it won't happen again for another 50 years!
"The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the works of His hands "
(Psalm 19)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Worship Fully-Spend Less-Give More-Love All

[Worship Fully]

It begins and ends with Jesus. This is what God had in mind for Christmas. It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to God. It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath.
It’s the party of the year. Entering the story of advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.

[Spend Less]

Before you think we’re getting all Scrooge on you, let us explain what we mean. We like gifts. Our kids really like gifts. But consider this: America spends an average of $450 billion a year every Christmas. How often have you spent money on Christmas presents for no other reason than obligation? How many times have you received a gift out of that same obligation? Thanks, but no thanks, right? We’re asking people to consider buying ONE LESS GIFT this Christmas. Just one. Sounds insignificant, yet many who have taken this small sacrifice have experienced something nothing less than a miracle: They have been more available to celebrate Christ during the advent season.

[Give More]

God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall. Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right?

[Love All]

When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Him in giving to those who need help the most. When Advent Conspiracy first began, four churches challenged this simple concept to its congregations. The result raised more than a half million dollars to aid those in need. One less gift. One unbelievable present in the name of Christ.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The story of Christ's birth is the story of hope, joy, peace, and love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a Savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, shopping lists, and traffic jams. And when it's over, many are left with presents to return, looming debt, and an empty feeling of a missing purpose.
Is this what we really want out of Christmas? What if Christmas could become what it once was? What if it could be an event that could change the world - again. Welcome to the Advent Conspiracy.

Advent Conspiracy