Posted tagged ‘Christmas’

Joy to the World!

December 24, 2011

I encourage you to meditate on the lyrics of this familiar Christmas hymn. I have enjoying ruminating over it in recent days leading up to today. May you with gladdened hearts receive the King!

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Merry Christmas! From the Bristers

December 24, 2011

The Incarnation [Odd Thomas]

December 22, 2011

HumbleBeast puts it out there very nicely. Check out Odd Thomas on the Incarnation . . .

 

Steps to Sharing the Gospel with Your Family During Christmas

December 8, 2011

Since Crossway made it free for Kindle, I’ve been browsing through Randy Newman’s book, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Your Family Members, Your Close Friends, and Others You Know Well.  This is an incredibly important topic as I have come to find it harder to share the gospel with family members as it is with an unknown person in my community.  I imagine this is true for most if not all Christians.

In the conclusion of his introductory chapter, Newman provides four steps for sharing the gospel with your family. I though they were very thoughtful and practical.  Check them out.

1.  If you don’t already have one, develop a system for prayer for your family.  Perhaps you can set aside a section in a prayer journal.

2.  Begin your prayers for your family with thanksgiving.  This may be more difficult for some people than others.  Regardless of your family’s well-being, thank God for the family you have and all the accompanying benefits you can identify.

3.  You may need to include prayers of confession as well–confession of your lack of love for your family, your idolatry of control in trying to change them, your reliance on your ability to convict them of their sin instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to do that, your coldheartedness, haughtiness, and self-righteousness, etc.  Ask the Holy Spirit to shine his light of truth on your darkness of sin.

4.  If you haven’t already done so, “come out of the closet” as a Christian to your family.  Pray for gentle words and a gracious demeanor mixed with bold confidence. . . . Aim for your announcement to be informational rather than evangelistic.  You can trust God to open evangelistic doors later.

#3 nailed me.

One thing I might add, especially if you have a large family: look for opportunities in the course of the day when it is not so hectic where you might be able to enjoy a sustained conversation with a family member who is not a Christian.  In a large group setting, conversations tend to stay on a superficial level, but if you can get alone with one or two family members for 10-15 minutes or longer, you will have a greater opportunity of magnetizing the conversation to the gospel and how Jesus has changed, and is changing your life.

Good News for Sinners on Christmas Eve

December 24, 2010

O Holy Night – Shane and Shane

December 3, 2010

Love the rawness of this video. Hate that it was cut off before the song was finished. Check it.

Hallelujah

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving folks! Here’s a couple of fun videos of flash mobs breaking out in the Hallelujah Chorus in malls this year.  Now here’s an encouraging trend I would like to see go viral in the real world!

The Good News of Christmas at Grace

November 23, 2009

About six weeks ago, I received in the mail a bag that said “The Good News of Christmas.”  In the bag was an ESV New Testament, a personalized invitation, an ESV Study Bible trial for 30 days, and a tract by Max Lucado.  After discussing this with our pastoral team, we felt that this was an excellent opportunity to share the Christmas story with others by putting the Bible in the hands of unbelievers in our community, getting into the story of their lives, and hopefully sharing the story of how Jesus Christ has changed our lives.

This time of the year is a rather unique period in the calendar season where spirits are lifted and hearts are more open and receptive to receive from others, even strangers, a kind and sincere offer.  It is our desire to see Jesus become more than a Christmas carol, and that through the story of the gospel, He would be treasured by those who looking to lesser things to provide them greater joy.

When Peter referred to the new birth in his first letter, he told his readers that they had been born again

“not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.  The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever’” (1 Peter 1:23-25).

The Scripture which is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15) is an imperishable seed, unlike the seeds of grass and flowers which wither and fade.  The new birth comes through the living and abiding word of God which endures forever.  What greater gift could we give to those in our community?  Gold and silver will fade and loose their value.  God’s Word is precious and enduring.  The things of this world may bring make other happy for a moment, but those who have “been brought forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18) will experience happiness both now and for eternity.

We want people to see the kingdom of God, not just sing about Christ the newborn King in a sentimental way.  But Jesus said this is impossible unless they are born again.  The good news for us is that the Spirit is blowing wherever He wishes; we do not know where, when, or who He will draw, convict, and bring to life.  But we do know that by the Spirit and through the Word, we have everything we need to reach a world of people enjoying the Christmas season while failing to enjoy Christ.   It is our prayer that the Spirit, the Great Evangelist, will own our efforts to bring the Scriptures to thousands of people in our city, and through the imperishable seed of the Word, everlasting fruit will spring up as the kingdom is established in the hearts of men.

Last night, we handed out 1,200 of these bags to our members and suggested to them the following ways of getting into the community:

Individually

1.   Students: give Christmas presents to everyone in your classes (yes, all of them)
2.  Employees: give Christmas presents to all of your coworkers
3.  On Black Friday, spend the morning passing out these gifts to those in line waiting to get into stores
4.  In businesses where you normally frequent, give these bags to everyone who works there (in my case, it would be Panera Bread, Uno’s Chicago Grill, Chick-fil-a, Publix, and the local 7-11 Gas Station)
5.  Take a box with you in the car so that wherever you go, you will have some with you to give to those you encounter, such as in parks, shopping centers, bank tellers, etc.
6.  Provide an opportunity for those in your neighborhood whom you have not met to come over for dinner and read the Christmas story together while giving them these gifts while inviting them to our Christmas Eve service

Community Groups

1.  Customize the bags with invitation to your next community group meeting
2.  Host a neighborhood Christmas Party and give these gifts away
3.  Go door-to-door (look out!) canvassing the neighborhoods around where your community group meets, or perhaps give them away you go Christmas caroling
4.  Distribute these bags in your community, inviting those interested to an evangelistic Bible study where everyone will be reading through the gospel of John together

These are just some ideas I came up with and shared with our members yesterday evening.  There are numerous other ways that you creative folk can come up with for sure.  Here at Grace, we have been ramping up for next year’s mission trips, and one of the ways we are preparing our church to engage in overseas missions is to think and live like missionaries here.  I have challenged our members to think of this next month as a one-month mission trip to their own backyard.  When you are on mission, you think less of yourself and are tuned into how the Lord may be leading you to make a direct impact in the lives of others.  It is my hope that such a structured opportunity will train more of our members to live evangelistically as their normal standard of living as we seek to create a missional culture and celebrate the work of the Spirit in sending us out to make Christ known.

If you would like to read and learn more about this outreach opportunity click here.  The only caveat I would make is the evangelistic tract by Max Lucado may be something you want to leave out.  Since you are the ones stuffing your bags, you can make that choice (I would prefer it not be in there).  Other than that, the fact that you can get a New Testament and invitation in a nice bag for $1 is wonderful.  I hope others seize this opportunity in an affordable way to give the gift of the New Testament to a world that news to know that God has spoken and has sent His Son Jesus into the world to rescue sinners and cause us to sing, “Glory to God in the highest!”

Give Them Jesus

November 2, 2007

Man I love the way Desiring God helps me share Jesus with folks in my world. Four years ago it was started with the giving away of The Passion of Jesus Christ when the movie came out, then Don’t Waste Your Life to my coworkers in 2005, and while is was not with DG but Crossway, I was able to get in on the NT for $.50 deal in 2006. I am really jazzed about the new promotional Desiring God is doing for Christmas this year.

Abraham Piper writes:

As in past years, we are offering cases of Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ for $1 a book + shipping in preparation for the Christmas season.

Here are the details:

1. Cases of Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ are available for a suggested donation of $65 to those who agree to give the books away for free.
2. Each case contains 48 books. (The donation covers $1 per book and $17 for shipping.)
3. If you can afford more—great! If you can’t afford $65, then we will accept whatever you can afford.
4. This offer is good through December 7, 2007 or while our supply lasts, whichever comes first.
5. We’re only taking these donations by phone, so call us at 1.888.346.4700 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday — Friday.

A good thing (I think) for all of us before the whole Christmas shopping frenzy is in full swing is to think about the supremacy of Jesus Christ in our lives. Not only that, but what better season of the year to give the people in your life an expression of love and extension of your satisfaction in Him? A small way to make much of Jesus this Christmas is to put into the hands of people you love a book that helps them know and treasure Jesus Christ. May we all do that we can to give them Jesus.