Monday, December 19, 2011

Worship Fully

In our church family we have taken on the challenge of "Advent Conspiracy." This is a call to take a deeper look at how we celebrate the Advent - the arrival of Jesus into our world. Yet Christmas has become more about buying gifts and sometimes more about getting the stuff we want rather than acknowledging what has been given to us and worshiping the One who gave the greatest Gift of all. So the first challenge of Advent Conspiracy is to worship fully. What do we worship? Worship, in a word, is giving. We give our time, our money, our adoration our lives to whatever, or whomever, we worship. So when we truly worship God we give to Him. Just about everyone who encountered the Messiah at his birth worshiped. Mary, a poor teenage girl to whom God announced that she would be the mother of the Son of God, responded with a song of worship (Luke 1:46-55). The shepherds, the outcasts of their society, doing the "dirty work" of taking care of the flocks, responded to the angel's announcement, went and found the baby in a manger and left his presence praising and glorifying God (Luke 2:20). The wise men, Gentiles looking in from the outside, came to find Jesus and worshiped him as they gave him their gifts (Matthew 2:11). All of this to remind me and you that our response to the arrival of the Messiah is first and foremost to be worship. It makes my Christmas wish list a little less important when I come back to the realization that what God wants most of me is my worship. This Christmas, I pray that you will truly worship the One who was given to you. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Lost

Christmas. How's it going for you so far? Is your tree decorated? Are your lights up? Got your shopping done? Still trying to find that elusive gift for that hard-to-buy-for family member? Been to a party or two or three? Bought some gifts that you felt obligated to buy, but really didn't want to? Watched Rudolph on TV yet? (I love the Island of Misfit Toys!) What about Dickens' Christmas Carol? Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. Here's another one. What about Christmas Lost? Somehow in all of the busyness of Christmas, Christmas has actually gotten lost.

Our church family has been invited to a conspiracy this Christmas. I want to invite you as well. Around our faith family right now, there seems to be a new excitement and a breath of fresh air as we prepare for and celebrate Christmas this year. We have challenged our church to join in on "Advent Conspiracy." It's not original with us. You can link to Advent Conspiracy from our website at www.marshfieldfirst.org. I'm grateful to Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder for creating the concept and developing the emphasis. This simple teaching series has created a buzz in our church family like I have never heard before---and I love it! It is a simple challenge to bring the Christmas story back to the very heart of our Christmas celebration: to worship Jesus fully and exclusively, to spend less on what doesn't really matter, to give more of what does matter, and to love all with the love that comes from our Father and is demonstrated in the gift of His son, Jesus.

Are you longing for a Christmas that is more in line with the heart of God? Then join the conspiracy. In the meantime, if you have already joined the conspiracy I would love to hear your comments on how it has impacted you. Share them below. More next week.