Monday, December 21, 2009

The Virgin Birth of Jesus

Several years ago Larry King, the well-known talk show host, was asked who he would like to interview if he had his pick from all of history. His answer was Jesus Christ. The questioner paused and said, “What is the one question you would like to ask Him?” Larry King answered, “I would ask Him if He indeed was virgin born, because the answer to that would define history for me.”

In one sense, Larry King was right. Because the birth of Jesus Christ is the key which unlocks human history. If Jesus is who the Bible says that He is, then His life and work does indeed define history.

Read more.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Spurgeon on Christmas

Charles Spurgeon closes his sermon entitled, "The Birth of Christ" (#2392, MTP) with the following words that express my own desire for friends and family at this time of year.
Now a happy Christmas to you all; and it will be a happy Christmas if you have God with you. I shall say nothing to day against festivities on this great birthday of Christ. We will to-morrow think of Christ's birthday; we shall be obliged to do it, I am sure, however sturdily we may hold to our rough Puritanism. And so, 'let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavend bread of sincerity and truth.' Do not feast as if you wished to keep the festival of Bacchus; do not live to-morrow as if you adored some heathen divinity. Feast, Christians, feast; you have a right to feast. Go to the house of feasting to-morrow, celebrate your Saviour's birth; do not be ashamed to be glad; you have a right to be happy. Solomon says, "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment."
"Religion never was designed
To make your pleasures less."

Recollect that your Master ate butter and honey. Go your way, rejoice tomorrow, but in your feasting, think of the Man in Bethlehem; let him have a place in your hearts, give him the glory, think of the virgin who conceived him, but think most of all of the Man born, the Child given. I finish by again saying, ---


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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Repenting Scrooge, Larry Norman and Christmas Time

I used to be something of a Scrooge at Christmas time. Through the years I have lightened up and come to realize that I don't have to protest all of the cultural extravagance and decadence that take place in the name of this holiday in order to be faithful to Christ. Our Lord was born and, though the Bible nowhere instructs us to commemorate His birth, it is worth celebrating. We acknowledge the births of mere mortals who have influenced the world, what is wrong with publicly acknowledging the birth of our King? Absolutely nothing.

I have no controversy with my fellow believers who do not wish to celebrate the holiday while fully rejoicing in the miracle of the incarnation. "He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it" (Romans 14:6). I hope that they will extend the same consideration to me and others who will celebrate with friends and family in a couple of days.

Christmas has become an increasingly joyful time of year to me as my children have grown older. This year that is especially so as we prepare to say good-bye to our eldest for a couple of years. We are trying to squeeze every moment out of the days we have left together before her departure. Fortunately, we decided a while back to forgo the normal gift giving amongst ourselves this year and to use the money saved to bless others. Not only has that given us the joy of freely giving, it has also spared us from the typical stresses of Christmas shopping. For us, this has proven to be a great gift from the Lord.

Though I no longer fit the "Scrooge" category, I still find a twinge of counter-culture rising in me when December rolls around. In acknowledgment of that, I offer this song by the late Larry Norman. It is no longer my favorite "Christmas Carol" (for which my wife and children are grateful!) but I still listen to it a time or two each year. Enjoy! ;-)

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday is for creative children with too much time on their hands

Our Christmas staff party got a little out of hand this week. Here is the result, featuring my fellow pastors, Asael Gonzalez, Ken Puls and Tim Brister along with our chairman of deacons, John Swaska. The credit goes to two of my children whose time for leisure is exceeded only by their creativity. ;-)

HT: Becca and Rachel

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