Wednesday, December 30, 2009
well, it's christmas time again, and I thought I'd share a bit of light on the whole "x"mas thing. I've used the term xmas in some of my writings and comments and such, so I thought I should share the wealth of knowledge that I've been privy to for the past few years.
I used to think like most Christians that we should put Christ back in Christmas, when everyone started putting the X in place of Christ. I've come to the realization that there are two very different ways to look at this.
Some use the x, just like that algebraic "x"= the unknown. That reminded me of a story in Acts 17, when Paul was in Athens. The Bible says in vs. 22-23, "Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: 'men of athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you."
For these men of athens they were worshipping something they weren't aware of, and for many people in our world today, they put the X in X-mas not to, in my opinion, take the Christ out, but that they are unaware of what the season is about. So, it is our job to proclaim that to them.
How can we tell them what the X really means without sounding like an idiot? Well, you're in luck, I'm going to tell you!!! The other way to look at the X is the most logical and proper way. X represents the first letter of the word Xtos (XPIETOE), which in Greek is the word for Christ. So, what is the X in X-mas? The X is Christ.
On a side note, Xmas has been used for hundreds of years in religious writings, where the X represents a Greek Chi (X). In this use it is parallel to other forms like Xtian, "Christian." But people unaware of the Greek origin of this X often mistakenly frown upon the term Xmas because it seems to them a commercial convenience that omits Christ from Christmas, when in all reality, we are really pronouncing Christ.
So, take this knowledge to those who you know use Xmas, and see if they know what the X really is!
Now go watch a Charlie Brown Christmas, and spread the cheer by reading Luke 2 with your loved ones!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Two nights ago, I was priveleged enough to view a pre-screening of a new movie coming out called "To Save A Life." Honestly, one of the most amazing and relevant movies to today's generation that I have ever seen. It was a captivating, enthralling, motivating tear jerker of a flick. After watching it, I was thinking about the youth ministry at our church, and the students involved in this ministry. As I thought about them, there was one word that resonated with me—apathy. I challenged them last night to confront apathy. As I shared my frustrations, the Holy Spirit confirmed I was doing the right thing by scrapping my talk on marriage by taking over my words. As I was speaking, I couldn't help but think, "This is coming out much more eloquently than I could ever have thought," so I knew it wasn't me speaking, but God through me. Some of those frustrations were mine—students being in cliques while at youth group, and not desiring to know each other in community, students not bringing their friends, their lack of participation in events and service projects. But at the heart of it, I think some of those frustrations were turned into challenges from God to say goodbye, Apathy. To choose to no longer say, "I don't care," and do something for those around you.
I wonder how much of it was taken to heart through our family time discussion, and want to throw the net wide to hear any thoughts on how you say goodbye to Apathy in your own life. What will it take for you to truly care enough to make a difference?
Take a look at the movie trailer here!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
A friend of mind posted a note asking for thoughts on "worship" and it got me thinking…I have a lot of thoughts on worship. Too many, in fact, to put in a response to a note, so I thought I'd compile some of them here. When I was in college, I played in an acoustic rock band called "His Holy Hill" that my brother and I started. One of our former band titles was "Underwater Basket Weavers" and after that, "Splendor." In my course of playing in the band, we were always known as the "worship band" because many of our original songs had a worship feel, and we always did worship as part of our shows. We even got to the point where people were asking us to just come and lead worship primarily, so I had become attached to worship in the musical form.
I once heard a guy say that "worship is an attitude of the heart." I think it was Jeremy Kingsley at one of the B.S.U. events that I attended at North Greenville College. If i could sum it up in one word now, worship = lifestyle. However, in a greater sense, worship is our response to what God has done. many do not know how to worship, because they do not know what he has done. Therefore, worship must be preceded with the gospel. When we wrestle with the truth of what God has done for us through his son, Jesus, then we will truly know how to worship. Jesus made the statement in John 4: 23, "yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." The truth of what we know and even what we have yet to realize will hit us and the time will come when we have no choice but to worship, to respond to that truth.
I get worship bumps (chills) when I realize what God has done for me, and when I respond in worship. If I take the time to quiet my soul, and focus on the Spirit of God, then I can find Him in those places of worship. I had one such instance this past Sunday morning—the Spirit of God truly fell as we wrestled with the truth that "God can do more than we can ask or imagine, He can do more than I can even dream or even comprehend. He can do more, again and again, it surprises me." After recognizes that God is present in our struggles, and is not worried about what the future holds, but desires for us to connect with Him, the response for me was magnificent. It was true worship—expressing my heart's gratitude and desires for God to blow my mind, and do MORE that I can imagine.
Yet, hasn't Jesus already done the unimaginable in his death and resurrection, conquering death and the grave so that we may be made completely whole, and restored to relationship with God? Yes, He has. So, I must choose to praise. You ask what I think of when I hear the word worship? It's a lifestyle. A Response. A Sacrifice. Praise. Dedication. Adoration. Communion. Obedience. Being in love.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
There's been plenty of times in my life where I've felt pain. In my years of playing sports I have sprained both my ankles, bruised plenty of muscles, twisted knees, jammed fingers, hurt joints, jacked up my back, and even had my mouth split open playing basketball. But, I have yet to experience the kind of pain where I would need prescription medication to make it go away. I'm not one who condemns the use of medication by any means. God gave doctors the wisdom to know and understand our bodies, and how medication can boost our immune system in order for us to get better. But, God also performs miracles, and signs and wonders on people to completely heal them. We pray that people will experience healing, and it comes. We also pray that people get healed, and sometimes they don't. It's hard to understand God's Will in certain times, but it's not hard to know that He's good, just, fair, merciful, sovereign, divine, and loving. He cares when I'm in pain.
On Friday of last week, I had a gum tissue graft to cover some gum recession that has occurred over the years due to a combination of having braces, and brushing vigorously. For the first couple of days, I was taking some Advil, and the pain was manageable, but over the past two days, the pain has been serious. Every time I laugh, or try to smile, my mouth hurts. Even talking sometimes causes me pain. The doc gave me some Percocet which is some pretty high powered pain killers, and they work. But they also have some weird side effects. I sometimes feel dizzy and even disoriented…but there's no pain, which is good.
When I think of my pain in comparison to what Christ went through on the cross, I feel like a wuss. I can't even manage to endure a little mouth pain without some Percocet while my Lord and Savior suffered beatings and floggings, being nailed to cross, having a crown of thorns shoved into his skull, and a sword piercing his side. This pain he could have gotten rid of my just saying a word, yet he endured it. For me. For you. He predicted the pain would come, and yet he went through with it. He may not have wanted it at first, but He did what God wanted. Luke 22: 41-42, "He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
For me…I'd like to be rid of this pain. That'd be nice. But, in comparison to what Jesus did for me, my pain is nothing. So, I'll endure, and think of the cross each time my mouth hurts.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Imagine my surprise when I walk into my office on Tuesday morning to find Officer Spud sitting next to my computer with a note attached to him. Apparently, someone had been up to some mischief. The note was from "Tater Saw." I had one minute to find all of the spuds before they would spontaneously combust. AGHHH!!! THE HORROR!!! I thought it would be a good chance to video my findings, so I pulled out my camera and this is what I captured:
As you can tell, I didn't fold under the pressure, and my precious Spuds were saved. From Santa Spud to Spider Spud to the Taters of the Lost Ark, they all were without a scratch. I saved the day. But, I'll never leave my office unattended again! Oh, the pranks to come…Beware tater saw…Beware.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I am constantly claiming that I am a work in progress, but I wonder what that progression looks like:
Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
There has to be some final product that is ultimately being produced. I think this process is called sanctification (being set apart for a purpose), and will ultimately be completed on the day we get to be together with Christ in heaven. Being sanctified to the image and attitude of Christ is a daily battle, which is why it's work. My faith, my attitude, my responses, and reactions are constantly being put to work
in order to produce a better version of myself. The spirit of God is at work
in all of these areas so that I may be sanctified. Some days my flesh works harder than my spirit because I don't take the time to stop and connect with God. Hopefully and prayerfully, these days are becoming more and more sparse, and that my days of being full of the spirit win out over the days being full of my flesh. Galatians 5:16-18, "16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law." So, there are ultimately, two contradictory progressions at work in my life. Satan's desire is that I progress towards living and doing things my way, while God's desire is that I progress towards living and doing things in the way of the Spirit.
This is my desire as well: to live by the Spirit. So, the progression should look more like someone who is constantly being worked on, chiseled at, painted over, and molded by God, who claims that we are his workmanship [Eph 2:10]. Progress tells me that tomorrow, I will be better than today.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
What in life is redundant? I guess sleep can be redundant. Waking up, and brushing our teeth (which hopefully you do, otherwise, you'll have halitosis—need a mint?), or even a work out at the gym can be redundant. We sometimes get into routines, and we never wonder why we started doing things a certain way in the first place.
I'm sitting here in my office cutting and folding "Blizzard" fliers for the students to pick up tonight, and it's becoming a redundant task. Over and over, folding, cutting, repeat. I wonder if sometimes our lives get like that? Wake up, relieve myself, brush teeth, shower, get dressed, oops, don't forget the deodorant, feed the dogs, eat breakfast, go to work, go to the gym, watch tv with wife, play xbox, go to sleep, repeat. Is your day becoming an endless cycle, or routine, that even though it's enjoyable, it's still a "repeat as necessary" kind of life.
Maybe we're up for change once a year. Happy New Year! It's time to make our goals and resolutions, and change is GOING TO HAPPEN THIS YEAR IF IT TAKES EVERYTHING I'VE GOT! Hopefully, it lasts this time! But, what if it doesn't? Are we going to let our lives become redundant?
Well, I resolve not to! My life will not, or will never be a matter of redundancy. Our Father in heaven has come that we might experience life to the full, an abundant life, not a redundant life. In fact, in Revelation 21, He says that He has come to make all things new. I believe that. I believe Jesus has come into my life to make me new, from the inside out. May this year be a year of newness for all who desire it.
No more redundancies…except for those that are necessary…and now, back to the folding!