Friday, December 18, 2009
I got a Christmas card last night from one of my middle school students. (CLICK CARD TO ENLARGE) I'm going to keep it anonymous, but WOW, this card nearly brought Charity & I to tears as we read it last night!
Being in ministry can be one of the most thankless jobs--but in all the darkness of choosing a vocation that puts me right in the thick of the sin, brokenness, hurt, and crap that students deal with on a daily basis...there will always be a light--the light of Jesus--that pierces through the darkness and brings an overwhelming feeling of hope!
This card was that light! This card was that hope! Thank you Jesus for calling me into Youth Ministry.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Sorry for the lack of blogging this past month. Welcome to the Christmas season in the life of a Pastor! This is "go-time" for my life and my job. I preached on 1st advent which was an incredible experience!
You can download the sermon here: or you can search "Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship" at the iTunes store and subscribe to our sermon podcast.
A few weeks ago our Sr. Pastor shared a devotional that really spoke to me and has challenged me ever since hearing it.
"Jesus is God's Gift for the Naughty" (Matt. 21:23-32)
One of the worst Christmas traditions I know is Santa's naughty and nice lists. As the tradition goes, Santa gives presents to good boys & girls on his "nice list" and leaves lumps of coal in the stockings of the bad boys & girls on his "naughty list".
Parents use this tradition to compel their children into behaving in the weeks before Christmas, though I have never known one who has followed through on this threat! Still it has its effect and most children who, when threatened with a lump of coal from Santa, respond by acting nicely in order to get what they want on the big day.
Is anyone fooled?
After Jesus' authority was questioned in our text in Matthew, he told his listeners a parable about two sons--one "naughty" and one "nice"--that turned the lists around. The "nice" son was naughty at first when he refused his father's request. Later he repented and went to work in his father's field. the "naughty" son was nice enough to agree to this father's request though he never did what he was asked to do. The "naughty" one turned out to be the nice one, and the "nice" one naughty.
This season is a good time to remind ourselves and our children that no one is nice enough to deserve God's gift of salvation through faith in his Son. God sent his best gift, Jesus, for the naughty. This season is also a good time to remember that being a Christian isn't just about being nice. Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple, after all! Being a Christian goes beyond believing to yielding our lives to Jesus and to his authority, doing what God asks us to do.
True Christian faith is to be lived, not just believed.
Mark Issac, MDiv
Director of Advancement and Constituency Relations
MB Biblical Seminary, Fresno Campus
So I hope you take away from this message the same challenge that I did. Christmas is about Jesus...a gift that God sent us that we were not, and are still not worthy of....but yet he gave it freely to us! WOW. How amazing is that!