Saturday, December 22, 2012

Are You Ready To Worship?

In Exodus 19, the people are told to prepare to meet God.  They were to consecrate themselves so that they would be ready to approach a holy God.  I think that is good advice for us today.  Our worship experiences would be greatly enhanced if we prepared ourselves for our weekly meeting with God.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Go to bed at a decent time on Saturday night.  You will be better prepared to hear what God is saying if you are well rested.  
  • If it is available, read the sermon Scripture in advance.  By reading the passage for the sermon, your mind will already be thinking about what God is going to say to you.
  • Pray and ask God to prepare you to worship Him and hear His Word.  Ask God to speak to you in the service that day.
  • Take a few minutes before the service to confess your sins and ask for forgiveness.  When we approach God with a clean heart, we will be ready to honor Him.  
  • Arrive early to so that you won’t rush in unprepared for what is about to happen.   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Being Satisfied At Christmas

The prophet Isaiah asked, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”  (Isaiah 55:2)

We are often tempted to think that things will make us happy in the Christmas season.  Don’t forget that all this world can offer is temporary.  The stuff of earth can only bring momentary pleasure that will never really satisfy our souls.  If we are honest, we often feel empty and unfulfilled even when we get the best the world has to offer.

Remember that Christmas is about Jesus.  Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”  (John 6:35)  Jesus takes it to a new level when He says, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full”.   (John 10:10)  Jesus has come to fill this spiritual void that will never be filled by anything this world can give us.  If we are to have a meaningful and fulfilling Christmas, it must center on Christ.  

In this Christmas season, focus on Christ.  He is the bread of life that will satisfy.  Take time to read the Christmas story.  Like Mary, take time to ponder what God is doing. (Luke 2:19)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting More Out Of Christmas

Here are some things you can do to have a more meaningful Christmas.  
Read the Christmas story everyday as Christmas approaches.  You will find two different accounts in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2.  It will only take a few minutes to read one of the accounts.  You can read from Matthew one day and Luke the next day.   As you read these accounts many times, God will reveal new things to you.
Take the time to ponder the Christmas story.  Mary pondered what God was doing (Luke 2:19).  There is great value in just taking time to consider what God did when He sent Jesus to rescue us.  Maybe you could have a silent night just to ponder what God is doing in this season.  
Bless someone anonymously.  Find a person or family that has a need and help them without them knowing.  Remember, we are blessed to be blessing.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

5 Leadership Lessons From The Christmas Story (Part 2)

4.  Don’t rely on the same old stuff.  God showed up in a way that He never had before.       God came as a baby and was born of a virgin.  Our God is a creative God, and He uses different methods of getting the point across.  We should have the same type of creativity as we reach out to our community.  
5.  God is all inclusive.  As you read the story, you see young and old, male and female, shepherds and royalty, and Jews and Gentiles.  We have to make sure we include everyone.  We must move past prejudice and stereotypes to reach out to everyone.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

5 Leadership Lessons From The Christmas Story (Part 1)

  1. Don’t make God use a 2x4 to get your attention.  When Zechariah didn’t believe God that he and Elizabeth were going to have a baby, God shut his mouth.  That got his attention. We must learn to trust God’s Word.  Listen to Elizabeth a little later, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” (Luke 1:45)  Blessing will come when we trust God.
  2. Watch and you will see God working.  The Magi/Wise Men were studying the stars.  When they noticed a change in the stars, they knew something was happening and began to explore.  We must keep our eyes open to changes.  As we notice changes, we need to ask what’s happening.  I believe our observations will lead us to doors that God is opening.
  3. Seek and you will find.  This is a Biblical principle that is throughout the Bible.  We see the promise fulfilled in the characters of the Christmas story.  They were all looking for the Messiah, and they got to see Him.    Jeremiah 29:13 - You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.