Month: December 2018

Remembering & Forgetting

And Getting Them Right…

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead… (2 Timothy 2:8)

…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on…  (Philippians 3:13-14)

The problem with the human race is that we remember what we should forget, and we forget what we should remember.  (Jeffrey Arthurs)

What are you remembering (holding on to, ruminating on, fixating on, stuck on and in) that you need to forget? What old tapes are playing in your head? What old identities do you revisit? What past indiscretions (okay, sins) can you not stop thinking over? What bad choices do you still regret? What broken relationships still haunt your memory?

This is what you MUST LET GO. For you are a new creation in Christ. The new has come, the old is gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are forgiven. As far as the east is from the west, all the transgressions, failures, messiness, brokenness, guilt, shame, and more is REMOVED FROM YOU (Psalm 103:12, but be sure to read the entire Psalm).

What are you forgetting (neglecting, ignoring, minimizing, marginalizing, overlooking) that must be front and center in your awareness? Are you forgetting …

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My Christmas Traditions (Pastor Aaron Kunce)

Today on the blog, Aaron Kunce, our Pastor of Congregation Life, shares some of his favorite Christmas traditions.

What I really love about the Christmas season is how we turn again to the opening pages of the New Testament and allow the Gospels to speak into our lives. We take a fresh look at the Christmas story and reflect on what it has to say about who we are and how we should live in light of Jesus’ birth.

The decorations of the Christmas season I like best are the ones that draw me back to the story of Jesus’ birth. In our home, the nativity scenes, the Moravian star we have hanging, and the way we decorate our Christmas tree all gently remind us of the awesome story of the Nativity.

Some of our simple family traditions that have been the most meaningful include gathering at church to worship together and stepping out into the cold to ring bells for the Salvation Army. Also, every year we get together with extended family for feasting and fun. And usually we (very informally) reflect on our year, remembering and celebrating God’s goodness in our lives. And we begin voicing some personal …

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My Christmas Traditions (Ryan Lewis)

Today on the blog, Ryan Lewis, our Worship Leader, shares some of his favorite Christmas traditions.

One of my earliest childhood memories is standing next to my Grandpa in church singing “Joy to the World.” As we would get to the end of the last verse he would lean down in my ear and echo the singers, in deep bass harmony: “and wonders of His love.” It would make me laugh each and every time, in both amazement (“Pap! How can you sing different than everyone else and still make it sound good?”) and amusement (his last name is “Wonders”).

I’ve come to realize this was my first experience with irony. Thus, a memory was cemented in my mind. I understood in my little way that there was a unique significance to this song and this line.

Each year my family gathers at one of the Wonders’ homes on Christmas day. Food, family, relaxing, catching up. As a kid I felt the privilege and gift of having a family with relatively low dysfunction. This was mostly due to the legacy my Grandma and Grandpa started in their family by accepting Christ and absolutely transforming their lives.

My Grandpa says that …

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My Own Christmas Traditions (Pastor Brian Rice)

I have mostly fond memories of Christmas. Mom and dad made it a great time with their delicious chocolate chip cookies, some with oatmeal. Skip the raisins, please. What a way to ruin a great cookie! We had steamed shrimp on Christmas Eve. Stockings hung on the stair rail leading to our family room, where the SKH Christmas tree was loaded with decorations (usually by mom). My brother and I would just toss the tinsel on the tree.

As Christmas drew closer, more and more presents appeared under the tree.

As kids, my brother and I were up insanely early on Christmas Day, but forbidden to wake mom and dad before 7:00 a.m. We were never able to last that long.

Many years later, after I had become a Christian and started learning the ways of Christian faith, Living Word’s traditions became so powerful for me.

Thanksgiving Cardboard Testimony Sunday is like a warm-up for this season.

We have loved being a part of the Christmas – It’s Not About Us and Seasons of Service ways of generosity through Living Word.

Becky and I ring the bells for the Salvation Army every year.

We do Operation Christmas Child and help …

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Your Best Christmas Ever!

Christmas Season 2018: What if … just maybe … perhaps … possibly… it could be your best Christmas ever? What do you think? What would you like?

I was talking with our worship and preaching team the other day and I mentioned there are three challenges we have with every new Christmas season.

First, there are some people who have very little understanding of “the reason for the season.” Their experience of Christmas is the diminished holiday we have created in the United States – frantic spending, tinsel and glitter, and Jesus as a politically incorrect, inconvenient truth during X-mas Time. How do we help people who have this as their setting discover a radically different (real and authentic) Christmas experience?

Second, there are some people for whom life is hard, important relationships are broken, dreams have faded, hope is elusive, peace a distant reality, and frankly, life is hard, messy, and broken. The glad tidings, the warm feelings, and the rich relations of this cheery season only serve to make the pain of loss and loneliness that much harder. How do we invite people who live with pain to dare to hope? To risk reaching out to take hold …

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Inspire Me

 

In his book, Who is This Man?, John Ortberg says, “Everyone is wearing an unseen sign that reads: Inspire me. Remind me that my life matters; call me to be my best self; appeal to whatever in me is most noble and honorable. Don’t let me go down the path of least resistance. Challenge me to make my life about something more than the acquisition of money or success.”

I know that describes me. I want to be inspired. I want to be moved. I want to be called and summoned to something better, greater, higher, and more weighty than the daily routines.

I am not saying I need to live with an artificial high or with emotional fervency 24-7. But I do need to be inspired. Regularly. For life has a way of draining and depleting the spirit.

Inspiration is to be “in-spirited.”

Inspiration is to have an infusion of spirit.

Enthused is a close cousin to inspired. En-thused is to have God (Theos) in you. To be possessed by God.

Enthusiasm: Possessed by God.

Inspiration: Possessed by the Spirit.

And that is exactly what the Spirit of the Lord does for us. We become the vessels …

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