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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Look to the Son || guest blog by Ryan Lewis

Monday. 5:30 AM

You hit snooze twice, hoping that 18 more minutes of sleep will give you that edge you need to conquer another day. But 5:48 finds you stumbling into the kitchen and wiping up drops of your spilled coffee, just before getting yourself dressed for the day and searching for the keys you swear you left on the counter. You rush off for another day, blink, and then fall into your mattress at night and do it all over again.

But there is an incredible thing that happens when we can clear away this debris of a frantic American middle-class lifestyle and simply be with the Lord … even just for a moment. When we connect with God our priorities shift ever so slightly. Once you spend a few more moments with the Lord every day, your life actually begins to right itself, giving you the life and energy you need to conquer what is set before you. You think clearer, you are more in touch with the wisdom of His spirit, and your very countenance begins to change as you surrender your chaos to the one who is holding it all together.

The new song we shared …

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The Reckless Love of God || guest post by Ryan Lewis

We are introducing a new song at Living Word this Sunday called “Reckless Love”. We look forward to singing this together as a church family, considering our own stories and how fiercely the Lord’s love pursues His children. 

My small son Jude is just learning how to color. He has absolutely no desire to keep his crayons within the outlines of his coloring book, let alone the page itself. He doesn’t play by the “rules” of coloring. Jude’s artwork is completely uninhibited. He doesn’t care what others will think.  

Our God’s love has that same pure, uninhibited quality. He sometimes moves outside the lines of our understanding that we expect Him to stay within. Jesus himself completely frustrated anyone who thought they had a good grasp of the nature of God, and this is evident through so many of His interactions recorded in scripture. He was constantly correcting, reorienting, and rebuilding our understanding of God and the nature of His love.  

One of the ways God “colors outside the lines” can be seen in the way he pursues us. Humanity is so broken and undeserving of His love. And yet, God sent His son to die for us, knowing …

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Our Wealth Is in the Cross || guest post by Ryan Lewis

We’ve recently introduced a new song to our church family called “Crowns.” When I first heard this song, I was at once convicted, humbled, and motivated to invite Jesus Christ again onto the throne of my heart. Soon after, I felt the Lord telling my spirit that this was a song we needed to sing at Living Word.

It is so easy to let the beautiful things God has created in this world become number one in our lives. Success becomes a god. A significant other becomes a god. Money becomes a god. A favorite vice—harmless or otherwise—becomes a god. We are so prone to magnify the creation, rather than worship the creator.

“Crowns” specifically addresses what is arguably the highest secular deity in our culture. Financial prosperity is often the gateway to other things that we value, so it becomes that one thing we feel we must chase at all costs.

The second verse of “Crowns” is:

I will not boast in riches
I have no pride in gold
But I will boast in Jesus
And in His name alone

Jeremiah 9:23 provides a command from the Lord: “Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom. Don’t let heroes …

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