Imagine the best news ever was just announced; a cure for cancer was found, peace is reached in the Middle East, world hunger was solved. There would be dancing in the streets! Imagine a joy that was indestructible, not connected to a fleeting moment.
This is Christmas!
A clip addressing family holiday preperations from John Piper focuses on the message of the Angel who appeared to the shepherds. “Good News and Great Joy”. This embodies the message of Christmas. @DesiringGod tweeted Piper in powerful statement, “If being Jesus-focused is a killjoy for Christmas, you don’t know him.”
The truth about Christmas is that it is the greatest news and greatest joy that has ever come to humanity! It cannot be overstated. Any substitute for this message is a dim shadow of the truth in this holiday.
Just as I am trying with my family, I challenge your family to focus on Christmas in its truest sense this year.
Try to show your family that Christianity is news.
Carve out regular times for special activities.
Outdo the mythologies of the world by showing that Jesus is 10,000 times more generous and joyful than Santa Claus.
We are all writers. Even if you don’t realize it, we are. In emails, texts, school work, reports for your job, in so many ways we all write. The benefits of a journal are tremendous. That is partly why I blog. To be honest, I do for me as much (or more) than I do it for you. I also use the MacJournal software. It helps me reflect on my day/week/situation.
But do you reflect? I don’t do it enough.
While this helps in every area of life, it is particularly useful in your spiritual walk. To reflect on what God has done in the past gives us perspective for where are currently and where we want to go in the future.
In this Russell Moore video requested by DesiringGod.com, he discusses the ability to overcome writers block and the benefits of reflection. Soak in his 2:21 of wisdom.
Here is a fantastic article focused on a glaring deficiency among pastors, and really all believers. We can get so fixed on running “my race” for God in the day to day grind that we forget there is a biblical mandate to guide the next generation into maturity. If we don’t do it who will?
Here are his main points, but go read the full article:
Disciple Faithful Men: Paul is used as a rubric here. Do you have a Timothy?
Beware the Hezekiah Syndrome: After God grants 15 years of “added” life to the sick king, he goes off and parades Israel’s riches before Babylon, Isaiah prophecies coming captivity, but Hezekiah is content that there will be peace in his lifetime. (aka, sorry next gen, but at least I’m ok.)
Avoid Temporal Shortsightedness: it is easy to think only about the here and now, but the coming glory is always a key element in biblical living.
Cultivate a Far-seeing Vision: Contrast Hezekiah with Paul. It take intentionality and devotion, but it is our responsibility.
Invest in the Next Gospel Generation: 1) be personally devoted to Gospel ministry, 2) Notice those who rise to the top, 3) create context for youth to “practice” handling the Word, 4) Pray intentionally for God to raise up passionate hearts, pray for your replacement.