Thursday, December 16, 2010

Identity Reformation - Living Our New Nature (new FB page)



My friend Jim Robbins has started a new page on Facebook called Identity Reformation - Living Our New Nature.  In Jim's words, he created the page "to showcase authors/bloggers/publishers who support the good and noble heart message."  I think the page is destined to be a great resource as it will feature all kinds of new-heart / new-identity / grace-based writings, links, blogs, videos, etc, from various people. So far the contributors to the page include me, Jim Robbins, Gary Barkalow, Kevin Miles, Bob Regnerus, Matt Gillogly and Andrew Farley.

If you're on Facebook, go to the link and "Like" the page, and then postings to the page will show up on your FB wall.  If you're not on Facebook, WHY NOT??  Haha!!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

So You Want To Keep Christ in Christmas

As I was leaving a grocery store yesterday, an older man was loading up his van with groceries.  Out of the blue he began chatting with me, and I noticed a "Keep Christ in Christmas" button pinned to the side of his stocking cap. As he leaned over to put some bags in the back of his van, it was almost as if he was purposely trying to get me focused on the button - taking longer than necessary to settle the bags down, with his head tilted unnaturally with the button facing directly toward me. :)

He looked up and saw a few snowflakes falling and said with a grin, "Looks like it's starting!"  (Our first major snowfall of the season was in the forecast.)  As we chatted about that, he began to tell me that he had just sold his snow blower and all he had was a shovel to take care of his small driveway, because (from what I understood from him) he had recently moved into a smaller place and figured he wouldn't need the snow blower any more.  "I hope that's true," he said with a wink, as if it really was no big deal to him.  And then he said, "I just am a very blessed person," and he continued telling me a tiny bit more about his life and how God had provided for him in various ways.  When it came down to it, I realized this was simply a nice, friendly man who seemed to like to pass cheerfulness on to others.

And that was that.  He got done loading his van and I said, "I hope you have a very Merry Christmas," and he responded with the same and added a "God bless you."

As I drove away I started thinking about this man and the whole "Keep Christ in Christmas" thing.  I thought to myself rhetorically, "was it the button that displayed Christ in this man or was it his friendly, cheerful demeanor?" I mean, Christ was exuding from this man - and the display of Christ-in-Him would have been there whether he wore the button or not, and whether Christmas was spelled "Christmas" or "Xmas." As I see it, Christ isn't on a button.  He's not on a t-shirt.  He's not even in a "season," including the "Christmas Season."  Christ is in you and me.  It's through you and me that Christ is displayed through you and me, if the truth of that statement doesn't get lost in the seeming redundancy of that statement. :)

Christ (the Living Being) is not displayed in the letters "C-H-R-I-S-T."  Christ (again, the Living Savior) is not expressed through the word "Christmas."  Think about it.  Is Christ still there when "the Christmas season" isn't being celebrated by people?  Does the life of Christ-in-us get displayed at other times of the year when no one says the word "Christmas"?  OF COURSE.  To take "C-H-R-I-S-T" out of the spelling of "Christmas" does not take away the Living Christ in any way, shape or form, any more than not saying the word "Christmas" during the other eleven months of the year takes Christ away.  It's not the letters of a word that make the word a living reality.

Something that I think is very important to note is that Christ's life in us is a 24/7/365 thing, not a seasonal thing. Some people think of Sunday as a "holy" day - a day that is set apart from the other six days as a special day of the week.  (And some still recognize sundown Friday to sundown Saturday as the "Sabbath," a day that is holy to them).  But just because someone recognizes one day as holy (set apart), doesn't mean that they should insist that other people regard it as holy. "Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it." (Rom 14:5-6).

Same with "Christmas." For starters, do you not know that "Christmas" is a man-made holiday/tradition (with pagan roots in the modern day celebration)? But pagan roots aside, it's still not God who told anyone to celebrate or set apart a special day or season that is based upon the birth of Jesus. If Christmas has become "holy" to you (set apart as a special day or season), please remember that it's not a God-ordained or God-sanctioned church holiday. It's a creation of man that has evolved over the years into various kinds of ways of celebrating it.  Don't get me wrong.  I love this whole "Christmas season" thing.  I really do.  It gives me much pleasure. I enjoy the time with family and friends, the parties, the exchange of gifts, and even the celebration of the birth of Christ.  But the point here is that Christ-in-me is 24/7/365, not a season, not a tradition, not a holiday, not a certain set apart time. It's life.

Be fully convinced in your own mind as you observe Christmas, and please allow others to be completely free to not observe it as you do, or to not "spell" it as you do, or to not say "Merry Christmas" as you do.  Perhaps "C-H-R-I-S-T" (those 6 letters) are "holy" to you in the word "Christmas."  Be that as it may.  But does anyone really need to be on a crusade to make sure that others see it the same way?  If so, perhaps you can start in France, where "Christmas" is spelled "Noël."  Where's "C-H-R-I-S-T" in that??? :)

And finally, "be kindly affectionate to one another." This is the 24/7/365 life of Christ is us.  As I said earlier, the life of Christ is not displayed in the letters "C-H-R-I-S-T."  Rather:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Rom 12:14-21)
In my opinion, any and all of this will always supersede the spelling of a holiday.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Help a single momma out and eat great food at the same time!

Help a single momma out, and get some great recipes and nutrition tips, etc all at the same time! Lydia's got a quiver full of boys that she's raising as a single mother (I know she wouldn't mind me saying this) and she's putting together all this great stuff every month to help provide for her family and to help others eat healthy and nutritious food! Get a super deal right now, the December ebook for only $5, or a combo deal of the December and Thanksgiving issues for only $8!

Here's the site for Divine Health.  Please do take time to browse around, and help a sister out if you can. :)