Friday, October 30, 2009

The Beginning of Thanksgiving

3"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice..." (1 Peter 1:3-6a)

In a few weeks, I'll be preaching a message on Thanksgiving.  This past Sunday, I taught on "Weathering the Storm" - one of the keys to weathering any storm; in fact, one of the keys to a happy life in general is having a default mind-set of Thanksgiving.  And to put it simply, Thanksgiving starts with the gospel.  Read the above passage carefully...and consider, Peter is writing to a church that is experiencing persecution and trials.

Thanksgiving starts with the gospel...and what is that gospel?
- Praise be to God...Thanksgiving starts with praising God
- In His great mercy...It's recognizing that God made the 1st HIS great mercy...
- New birth into a living hope...It's remembering what we were saved from...and what we were saved to
- Through the resurrection of Christ...Our new hope is made possible ONLY because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  If Christ is still in the tomb, our faith is dead...but He's not.
- Into an inheritance...This is incredible news.  We, Gentiles, have been grafted into the vine, adopted as sons and daughters with the full rights.  What rights?  The right to inherit the kingdom of God
- Who through faith are shielded by God's power...When you walk into that inheritance, you also walk into the protection of God.  His power shields us...
- In this you greatly rejoice...The book-end.  We start with praise, we end with praise.

Thanksgiving starts with the "good news" of the kingdom of God and His rescue of all of us.  When is the last time you pondered that message?

Take a moment and quiet your heart, and "be thankful."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where Have I Been?


"When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place." (Matthew 14:13)

Life has come at me pretty hard lately, and necessitated some time of rest.  Even Jesus needed to rest...and so I've taken some time the past 3 weeks to rest.

That short passage above comes right on the heels of Jesus hearing about the beheading of John the Baptist.  It has struck me a bit, lately, and comforted see the example of Jesus...when things got heavy, he would get away and rest.

Resting encompasses a lot of things; it's both saying "no" and saying "yes."  It's saying "no" to the things that drain you, to the things that aren't quite so important, and saying "yes" to things that bring life, to things that bring you closer to Christ.

Resting is a is hard to do...especially in our "works based" American model of living which goes something like this; work hard = success.  Rest is not a priority in our culture...

But rest IS a priority in God's Culture.  6 days He created, and on the 7th, He rested.  And so God set aside the 7th day and made it holy.

I encourage you, friend, take some time to "rest" - say "no" and say "yes."  You'll be amazed at what happens.

"Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. " (Isaiah 40:31 NASV)