Monthly Archives: December 2010
I’m going to start a charity to put Lexi in dance and voice lessons, because she already knows how to soak up the spotlight.
The REAL story of Christmas as told by The Gospels of Mattew and Luke
(Matthew 1:18-25) 18This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus
(Luke 2:1-20) 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
(Matthew 2:1-12) 1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
I had to post this. A friend and mentor in magic doing a silk routine with his adorable daughter. Please do not watch my trick immediately after watching this. That way you will forget how good Craig is and not compare him to my poor performance. Enjoy
Rockin’ out at Radiant Life this morning. What a great morning of worship, teaching, and fellowship! What will you do to respond to Christ the Christmas?
I began this blog a year and a half ago. I started writing part 2 just a week after part 1 and forgot about it. I was going through my saved drafts and found this unfinished thought. So here it is, all pretty and revisited. Please read the first part to get you up to date.
No seriously, go read it.
Really, It won’t fully make sense unless you click here and go back and read it.
Its not that long, just a quick read to get you caught up. Please…
Ok, now that you have read the first installment, read part two starting… now!
What does God want for the church? As we look at the early church we will find church in her purest form. No big budgets, or large auditoriums, and no coffee or doughnuts . I’m not saying these things are wrong for the church. I’m just wondering what the people of the early church did without thousands of dollars in equipment and coffee to get them going. It must have been a boring service.
How did the early church entertain people, keep people interested, and make them feel welcome without these things? Well the answer is pretty simple. They loved…
I cringe when I hear people talk about going to a church because they feel good when they leave. That couldn’t be any further from the point.
A little less obvious misconception is the idea that we should go to church to “get fed”. People choose a church because they learn a lot or the church serves some need of theirs well, like childcare, art, business contacts etc. A good thought, but not the reason for church, and definitely not the ultimate goal of the church.
We also hear that people love their church because it is entertaining and they love the music/dramas/videos. OK, I think you know where I’m going by now. I’m sure Paul hired a band and rocked out to some killer worship music before he spoke to the people of Ephesus, or Rome.
I don’t think God’s intention for the church was any of these three things. All three of these things make church a “me first” concept. It wasn’t until our generation that church even considered being entertaining. The church was started to be centered around God or (if you would like me to use big words) theocentric.
At the heart of the church should be connecting with God, doing the work or God, and spreading the radical love of God. Anything else is extra gravy on the potatoes. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. -Hebrews 10 24-25
In Ephesians Paul explains the purpose of ministry to the church body, he says ministry is meant… 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. -Ephesians 4:12-13
In other words, the church is built to serve. We are a community of believers that “spur” (as the ASV puts it) each other on to love deeper, reach further, and ultimately serve our community, our nation, and our world.
One interesting side note*
Notice in the verses from Ephesians that Paul says it in this order. To equip people for works of service so that they may be built up until we reach unity in faith and knowledge. How do we get to faith and knowledge? First we serve. How does our church grow and build up? First we serve. Paul does not suggest that we study the scriptures so we know enough to serve. He does not suggest that we become a large church so that we can serve. He says to serve to become wiser in the scriptures. He says we serve to grow our church. He says, first we serve.
The perfect church is not “me first”. She is “Christ first”. She is centered around us (the Christ followers) utilizing our gifts, strengths, and passions to love as Christ loved, by serving our community, our nation, and our world. She is theocentric.
There’s something magical about Christmas, especially when you have a Christmas party with a bunch of magicians. My beautiful wife accompanied me to the United Magicians Association’s Christmas party tonight. After a feast made by Boston Market and a little fellowship we got to top off the night with Holiday Magic. We got to see Glen Yost float Rudolf’s nose around the room. Craig Stone did an amazing routine with his daughter using nothing, but a pink hanky. I finally got to witness the infamous thimble at work on the fingertips of Buddy Farnan. Mike G, Leon the Illusionist, and Haydini all graced the stage.
What a great night! It was the best night of magic (overall) that I have seen at a UMA meeting. There may be video to follow shortly, but for now just check out the pictures. Check out a couple more on my facebook page.
1. Marry the woman of my dreams
2. Live in/near NYC
3. Watch David Blaine live
4. See the Panthers or Bobcats (or any Carolina based professional basketball, football, or baseball team) win a Championship.
5. Have my mom watch me graduate with a bachelors degree
6. Go to a Garth Brooks concert
7. Adopt a child
8. Visit Rome and London
9. Design and draw a tattoo on my wife
10. The tenth one is a secret and a work in progress.
Have you written out your bucket list. Now I have and you are my witness. I was inspired by a possiblity of seeing Garth next week. I have already kind of seen him. When I was about 15 we went to the Rockefeller Tree Lighting. Garth performed a song or two and we couldn’t see him at all. We could barely even hear him. I am really hoping #6 will be crossed out next weekend. I am working directly on several of these and indirectly on all of them except #4 and #8. What do you think? Am I missing anything?
What a great week! Its been a week of family and fun. Jesalyn’s family was all together for a short couple days to celebrate Christmas (a little early). Her brother, Bobby, and his wife come in town from Florida. Her sister Delyn, and her husband and daughter come in from Wilmington, NC. Jesalyn took a couple days off work and I worked my week around this weekend so we can all just enjoy being together. It has been such a needed break from the stresses of life.
We exchanged gifts on Thursday morning following a brunch fixed by Jes’ brother. Here are some pictures of the family. Morgan (Jesalyn’s niece) had a great time. She got the Hello Kitty ear muffs in the picutre, a diary (with a lock and key), tons of clothes, a YooHoo fuzzy toy that she has “always wanted”, stickers, and tons of crafts. Jes and I got her the diary and fuzzy toy and it made my day that she would not put either one of them down. She carried the diary everywhere she went making sure everyone knew they couldn’t read what she was writing.
Last night we took a trip to Salisbury for dinner with Bobby and Grace and an old friend from Asheboro. We had a great dinner and followed it up by bowling for a couple hours. There’s nothing quite like the nostalgia of small town bowling alleys. It was complete with a retro snack bar and a DJ.
We still have an evening planned tonight. I’m looking forward to dinner with her parents and Bobby and Grace followed by a night hanging out with B&G. This week has flown by. It has been full of fun and family. Its amazing how you get caught up in life and forget the importance of family. Jes and I have been blessed with amazing families. I thank God for them all the time, but its times like these that make me realize just how blessed we are.