Archives For Christmas

Joy to the World!

December 19, 2011 — Leave a comment

Christmas is such a special time of year to me for so many reasons. I enjoy all the sights and sounds, the friends and family, and, of course, the food. However, there’s something I like even more than all that. Each year at Christmas, my church, along with thousands of other Southern Baptist churches, shines a light on international missions.

I have missionary friends in literally every part of the world. These are people who sacrifice much for the sake of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with people who need to know Him as Lord and Savior. Today I’d like you to take a moment right where you are to pray for our international missionaries. Pray for their safety, their obedience, and their families. Most of all, pray that God would use them in incredible ways to impact the Kingdom.

From the comfort of our own homes, it can be difficult to really relate to what many international missionaries endure for the sake of the call. I’ve had the privilege already this month of meeting several new missionary families in person. Their call is evident. Their passion is contagious. Their commitment is clear. Whether here in the United States or around the world, the commission of Christ-followers is to go and share the love and message of Christ at every opportunity. I am immensely grateful for these missionaries who leave their families to go and serve in places where most of us probably wouldn’t desire to go.

If I’ve learned anything at all from my missionary friends, it’s that the love of Christ knows no boundaries and no limits. I invite you to take six minutes of your time right now to watch this beautiful video, put to the world edition of Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God.” I think you’ll be blessed as your heart is drawn to the unreached people all over the world.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
– John 3:16-17 (ESV)

That’s the essence of Christmas. God loves us so much that He gave the perfect gift by sending Jesus to be our Redeemer. “Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!”

Is there any particular people group or region of the world that your heart is drawn to pray for?

When Holidays Hurt

December 16, 2011 — 3 Comments

Those who know me can attest to the fact that I absolutely love the Christmas season. Really, everything from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day is just fun and festive. I enjoy the music, the lights, the parties, the food. I just like it all.

One of my dad’s favorite Christmas songs is Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.” For many this year, the holidays are proving especially challenging — even blue, as the case may be. I know a number of people who have lost loved ones and are spending their first Christmas without a spouse, a child, a mother, a father, a sibling, a grandparent, or a best friend. For those who are grieving a loss, Christmastime can actually exacerbate their feelings of sadness and loneliness. Many of these people will make a brave effort to carry on. They may have managed to haul out the decorations, put up the tree, and listen to some festive music, but it’s just not the same.

The very memories that comfort can also evoke a deeper pain. Little things the person never even thought about before are now right at the forefront of the mind. They run across an ornament that held special meaning for their loved one, and their eyes begin to water. They hear a silly Christmas song that used to drive their loved one crazy — or a sappy movie often shared together — yet somehow this year that memory just underscores the sense of loss. They cook — or are served — a favorite holiday food their loved one just couldn’t do without, and it just doesn’t taste the same. During times like this we often discover a profound truth: The things we thought we loved most were really only loved because of the ones we shared them with.

There are many firsts that are hard to handle: Continue Reading…