The Season of Giving

Posted in Christian Lifestyle, Generosity, Giving, Seasons, Stewardship by PCraig on December 18, 2014

This is the season of giving.  I heard that 30% of all charitable giving occurs in the month of December.  That’s staggering!

It’s also concerning.  Is it really generosity if we only are motivated to give one time out of the year?  What about the rest of the year?

As a follower of Jesus, I am compelled to be generous throughout the year because my Savior is shows generosity every day.

I’m all about being generous at Christmas, because that is a big part of what it is about.  But, as a follower of Jesus, I must model a generous lifestyle throughout the year.  So, let’s be generous this Christmas, and then keep it going on through 2015.  Imagine with me what good could be done if that extra 30% of generosity maintained.

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The Power of Pondering

Posted in holiday, Margin, Perspective, Solitude, Time, Wisdom by PCraig on December 11, 2014

What would be your reaction to an angelic appearance and message from God, experiencing a supernatural birth and a bunch of strange men (shepherds) showing up at your door to worship your son?  Especially when these men explain that they have also seen angels who told them their Savior had been born in Bethlehem.  Strange occurrences.

Here is Mary’s (mother of Jesus Christ) reaction:  she treasures up all these things and ponders them in her heart (Luke 2:19).  What kind of person does that?  I think the answer is a wise person.  Foolishness often coincides with rashness.  People hurry up and get married, then later talk about how they should have waited.  Or, we quickly quit our job and jump out and take another to realize the grass isn’t any greener over here.

There is power in pondering.  Maybe it’s one of the reasons Mary was chosen to give birth to God’s Son?  David is another biblical character that pondered.   In Psalm 111:2 he writes, “How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them.”  Maybe that’s how David came up with so many great Psalms? He must have trained his son how to ponder as well to have come up with all the wisdom of the Proverbs.  He wrote, “haste makes mistakes”, maybe you’ve heard of that one?  It comes from Proverbs 19:2.

In the hustle and bustle of the season, let’s take some time out to ponder.  It’s in these times that we can come up with our greatest thoughts, make better decisions, and live with fewer regrets.  Sounds like a superior way to live.  Maybe God will choose us to do something great for Him, as we take time to ponder?  It may not be to birth the Son of God, but maybe we can birth a new business.  It may not be to become a great general of an army, but maybe we can generate people to follow Christ.  It may not be to wear the title of the wisest king, but we can still be known for making good decisions.

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Home Alone

Posted in holiday, Hope, Joy, Victorious Living by PCraig on December 4, 2014

I don’t know if you were a fan of the movie Home Alone from 1990 with Macaulay Culkin, but I thought it was hilarious.  As you probably remember, the plot was about a young boy being left home alone at the holidays by his large family.  Somehow, during the hassle of getting out of the house, they failed to notice that they were one child short.  This set up a chain of events around a couple of clumsy crooks who thought it was an opportunity to break in and rob the home while it was perceived empty.

Unlike the movie, there are true reasons why people are lonely during the Christmas season that don’t include miscounting.  The truth is, even though Christmas is a season of family, parties and togetherness, yet for many it isn’t.  If you find yourself facing Christmas alone, December can be the longest month of all.  Going into hibernation for a month isn’t a realistic plan, and like it or not, Christmas is coming.

There are a few things we can do to help cope with the holiday loneliness.  One of those is to pursue the presence of God in our lives.  People may leave us, but Jesus said He never would.  The Bible also promises that “in His presence is fullness of joy,” which can fill us up when we feel empty.  I’ll talk about this further and two more helps for loneliness this weekend.  (9 & 10:45 a.m.)

I hope you can be with us as we discover how to face the season when it might not look the way it used to.   Invite someone who doesn’t have to be home alone.

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