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A recap of my message “Battling Consumerism” (from the series “The War on Christmas”) in 140 characters or less.
- If you want to see consumerism at its worst, check out blackfridaydeathcount.com. #NewMorningProvo
- The wise men’s gifts were God-honoring, practical, and secondary. Do the gifts you give follow the same pattern? #NewMorningProvo
- “Beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). #NewMorningProvo
- Don’t let unwrapping presents be the highlight of your Christmas. #NewMorningProvo
- Based on the emphasis you give presents, what conclusion could be made about the meaning of Christmas? #NewMorningProvo
Be sure to follow @NewMorningFWBC on Twitter!
With Christmas less than three weeks away, I thought I’d share a few of the items that I have enjoyed this past year and recommend to others. If you’re still thinking of what to get the pastor, church planter, or homeworker in your life consider one of the following.
Lip balm from Lucky Tiger. I regularly carry a tube of this. It’s inexpensive, making it a great stocking stuffer. However, while you’re on the Lucky Tiger site you may want to pick up a few more products. I especially like their line of barbershop classics, though I personally haven’t shaved in a couple months.
A wool tie from the Tie Bar. I know giving someone a tie is sort of a cliché and therefore something to be avoided. I agree, when the tie is covered with piano keys or smiley faces. That’s not what you’ll find at The Tie Bar. They have a seemingly infinite number of patterns and materials. And with winter getting under way (we’ve already seen negative temperatures here!), wool is the way to go. I have bought several ties from them and am impressed by both their quality and price.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I reread this earlier this year. Unlike the first time I read it (in eighth grade for a book report), I couldn’t put it down! Even if one isn’t necessarily a Tolkien fan, this is a great story replete with adventure, humor, and wit. The second part of the movie will be released next week, making this particular book a timely gift.
Getting Things Done by David Allen. I suggest everyone read this book—it changed the way I work. Allen’s methods are easy to both implement and adapt to your situation. The individual looking for help in the areas of organization and productivity will find it to be a valuable resource.
A gift card from iTunes. You can spend as much as you want here and as such make this either another stocking stuffer or the main gift. It may give someone an excuse to buy the music or games they just couldn’t bring themselves to spend money on themselves, or the apps they’ve been wanting to try. I even suggested an app a few weeks ago that they may find helpful.
A subscription to Share Faith. For the pastor without staff this would be huge help. It has been for me. This site has so many materials available, from bulletin templates to PowerPoint slides, all of which are customizable. If he’s been creating these materials himself, this will free up his time. If he has never utilized such materials, this would be a simple way to start.
A recap of my message “Battling Traditionalism” (from the series “The War on Christmas”) in 140 characters or less.
- The influence of traditionalism is clearly seen in our understanding of the nativity story. #NewMorningProvo
- In the account of Jesus’s birth, the Bible doesn’t mention an innkeeper, stable, or that angels sung. Surprised? #NewMorningProvo
- “These…searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). #NewMorningProvo
- Our Christmas traditions should accurately reflect the Bible. People don’t need a cute story, they need the truth. #NewMorningProvo
- Is what you believe in line with what God has actually said in the Bible? #NewMorningProvo
Be sure to follow @NewMorningFWBC on Twitter!
Joe Delaney was a star running back for the Kansas City Chiefs back in the 1980s. On a summer outing in his native Louisiana, Joe suddenly turned his head when he heard shouts from a nearby construction site. Three young boys had been playing in the area and decided to jump into a pool of water formed by a recent downpour. Unknown to them, the pool turned out to be twenty feet deep and they were crying out for help. Hustling over, Joe reacted instinctively by jumping into the pool to save them. To stand on the bank would be unthinkable to him. The problem? He didn’t know how to swim very well. Somehow, his efforts allowed one of the boys to be rescued. But not Joe. In the attempt to save the lives of three children, he lost his own.
I can’t imagine the grief that befell this small community. They had lost their hero. And his mother? Though proud of his son’s heroic act, I’m sure she was devastated by his sudden death.
Let’s say that several months later, the father of the young boy who was saved by Joe’s heroic act was deeply troubled by the conflicting emotions of guilt and gratitude. Not knowing what to do, he may have sought out Joe’s mother and asked if there is anything he could do to help ease his conscience. A great cost was given to save his son’s life. Could he ever repay the debt? What could this man do that could ever come close to adequately satisfy her loss?
Sensing his anguish, Joe’s mother could have told him, “Honestly, sir, you can never pay me back for my loss—and that is something I have to live with. And that is something you will have to live with, too. Instead of being burdened by guilt that you owe me a debt, perhaps you can think of this as an opportunity to live with thanksgiving from a sacrifice that was already given. Your son’s life was worth saving, not because of what he did but who he is—a precious young soul more valuable than any treasure on earth. Out of appreciation for what my son, Joe, did for him, tell him to live out his life full of the grace and mercy that my son displayed. In doing so, you are thanking me—and my son.”
I can picture this exchange in an attempt to describe God’s forgiveness and mercy. Our response to forgiveness typically depends on how much was forgiven. In the father’s case, he knew full well the sacrifice that was given in exchange for his son. He knew the consequences if the rescue had not taken place. This was intensely personal for him.
And so is the case with our eternal life. It’s intensely personal. Christ rescued us from eternal torment and it cost His life. Our response is to not be burdened by guilt, nor pay Him back as a debt we owe—but to live out our lives with thanksgiving and gratitude for what has already been done on our behalf. The sacrifice has already been made and no other sacrifice is needed. Faith miraculously receives the full benefit of Christ’s completed work on the cross. Faith is what God desires and our life of thanksgiving is the appropriate response that God truly seeks. Our motivation to do good works is what honors God. Doing anything else in order to earn God’s favor would dishonor the sacrifice Christ has already given.
I am looking forward to my next sermon series, “The War on Christmas”, beginning on December 1! During this series we’ll consider how the battles waged by traditionalism, consumerism, secularism, and even evolutionism, threaten to undermine the significance of the season. As I’ve been conducting some initial study and research, I’ve found a number of items in the news where nativity scenes have been banned from public display. (You’ll hear about a couple of these in an upcoming message.)
That got me wondering, what’s the most outlandish lengths someone has gone to in order to protect a nativity scene? I couldn’t find news articles that dealt with that but I bet you have some ideas! So to promote this upcoming series, New Morning Church is sponsoring a photo contest. Would you use lasers and motion sensors worthy of a James Bond film? Submerse the whole thing in a tank of water to be guarded by sharks? Would you set traps that not even Indiana Jones could escape from? Show us and you could win one of three Amazon gift cards! See the official rules below and good luck!
- The contest is open to everyone—you don’t have to have attended New Morning before, or even live in Provo.
- Take a picture of your of your guarded nativity scene. You do not have to be in the photo yourself, but it is suggested. Props, costumes, and even digitally added effects are likewise recommended. Remember that this is meant to be fun and funny!
- Post your photo to New Morning Church’s Facebook page between now and Friday December 20. The account that posts the photo must belong to someone eighteen years old or older.
- The winner will be determined by the number of “likes” received by the original post on New Morning’s Facebook page. Be sure to have your friends visit the page and vote for you! First through third place will win Amazon gift cards in the amounts of $100 (first), $50 (second), and $25 (third). Additionally, for each contest entry New Morning will donate $5 to the Food and Care Coalition.
- New Morning reserves the right to disqualify and remove those photos deemed inappropriate (e.g., for depicting graphic violence).
- By submitting a photo, you give New Morning Church permission to include it among the announcement slides during our Christmas service on Sunday, December 22.
A recap of my message “Faith Concludes” (from the series “Mountain Moving Faith”) in 140 characters or less.
- Peace comes not from knowing the “why” of your circumstances but the “Who” that controls them. #NewMorningProvo
- Abraham “offered up Isaac…accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:17, 19). #NewMorningProvo
- “You teach people how to treat you” (@DrPhil)—God hasn’t given us any reason to treat Him as untrustworthy. #NewMorningProvo
- God keeps His Word, He controls the world, and He invite you to get to know Him as your Savior and Friend! #NewMorningProvo
- As the kid in this commercial asks why, he’s pointed to his father. http://bit.ly/1dObj3T There’s a lesson here for us. #NewMorningProvo
Be sure to follow @NewMorningFWBC on Twitter!