Pastor Josh sends a “Merry Christmas” from the the capital of his homeland.
I am not a “Happy Holidays” guy, but I do get frustrated with an unconvincing “Merry” in “Merry Christmas.” Why is it that so many who ardently wish others “Merry Christmas” are anything but? Last time I checked, it was good news of great joy, was it not? For the angel said,
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:10-14
This time of year we remember the good news of great joy that will be for all people. As followers of Jesus, there is simply no better news than that we have a Savior and that our sins are forgiven! In the midst of busyness – Christmas parties, obligations, shopping lists, and crowds can make for a dangerous combination. — do not neglect to recognize what started all this in the first place. Jesus loves you and came to give his life for you.
I too, at times, have been called a “Scrooge” and am adept at excusing my grumpiness by pointing to whatever holiday tension I am experiencing as the real culprit. But this year, I really want to set out and put the “Merry” back in “Merry Christmas.” For there really cannot be a celebration of Christmas any other way.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
(Psalm 121 ESV)
I was on a flight to Washington sitting beside a woman who had just dropped her freshman daughter off at college. Like most moms, she was the classic juxtaposition of happy and sad. She was excited for her daughter and the experiences to come, but a little sad (obviously) at the same time. As we were chatting she remarked, “I am thankful for Skype.”
July 4th, a day of patriotic celebration, filled with flags, fireworks and other combinations of red, white & blue, when we recall that through much bloodshed, the nation was born and independence secured. That and its my wedding anniversary.
I recognize that for the majority of you, July 4th is an odd day to have been married. You must not forget however, that I did not grow up here. And neither did she. In Canada you see (gasp!), it’s just another day in July (and one of only about 37 in which we anticipate hot weather). Truly, we meant no disrespect.
Yes, you gained your independence and I forever pledged to never have mine again. Fourteen years ago, I covenanted before God to take Kimberley Parkinson as my wife and it was one of my best decisions ever.
Kimberley is engaging and funny. She is a servant and she is sweet. She loves God and, most perplexing, me too. She is a dynamite mother and still (very likely) the cutest girl in the room. I was at my finest when I convinced her to say, “I do”.
This year I am away from my beautiful baby on our anniversary (and I assure you Jake France is no substitute) and will be so for a few more days. So while you celebrate your independence this day, please allow me to unabashedly say, I wish I didn’t have mine right now.
Happy Anniversary Baby. Long Live the Queen!
Like many other families across our country, our family decided to make use of the “extra” day off and take vacation this week. We are at the beach with my parents, my sister, and her family. It is a festive little weeklong Lindstrom soiree. We will swim, walk on the beach, collect seashells, make meals, and laugh amidst other beachy activities.
Yet, despite all the frivolity and fun, I have to stop short of saying “Happy Memorial Day.” This day is a sobering reminder that the freedoms we enjoy come at a cost. This is a cost that men and women are still paying even now and one that hundreds of thousands have paid since 1868 when our nation set aside this day to remember.
In Romans 13:4, speaking of those in authority who are God’s servant for our good, Paul writes, “For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” For all of the servants and avengers who have given everything, thank you. For those who are serving this day so that I can enjoy my family, thank you.
Truly we are blessed, blessed by the sacrifice of so many. Thank you.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? That question puzzled ancient philosophers and still today can evoke stutters, “um’s” and head scratching. For the followers of Jesus, we can put that question into the corner pocket every time — the chicken. Genesis 1:20 is pretty clear, God made all the living creatures. Even chickens.
But ask your same group of confident Christians, “Which comes first: faith or obedience?” You will again get some stutters, “um’s” and head scratching. Do I have faith that leads to obedience? Or does my obedience lead to faith?
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
If you have ever read Proverbs 27:17 and thought, “Man…that would be a great verse to have printed on a t-shirt,” you are not alone. It’s just the type of verse you would expect to see printed across the hoodie (Maybe the first part of the verse on the front, the end across the back?) of a guy leaving a men’s breakfast. And it would be a good choice.
Few things are as effective in molding Christian character as solid biblical friendships. The fruit of which yields accountability, encouragement & counsel:
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
Proverbs 27:5-6, 9
The trouble is, few people really stop to consider exactly how iron sharpens iron? I assure you, it is not by simply being together. Throw two dull knives into a drawer and bring them out at Thanksgiving, trust me when I say, ain’t nothing good happening to that turkey. Those knives are still dull.