Jesus The Hope

WHAT DO YOU PLACE YOUR HOPE IN?
That is the major question from last week’s service. We as humans place our hope in all kinds of things. It’s natural for us to do so. Scientists tell us that as organisms we are always trying to achieve a sense of balance and safety in life and that when things get out of whack we fight to get that balance back. They call it “homeostasis.” We often put our hope in things that help us feel balanced; safe or happy because we are constantly seeking homeostasis in the moment.  The interesting thing is just how God doesn’t always seem to be concerned about this. He doesn’t always care to make us feel balanced – safe – or happy. He is in the business of real everlasting hope and that is what Christmas is all about.

It seems so interesting or ironic to think about how real everlasting hope was once found in the form of a baby in the midst of filth and poverty; born in complete anonymity; hunted by ferocity; with every strike against Him – and yet here was the hope of mankind: Fragile; tiny; and lowly. A lot of the stuff we place our hope in tends to be big – advertised; glitzy, glamorous; complete with huge promises, or we have people singing songs about it on the radio. The irony of the Christmas story is how there is none of this here. Hey; even after all this time – the hope of the manger is still easily obscured to us by all the glitz and glamor of Christmas time – yet the eternal everlasting hope of the manger shines more brightly throughout history than any of the things we put our hope in. Ten thousand years from now we will look back not on the 70 or 80 Christmas’s we celebrated – or how successful our stock portfolio was – or how many friends we had on Facebook – or where our kids went to college – or how big our inheritance we that we left for our kids – or if our kids remembered us fondly after we died. No, ten thousand years from now we will look back at that moment in the manger as the moment hope broke into the world – almost unseen – almost unknown – with very little fanfare; but quiet; peaceful even.

This week, my hope is for you to be reminded of the hope of the manger.

Here’s a song for you this week:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E

Have a great week everybody

Pastor Ryan



Jesus The Humble Servant

Hi Everyone!

I want to thank Dennis for opening the Scriptures with us and taking time to explore a powerful truth about Jesus. He is a humble servant. As a matter of fact – it is often said that the Gospel of Mark is written with the intention to communicate this theme. John Mark wanted to communicate in his gospel that Jesus is a suffering servant and the Messiah. I appreciated Dennis’s point in bringing us back to Philippians. Let me remind you of what Paul says to us in this powerful letter:

Philippians 2:5-11

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,

8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

As we examine just who Jesus is this Christmas – there are some powerful lessons for us to learn and for us to try to emulate. One of these years I’d like to do a series titled:  “How to survive the holidays – with our ______ intact.” This is a great point to emphasize in a series like that. How do we survive with our hearts; heads; souls intact? Make Christmas more about serving Christ and others and less about serving ourselves. Maybe this is a point of emphasis for us this week. How do we keep close to our hearts that Jesus becoming a baby in a manger – and then becoming the sacrificial lamb of God to save us – was an act of service? He served us even though we did nothing to deserve it! Maybe it starts for us – every time we see a manger – or a nativity scene – to be reminded that this is a picture of one of the greatest acts of service the world HAS and WILL ever see.

When we are reminded of the great act of Jesus to serve mankind – to serve us – it is not a far leap for us to be reminded of Paul’s call for us to serve each other. What might it look like for us to seek to serve others this holiday season? To do some specific things to love on others and meet needs.

Lately my children have been writing their christmas gift wish lists. I’m often reminded of how ironic it is – that this is Jesus’ birthday party and we are giving each other presents. Do we give Jesus presents on His birthday? Well – that’s an interesting question. I think Jesus may be one of the toughest people to shop for ever! How do you give a guy who has the whole world in His hands a present??? But then again – didn’t He make it clear what He would love for Christmas? Do we stop and ask ourselves or maybe even ask Him: “Lord Jesus – what would you like for Christmas this year?”

My family is beginning to ask this question. I think if you were to search the Scriptures looking for this – you’d find some pretty clear Christmas present ideas for Jesus: Serve and love the poor – the oppressed – the widows and orphans – and serve each other. I think He’d also love time with you this Christmas. You are His beloved. I think He’d love to spend time with you. So there are all kinds of ways to give Jesus presents but it seems serving each other would be a huge start.

I pray you might be blessed this Christmas as we follow the example of our great Savior and King; Jesus; the humble servant. I want to give you a couple links of websites that can help you give a really great gift to Jesus this Christmas:

http://www.compassion.com/

http://www.worldvision.org/

Be blessed my friends!!!!

Pastor Ryan