Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

Burned Out Christmas Lights   Leave a comment

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

The Christmas lights I grew up with were so much easier to work with. If a bulb burned out somewhere in the string, it was because the first non-burning light bulb was no longer working. All you had to do was replace that first bulb and the rest of the lights would come back on.

As time would have it, Christmas lights have evolved like everything else. Now when a section of lights goes out, it is not nearly so simple a solution. In fact, it could be any one of those bulbs that might have burned out. It could also be that somewhere in that section one of the tiny wires has broken and the bulbs themselves are actually fine.

Pre-lit trees have been even less friendly to me. Heaven help you if one of those bulbs burn out or you have a broken wire somewhere in the tree. The last time we encountered this, we ended up cutting all of the lights out of our formerly convenient tree and replacing them with strings of loose lights. When replacing problem A with problem C, sometimes it seems best to revert to problem B. It’s a trap!

When I hear the story of the shepherds in Luke 2:8-20, I hear a lot of narratives. One that stands out in my mind today is how the glory of the Lord shone about the whole scene when the angels were delivering the Good News about the birth of Jesus. Biblical interpreters refer to this as a radiant light. It’s the kind of light that would cause you to hold up your hand or arm to protect your eyes. Today, we would put on our sunglasses or hope our transition lenses would soon catch up to the display before us. Think Griswold’s house, you’ll understand.

But this light wasn’t blinding. As soon as the angels left and took the light with them, the shepherds huddled together and decided they needed to go find this child. I love how the text refers to their actions as hurried from there. They excitedly went into the village wondering where the child was, found him and worshipped, and then told everyone they saw the whole story about God’s presence and angels and a Savior. They had all become little lights who received their energy from the big light.

Isn’t that the job of all believers even after all this time? We are the little lights that still have the responsibility of shining on everyone we encounter. The light within us is the light of Christ. Scriptures offer plenty of examples of how we should never allow our lights to be covered or burned out.

Life happens, and this year’s events have certainly made it more challenging to shine. How does one live as a radiant beam when only seeing people in 2-dimensional Zoom meetings or over the phone? Everything is different, and what would be challenges any other time have been magnified many times over. Think of all those who have lost loved ones but have been unable to have formal services to declare that love. Think of all those situations where entire households have been wiped out. This of all those who have been out of work for nearly a year now and face life in the streets if something doesn’t happen soon. Think of all those healthcare workers who are worn to a frazzle. Think of all those who have seen injustice upon injustice because of the color of their skin. What happens when so many lights either go out or are turned off?

Your responsibility as a believer is simple and not designed to solve all the world’s problems. Shine where you are! That’s it. If you shine the light of Christ in the small piece of this world where you reside, then it is hoped that those encountering you will be encouraged to shine their lights. Do the math. If you shine and inspire the next guy or gal to do so, then they’ll inspire the next, and so on and so on. The next thing you know, the whole tree of your community is well lit for all to see.

This Christmas, shine. Sing about that little light of yours. Make it your Christmas song. You know the tune.

Easter 2020   2 comments

Anniversary   Leave a comment

15 years.  Incredible.  15 years ago today I began an adventure in full-time ministry.  The things I have learned since March 1, 1999 could fill volumes in a library and 800GB of memory.  Perhaps it is best if I just point out the bigger lessons…

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Wheelhouse   1 comment

How does God best use you?  I could go on forever about spiritual gifts, their uses and abuses, and how many folks get lost in search of theirs because they won’t accept assistance.  What I am talking about now is your “wheelhouse.”  A wheelhouse is to a baseball batter that one sweet spot where a pitch comes in and you can knock it out of the park every time.  In your experience, what would you call your wheelhouse? Read the rest of this entry »

Good Friday 2010   Leave a comment

I don’t want to overrun you with clichés, so pardon any that pop up anyway.  As I think of and prepare for Easter and the great celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, here are some thoughts that occupy my mind on this day…

  • My sins played a major roll in the need for Jesus to go to the cross.  Maybe Good Friday should be approached more as a day of mourning even now as it was back then.  Think about it, crucifixion was the most humiliating, brutal punishment the Romans could dish out.  This was not a glamorous event, but one of true terror, agony, suffering, and pain.  In a spiritual sense, this was the price required to pay for my sins.
  • Maybe mourning on this day is more proper, but let it also be said that we are all thankful that this was not the end of the story.  In His death, our redemption was secured if we simply believe in Him.  But had there not been a resurrection, then this would simply be a story of real tragedy and broken promises.  Since God’s word promised that the Messiah would rise again, we can rest assured of yet another of God’s promises kept.  Had this one been broken, then none of the rest would have mattered as much.  God does not break his promises!
  • So if I am mourning for my sin that caused the crucifixion, then I can also be assured in my heart that no matter what this Friday is doing to me spiritually, Sunday is on the way!  Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ but also His resurrection, I really can know that my Redeemer lives and that everything He said ‘will be’ is reality.  This means that my sins have been cleansed because I believe in Him.  It also means that as things continue to creep into my world causing sin, stress, and strife, I can still turn to my Living Lord and find forgiveness, rest, and peace.
  • Today, as I should every day, I regret with remorse the sins of my life.  But just as Jesus did with the grave, I will not stay in that situation!  My Savior arose and lives today and offers forgiveness and freedom for all who trust in Him.
  • I can’t wait to celebrate the resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ!