Archive for December, 2012

contradictory faith?


the other night i was having an interesting conversation with a guy that’s becoming a good friend.  he was telling of a series of conversations with some folks he works with & his wife related to contradictions in life…

jumbo shrimp

military intelligence

insert some other sarcastic response here ________________

ultimately, one of the things that he was pulling out of those conversations was this statement about faith in Christ;

don’t be a contradiction

meaning this, does your faith have practical components to it?
or is it a private faith & is deeply personal?

in my time in ministry i’ve performed & attended plenty of funerals that the family say “he/she had a strong faith, but it was something that was very private & personal?  they kept their belief to themselves.”

i do think we can keep our faith private.  i think we can believe in God & attend church & have moral convictions without being vocal & boisterousness about it.  it can be this very quiet thing that’s a part of our life.  but, if your faith in God is truly alive & active in you then it will come out of you; i don’t think you have much of a choice on keeping it to yourself.  if God is active & alive inside you it’s going to come out, there’s only so much you can do to bottle it up.

so it must be both; it must be highly personal & connected to the Father

it must also be something that is seen and lived out in front of & affecting others lives

so, does your faith in Christ have a highly practical component to it, or is it something that we tend to hide & say, “this is just for me” or “i don’t want to offend anyone who may not believe like me” ?  i don’t believe there is any room for us, as followers of Christ, to excuse ourselves from the table of good works in favor of a position that says “we’re interested in the spiritual needs of people, not just the physical needs.”

james 2

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

so, make sure there’s a physical component to your faith, where you and i are seeing our faith in the actions & lives of other people.

Holiday-Christmas-Gifts-Redknee-deep in the Christmas season, plans coming together, gifts being purchased & shipped; Christmas songs seemingly in every store.  i was in a store just the other day & there were 2 versions of songs i thought i knew but the tempo was all wrong & much too cheery for those particular songs.

oh wait, did i just say that something new was not so good, and i preferred the old??

…oh no!


this season, i am again reminded about the 1st century conditions & climate of the world Jesus is born into; dirty, corrupt, loads of people in need, the gap between the “have’s & have-not’s” growing…anything sound familiar?

just the other night someone said, as we were having this very conversation about gifts & giving, that we tend to walk around with our yard stick &  measure up the lives or gifts of others based on our thoughts & presuppositions [our yard stick].  this is fraught with all kinds of problems from how much we spend [gifts] all the way down to how much we think we need a savior.

there is a growing trend, movement of people that are doing their best, in their corner of the world to return Christmas to Christ.  everything from give relational gifts, to reach into dark places & being Christ to some people.  just a brilliant approach to what we do with this season.

there can be a struggle in figuring out how to do this.  we’ve been so steeped in what Christmas has looked like that we’ve all drunk the kool-aid & simply don’t see a way out.

advent conspiracy has some wonderful ways to make the season memorable without going further into debt or simply over-spending.  on the right @ the bottom of their home page is the [AC calendar].  download the PDF & there you’ll find QR codes for every day of december.

sidebar…i don’t think it’s ok to say, “well, if i have it, isn’t it ok to spend it?”  the answer is “NO!, it’s not ok.”  i don’t believe that Jesus was sent so that we could, through our hard work & self-driven effort, have a great life.

the download from advent conspiracy, with QR codes, is about raising our awareness as Christ-followers.  i truly believe that the way the world changes is connected to our sense of compassion for those in need & the way God uses that compassion to move us into action.

so come on, download the PDF, print the poster, hang it in your house/office, and use your smart phone for something more than facebook & pintrest.  [not that those things are bad]

in the words of advent conspiracy: let’s find ways to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all