Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why Are Celebrations Important?

Just this month we have already celebrated communion at church (June 5), my daughter Tiffany’s birthday (June 7), and Tyler’s 8th grade graduation (June 15). Tomorrow we celebrate Tiffany’s graduation from 6th grade. So, we might wonder, why are all these celebrations important? Do they put undo attention on the person or event?

Let me give my opinion on this, but saying that I do believe celebrations are important. First, they give us a reminder of what is happening. The celebration of communion reminds us that Jesus died on the cross so that we might receive forgiveness for our sins. The birthday celebration reminds us of the wonderful blessing of Tiffany being born 12 years ago. The graduations tell of the hard work and learning that the kids experienced in school.

Second, it gives us a sense of tradition. It allows us to recognize the significance of the person, or event, and binds us with those who have gone before us. It gives us a nice regularity to our lives as we celebrate the event monthly (like communion) or annually (such as birthdays or Christmas).

Third, it acknowledges the accomplishment. It is important to remember what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. Communion allows us to keep that fresh in our minds. It is important to remember our birth and that God created us special and unique (especially for Tami and me since we struggled to have our children). In terms of graduations, it gives praise to the individual who put in the work it takes to graduate.

Fourth, it helps us feel special. There is so much in life that can beat or tear us down. These celebrations allow us to feel good about who we are and what we have done. These celebrations lead us to believe that we are special, just as God believes we are special. It gives us a time where others encourage us by being part of the celebration with us.

Do you think celebrations are important? What do celebrations mean to you? Blessings.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

What Makes YOU So Right?

If you have ever tried to talk to someone about the Christian faith, someone who doesn’t believe as you do, you know that they are thinking: What makes YOU so right? There are many people who believe that the Christian faith is not the ONLY right way. They believe that there are many paths to God, not just Christianity. They believe that our thinking that Christianity is the only right way is NARROW thinking.

The truth is that it is Jesus, not me or other Christians who said in John 14:6, “..‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” What makes me so right is that I am sharing the truth of Jesus, God in the flesh. Jesus, the One who died on the cross and was raised from the dead so that we could have forgiveness of sins, and life eternal. Jesus, the One who said: “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in whom should not perish but have everlasting life.”

The truth is, people in our world like to have options. They have the option of staying home to eat, or going out to eat. They have the option of driving or flying when they go on vacation. Life is full of options. So, because of this, people want to have options when it comes to faith and religion. They don’t like to be told what is true and what isn’t true.

I trust in Jesus. I fully believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. There is great merit in who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. I have experienced His presence and power and forgiveness in my own life. Because of this, I don’t look at Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 to be limiting, but to be life changing and freeing. In Jesus I have discovered who I truly am, and the purpose I have for my life. In Jesus, I have assurance that I will dwell with God for all eternity. In Jesus I know that my life makes a difference, and is important.

I hope that you will open yourself up to this truth. Blessings.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Jesus Won a Choice for Us

There are many people, because of their economic conditions, that don’t have a choice in certain matters. Some people will never be members of a country club. Some people will never be able to attend a top academic university. Some will not be able to have a fancy wedding. And on and on it goes. We might think about this and think it to be unfair.

The good news is that there is something that is very fair, and that is salvation. Whether we go to heaven or not is a choice that everyone can make. This is because of what Jesus has done. As Jesus Himself said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Jesus gave His life on the cross so that people could choose to receive Him as their Savior.

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, there were two criminals by Him; one on either side. One of the criminals asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus got to heaven. Jesus said to the criminal: “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise!” Jesus wasn’t concerned about his status, or how much money he had. Jesus didn’t care about his reputation or his wrongdoings. At that moment, that man was in essence asking for forgiveness from Jesus, and receiving Jesus as His Savior. With this, Jesus told the man He would be in heaven.

Because of Jesus’ victory over death, Jesus has won for us a choice: the choice of heaven. Because of Jesus’ victory over Satan, Jesus has purchased us from death to life. Because of Jesus’ victory over sin, Jesus makes it so that we can choose to be free of our sins!! How wonderful are these choices we have to make. May we make them well. Blessings.