Christmas Changes Everything

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ESV]

Christmas changes everything. 

Not the presents, the food or the fun. If we let Him, then the person of Christmas can change everything (and I don’t mean Santa).

Jesus changes everything. For Mary & Joseph. Parents who have their first child experiences a life changing moment even when they are not the Saviour of the world.

For the Shepherds. Busy at work, interrupted by a heavenly host. The excluded included, something Jesus demonstrates throughout His ministry and calls us to the same. 

For the Wise Men. Not fully comprehending all they were seeing in the sky yet willing to step out and go on the journey.

For all of humankind. There is a before Christ and after Christ moment. From BC to AD. Not just with time but in our individual lives this kind of moment can take place too.

Make Christmas 2016 such a moment. An after Christ moment. A life-changing moment, an included kind of moment, a begin the journey and see where God might take you moment.

Jesus Was Full of Grace and Truth

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. [John 1:14 Message]

Jesus moved in, was one of a kind and lived a generous life. We are now called to live these out in our own lives. Yet one more thing is needed.

Jesus led with grace while never compromising the truth of Gods word. And this is not an easy way to live. In a world that can often be all grace and no truth or all truth and no grace, as Christians we need the Holy Spirit to help us navigate this well.

Jesus had grace for sinners but not for sin. He didn’t judge and condemn the woman in John 8 like everyone else was ready to do. Instead he led with grace but acknowledged the sin and need for change by encouraging to ‘go and sin no more’.

This Christmas lets be slow to judge and quick to love and have a willingness to walk alongside people as they journey through the consequences of what ever decisions they made. Always good to remember to deal with the ‘log’ in our own eye before we comment on the ‘speck’ in someone elses.

Jesus Was One of a Kind

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We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory 

We continue in John 1:14 and see how Jesus moved in and was then described as ‘one of a kind’.

Jesus was definitely different. He was not your traditional religious figure, someone who saw themselves as above others or more important. Jesus crossed the line so many times when different opportunities faced him – he would forgive, he was moved by compassion, he would go beyond the law, he would confront, he would heal.

Jesus stood out in a good way. I wonder, do we?

Jesus stood for a cause that made a difference, not just in society but in people’s lives and for eternity. I wonder, do we?

Jesus was the ‘go to’ person if you wanted a turn around, some help, some teaching and wisdom in how to live life God’s way. I wonder, are we?

Often we stand out for all the wrong reasons, make no difference whatsoever and are definitely not the ‘go to’ person for any kind of help or wisdom.

Maybe this Christmas we should ask God to help us to stand out for Him. To be the right kind of one of a kind. To be different in the right way for Jesus (not weird) and by living for Him become the people those around us know they can come to for help, in all kinds of times.

Make Time This Christmas

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Over the next few days let’s take time to focus on the actual reason for celebrating at Christmas time.

Let’s get past the food, although that’s good. Let’s get past the presents, although I am hoping for some. Let’s get past the tv, although I’m hopeful for some half decent programmes.

Instead let’s pause, reflect and consider the reality of Jesus. Why he came from heaven to earth and how embracing the good news of a Saviour can change everything for ever.

Let’s push all the ‘stuff’ most people associate with Christmas aside and make that deliberate effort to thank God for sending His son. That God would be born as a baby, with all the risk involved in such a move. All so he could be here, dwelling amongst, Immanuel, God with us. 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [Isaiah 7:14]

Break With Tradition

Excited about the message for this Sunday night at Xcel. 

Traditions can be both good and bad. Is there life in it? Or has it just become something we do because we always have? 

Maybe this Christmas it’s time to break with some old traditions and begin some new ones.

To help in this message we will be launching the #xceladventchallenge and I’m designating United @ 5 this week ‘Sticker Sunday’. 

Don’t stay away. Why not come along and find out what I mean, join in the fun and the journey. Let’s mess with Christmas this year and see what God might have us to do. 

Enter The House

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. (‭Matthew‬ ‭2‬:‭11‬ MSG)

I love this simple, yet powerful picture as we observe the Wise Men in the Christmas story.

They enter the house where Jesus is. 
Being in His presence was important to them. They had travelled a long way for a moment that they didn’t really understand. It wasn’t enough to just be in the vicinity, they had to enter in to experience the fullness of all that was happening. 

Have I made this a non-negotiable in my lives? Am I doing all I can to enter the house where Jesus is?

They were overcome.
I imagine this was a special occasion for them. Their journey had reached its  pivotal moment and their awareness of all that was happening, naturally and supernaturally causes them to be overcome – in wonder, in revelation, in their hearts.

When was the last time I was overcome by entering into the presence of God? 

They kneel and worship. 
It must have just felt right to do this. When I enter the house where Jesus is I need to ensure that I am willing to respond in a way that feels right ~ with reverence, honour and humility. 

Am I coming ready and willing to worship my Saviour King?

They presented their gifts. 
We all have something we can give, regardless of the value we may give it. Perhaps it has to become less about what Jesus can give me and more about what I can bring to Him. That when I enter the House and worship Him, I give. 

Of what God has given me am I willing to give it back to Him? Am I presenting my gifts for Him to use for His glory?

I am praying that in 2015 my life with Jesus would better reflect these great attitudes. How about you?

Happy Christmas!!

Hope you are enjoying a fantastic Christmas with family and friends. Thanks for dropping by through the year and checking out my thoughts.

How ever you choose to celebrate your Christmas, just make sure that it’s not only about food, pressies and for many people, lots of alcohol.

Hit the pause button on all the other stuff that’s going on and remember to say thank you to Jesus. Don’t allow your Saviour to be pushed out on the day we choose to celebrate His birth.

My prayer for you in 2015 is that you may know His peace, His counsel, and His mighty hand on your life, that 2015 will truly be ‘your best year yet’.

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [‭Isaiah‬ ‭9‬:‭6‬ NKJV]

How Do You See Jesus?

Heard a story this morning about a little boy who upon reading the Christmas story was concerned by the swear words in it. The teacher was bemused by the comment and asked which words did he think were swearing. ‘Jesus Christ’ came the reply.

It’s an interesting story that maybe represents the culture of the day where the name of Jesus is known more as a word used when we are frustrated or angry than as the baby born to save the world.

How you use the name of Jesus? how do you see him?

I challenge you this Christmas to have a fresh look at the person of Jesus Christ. I encourage you to do some digging for yourself, read the Gospels in the Bible and discover the truth about Jesus and how he so much more than a swear word.

He is your Saviour.
He wants to be your friend.
He will always be with you.
He is alive.
He came that you and I could be restored in relationship with God.

Let this Christmas be the one where you find out that it’s about more than presents, food and beer. It’s about the joy of a baby born into our world to save it. Knowing the real Jesus might just change your life forever.