Each year, Black Friday shopping events bring amazing deals that create excitement for shoppers. During the holiday season we get excited about stuff and events, but do you get excited about Jesus?
There were a few people that saw the birth of Jesus like some of us might see the ultimate Black Friday deal. The shepherds, Simeon, and Anna; they were the Black Friday shopper’s for Jesus. The shepherd’s spontaneously went into Bethlehem when they heard the ad for the best deal in town. Simeon came to the temple for the door buster deal. Anna camped inside the store for the once in a lifetime event. The tragedy is that they didn’t have to push and squirm through a crowd. They were the only ones.
We can become so wrapped up in everyday life that we can be like the other people at the temple that day who had no idea or care who that little baby was. The Creator of everything was in the temple and only two people noticed.
As you prepare for Christmas, listen as Evan encourages us to find ways to be excited about Jesus. Jesus’ coming should excite you.
Scripture references: Luke 2:8-38; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
Robert Canen, Director of the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum, visited LJCF on Sunday morning. Mr Canen spoke about the work of the museum and why the Bible is the most critical piece of evidence when studying ancient earth and the origin of the universe.
Contrary to popular opinion, the question of human and physical origin is not a question of “observational science” alone (the kind of science you learn at school), but rather it is a question of “historical science” (science that relies on observational records from human history, theory and assumptions about non-observed and non-repeatable events). Since many conclusions of origins cannot be tested or repeated in a laboratory, the pursuit of origin must include information from nature (observation), philosophy, and theology.
In a culture that continues to draw a sharp division between science and religion, Mr Canen provides a winsome and thoughtful explanation as to why the biblical record must be considered evidence when studying earth’s ancient history and human purpose. While the biblical writings are not a scientific textbook (in terms of the material and method by which it provides information) these writings claim the authority of God the Creator and they speak to the question of origin. The Bible as a whole and in parts should not be discarded as critical evidence of origin simply because the Bible as a whole is not written like a modern day textbook. Science without God says, “In the beginning something happened”. Science with God says, “In the beginning God created”.
Do you find that your compassion for people many times makes you feel sorry for a person in need rather than the kind that compels you to loving action to help or pursue that person in need? Not just a compassion for people who might go to Hell, but compassion for the broken and needy alive today in this community?
Jesus certainly came to save us from Hell but it’s easy to forget that he also came to bring completeness to our broken situations while we are on earth. Compassion isn’t just about street evangelism and getting someone to make a decision for Jesus. This too is so important but we cannot forget that a compassionate heart responds to the brokenness all around us.
Evan takes us on an overview of compassion throughout the life of Jesus. Four ideas gained from the overview are:
Jesus was moved into action by Compassion
Compassion is not weak tears but God’s strong love shown through a variety of ways
Compassion compels us to cross cultural camps
Pray for compassion and watch as your eyes are opened to the harvest around you
Scripture Reference: Matthew 9:35-36; Matthew 14:13-14; John 8:1-12; Luke 9:49-56; John 2:13-17; John 11:32-44; John 19:10-11; Luke 7:36-50; Luke 10:2; Matthew 11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:1
Jesus wants to love and transform people. People are not transformed by attending a church or believing a certain fact about God. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, born of the Spirit, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” Humans are born by other humans, but spiritual life is born by the Spirit of God.
The power of the Spirit meets an imperfect and broken person exactly where he or she is at. The Spirit does not wait for a person the be transformed to better living before he meets them. Rather, he meets a person in their sinfulness and starts a life long process of transformation.
The Christian life is all about relationship. As long as you live, you will continue the transformation from sin to godly living. The Spirit transforms certain sinful behaviors soon after a person is born again and other times that sin is released years later. The spiritual effect of sin is taken care of and settled the moment the Spirt gives rebirth to a person, but the transformation from sinful to truly good living is a life long process.
As Christians, we must see others as Jesus sees us. Sin abounds and problems exist and we must seek out relationship with others in prayer and with much wisdom. Do we ignore our own sin? No! Do we celebrate and smile at the sin of others? No! Does that then mean you hate yourself and beat yourself up when you sin? No! Do you seek a way to reveal another person to their own sin? No! Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will reveal my sin to me and their sin to them. My job is to love unconditionally, accept without reservation, and be ready to offer forgiveness 24-7.
By doing this, we will begin to see as Jesus saw, feel as Jesus felt, and do as Jesus did. As this begins, we will find ourselves living and acting like Jesus did. He did not condone sin, but he did not make a point of specifically condemning everyone’s sin. Rather, he was filled with compassion and he told the truth in living relationship with others. When sin was identified and spoken about, he always did it in such a way to help a person better feel the love and better know the wisdom of God. Even in the dramatic confrontations with the religious leaders, Jesus did not bluntly call out their own hypocrisy just to prove them wrong. He was provided a relationship with these leaders and he boldly cut through the garbage to show them the love of God. He offered loving insight to point a sinner to the awesome love and fullness God offers.