Inspirational

Do you know the REAL reason for the season?

It’s a popular tag line this time of year, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” It falls in line with another I see on billboards around the city I live in, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” These are some of the ways we try to remind the world about Jesus at the time when so many other messages distract them from the message of Jesus’ coming.

Unfortunately, it comes across as a bunch of hokey semantics and religious nuttiness. And I don’t if you’ve heard, but a lot of people are allergic to nuts.

According to Google, a cliche is “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” Do you think these apply?

After all, even Christians get tired of hearing these things. But it also betrays how little we understand about the coming of God’s Son. Jesus is not the reason for the season. We are.

Continue reading “Do you know the REAL reason for the season?”

Bible, Inspirational

10 Broken Pieces God Used to Make Us Whole Again

Just four months ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. Regardless of whether it is the right day of the year or how it is misused, Christmas is a time of celebration and joy.

Good Friday is different. Those who know Easter is coming recognize the darkness of today will turn to eternal light on Sunday. Grief will turn to wonder. Jesus’ victory overshadows Satan’s temporary victory. We tend to treat Good Friday as a hiccup. It appears and then it’s gone, a blip on the radar.

Maybe it’s because Good Friday reminds us how broken our world is. Sure, we see the news and pray for nations and people hit by tragedy. Brokenness seems obvious. Yet today’s message of brokenness is about sin, judgment, and justice. But the good news of the Gospel is how God sent Jesus to redeem our brokenness and make us whole and new again.

Continue reading “10 Broken Pieces God Used to Make Us Whole Again”

Faith

Does Repentance Have a Regular Place in Your Prayer Time?

Repentance is a word church folks prefer to avoid. While it’s true we want to be reminded of grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, spiritual cleansing, and wholeness, we tend to rush toward the words that feel good and forget about the difficult, but necessary word which opens the door to the rest.

The act of repentance is most often discussed when we are inviting people to believe in Jesus Christ. He will forgive every fault, wipe away every failure, and wash away the stains of our selfish living. All we have to do is repent and believe.

We need to be reminded how repentance is not meant only for our initial salvation, the day we drew near to God and believed in His Son, Jesus. Repentance is God’s call for us, every single day.

Continue reading “Does Repentance Have a Regular Place in Your Prayer Time?”

Christian Living

How to Keep from Burning the Bridges of Reconciliation

Reconciliation is a buzz word in our day. As we reflect on history and the errors of those who came before us, we feel an obligation to build the bridges they burned, whether unintentionally or with violent purpose. The list of injuries is long, and the task is large.

One place reconciliation is strangely missing is the local church. We seem to forget how it is essential to the Gospel’s message. Each one of us is eternally estranged from God because of sin within us. Yet Jesus was born to sacrifice Himself so the penalty of our sin would be paid, and we would have the opportunity to be reconciled to God.

In places where there are multiple choices for a place to worship, people often leave one congregation in favor of another, not so much because God has called them to connect and serve in that new church home, but because of problems with people from the old one. If only we could find a way to reconcile.

We might find it easier if we learned to talk about what has happened with a different set of words. How we define our situation will determine what course to take, if we leave room for any at all. When it comes to reconciling our relationships, we have to be careful to keep open the bridges that bind us together.

Continue reading “How to Keep from Burning the Bridges of Reconciliation”

Podcast

The Guiding Glory (Podcast)

Part 3. On the night of Jesus’ birth, God’s glory didn’t only appear in the stable or on the hillside near Bethlehem. It tore a hole in the fabric of the universe. When it was seen by those who noticed such things, it shook their world and drew them to Someone greater than anyone or anything they had ever known.

Their guide to this glorious King was a shining star. It revealed a uniqueness about this King, and they had to find Him. But when the stopped allowing the glory to lead them, not only did they get sidetracked, but disaster followed. And they almost missed it all.

http://www.audiomack.com/embed4/chrismackinnon/the-guiding-glory

(If you do not see the audio player, CLICK HERE to view the full post.)

Faith

What Would You Ask For This Christmas?

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”80%” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]My good friend, Kevin Senapatiratne, travels around North America encouraging Christians in prayer through his ministry Christ Connection and books like Enjoying Prayer and his revised edition of Charles Finney’s Lectures on Revival. I shared this guest post on his blog this week. [/dropshadowbox]

 

Christmas is a season filled with every kind of emotion. It contains some of the greatest highlights of the year, while there are those who find it bothersome, a lot of work, and even discouraging.

Jesus came to share God’s gifts of love, joy, hope, peace, and good news. We celebrate and have incredibly happy moments with family and friends. But there are times when all we feel are the burdens, worries, and stresses of the season.

One of the craziest elements about Christmas is presents. Gift giving can be extreme stressful, even though it is often born out of love. “What will we get them? How much should we spend? Which style should I wrap it in? Will they even like?” I wonder how much the Wise Men worried over the gifts they brought to the newborn King.

It can also be hard to receive gifts. To make things easier, we prefer to ask for certain things. It’s better to nudge towards something we’d really enjoy than be ungrateful for the gift from a friend or loved one. What if we took the time to ask God for gifts in our lives?

Continue reading at www.ChristConnection.com