Christian Living

The “Magic” of Christmas (2) ~ Surprise

To help us understand the magic of Christmas we can take a look at what magic invokes in us. Even when we think we understand what is happening in front of us, there are specific emotions and feelings inside of us that help make the moment memorable.

A magic trick often begins with something simple and mundane. Take an ordinary object and do something with or to it. Hide it. Put it in a box. It may be out of sight but is isn’t out of mind. With every act a tension builds.

Just like a child who sees a wrapped Christmas gift under the tree with their name on it. It is hidden, but a similar tension builds as the child imagines what could be inside.

The greater the tension the greater the reaction when the trick turns or the gift opens. And then … Surprise!

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Christian Living, Faith

The “Magic” of Christmas (1) ~ 3 Reactions

Our Town recently hung new banners for the Christmas season. We use banners in our downtown area throughout the various seasons and special days of the year.

This year’s Christmas banners invited passersby to “Believe in the magic of Christmas.” Reactions to such a phrase could swing between the dismissive to the outright hostile.

It isn’t too far a stretch, though, to apply the idea of magic to a Christian view of the holiday. It might even open some doors of conversation to share the Hope we have as we near the end of a frightful year.

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Inspirational

When God Looks on Our Sin

I still haven’t figured why, but “The Walking Dead” is one of the most popular shows on television. Even Christians get a rush from a program filled with diseased, hungry, undead zombies and the fight to stay alive in a world filled with them.

No, I’m not a fan, and I’m not living in fear or anticipation of a coming zombie apocalypse (though I do believe something terrible will come one day). The pictures and commercials I see are enough to know that as a person already susceptible to images, I don’t need those ones stuck in my head.

Recently, though, I thought of those rotting undead as the perfect example of a gruesome sight. Maybe you heard something over the recent Easter season, or from some preacher over the years. It makes me think of what God might see when He loks upon us in our sin.

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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.

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Inspirational

You CAN be super at spiritual disciplines

Prayer. Bible reading. Scripture memorization. Fasting. Worship. These are a few of the spiritual disciplines we hear about the most. We know they are valuable. We understand how they should have a regular place in our lives. When pastor preaches it, we “amen” him all day long. But it still seems so hard.

If you are waiting for spiritual disciplines to become easy, you’ll wait for a long time. No fresh recruit goes straight into S.E.A.L. training. No one who sees a video of that training thinks they can jump off their couch and jump right in.

Spiritual disciplines are essential to spiritual living because of the spiritual battle we face all day, every day. Yet they rarely come naturally. They take work. We face challenges as we attempt to integrate them into our daily lives.  But they don’t have to be as hard as they sound, and we don’t have to master them overnight. Despite the difficulty, we can learn to be “super” at them.

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Inspirational

If your personal harvest is coming … are you ready for it?

Autumn is a time when leaves change and crisp air moves in for those of us in North America. School is in full swing and Thanksgiving holidays are planned. Living in Canada as an American, I get to celebrate one in October and another in November.

Harvest and Thanksgiving fit together easily, and a message of personal or congregational harvest follows the theme. “Your harvest is coming.” “God has promised us a harvest, and we’ll be blessed as we receive it.”

According to Scripture, there is one important qualifier to the personal harvest headed our way. If you believe God’s harvest for you is about land in your life, you should buckle your seat belt and remind yourself of this truth. You might be in for more than you’re prepared for.

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