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Come and See

Please, come and see.

The wise men came to see the baby, Jesus.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry scores of people, a blind man, a bleeding woman, a man seeking healing for his daughter, and multitudes more would come and see.

Countless came to see Him crucified.

After He defeated death, Mary came to the empty tomb, unknowing she was there to see Him.

Jesus himself invited the disciples to come and see where He was going.

This Christmas season we come and see all the lights.

We come and see all the shiny stores with a million gift options for every person.

We come and see all the parties and people dressed up to celebrate.

We come and see all the beautiful trees and decorations.

All of these are wonderful, and I love looking at them, but they are not the hope of Christmas.

We have gotten so far from the original intention of the season that it has also become about coming and seeing a lot of junk too. We rush, we hustle, we plan, we drive all over trying to locate that perfect gift while the deafening roar of a tight schedule is screaming hurry up you have to be somewhere. I am as guilty as anyone.

This Christmas I want to encourage us all, myself included, to come and see.

Come and see the elderly who are alone and shut in.

Come and see the orphans who have no stable place of belonging.

Come and see the sick, physically and mentally.

Come and see the hurting. The crying ones and the happy ones. Oh, the pain that a smile can mask!

Come and see the lonely and the poor.

Come and see the homeless, the hungry, the outcast.

Come and see the addict.

Come and see the widow, the divorced and the single mom or dad.

Come and see the grieving who have lost a parent, a grandparent, a sibling or a child.

Many who are hurting will not ask for help. Support manifests in many forms, but to come and see a soul; to genuinely recognize and gently touch the depths of their story is a gift that no amount of money can buy. It will transform two lives, theirs and yours.

Friends we were given eyes to see. Let us use them to see beyond all the distractions of what is alive and visible and into what is dying but viable.

This Christmas season may we all come and see, and in doing so be reminded that the center of Christmas is a Savior who came to see you and me, dying so that we could freely and without shame, condemnation or guilt come and see Him.

Come and See.

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The Best Is Yet To Come

Last week I had the great honor to speak at my grandmother’s funeral service. I wanted to share a short piece of that with you. As I was preparing yesterday, God led me to 2 Corinthians 5:1-5. After reading that verse I felt prompted to read the message version. This is a portion from my message today. I hope you find encouragement here.

2 Corinthians 5:5-1: The message version says~ For we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.

Family, friends, I know some of your tents are worn and weary. Life has been hard, but if you are a follower of Christ, we have this great hope that is not an earthly aspiration born of this world but an eternal assurance brokered by The Savior of the world.

Be encouraged today that the best is yet to come. Because of this great inheritance we have been given, we can leave here today knowing that we are not saying goodbye, but see you soon in paradise.

Whatever you are facing tonight friend, God is in the midst. He is going before you and working in ways you cannot begin to imagine. You never walk dirt roads alone. Ask Him, seek Him and find Him. He is waiting to give you rest. You are loved.

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A Battle That Cannot Be Lost

Each one of us experiences a duplicity within ourselves. A Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde dwells within even the best of people. Romans 7 confirms this to be true. This reality could be doom and gloom, and it is for the person without Christ because it is a hopeless battle that cannot be won. However, for followers of Jesus, it is a hope-filled battle that cannot be lost.
I have semi-paraphrased the above message from a Tim Keller sermon I listened to this morning. If you would like to know more about this hope-filled battle that you cannot lose, feel free to contact me! It is not a fight for perfection, striving, trying or working harder. It is a freedom that offers rest, redemption, grace and salvation. You are loved!

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The Secret Is Christ In Me

fullsizeoutput_57e7Good morning weary friend.  I know the road you are traveling feels lonely, exhausting and at times unbearable.  Sometimes you are so ready for peace and it feels like God is not answering your plea for help.  This week The Lord has been reminding me that often I am more disappointed and disillusioned by the failure of my arrangements than His answers. He is answering, but probably not within the parameters of the controlled, nice, tidy box I frame those answers in.  His plans are so much higher than we can imagine, and silence does not mean absence, but very often action. It is in the reticence of our trials that the resurrection is awakening.  Just remember, not to put that outcome in a box; God does not fit there.  Keep looking up.  Take the next right step and remain faithful.  I love this quote and hope it encourages you this morning:
The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.
Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart
You are loved!

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…And The Light Cannot Be Extinguisged

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More and more the theme of my days seems to be an abundance of friends who are enduring hard times. Seasons that squeeze the wind out of the sails of souls, and disrupt the dance of beating hearts.  Last night I lit a fire, and as I sat praying and gazing at the fire I was drawn to the light.  It was as if I was being nudged to come closer and look with further scrutiny.  I went and sat on the hearth and was drawn into the sight of the fire.  I was so captivated by the bright light that I failed to notice until I got close, that surrounding the beautiful, brilliant flames was a lot of smoke.  The smoke, however, did not dim, disturb or diminish the multiple, flickering flames.  It occured to me that life is a lot like that fire.  Even though we do our best to build things just right and keep our light burning bright, there will always be smoke around.  It actually appears that the brighter we burn for Christ the heavier the smoke.  One fact for certain, if the fire is burning bright, the smoke cannot disturb its brilliance or perseverance without our permission that in times of chaos has to be guarded everyday.  Right to keep your lights burning, friends. You are loved!