Jason and I got to spend 13 hours driving together this weekend . . . it was a quick trip there and back for him to speak in Fairview, OK for their Harvest Missions Service. Grandma and Grandpa were so nice to offer to keep the kids overnight so I could go with him. It was great to talk and catch up. The last two months with his work load with seminary we have had brief conversations. We talked about so many things . . . . .
We even talked about Christmas. . . .
not about when we'll travel?
what we want?
Or if we should get a real or fake tree? . . . .
But how we want to GIVE this Christmas.
Should we agree to give away as much money as we spend on Christmas?
Should we buy less and give away the difference?
How can we show LOVE this Christmas?
We do something each year, last year was probably the most we'd ever done
and yet we want to do more this year.
Ironically Jason preached this past week on a passage in Amos. He spoke on God's Heart: Justice and Righteousness. Not Justice as in making people pay but as in protecting, looking out for the poor, the marginalized, the destitute, making the world a better place for the people in need and addressing the systems and circumstances that created the problem in the first place. It's pretty clear God cares about that stuff and wants us to take part.
We looked at a verse in Matthew where Jesus has been going around preaching/healing the sick/ raising the dead and it says he looked at people and "felt compassion". Those words "felt compassion" means "being moved as to ones bowels." Jesus was sick to his stomach. Are we sick to our stomach about what is going on around the world? Around our area?
I too just finished a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Don't read it if you don't want to be challenged. Here's two short passages from it.
" Remember the story where Jesus fed thousands of people with one boy's small lunch? In that story, according to Matthew Jesus gave the loaves to His disciples and then the disciples passed them out to the crowd. Imagine if the disciples had simply held onto the food Jesus gave them, continually thanking Him for providing lunch for them. That would've been stupid when there was enough food to feed the thousands who were gathered and hungry. BUT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE DO WHEN WE FAIL TO GIVE FREELY AND JOYFULLY. WE ARE LOADED WITH TOO MANY GOOD THINGS, MORE THAN WE COULD EVER NEED, WHILE OTHERS ARE DESPERATE FOR A SMALL LOAF."
"He (God) is asking you to love as you would want to be loved if it were YOUR child who was blind from drinking contaminated water; to love as though it were YOUR family living in the shack slapped together from cardboard and scrap metal."
This has NOT been a good financial year for us but REALLY don't we still have an ABUNDANCE???
We didn't make any final decisions about Christmas yet but I challenge you to start thinking too!! How can you make this Christmas about the things that really matter to God. After all Christmas is about HIM! I'll post some ideas in the upcoming days!! I've got several rolling around in my head.