Worshiping in the Boat

Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’.” Matthew 14:33

In this passage, Jesus had walked upon the water as the disciples in the boat fought a raging storm in the dark. Jesus walked on water? Reigned with power and authority over the forces of ‘nature’? Certainly, yes He did.

But the disciples ‘worshiped on the boat’ – without strobe lights, fog machines, tuned instruments or perfected choir? How is that possible?

Jesus said,

But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

God almighty is seeking, looking for, those who will worship in spirit and in truth?   I want Him to find what He’s looking for in me!

I want the boat worship. I want to receive Jesus, acknowledging His power and authority, and meditate on His divine accomplishment on the cross. I want to be led into worshiping the Father in spirit and in truth.

“Christians are guilty of telling more lies to God on Sundays than on any other day….Because it is on Sundays that they sing so many hymns such as, “All to Jesus I surrender”… excerpt, Zac Poonen,  God-Centred Prayer

Human talent, resource, and technology has made ‘worship’ a business…

Christian-worship-or-performance--770x300

Are we attempting to ‘conjure up’ the presence of God?

Many church goers are satisfied with entertaining ‘performance worship’. The emotional appeasement is uplifting, encouraging and even medicinal. But is that anything like the worship in the boat?

But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:31

I am searching my own heart, asking…

1. Would I sincerely take the words of the songs I am singing and speak them during prayer time to the Lord? Do I have a prayer time to meet with the Lord?

2. Is the music and song or the ‘atmosphere’ engaging my flesh with rhythm and tempo or are songs drawing me into scriptural truths?

3. Am I engaging in something contrived and artificial?

4. Is worship (adornment, deep honor and reverence) already in my heart before I gather with others or is the gathering working up a group cheer for God?

5. Can I sing the songs, even sing the Psalms, during dark storms –  when my circumstances have horribly changed  – with assurance that God has not changed?

There is value in presenting God our best praise and thanksgiving, especially that unbelievers may see that our God is worthy of all exuberant praise.  But lowly fishermen did not rehearse worship to get it right or impress in any way. The presence of God brought them to their knees, their hearts prostrate, filled with awe.

If Jesus walked into our home during our prayer time (or anytime) we would not pull out a guitar, flash vibrant lights nor would we sway and bop. We would fall to our knees with the weight of our nothingness next to His sovereignty. We would worship.

“Lord in heaven, I do want to worship You in spirit and in truth. Help me to understand what that simply means. Help me to wait on You, even if I must stroke the oars through a dark storm. Give us all a true anticipation of Your presence and prepare our hearts to bow down to You. More than anything Father, I want You to find what You’re looking for in me. In Jesus name, amen”.

May the Lord personally bless you!

Recognize These Birth Pains?

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Drag Queen Story Hour NYPL – in many other states as well

This above scenario troubles me in several ways. Firstly, while people have the right to live as they choose (within the law) there is grief in seeing a man happily dressed as a woman. Secondly, what could be more disturbing than celebrating this in a public venue of children? The answer – that parents, guardians of the children, are offering up their children to a value system, validating the very morals that offend God, and robbing them of the innocence that could be theirs.

There is no ‘freedom of choice’ when children are prevented from considering the choice to know God and His ways. Parents will undoubtedly shield them from the heart changing stories of Noah, Abraham, King David, the Apostles and our Savior Jesus Himself.  Most children today do not hear of God’s love, so costly and powerful but emotionally feed on stories like Worm Loves Worm, a story depicting same sex marriage.

drag queen III

Like child sacrifice to Moloch, here spiritual lives are freely given up….

Finally, the logical challenge goes forth, like a warped altar call….

 

drag queen calling

With enthusiastic invite he asks, “Who wants to be a drag queen when they grow up?”

What could be worse than children being indoctrinated with such sexual values? Worse than the parents bringing them to such an ‘altar’?

A silent – or complicit – or unloving church.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” (Matt 24:12)

When Jesus describes the “birth pains” in the end times before His return, there seems to be a causal relationship between ‘lawlessness’ and the believers’ waning love. Betrayals, persecutions, and apostasy –an increase in wickedness – turns the love of many cold.

Here is the saddest part of the Drag Queen library presentations: most of the church has lost her grief and love for the souls that have no hope without God.

Much of the western church ‘avoids’ persecution or betrayal by ‘hiding in the world’, camouflaged by the same values. Others resist controversy and conflict by avoiding the bold truths that would convict man’s heart toward repentance.  For followers of Christ, the ‘cost’ of proclaiming the truth rises exponentially with wickedness.

There is usually no love found in ‘protesting sin’. It’s hard to find a precedent for it in scripture. But loving that ‘woman at the well’ doesn’t mean ignoring her sin or colluding with her sin. It means having a grieving love for her soul – a love that can’t resist telling her the truth so she might repent.

The ‘silent church’ does not represent the Jesus Christ. The ‘protesting church’ does not represent Jesus either. Worse is the ‘compromising church’ which Jesus warns He will vomit out of His mouth.

These ‘birth pains’ are coming faster and more painful. The devil laughs as men dress as women, men marry men and children are led into sexual and gender confusion. He may even laugh when we protest, boycott or petition these cultural changes. But Satan never laughs at the burdened heart crying out to God for the lost, deceived and confused. The devil isn’t laughing at the pleas and petitions to almighty God to deliver man from captivating sins.

I don’t want to join these ‘story hours’ but neither do I want to ignore them or protest them. I am grieved at the drag queen, the attentive children at his feet, and the deceived parents who usher their children into this arena. But if we focus our eyes on eternity, our view of all this changes.

All may suffer from these ‘birth pains’ described in Matthew 24, the tribulations that precede Christ’s return,  but only those reconciled with God, who ‘endure until the end’ will have the joy of His return. For the unsaved, ‘birth pains’ will not lead to joy of Christ’s arrival but the dread of meeting Him as Judge.

‘Today’ is always the right time to adjust our hearts and minds increasingly to the heart of our Lord. I pray for a heartfelt burden to plead for all those at ‘story time’. I pray that God reminds me frequently to pray for every ‘story teller’, every child in that audience, and every parent that applauds the ways that offend God.

Lord, I pray that you enlarge my heart toward the things that grieve Yours.  Please share Your burden for souls and lead me in prayer.  Let my prayers be aligned with Your will and be fruitful.  I pray for that ‘story teller’, bring him to a place of conviction, raise up a controversy in his heart.  Save him that he may tell Your stories.  Take away the false peace of those parents and pull back the curtain of deception.  Shake the hearts of families with the truth that, without You, there is no peace, there is no order, there is no hope. 

“But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:13

Who is God Looking For Now?

“Too bad you missed that prayer meeting – it was so exciting!

I always get a puzzled look from others when I share about the Times Square Church Worldwide prayer meeting.  Prayer meeting? Exciting? The large gathering of multicultural believers, the online fellowships around the world and most importantly, the presence of God make this prayer meeting so exciting.

So encouraging and stirring in fact, I am presenting my notes from Pastor Carter’s message preached during Tuesday’s prayer meeting, 6/20/17:

Thoughts on Faith and Prayer – Who is God Looking For Now?

We are living in a time of immense pain, perhaps unrivaled since the civil war…What type of people is God looking for now?  The kind of people who can push back this pain…In Biblical history when the enemy came in to destroy, God sought for a person or people who would stand in the public place and declare who He is.

Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world…”

In the time of Judges…people rose up but then fell to laziness, complacency, fell into darkness…God raised up a voice – Gideon.  He didn’t believe or see that he was a ‘mighty man of resources’ because he looked to himself, not the power of God that could  be his…we are like that – not knowing the strength we have in God…when God sends you to do something, His word is all you need to get it done – whatever He’s spoken to your heart…

You don’t need a diploma, resume, credentials…just belief in what God will do!

God sent Gideon to be a light on a hill – and God will give us His torch, smash the jars and cause our light to shine.  All we are to do is declare the victory that is in God, not us!  They made a public declaration of who God is and how our victory is in Him…God brought confusion upon the enemies and they turned on themselves…He used a people whose hearts wanted to honor Him…

What does God need from people today?  What kind of people is He looking for??

Gideon mustered a large army…~ 32,000…God said “reduce it”…first, tell all the fearful to GO HOME.  Twenty thousand men went home while 10,000 remained.  Fear says, “God is not able.”  God said, ‘those who are afraid to go public – send them home.  They are not a light on a hill’.  

The worst thing that God can ever tell us:  “I have a battle to win – go home!”

That doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with fear…we are not called to an absence of fear but to overcome fear.

God continued to decrease Gideon’s army…took them by the water…water always represents the Holy Spirit.  Then sent them to a hill – He wanted a people who would venture out, willing to go public.  And He looks today for a people to speak on His behalf to the addicted, the afflicted, the marginalized, radicalized, the broken…This is where the victory is…The devil has done all he can to silence the church.  By God’s grace we’re going to say what God gives us to say…

We are the light that God has set upon this present hill…we must proclaim, ‘It is the power of God that you need in your life – the power of God will heal your home…the power of God to break your addictions…to give you a sound mind…it is the power of God that brings clarity, a future for your children…It is the power of God alone alone that brings healing to a nation…brings unity to every race, every culture, every people…

The church will rise and be counted…like Gideon’s tiny army against a huge army…we must stand and declare to a lost generation that there IS salvation, there IS a Savior, there is a heaven and a hell…and a bridge called ‘the cross’ between the two… 

The church is going to rediscover her identity in these last days, by the grace of Almighty God!

I am willing to stand and be counted among the ‘foolish’…oh, to the Midianites it must have looked like an insane battle plan…300 people against 135,000…what a site! You had to know God was in that!…

And I know that God is with us when we choose to openly declare His name and talk about His victory…with the compassion of God in the center of our being, we call the lost from every place to His wonderful plan of free salvation and the promise of power to live a new life….

Who wants to go?  Who wants to go to the top of the hill?

Whether you are afflicted, addicted, filled with sorrow, whatever your circumstance – you too are invited to come to that hill called Calvary, invited to receive the strength of God, have your sins forgiven, receive divine purpose in your life…you too are called to hold up your torch and say, ‘follow me as I follow Christ! I know where victory is!  I know where love is, where healing is…it’s all at the cross of Christ!’

My prayer is, Pastor Carter declared,

“Wherever You call me to go, whatever You call me to do…may I have the privilge of being an ambassador of Your power…Let me not boast of myself but boast of You, Your cross Your victory…let me be a light in this dark generation…”  

 

Oh Lord, let that be the cry of my heart too!

What about you?

 

http://www.tscnyc.org/webcasts/tuesday-7pm/

or find the message later in sermon queue for Worldwide prayer, http://www.tscnyc.org

Better, join us in Times Square or online, Tuesdays 7pm….

 

Restricting God – Let Me Count the Ways…

Many of us are frequently stirred and humbled by the testimonies of missionaries and servants of God. From Biblical times to present day, men and women proclaim the power of God as He leads them to hidden places of suffering. Surrendered vessels who seem totally insignificant become agents of Most High God, affecting lives for eternity.

And we want that too! Who wouldn’t want their temporary life here to matter in God’s Kingdom? Who, knowing the Lord, wouldn’t want all His purposes and intentions come to fruition? And so we too cry out, perhaps at an altar, perhaps in our private prayer….

“Lord, use me, send me! I want my life to matter, to count…”

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THEN our flesh speaks ‘sense’ into our cry,

“BUT Lord…”
….don’t send me any place hot, you know how I hate the heat. I would be miserable
….you know I couldn’t go very far, you know my limits, I have responsibilities…
….don’t send me to blah-blah, I could never eat that food, and the bugs are ginormous. Agh, Lord send someone else there
….send me to truly needy people, not to those blah-blah; they’re always trying to rip off the system
….I would serve in a hospital ministry but the germs… and who really knows if those comatose people can even hear the Gospel?
….prisons are, well, dangerous. I’m too old….I’m too young
….please don’t call me to serve in my own neighborhood,  that’s too boring!
….if I go there, if I do that – wouldn’t I lose everything?

By the time we’re finished we’re no longer stirred…we’re discouraged!

Underneath is unbelief  which doesn’t really restrict God but restricts us from grasping His best for our lives.

American Christianity may have a foundational flaw embedded from our culture of ‘rugged individualism’ and ‘opportunity’ and ‘freedom’. We defend the rights to excel, possess, invest and express.  True Christianity smashes that self-reliant lifestyle. No one naturally wants to die to ‘self’ but when we resist complete surrender, resist the cross of Christ, we risk missing His perfect call upon our lives.

“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”  Jonah 2:8

I for one am not at the place of total surrender. I want to be though, especially in these last days where prophecy points to the soon return of our Lord. I hope for a deeper burden for the lost, not stoked by fleeting and temporal emotions, but one birthed by the Holy Spirit which defies my emotions and intellect.

Would anyone join me in prayer?

“Lord, thank you for saving me and abiding within me. I believe that, no matter what failures mark my life, no matter how ordinary or limited I perceive my life, You are not limited and You can never fail. I pray for a calling, a heavenly burden that will overshadow and nullify every fear and obstacle. Help me to trust You, Lord. Don’t let me imagine remote and ‘fantastic’ things while missing the ‘woman at the well’. Loosen my grip on the things of this world and help me to walk with a view of eternity. In Jesus name, Amen.”

“God promises not just to save us but to give us a full and meaningful life.”  

“We are called to be a testimony to the world that God is alive.”

(Pastor Carter Conlon, Times Square Church)

 

 

TIME TO GET OUR EYES FIXED!

“For it is time to seek the Lord” Hosea 10:12

The Body of Christ is suffering greatly in every way, from violent onslaughts to emotional trauma, grief and anguish.   Some cry out to be rescued, others must pray for ways to reach them.  Many brethren suffer silently in personal turmoil and grief.  The spiritual darkness upon the world is alive, strategic, and bearing fruit.  Within our cultures and in our personal lives, we are suffering the wages of sin.  Endurance, healing, renewal and hope are the rare treasures of our day.  The world conjures up programs, pharmaceuticals, therapies and mantras, yet can find no remedy for the sick and damaged soul.  Government, Education, Health and Welfare are futile venues for change – they are often the birthplace of ungodliness.  For believers to fight in worldly arenas is like attacking a fire-breathing dragon with a toothpick.  Nothing less than the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit can enable us to “shine like stars” in this “depraved generation” and enlarge God’s Kingdom in this world.  “Apart from Me”, Jesus said, “you can do nothing”.       

To ‘take a stand’ we must decidedly face one direction, one centered focus aligning our feet, our mind and heart.  With our “hand to the plow” we cannot look back (Luke 9:62) whether it is to the world, to our losses, to deep and bitter wounds, or even joyous days past.  The runner looking back will stumble and fall, forfeiting his prize.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”

Our clarity, discernment, and wisdom are found in this singular focus and commitment.  Supernatural healing, renewal, and hope are found within the pages of the Bible – the living book that reveals the power of God and imparts it within us.  This is not unreachable.  The presence of God becomes more evident as we shut down every distraction and humbly offer Him due honor and worship.  He is faithful, worthy to seek with all our heart and wait upon with expectation, “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”   What an encouragement to know that the Holy Spirit- Who spoke the world into creation – continues to speak through the living and unchanging Word of God, through the authority of godly leadership and personally into our hearts as we cry out to Him in our own ‘prayer closet’.

‘Looking unto Jesus’ is not a call to gaze at portraits, crucifixes, or spiritual images that yield little outside of emotional comfort.  It is an active search to find and grasp ahold of the revelations of Jesus Christ in the Bible and let Him speak these truths into our lives.  As believers in Christ we are His Body, the vessels He calls into obedience, to indwell and glorify Him on earth.

We can find Jesus from Genesis to Revelation, He is revealed to us in every Book of the Bible.  Online searches of the revelations of Christ, Old Testament to New Testament may provide some insight for Bible study.  The circumstances of our life, often painful and bewildering, are often ordained to open doors of faith within us and reveal to us the power of Christ in our needs.  Within our trials and grief we find Him, “a hiding place” of fellowship and intimacy with God Himself.  Our faith in the fire testifies of Christ as the Good Shepherd, Defender, Healer, Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor as we cry out to Him from our wilderness, in our afflictions, and during turmoil and onslaughts.

For the Body of Christ, knowing Him is central – all else is peripheral.

‘The author and finisher of our faith…”  The literal translation of this verse (Hebrews 12:2) from original transcripts does not include the word ‘our’ but does include a definite article before ‘faith’: ‘the faith’.  From the original Greek wordage, ‘author’ might translate as:  creator/trailblazer/leader.  While modern translations insert ‘our’ into the text to personalize this faith, Bible studies such as the Bible Hub Commentaries offer notes on a more literal translation:  Jesus, the ‘first’ (Captain/Leader) and the Last (Completer/Victor) of the faith.   Jesus leads an army of faith.  Fix our eyes on Jesus, He is the Creator, Leader and Commander of the faith and as He accomplished triumphant victory so shall He lead us.  

Our greatest challenge - taking our eyes off the world and our circumstances to look upon Him with faith

Our greatest challenge – taking our eyes off the world and our circumstances to look upon Him with faith (Amedee Varint painting)

As the dividing line between believers and unbelievers widens, carnal Christians will be forced to take sides, either validating compromise or choosing to stand upon the unchanging Word of God.  As this world spins quickly toward Judgment, a fire-tested remnant will persevere and stand to testify of God’s faithfulness.  Let us be counted among them, strengthening and encouraging one another as we fix our eyes on Him.

  “But my eyes are fixed on You, O Sovereign Lord; in You I take refuge”                                     

(Psalm 141:8)   

YOUR NAME HERE

YOUR NAME HERE - WRITTEN IN SAND

YOUR NAME HERE – WRITTEN IN SAND

For the follower of Christ, every accomplishment, acknowledgement, and acclaim – every entanglement- in this world presents the risk of spiritual death.   Every time we want our self to count in this world, we have diminished the purposes of Christ.  When Scripture speaks of separation from the world, most believers think bars, nightclubs, casinos, brothels, etc. However,  the entire world system lies under the domain of Satan – politics, education, commerce, trade – all that is in the world opposes the divine authority of God, and is culminating into a powerful anti-Christ domain.  We cannot sanitize any aspect or minimize Scriptural declarations:

“…don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”   (James 4:4)

Our highest and only ideal in any area, work, school, community – must be aligned with the Lord’s call for us there.  The loftiest arenas such as medicine, politics, science or education have the greatest potential to overshadow the presence of Christ in our lives if we pursue high worldly standards and miss the mark for holiness and humility.   God’s authority does not acquiesce to the ‘good’ of this world but calls us to obedience and surrender.   Christian ministries are not immune to worldly influence and trappings – the ‘self appointed’ will count for nothing when presented on Christ’s altar.

Often and aptly said, with Christianity ‘everything up is down’.   While those in the world strive to make a name for themselves, we as believers gain the greatest treasure – intimacy with the Lord – when we live as strangers, aliens, and foreigners in this world.  “…you do not belong to this world, I have chosen you out of the world.”  said Jesus, John 15:19

Divested, treading lightly, grasping loosely…..

“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” (I Peter 1:17)

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” (I Peter 2:11)

“I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.”  Psalm 119:19

For Christians to petition unbelievers in Hollywood, government, or education to represent Biblical values is futile and, moreover, misses the mark of Christ’s demonstrated life.  Strangers, aliens, and foreigners typically do not make demands of host countries, nor do they have rights to do so, they are merely passing through.  Moreover, our power against the enemy does not come from ourselves employing worldly tactics, but are spiritual, through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.  If we are commissioned by God we are backed by heaven. Too often though, we are quick to protest but slow to separate ourselves unto the Lord, to fast and pray.

Without the Holy Spirit, most miss the inevitable truth, “Your life is just a vapor…” written in sand in a windy world. 

YOUR NAME HERE - WRITTEN IN STONE

YOUR NAME HERE – WRITTEN IN STONE

“At every turn of your life, keep the end in view; remember that you will have to stand before a strict Judge who knows everything….”    Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ.

Except for careful planners, most of us will not actually see our ‘final destination’,  yet we could be scheduled to reach it tomorrow.   The most profound transition of our life is the moment of our death .  Rather than meditate upon it, even savor the moment we see Christ, we reject and dismiss such thoughts and go to great lengths to deny, delay and avoid the possibility of death.    Our predecessors did not live in such a way, they ‘loved not their lives in this world’…believing that “to die is gain”.  The Psalmist beckoned the Lord, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Numbering our days, meditating upon the great transition, is a deeply humbling influence to overshadow daily decisions, reactions, and priorities.

While harsh and devastating, death is often the quickening fire set to mature and separate  believers unto Christ.  It changes our focus from the temporal to the eternal – not just for our soul but for those eternal souls around us.  Contemplating eternity undergirds the great commission, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News…”  The reality of death should stir us with the passion and urgency of the Gospel.

YOUR NAME HERE - OMITTED OR WRITTEN FOREVER

YOUR NAME HERE – OMITTED OR       WRITTEN FOREVER

Sovereign, Almighty God has a divine and fearful Book of Life.  Such was supernaturally revealed to the hearts of God’s chosen throughout the ages; Moses referred to this Book of Life in his pleas for mercy, Daniel’s prophecies point to the preeminence of this Book,  the Apostle Paul speaks of this Book, and the aged Apostle John sees this majestic Book of Life in Revelation.  Man’s attempts to capture life, drama, and truth in books or literature are less than dust and ashes next to the book of all books, God’s Book of Life.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it….And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.  Another book was opened, which is the Book of Life… If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”   (Revelation 20, excerpts)

One day soon the façade of this temporal world will fold and the majesty of God’s everlasting Kingdom will be established.  It has been said,

“The believer’s life on this earth is his only arena for change and fruitfulness…the nature of eternity is changeless.  Therefore, the time to become like Jesus, being conformed to His likeness, is during this earthly Christian experience of trial and faith”

“You and I will never be any closer to Christ, throughout eternity, than we are when He comes.  That’s the point of judgment”.

Paul exhorts us, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  Why so, if the cross of Christ is sufficient for our atonement and eternity?  God declares judgment for the complacent.   Unlike unbelievers, lukewarm ‘Christians’ misrepresent the majesty and awesomeness of God, attempting to weave Him into the world and that He opposes. God is a “consuming fire”.   If we rightly discern and anticipate His coming judgment and Kingdom, we will have godly fear and trembling, and a deep grief for the lost that are without hope at His arrival.

“Oh Lord, help us to put our name – our reputation, our possessions, all that we are and have – into your Hand.  Launch our lives out as Your vessels in this world that Your Name might be glorified and honored above all.”

TAKE THE LORD OUT OF THE MANGER

manger-cross
Americans spent nearly 51 billion dollars during the Thanksgiving weekend to kick off the Christmas spending season. Is the ‘reason for the season’ really Jesus? Why does so much of this activity, clamor, entertainment, spending and planning yield so little if anything for the Kingdom of God? How could so much count for so little?

When God commissions an event or mission, He is in it and it will not fail. He will make Himself and His power known without bells, whistles or tinsel. In fact, all He seeks is a willing vessel, often choosing the weakest, the oldest, and least capable.

“The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing”. (John 6:63)

While the Word of God is “active and living, sharper than any two edged sword” the Lord chooses to conceal some ‘vital information’ from man – obscuring specific dates, times and places such as the burial place of Moses. He knows man’s propensity to enshrine and idolize events, times and places, and, in doing so, miss the mark. Have we missed the mark here? If so, why?

Perhaps presenting God in a manger is a benign message – one the world can easily tolerate. A helpless baby, animals, shepherds and gift bearers – all pose no threat to the average man or the world at large. The whole world can celebrate without conviction or accountability. Yet, we know that when God moves, the world trembles.

It is good and right to rejoice at the truth that God became flesh. As vessels of God, Old Testament prophets stood as living beacons for this event, preaching a message of repentance and hope. However, this most important event of history had no fanfare, no crowds, no entertainment or publicity. By God’s design, those whom He called, those who would seek Him, would find Him. As the Body of Christ, we are called – commissioned – to be heralds and beacons, surrendered vessels to proclaim the coming Messiah – proclaiming not only His birth, death and resurrection but His return – as Judge!

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Matthew 24:44

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…” Acts 3:19

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world by the Man He has appointed.” (Acts 17:30.31)

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His Kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season…” II Timothy 4:1-2

“He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as Judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42)

“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…” (I Thessalonians 4:16)

The Lord did not point to His birth as He walked in this world…He pointed to His return, commanding and beckoning us to “watch”, “wait”, “pray” and keep our lamps burning. As His Body in this dark world, we extend His call to repentance and reconciliation, hoping men might turn, receive forgiveness, new life, and life everlasting.  Are we willing to go beyond the manger, calling people to repentance, to the cross of Christ?  Can we tell of and point to His promised return?  

The full Gospel is not a popular message, even among some Christians.  But it is the message delivered by the Holy Spirit, through surrendered vessels, to hearts prepared to receive.   Heaven does not rejoice over the popular, heaven rejoices when one sinner repents.

Time is short. Christ is no longer in the manger, He’s standing at the door!

“Behold, I am coming soon!” Revelation 22:7