The photo at the top of this post is of my family and me during one of our past Christmases. Christmas takes different shapes for different people different years. Today we identify five different types of Christmases and what they look like. As you read about them, see if you recognize yours.
1) The Going to Dad and Mom’s Christmas
On the way to Dad and Mom’s, your stream of consciousness sounds something like this: “I’m bored already and we’re not even there yet. The Cavs play the Heat tomorrow, and I won’t see it. I wonder if any bad blood will boil over. I hope Dad doesn’t bug me about my job. Battle of the 5 Armies is out. No chance we’ll see that. I hope he doesn’t tell me why he thinks libertarians are “clueless.” Yeah, “clueless.” That was the word he used last time. I think I have one of the Lord of the Rings movies on my phone–maybe, if I sit at the table and hold my phone low…”
2) The People Coming Over Christmas
Oh those three words, people-coming-over, and what they mean. The People Coming Over Christmas means, do these things, and do them fast: Clean the house. Fix the broken doorknob. Run to the store and buy a new doorknob because you couldn’t fix the broken doorknob. Hide the Read More
Born Into A World Of Enemies
Ken Hutcherson was born eight days after his mother’s fifteenth birthday in Anniston, Alabama. The year was 1952. His grandmother, who Ken called “Big Mom,” was the true mother figure in his life. Ken says his biological mother was more like a sister to him. His father lived on the “right side of the tracks” and wasn’t involved in Ken’s life. He was an illegitimate black child in a world that looked down on blacks. And even other blacks looked down on illegitimate blacks.
Ken’s Role Model (Not The Role Model You Were Expecting)
With his grandmother as his only source of stability, one of Ken’s role models was the person who lived next door. This person ran the “local liquor house.” This role model was distinguished by a long scar that ran across the right side of the neck. This person didn’t take any flack from the liquor store patrons or from anybody else. According to Ken Hutcherson this person was the toughest person he ever knew.
This person was Ken’s Aunt Mae.
The cause of the scar was a woman named Essie Mae who lived across the street. Aunt Mae was having an affair Read More
Continuing our series on suffering, in this post we’ll look at how forgetting God’s name contributes to suffering and a crushed spirit.
Forgetting God’s Name
I’m just going to be frank here. Many times you and I as believers suffer in a way that’s not necessary simply because we forget God’s name. Oh sure, we believe in the redemptive work Jesus Christ did 2,000 years ago on the cross to pay for our sins. And we believe somewhere down the road we’re headed for heaven, ultimately. But there’s a huge truth missing that dramatically affects us as we suffer, and even when we don’t.
Often times you’re a lot like Read More
Last post I wrote about an encounter I had at Starbucks with a man of sorrows. One of his sources of pain and suffering was his addiction to pornography. So I thought it appropriate to share the following blog post written by Robert Cunningham. It’s a letter to his sons about pornography. If you’re someone who struggles with this temptation, Cunningham’s letter is for you.
A Father’s Letter To His Sons About Porn
I have three young sons (6, 3, and 1). Occasionally I will write letters to give to them down the road. This is one about pornography. I’m sharing it because I know there are a lot of guys who desperately need to hear it, but don’t have a father who will say it.
My Precious Sons,
You are men.
You are noble and valiant creatures. Made to rule and subdue the earth with tender and calloused hands. Made to protect the weak and oppose injustice. Made to laugh, to wrestle, to firmly hug another. Made for glory. Made for honor.
But your manhood is twisted. You know it. You can feel it. Nobility now insecurity, courage now fear, the faint echoes of glory now loud cries of shame.
And experience is reaffirming what you fear is true. Women reject you. Friends forsake you. Father and mother fail you. You are not admired, you are not esteemed, you are not affirmed. No, this ruthless fallen world only mocks your manhood and magnifies your failures.
You are men. But alas, you are broken, battered, belittled men.
I know where you want to run. I know where you want hide. I hid there too in my youth.
Oh how alluring it is to ruined men. A world where there are no demands, and there are no consequences. A world where you are adored and wanted, needed and respected. A world where perversion is standard and carnality is desired. A world that gives men what they were meant to have without asking men to be what they were meant to be. It restores what was lost in Eden but only by cheapening Eden, by creating a realm where perverted manhood is normalized and worshiped. Where for a moment, a brief, brief, moment, you can again be naked and unashamed.
Then you wake up. (Continue Reading)
I’m A Christian Addicted To Porn by Shaun Groves
Robert Cunningham on Twitter: @tcpcrobert
Image via Miguel Tejada-Flores – Creative Commons
Do not act this way, my brothers. You are young; profit by the sincere confession I make to you of the little care I took to consecrate my first years to God. Consecrate all of your years to His love; for, as for me, if I had known sooner, and if anyone had told me the things I am telling you now, I would not have waited so long to love Him. Believe me, and count for lost all the time that is not spent in loving God. -Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
I couldn’t possibly say it better than he did.
Remember what I advised you to do: Think about God as often as you can, day and night, in everything you do. He is always with you. Just as you would be rude if you deserted a friend who was visiting you, why would you be disrespectful of God by abandoning His presence?
Do not forget Him! Think of Him often. Adore Him ceaselessly. Live and die with Him. That is the real business of Christians. -Brother Lawrence
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
Jesus is the Son of God. He said, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” Then he said, “From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” A few moments later he just came right out and said it, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:6-9)
So think this through with me. If Jesus is who he said he is, then who on earth is more important? He is the Creator of the universe. He’s the Creator of the 100 trillion cells that make up my body. He’s smarter than I am. He’s smarter than anyone–ever. He’s God. Why wouldn’t I want to hang on his every word? I mean really, whose words are more important?
The thermometer said 3 degrees and there was snow and ice on the roads. We were experiencing some unusually low temperatures here in Oregon and it was during that cold snap, I was reluctant to leave the nest to go to church. Inside, my house was warm and cushy. There was food in the fridge and games on TV. The lure of the self-life called strong. I didn’t want to give up that comfort to go worship Jesus corporately.
What Jesus Gave
Have you ever thought about what Jesus gave up, to come to us? He didn’t leave a warm home on a cold day, he left heaven. He left his Father. He left his throne. He left multitudes of angels who supported him at his every turn. He left a place where there’s no pain, a place overflowing with joy. He left a place so magnificent we can’t even imagine it. He gave it all up so he could come to our place, planet earth, to bleed on the cross, because it was the only way to reconcile us with our Father.
Jesus gave up everything for us. He gave it all.
What I Give
That’s what we celebrate on Christmas. I’ve been thinking about that lately, what He gave up and what I gave up. He gave up everything, I gave up–not much. I became a Christian a long time ago but there has always been some something I wanted to hang onto. Oh I wanted to be a Christian to be sure, so I could make it into heaven. But I didn’t want to let go of certain things.
I wanted to remain a Christian but… Read More
A Deer Disregards Sir Isaac Newton
I was walking in my neighborhood the other morning and came across the skeletal remains of the deer in this photo. You know, if the deer was still alive, we might say to her, “Don’t cross that highway because you might get hit by a car.”
And the deer might reply (assuming of course, that the deer could understand English), Read More
Calling a Christian a Pharisee
I heard a great bible study Wednesday night and I want to encourage you to listen to it. Just click on 2 Chronicles 17:1-19:3 11-06-13 W7101 by Jon Courson.
The reason I’m so interested in you checking out this study is because one of the issues addressed is the use of the word pharisee to describe Christians. And I am guilty of using that word, in that manner.
And I was wrong.
It happened the same day as the aforementioned evening bible study. That morning Read More
I’m always on the lookout for great videos and sadly, so many of them are yawners. Which is why I was surprised at the impact and quality of this one. Especially after the 5 minute mark where we hear two great stories about 34 year old LeCrae and 32 year old Lacey Sturm. You’ll want to check it out.
The Cross, with Billy Graham, LeCrae, and Lacey Sturm.
This could be the last significant communication we see from Billy Graham.