4577acda4bb3fb9aedb5097cb97eb514Right now, depending on the setting you are in, the word faith is being bantered around. Olympic Athletes are talking about the faith their parents, coaches, and/or teammates have had in them.  Others are talking about their lack of faith and confidence in the US political system and the Presidential Nominees.  Still, others use the words “just have faith” as feel good comment to try and encourage people who are going through difficult and tryng times.  So what is this “faith” thing and what might it look like?

To get a better handle on things, we first need to define what we mean by faith. The dictionary has several explanations and depending upon if your eyes are world focused or God focused will determine the outcome.  If you take faith in a simple explanation, faith can be a strong belief in someone or something.  In other words strong conviction and/ or loyalty.  If you take a higher definition, faith is belief and trust in and loyalty to God:  firm belief in something for which there is no proof:  complete trust.  There is quite a contrast between the two.

The worldview will always leave us short because people fail, convictions and loyalty are often sacrificed to get the next promotion, more influential circles, or higher positions of power and politics.  Even in the Olympics you hear of athletes and coaches who will sacrifice their faith in the system of hard work and perseverance and throw it away to “juice” and try and beat the system to get a medal.  When your back’s up against the wall and there is no where to turn, will a piece of metal part the pathway for you?  Will that “golden calf” deliver you?  When your body is failing and your heart is broken under the weight of trials, will that medal sustain you?  This is not the faith we want to aspire to.  We want to talk about God’s Gold Medal of Faith.

Faith, loyalty, and trust in God is a firm belief, for eternity, that will never leave us wanting more.  God never disappoints and more than a gold medal, He promises and delivers so much more.  The Lord not only gives us more than we deserve in faith, but He is the one who gives us the faith in the first place.  Once faith is given to us, what we do with the faith is up to our own free will.

Will we work at faith and relationship with God?  This work that we are talking about is like an athlete that learns the routines, exercises faithfully, eats right, submits themselves to the coaches teachings, and continue, to strive even when it gets difficult.  As Christians this means we should desire to move beyond the infant stage of only wanting the “milk” and move on to the solid food of all of God’s Word. We should desire our faith to impact every area of our lives and rid us of those sins and actions that are not in line with God’s Word.  Our lives should reflect the abandonment of the world and show the signs of loyalty to God at all worldly cost.  Faith that is rooted in God and watered by the Word produces stronger faith so we can continue to run the race of Jesus with endurance.

This life on earth is hard on Christ Followers and that is nothing new. This has always been the case because Satan wants us to fail and lose the crown of glory that God has waiting for us at the end of this race that finishes in heaven.  All we have to do is look at Scripture and see the difficulties that the faithful have endured.  When we look at this same Word of God we see what a rich reward faith offers.   By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 11:17-12:3 esv

As you can see, Faith in  Jesus is “Risk Taking” by worldview and it will stretch you, but just as Jesus was big on the walk in loyalty to the Father’s plan of Salvation, may we follow in His footsteps and be ever faithful even unto death for His namesake.  No matter what comes may faith be our defining moment. 

Want an extra shot of encouragement?  Take a listen to New Songs’ hit “Defining Moment”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fF64-zFONzk

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Alfred E Neuman was known for the phrase “What Me, Worry?”  If you don’t know about Alfred, you might want to look him up for a blast from the past.  He might have said this phrase but if you know the history of this comic, fear and worry and obstacles were a big part of his life.   There is nothing different from our real, non-comedic lives.  So, let’s take a spinoff from Alfred and ask “What is it that gives you anxiety, fear, and/or worry?”  Why do we struggle so much, even as followers of Christ?  Where can and do I go when fear sets in?  What does the Bible have to say about fear?

To tackle the first two questions we need to understand that fear and worry is very personal and it varies.  Some people seem to be calm, cool, and collected in times of trials and others seem to fall apart and are consumed with what seems to be just simple, ordinary tasks.  What might not worry one person can just rock the foundations of another.  Often times, in our situational anxieties, we seek out people to help console us and many times that backfires.

In our sinful humanness fear starts kicking in because we look at our situation/s expecting all of God’s promises to be fulfilled right now and when our expectations don’t meet up with God’s action we start to worry and fear and mistrust.  We are looking for the invisible with only human eyesight.  In our quest to have the answer to “Where can and do I go when fear sets in”  We often times go seeking a human answer to something only faith can do.  This is where our faith comes in to practice.  As C S Lewis said in A Grief Observed “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”   Faith is believing in God’s full promises when we can’t see or feel them.

In our times of fear and doubt we cling to the rope of faith as we hang off the precipice and life dangles us.  As much as we seek people to comfort us, it so often times ends up backfiring with one simple sentence. The phrase “Don’t Worry” is like a sledge hammer crashing down on you.  We have all been guilty of trying to pacify someone, or our own uneasiness about a situation, and we throw out a cliché response.  Trust me, these have all visited my home,  when you offer false hopes or easy answers to someone in a crisis situation like  cancer, divorce, and death, the “Don’t Worry it will be ok” phrase is just adding to the fear and worry.  Instead of balm for the soul and mind it’s like dousing a fire with gasoline.

The balm we must offer to ourselves and to others is God’s Word.  God’s Word is the only answer that fits our first question as well as all of our others questions. There are said to be 365 pieces of scripture to help us combat our fears and frustrations.  The verses cover the things in our lives that just seem impossible.  If we look at our scripture text we see God being with Abraham in a time of fear. God always meets fear in scripture with words of comfort and peace.  After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. -Genesis 15:1-6    God stepped out and gave comfort and reassurance to Abraham that though he did not see the answer yet, the answer was still there.

You see, our God is the only God of the Impossible.  He sent His only Son to buy us back from sin, Satan, and ourselves. Paying the impossible debt that we cannot ever pay.

He hands to us the Incredible.  There is nothing more incredible and powerful than the Holy Spirit sent to each of God’s children to give them the power to understand God’s Word and empower us to fight and ward off fear.  Other gods rule by fear but not the Triune God.  He wants us to fear/respect/have awe of Him.  When we truly grasp the Holiness of God and how sinful we are there should be a healthy fear but He assures us that He alone is with us.  Our God is the only god who dies for His people.  That is more than Incredible.

So the next time fear knocks, and it will knock, let Faith answer the door instead of human frailty and reasoning.  Put on the full armour of God and let the Holy Spirit fill to you with God’s Word and cling to the rope of faith.  Stay connected to worship, prayer, and Bible study so you can be strengthened and seek out caring Christian friends who will encourage you with God’s love and Word when you don’t have the strength to fight.

All Powerful Lord, in these uncertain days, strengthen Your peoples’ faith to Trust You in the impossible, to be our invincible, incredible power to fight all fear.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen

To help you in your journey, here are seven verses to look up, memorize, and cling to.

Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 56:3, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 43:1, and Psalm 23:4.

God has been actively working in the hearts of His people and we have been blessed in the Backpack for Back to School project. Gifts of love have been flooding in to Prince of Peace.  The packs will be distributed to Rev. Morales next week, so filling and distribution can begin in time for school.  Keep a watchful eye on the blog for upcoming pictures.

You still have time to participate.  Pick up a new backpack, several places have really nice packs for $5 and under right now, and drop off during this week. Better yet, drop off when you come and join us on Sunday, for time with God, at 8:15 am and 10:45 am.

1428250327951For many of you, seeing the title of today’s blog, instantly conjured up images of the 37 foot 2 inch wall in the Red Sox’s ballpark.  Others might have seen the green gooing claw marks from the energy drink can.  Yet for others maybe you saw a green monster figure like a nasty dinosaur.  Maybe your first thought was the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz. Whatever image you had jump in your mind, hold onto it as we walk through a few likely scenarios.

What I had in mind actually can have similar traits as those images we just talked about.  It can be a high almost insurmountable monolith of a wall once it gets into your ballpark, and it will enter your playing field.  It also is an oozing, creepy claw marking thing that just rips to shreds all that it touches.  It has an energy of its own and it doesn’t generally wear off like the stimulating drink.  It’s also a very nasty, ugly large dinosaur of a creature that can carry you away without a trace.  What about the Wicked Witch?  Yes, this thing I am talking about even has her nasty disposition. It takes away your ability to love, care, and be nice to others.  You only see the ugly and it melts your heart like the witch when doused with water. Are you a little curious yet?  Are you a tad anxious to know that this doesn’t allude a single person and it’s as corrosive as cataracts to good eyesight.

This green monster is simply summed up in one little five letter word but has the impact of the green monster wall, energy drink, green dinosaur creature, and Wicked Witch, wrapped up in one and then even dwarfs all of those.  It is GREED!

Maybe when you see the word greed you think that is reserved for only the rich, powerful, political, or well the Ebenezer Scrooges of the world.  Maybe you think it only refers to money.  Sadly, you would be wrong.  Greed is the Green Monster Elephant in every room in every home, in every heart, that no one wants to admit to seeing, possessing, or being. Greed is rooted in dissatisfaction and lust for more of anything.  It’s a lack of trusting God for the way He provides.  See, we and the world say “feed my wants and desires”, “buy more”, “get more”,  and “spend more”.  The holy ground of the temple of greed beckons us to shop until we drop, buy one more lotto ticket, visit one more casino, get one more degree or job title to be able to get one more thing because that “thing” it will fix my pain, my problem, my emotional emptiness, my broken relationships.  The only thing it tends to fix is a large debt that can’t be paid and empties the heart of joyful, thanksgiving.

The problem with the green monster of greed is that it never satisfies. You can have a million dollars and still not have enough. You can jump from relationship to relationship and still not have enough love that you want.  You can have all the bedrooms in your house filled with kids and still not be satisfied with the blessings you have in your family.  Greed breeds ingratitude and the lust for more of it never fulfills.  It never satisfies.  It never delivers on its bogus lies and keeps us distracted chasing the illusion of the American Dream and heaps on the disillusionment because nothing lasts forever and we can’t get enough, buy enough, earn enough to stop death.  No matter how much stuff we acquire, we will all die. You could pull a U-Haul behind the hearse but you still can’t take it with you into eternity.  No matter your station in life, just like chess, at the end of the game the King and the Pawn go in the same box. Just like we all have death in common, as sinful people, we all have the problem of greed in one area or another and the first step in getting handle on greed is admitting we own it.

Jesus dealt with the sin of greed and we can learn from Him on how to Fend off the Feeding of the Green Greed Monster.

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”  Luke 12:13-21

Jesus first shows us that for eternity purposes the only inheritance we should be concerned about is storing up treasures in heaven and not worry about worldly wealth and possession.  Jesus then tells this man to guard himself against greed and lust and want of what others have or are given.  He straight up tells this guy STUFF won’t make you happy and life is more than possessions.

So how do we guard ourselves against the lies the world and our sinful selves tell us?  How do we scale the green monster wall? How and where do we find our energy to conquer the green monster in the room of our hearts and souls?  How do we fight off the monster dinosaur of lust, desire, and the likes?  How do kill the green wicked witch of greed?

Jesus tells us to be concerned about God’s riches first.  The riches of knowing Jesus Christ comes in the Word of God.  The power of the Holy Spirit touching us when we read God’s Holy Word and actually digest it.  The Word will teach and instruct us and douse the wicked witch of greed with the Living Water of Jesus Christ.

Worship gives us the ability to be ministered to by God and to be filled up with the love and forgiveness Christ won for us.  The Body and Blood given to us in Holy Communion is a constant reminder that Jesus Christ scaled the monster wall of sin on our behalf.

Giving of our tithes, offerings, special gifts helps us to see how richly God has provided for us in giving us all the things we have.  In turn by giving back to the Lord, we are blessed by knowing that we are caring out his commission to love care and provide for others in not only physical ways but spiritual ways as we tend to the business of the church.  This helps melt our hearts of ingratitude and thanklessness.

When we spend time in prayer this helps us be alert and on guard to where we need to seek God’s direction and repent of our ways when we let the green monster of greed rear its ugly head.  Prayer is always about us being in line God’s will and changing us from the soul on out to the body.  When we spend time to not only seek God in prayer, but listen to Him in prayer, we will find out that again, we are very blessed and rich beyond imagination.

Lastly, when we stop being greedy with our time and chasing our worldly pursuits, and start serving and giving our time at church and in service to others, we will be put in situations that show us people and situations in true need.  We will find out that no matter how poor we think we are there are always others far worse off than we are.  You will also find in serving that there are those that are destitute in the worldly things of money and possessions but way richer than you because they possess a peace and solitude that only God can give them.  They walk upright with the joy in knowing that God is caring for them even in the tough times of life.

So, there you have it.  Let’s start killing the Green Monster of Greed and start examining your holy grounds of the temple of greed and start being RICH in the Things of God!

Gracious Giver of all things, thank You for all that You give us and all that You keep from us because it is for our own good.  Show us our areas of greed, lust, and dissatisfaction and unthankfulness.  Help us turn from our sin and turn to You.  Give us an extra measure of Your Holy Spirit so we can fight this sin that erodes our hearts, relationships, time, and joy.  Put our priorities in proper order so that we only seek and want what Your Word tells us to desire.  Give us the power to give fully of ourselves to Your work and mission so we can help others climb over the green monster wall of greed and move into being rich in Your grace.  Melt our thankless, covetous hearts.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

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We are blessed to have three, yes 3, passion projects to embark on for the rest of summer and into the early part of fall.  These IMPACT OPPORTUNITIES have lasting importance, and many ways for you to roll up your sleeves and get involved.  These are wonderful avenues to show your love, care , and support to those that Christ has a soft spot for:  children and orphans and those in need.

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Many of us can look toward to the school year with joy, excitement, and as parents, maybe some relief from the summer break🙂, and just head back to the classroom with all we need.

The needs of people in the city can far outweigh what anyone can imagine.  Right here in our own communities, we have children going to bed without food, clothing, and necessities.   Now, add on to that the costs needed to send kids to school with supplies that they don’t receive in school.  God has given us a wonderful privilege to team up with several schools and locations to aide in the relief of needed supplies.  We have connected with a local school that has children in need as well as a special request from Rev. Eddie Morales at Outer Drive Faith Lutheran Church in the city of Detroit.

Pastor Morales has asked if we could assist with the help of 100 backpacks to share with Outer Drive and with the Spanish Congregation, Pan De Vida Iglesia Luterana, he serves in the city.  The need is severe between the two congregations.  Other congregations are helping fill the backpacks for these two sites.  The best part about the backpacks is right now many locations have them on sale.  5below has some for $4.99 and Walgreens has some nice ones for $5.  Someone has already dropped off 20 packs they found.  If kids and education are your passion then this project is for you!  You can drop off the items during the week from 9-3 and any time on Sunday before and after services.

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During last week’s VBS Camp the kids started collecting monies to start work on a church roofing project in Africa.  Can you imagine going to any place of work, care, or need and not having the basic elements of a roof to keep the heat of the day or rain off of you?  How long would you go?  Would you return?

Due to the high cost of metal in Africa, many places, especially churches can’t install a basic tin roof for protection from the elements.  The youth, last week raised $210 and we want to help them finish the entire  project.  If you would like to help with this project, send any donations to Prince of Peace marked for Tin Roofs.  Let’s RAISE A ROOF

$2,000 can provide all the materials for one roof
$100 can provide the wooden structure for one roof
 $30 can provide all the nails needed for one roof 
$25 can provide a toolbox of hammers, saws and other tools needed to put on a roof
 $15 can provide one piece of tin roofing

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This Annual Charity 5k Walk/Run, that Benefits Wellspring Lutheran Services/New Directions Campus in Farmington Hills, has been set for October 8, 2016.  We are looking for all hands on deck the day of the event for registration, watering stations, youth obstacle course, and much more. If you would like give of your hands and time, please contact the church office and they will connect you to this year’s Race Director.  This is a Thrivent Action Team event so if you are a Thrivent Member be sure to help out too!

We also have Sponsorship Opportunities for this event that start at $50 all the way up to $500.  You don’t have to have a business to sponsor.  We have several sponsors that do so in honor and memory of loved ones who had hearts of faith and hearts for children in need.  All profits go to help the full time youth residents of New Directions.  These children,  permanent wards of the state, have special needs and they need people to help them with their challenges. Many of these youth participate in the race and it is so exciting to see them enjoying a moment that other kids can do all the time!

Race Registration Forms will be available starting this Sunday and will be available in the church office.  Reduced price if registered by August 31.  Our online registration will be up and running, hopefully by the end of the week, if you prefer to register that way.  Also, don’t feel like you have to be in a competitive class to join us at the event.  We have people who register and leisurely walk the beautiful course on the grounds of Wellspring, Farmington Hills.  Maybe you want to help support the needs and live far away?  We are working on a Virtual Option to hopefully have ready for this year’s event.  You can always register and know you have helped whether you can attend or not.  For more information and updates visit http://www.footprintsofpeace.com .  The registration link will be updated as soon as the link is open to us.

Be a Superstar for Special Needs!

christmas_cross_ballIn these hot, dry, humid days of this summer it can seem like cooler temperatures can’t get here fast enough.  We might really be enjoying “snow cones”  and the a/c to relieve the hot spell.  I have also found it interesting that retailers are having Black Friday sales and talking about “Christmas in July.”  If you have ever been in retail, you know what the motive is for their Christmas in July.   June and July are very slow months and sales and revenues are very much in a drought.  These sales are designed to bring folks in and encourage impulse shopping for other items and get those registers ringing.  It can be rather fascinating as we go into stores and start seeing the Christmas crafting sections starting to pop up. It might also hit a nerve and get you frustrated with why all this push so early?

It is rather amazing how often I hear from people who are burned out on Christmas by December 1.  I hear the “bah humbugs” on the July craft aisles and sales, too.  As Christians we can fall victim to the worldly trappings of “July and December Christmas.”  We can be so busy getting the deals and rushing to decorate and have the parties that by December 1 it’s nothing but a frenzy.  A frenzy to be the Rockwell/Hallmark Home and be the Host/Hostess of it all.   What happens to us?   We literally forget that Christmas is 365 days a year and not a six week fad, not a season, and definitely not a bargain price!

So we need to say “Yes!  Christmas” all the time and have joy as we live out our Christian faith.   That is precisely why we had Christmas in July worship last week at Prince of Peace.  It couldn’t have come at a better time, too.  We needed to be reminded of God’s grace, love, mercy, and eternal gift of Jesus Christ.  We needed to sing those songs that make us feel warm inside because the world has been a very dark, dank, and deadly place this summer.

We needed to be reminded that the joy of Christmas is for eternity for those that believe.  We needed to be reminded that we are to be like those ordinary but extraordinary Shepherds who saw the star and were told to go worship Christ the Newborn King.  Those Shepherds were busy out working and tending to their business. They were taking care of the sheep.  As shepherds, they had to be watchful and alert at all times so that nothing destroyed the sheep, not their wandering off or being taken captive and killed by a predator.  Sheep are easy prey.  Just like us human sheep who can walk away and be taken captive by the predators of the world, Satan, and our sinful lusts and desires.  We need to be on guard like the shepherds and be watchful and alert so that we can respond like they did. When they were confronted by the angel, they immediately got up and headed to town to be with Jesus.  They worshiped the Lord and went out and told every one the good news.

We also needed to be reminded that Christ lowered Himself to become one of us.  He came in an ordinary human birth but with extraordinary purpose and power to be the Savior of the Nations and pay a price that we sinful people cannot pay.  We needed to hear again that God knows about our suffering, pain, and dark world.  How much does Jesus know about all this?  He knows it first hand because He walked the human road.  Jesus felt the pain and suffering of life.  He knew how it felt to bury a loved one.  He knew about betrayal by a friend.  He knew about homelessness.  Most importantly for us, He knew the way to God’s heart by being the sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus knew He had to go all the way to Calvary and suffer the pain and agony of crucifixion.  See, Jesus knew what it was going to take to keep the sheep safe.  He had to die to sin and rise alive in righteousness and truth so that we can have eternal life.  Jesus knows exactly what we need and that is to know and celebrate His birth, death, resurrection, ascension and that He is coming back again for His sheep.

Christmas can’t be separated from Good Friday and Easter.  They are all tied together.  It is for each day that we can celebrate Christmas and the joy that it brings.  Celebrate the only gift, Jesus, that lasts for eternity and don’t just let it sit on the shelf waiting for a special season or day.  Go out and say Merry Christmas in July and when people think your cheese has slid off the cracker, let them know that Jesus lives in each new day!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

In our current culture, it isn’t to hard to find what we would deem the “big sins.”  We see and  hear about murder almost daily.  We see lying, cheating, and just down right ugliness on most nearly all headlines.  We are a culture growing to mistrust and hate everything around us and then we lash out in the most ugly of ways – you know those “big sins.”

fearWe get so wrapped up in the “dramas” of each day that one of two things tends to happen.  We either join in the “drama pool” or we bury our heads in the sand, circle the wagons, and sing “kumbayah” pretending like nothing is wrong.  Both of these are relying on human ways to conquer the issues of the world and our own lives.  In all reality, we are falling victim to the very, very subtle sins of “unbelief and doubt.”

We don’t like to admit it but we make God out to be a hamstrung god who can only do what our minds can think or imagine.  We put God in a box of humanness, logic, and limited power.  We walk around thinking that God might fix that issue but “will He fix it or help me fix my BIG problem?”  It’s easy to forget God’s promises as we wait, move, and trudge through the mountainous times in our lives.  We start focusing on the summit of the problem and doubt the One who created the highest earthly mountains.  We focus on the pain and hurt around us and forget that Christ suffered the mountain of death, defeated Satan, and rose to bring us new life.  Those are no small hills, folks!

We live in a world where struggle and pain and disappointment just aren’t acceptable. We just want pleasure and fun.  Sometimes, God allows or puts enormous obstacles in our way so we have to trust Him and rely fully on Him!  In the struggles and pains and desert times we are taught much more than when life just goes along happy, happy, joy, joy.  Happy, happy tends to make us think “we’ve got this.”  But pain, agony, difficulties, disease, death, and destruction well, these make us stop and evaluate Who can handle this?  In our faith we either start down the path of unbelief or we turn down the road to “Illogical Obedience” Following God when it makes no human sense.

In the worldly view, the entire walk of Faith in Christ is illogical.  But as Christians, we know that nothing is impossible with God!  We have a track record, over 4,000 years old, that proves our God looks at impossible and laughs.  As we walk down the Biblical Memory Lane, we see that God takes and uses all the impossible people, places, and things and makes STUFF HAPPEN!

In our verses from Genesis, we see “Illogical Obedience” in action.  And the Lord appeared to [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on – since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate. They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:1-14

Sarah doubted God and laughingly mocked at His words.  We might throw stones at her but we do the same thing when we go it on our own because we are tired of waiting on God or believe that He can’t or won’t come through for us in our times of distress.  We know from looking at Abraham and Sarah that when they started doubting God, they started making huge messes.  God allowed the messes and obstacles to happen.  They felt the pain of “their way” and the world still feels the pain of that mess.  The best part of it is, that God didn’t stop His Impossible Plan.

There could be no doubt in anyone’s mind, that knew Abraham and Sarah, that only God could make these two, in their geriatric ward days, become biological parents.  In them becoming parents, God kept His promise and showed His mighty power.  God took the young boy, David, and David’s Illogical Obedience, and slayed the Giant Goliath.  Not in mighty conflict, with brazen weapons, and mass metal armour, but with a simple sling shot and a stone. Again, God showing His Impossible Plan and Power.  The list goes on and on and is recorded in the Bible so that we know where to go to find God’s Plan and Will and Power.  We are never going to find it on our own, in worldly powers and governments, and we will never know the full power of God until we know His Word and it is in our DNA and is our DNA.

So, How Big is God?  Bigger than anything you can dream, think, or work toward.  Our God is so big that He defeated the biggest problem and issue of any day, SIN.  Jesus looked Satan in the eye and beat him forever, not with anything man could do but with His sacrificial blood on the cross, and rose and said I AM the way of the IMPOSSIBLE.  Even in these days of chaos, God still makes it possible for us to live and move and have our being because the Holy Spirit gives us the power to walk on the road of Illogical Obedience and follow in the footsteps of Christ.  So drop the hat of unbelief, take off the armour of doubt and disobedience, and put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the clothes of Christ and march on as soldiers of the Cross and carry the banner into the world and show them that with God, All things are Possible!

Lord God, turn our laughing and mocking of You, into pure faith and belief, that You can do anything in the world and in our own lives.  Help Your children in Your Church to believe Your promises, power, and passion to do the Impossible.  You have never been bound by human reason or worldly things.  You are limitless!  Cure the unbelief in Your Church and Your People by returning them into the Banner Barriers of Your Holy Word. Make Your Word our desire to become our DNA for You.  In Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.

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