Tag Archives: Christmas

How Fast Can You Find Jesus?

I’ve known of Michael Todd Wilson for many years, but we only finally met a few months ago. Since then, I’ve been greatly blessed by his Christ centered perspective on the broken, fallen world we live in and the many obstacles that sets up on the path of walking with Jesus.

Today, he put this article in my inbox and I’d be remiss if I kept the blessing rather than sharing it with you.

Can you read this and take 5 seconds to find Jesus?

http://intentionalhearts.com/looking-for-jesus/

Gut check. Grateful God is always so near.

Daniel Diadiggo’s Christmas Chronicles – Part 5

Merry Christmas…
     I hope you and your family are richly blessed by this “pass on” post of Daniel Diadiggo’s “Christmas Chronicles”. For previous posts in this series, click below.
     Part 1

     Part 2
     Part 3 
     Part 4
Grace and peace,

AP


  #5 first steps

Read:

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth 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 which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger.
Luke 2:13-16

Speak:

Every journey begins with a first step. And every first step starts with a choice.

A choice to move forward.
 
     In a direction.
          Towards something.
               And away from something else.

Choices confront us in the silence of our hearts.

In one moment the shepherds’ view of the sky was blocked by a chorus of angels exploding praises to God. But then the angels withdrew to heaven. And into the gap rushed the deafening silence of distant stars. Silence and a choice.

God will do that. He will shake our worlds. He will paint His glory across our nights and fill our ears with praise and we will find Him equally terrifying and irresistible. In that moment, He will be more real to us than the air we breathe.

Then, He will withdraw into silence.  It’s inside the silence we will wonder if it was all a dream.

I wonder what the shepherds felt in that instant where the angels withdrew. Were their ears still ringing? Were there eyes still searching? I wonder how long it was before someone said, “Let’s go…”

The shepherds’ first steps toward Bethlehem moved them AWAY from the world they’d come to know as normal, away from their jobs and the familiar sounds of the night and toward a… baby… in a manger.  The ones the angels told them about.

When God says “Go” He gives us plenty of reason to trust Him at His Word. But trust is not trust where doubt is not possible. In the silence – in that place where trust and doubt wrestle for our souls, we must choose.

The first steps can be the hardest. For, with these, we still walk in the scents and sounds of our worlds. But with each successive step, with each planting of the foot, we move from the fear of the unfamiliar and toward the Person of Christ, to the One who saves us from the world we leave behind.

Caleb (Diadiggo)‘s Prayer:

Lord, thank you that when you say “go” you give us a reason to go. For when we “go” we do not go alone. Thank you for help us take our first steps and our last. Draw us closer and closer to you with every step we take. May the scents and sounds of this world grow strangely dim in light of your great glory.

Sing:

Silent Night 

Daniel Diadiggo’s Christmas Chronicles – Part 4

Merry Christmas…
     Later today, I’ll post part 5 of this series. But, this morning, I hope you and your family are richly blessed by this “pass on” post of Daniel Diadiggo’s “Christmas Chronicles”. For previous posts in this series, click below.
     Part 1

     Part 2
     Part 3 
Grace and peace,

AP

#4 when God speaks

Read:

[A]nd 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 the baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:8-12

Speak:

The shepherds understood what it was like to be outsiders. These were society’s forgotten, the ones the mothers didn’t want their daughters to marry. They were not, as some might say, relationally connected.

The shepherds were generational outcasts, removed to obscurity from the centers of power and influence.

One night a group of shepherds went to work as they had hundreds of nights before.
      … the same as their dads had done
           … and their grandfathers before them

The shepherds had no reason to believe that this night would be any different from the others.

And yet this night… would be unlike any other.

This… is the night God broke through…. the night He split the darkness and lit up the sky and declared peace between men and their God.

With the angels and all the universe leaning in… and while Jerusalem slept… God announced the birth of the Christ child – to a group of shepherds.

I wonder why He did that? Why did he choose the shepherds?

Maybe.. since nobody listened to them… they were more inclined to listen to God. For when God spoke the shepherds listened and left.

History remembers the shepherds – the lowly ones who stepped outside their own stories and into the miraculous.


Prayer:

Thank you Lord that you break through into our world and speak to us. Thank you that we hear your voice. Thank you for extending compassion to the undeserving and for drawing us to Yourself. We pray for the outsiders tonight, for those whose hearts are broken and for they who are lonely and afraid.

Sing:

Angels We Have Heard on High

Daniel Diadiggo’s Christmas Chronicles – Part 3

Christmas Chronicles
This Christmas, we’re honored to share with you part three of Daniel Diadiggo’s “Christmas Chronicles”. This is part threefor part 1 or part 2, click on the links.
  
#3 the inn-sider

Read:

[A]nd she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Luke 2:7

Speak:

The Lord determined not only the time, but also the PLACE to insert Jesus.

Consider this place of God’s choosing.

The Lord commanded every possibility for luxury and comfort. He could have embedded among the elite, in a palace or with aristocrats. Instead, He placed Himself in the center of His promise. Here we find Jesus, God of the universe, through Whom all things were made, in Whom all things hold together – contained in the body of a baby.

Divinely swaddled and confined to… an animal trough.

A place where livestock feed.

Where they stick their dirty mouths and crunch their straw.

God placed Himself inside the center of the mess – and outside the mess of Jerusalem’s center.

In Jesus we have a Savior who became like us, so that we might become like Him.

Caleb (Diadiggo)’s Prayer:

     Thank You, Lord for becoming like us, in order that we might become like You. Thank you for placing Yourself at the center of our mess so that we may know You and live for You. I ask that everyday You give us a bigger and bigger picture of You. Let us see our true inability apart from You in a way that we will find that there is nothing worth holding onto in this world but You.

Sing:

Away In a Manger

Get Clean this Christmas – Ron Dunn

It’s Time 
     In 1986, garbage was piling up on the streets of Philadelphia. The sanitation department was on strike. Joseph Paolino and Sons moved opportunistically securing a contract with the city that involved collecting, burning, incinerating and then removing the ash.


     
How?  The ashes were piled on a freighter called
The Pelicano with a disposal trip planned to a third word country.  One problem.  Joseph and Sons did not properly segregate the trash before feeding the incinerator.

      Everything from orange peels and plastic to aluminum, copper, car batteries and light bulbs were blended together and in the end formed  28 million tons of toxic ash. Haiti, Honduras, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic… port after port turned them away.  The Pelicano became the most unwanted ship in the world and for two years it went from point to port, refueling, but leaving with it’s garbage.

      Can you relate?  For 15 years I was the Pelicano…docking and refueling at church on Sundays and in a men’s group on Fridays, gaining some energy, but still leaving with my toxic garbage.

      In Matthew 11:25 Jesus is getting ready to tell us how to get rid of our garbage…

      He had just talked about the people and cities that would not repent.  Now he thanks God that it is His plan to withhold the answer to those who consider themselves knowledgeable and wise, but reveals truth and reserves relationship for the childlike… a contrast to those who want to act independently of God and those who depend on the Father.

      After this prayer of thanks, Jesus lays One Thing out: Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden…those carrying garbage around for years…and I will give you rest.

      So what if Jesus had changed it up just a bit?…  What if he said…and I will sell you rest.  Would this be on your gift giving and gift getting list this Christmas?

      How much would you pay?… Seriously…think about it!

      The great news…it is free!

      If you have been carrying a heavy load of trash, it’s time to lay it down.

As we are nearing December 24th and 25th…Christmas, It’s time
 
     
Identify your garbage.  All the trash that you no longer want to haul around.

      Come to Jesus… lay it before Him, acknowledge…repent

      Invest some necessary time around the closing verses of Matthew 11…

      This Christmas I will precede our family gift-giving time by placing one wrapped package upfront and center….

      Inside the package will be four wooden letters… R-E-S-T. …The perfect gift that Jesus is willing to  freely give….

      The heart of Christmas.

      Men…somehow, in some way take the lead this Christmas and in a few memorable moments, with your family, from your personal experience, luxuriate this opportunity and share some dimension of what it means to “Come.”

     One on one with Jesus, it’s time to discover rest.

– Ron Dunn

Daniel Diadiggo’s "Christmas Chronicles" Part 2

     A few years ago at a local dinner/event, I witnessed one of Dan Diadiggo’s family’s traditions, called “Christmas Chronicles”. For the next few days, as I take some time off from the blog to soak more thoroughly in the word and unclutter some of my own brain at year end, I’ve chosen to pass forward his Christmas Chronicles for your consumption and cogitation.

     I hope as you disciple others it will serve as a helpful framework for sharing important truths about Christmas, Christ, and the God who loves us with a crazy, crazy love. It’s a tradition I’m sure the Pina family will adopt in years to come and I hope it proves to be a unique blessing to you as you and your family gather to celebrate the incarnation of a risen Savior.

 #2 such a time as this

Read:

He went there 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…

Luke 2:5-6

Speak:

     Before God created the world He scheduled Jesus to touch down on its soil. Jesus entered this world according to a plan that God set in motion before Adam breathed his first. Long before there was a you or a me, there was a plan.

God’s plan –
     a plan that involves us.
          a that plan that requires Jesus.

Jesus took on flesh at exactly the right time to set us free for all time.

The Scriptures tell us the Lord determines the times and places set for us.

Think about this for a moment. He Who created the universe created you – and for such a time as this.

The people you meet, the opportunities you find and the trouble that finds you – these are divine appointments.

Uniquely yours. Entrusted to you by Jesus – Who is uniquely God.

Pray:

Thank you Lord for assigning me to a time such as this. Thank you for the opportunities and people you have placed before me – and for the good works You created for me to walk in. Thank you for the life You have breathed into me and for the days You have given me. Thank you Jesus, for joining me in time so that I might live with You in eternity.


Sing:

O’ Come Emmanuel

Daniel Diadiggo’s "Christmas Chronicles" Part 1 – Monday Morning Momentum Minute

      The point of Monday Morning Momentum is to ensure your week maintains the momentum you got from the shot in the arm your pastor gave you yesterday. I try to pass on some brief word that has me jazzed about jumping out of bed and taking a bite of of Monday. This week, I had a few great thoughts to share. But, none of them were as well ironed out as the one that I got in my email from Daniel Diadiggo a few weeks ago.

    I’ve posted some of Daniel’s stuff here in the past – Diadiggo is one of those guys who “gets it” when it comes to Jesus, grace, and truth. He also really gets it when it comes to the pattern of this age and the pattern of God (example). On top of that, I find him to be an incredibly insightful and cogent writer, able to articulate complex ideas in a staggeringly simple way.

     A few years ago, I witnessed one of his family’s traditions, performed at a local restaurant, called “Christmas Chronicles”. For the next few weeks, as I take some time off from the blog to soak more thoroughly in the word and unclutter some of my own brain at year end, I’ve chosen to unleash his “Christmas Chronicles” for your consumption and cogitation.

     I hope as you disciple others it will serve as a helpful framework for sharing important truths about Christmas, Christ, and the God who loves us with a crazy, crazy love. It’s a tradition I’m sure the Pina family will adopt in years to come and I hope it proves to be a unique blessing to you as you and your family gather to celebrate the incarnation of a risen Savior.

Merry Monday Momentum & Merry, Merry Christmas!

Foreword: Twenty-two years ago as newlyweds, Kelle and I invited family and friends to our tiny, rented duplex to read the Christmas story. Together, we read Scripture, prayed, and sang hymns. Sprinkled in between were some vignettes I wrote which were spoken by alternating readers. The idea has survived as a family tradition in some form through the years and has become known locally (as in our family room) as “the Christmas Chronicles”. dcd


 #1 in the midst of the mundane

Read:

      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.

Luke 2:1-4

Speak:

      Joseph was doing his taxes when Jesus was born. He was rendering to Caesar that which was Caesar’s – he was giving the world it’s due.
 

What a pain.

Life is a strand of ordinary things, often inconvenient things.
     … things we’re supposed to do
         … things we have to do.

This was one of these.

Joseph hoisted his very pregnant betrothed onto a donkey and set out for Bethlehem because
     … that’s what he was supposed to do.

It was in Bethlehem, in the middle of Joseph’s drudgery
that God punctured time and appeared in flesh.

God does that a lot.

He interrupts our routines…

At the most inconvenient of times
     …when we’re bothered by something else
          …times when we’re too busy to pay attention

God breaks through

And delivers… LIFE!!

Pray:

      Lord, thank you for the mundane – for those burdens You have pressed upon us, for those things that are in the way. Thank You for delivering life into the midst of our mundane!