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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?

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