Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for your Musings

From Megadeth to Life: I was quite the metal head in high school myself (and use to have a pretty sweet Metallica t-shirt until I put it in the wash one day and it never came back…)  so it gave me quite a bit of joy to read this short article about the conversion of lead singer for Megadeath Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson. Trophies of grace, indeed!

9 Reasons to Pray: Why should we pray? God already knows our hearts. He already knows our desires. So why Pray? Here are 9 excellent reasons! Can you think of any others? The first reason is my favorite.

2013: They Year in Pictures: CNN with some pretty amazing photos here.

A Plan to Read Through the Bible in 2014: Do you have a bible reading plan? Maybe you want to try a different one? Here is one from Denny Burk which “calls for reading all the books of the Bible in canonical order in one year.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ: A Biblical and Theological Appraisal: A classic article by the late Dr. Bruce Metzger that explores who they are, the good and the bad in the sect, the basic error, erroneous translations, the subordination of the Son, and theological and philosophical considerations.

9 Things You Should Know About Christmas: Did you know them?

Catholicism and Suicide: The church of Rome has reversed its position on a number of very significant issues and now we can add to that list suicide. Like the article says, “How can you trust a denomination to be a safe spiritual guide when it reverse itself on such fundamental issues? If it changes it’s position, then that means either of two things: if it got it right now, it got it wrong then; if it got it right then, it got it wrong now. Also, why has Rome changed its policy? People commit suicide for the same reasons they always committed suicide. It’s not like we’ve discovered new evidence.”

Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for your Musings

Teaching Children About Heaven: Answering Your Child’s Questions: As any parent knows, kids ask great questions and their questions about heaven are no exception. Are you ready to answer? Wise parents help prepare their children for the deaths of loved ones and the assurance of Heaven for those who know Jesus. In this article Randy Alcorn answers 6 questions children commonly ask about heaven. I know mine have asked a couple of these before!

Top Parenting Posts: I always love at the end of the year how the blog’s I follow highlight their most popular post’s throughout the year. In this article Paul Tripp shares the top three parenting posts for this year. If you are a parent I highly recommend reading these! As Tripp reminds us: “There are few things in life as important as the shaping of a human soul, and God has ordained the parent, in the context of the family, to be the primary instrument in the process.”

Flannel Shirts and Sound Theology: What do flannel shirts have to do with sound theology? Read and find out!

Ten truths that will get you through Christmas: Todd Friel puts us on the “truth train” to help us change our attitude, emotions and feelings about being with our in-laws and other difficult people over Christmas. I thought the 6th one to be very true and often overlooked. Are you on the “truth train?”

A fair analysis of the new NIV: Did you know that in 2011 Zondervan published a new NIV? In this article Si Cochran gives some good food for thought about it.

Common English Errors in English Usage Daily: Butt naked/buck naked: Who knew?

A Functional Car Built Out of Legos: I know…this falls more in the category of “amusement” but it is too incredible to pass up. It definitely takes Lego building to a whole new level and it is powered by air!

Christmas is War

We all know the words “So have yourself a merry little Christmas…” but in reality for many there is nothing “merry” or “little” about it. Instead it is a dreadful season of fatigue, resentment, financial pressure, separation and loneliness. But that is not all. For others it is a time of relational conflict between siblings, cousins, in-laws, step-parents, grandparents or fill in the blank _______________. In other words, in many households Christmas is war. Is that the case with you or someone you know? If so take a few minutes to watch this thoughtful movie produced by Igniter Media. I think it will encourage you to be intentional about leaving a legacy of peace and conflict resolution.

Ten Questions To Ask At Christmas Gatherings

From Donald Whitney:

Many of us struggle to make conversation at Christmas gatherings, whether church events, work-related parties, neighborhood drop-ins, or annual family occasions. Sometimes our difficulty lies in having to chat with people we rarely see or have never met. At other times we simply don’t know what to say to those with whom we feel little in common. Moreover, as Christians we want to take advantage of the special opportunities provided by the Christmas season to share our faith, but are often unsure how to begin. Here’s a list of questions designed not only to kindle a conversation in almost any Christmas situation, but also to take the dialogue gradually to a deeper level. Use them in a private conversation or as a group exercise, with believers or unbelievers, with strangers or with family.

  1. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?
  2. What was your best Christmas ever? Why?
  3. What’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
  4. What was the most appreciated Christmas gift you’ve ever given?
  5. What was your favorite Christmas tradition as a child?
  6. What is your favorite Christmas tradition now?
  7. What do you do to try to keep Christ in Christmas?
  8. Why do you think people started celebrating the birth of Jesus?
  9. Do you think the birth of Jesus deserves such a nearly worldwide celebration?
  10. Why do you think Jesus came to earth?

Of course, remember to pray before your Christmas gatherings. Ask the Lord to grant you “divine appointments,” to guide your conversations, and to open doors for the gospel. May He use you to bring glory to Christ this Christmas.

Which One Are You: Reservoir or Canal?

 

Christmas Wisdom from the 10th century:

If you are wise therefore you will show yourself a reservoir and not a canal. For a canal pours out as fast as it takes in; but a reservoir waits till it is full before it over flows, and so communicates its surplus…We have all too few such reservoirs in the Church at present, though we have canals in plenty.

– Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on Song of Songs

Preaching from 2 Kings 11: “The Day We Almost Lost Christmas”

 

Here is the audio and manuscript for my message on Sunday night:

 

Sermon Audio:

 

Sermon Manuscript:

 

Big Idea: Though at times the kingdom of God is seemingly on the verge of extinction it will endure, if not in a surprising way!

Was There Really No Room At The Inn?

I just saw this posted over at Koinonia and had to share it:

We are used to Christmas plays and TV specials which feature Joseph and Mary being told “there is no room at the inn” by a burly looking innkeeper. As the birth of Jesus comes closer, they make the best of a bad situation and hunker down in a stable.

But were there really inns in Bethlehem at all?

The ‘inn’ (katalyma) was probably not an ancient hotel with an innkeeper,  since a small village like Bethlehem would not have had such accommodations. Luke uses a different Greek word in Luke 10:34 for a roadside inn (pandocheion).

The word katalyma normally means either a guest room in a private residence or a caravansary, an informal public shelter where travelers would gather for the night.

The most likely scenario is that Joseph and Mary were staying with relatives or friends and, because of crowded conditions, were forced to a place reserved for animals.”

From “Four Portraits, One Jesus: An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels” by Mark L. Strauss