Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
In the busy-ness of the day, let me remind you to spend a few quiet moments with the Lord, thanking Him for the blessings of gifts and food and family and love. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joy to the World

"The door of repentance opens into the hall of joy."
-Charles Spurgeon

Psalm 32:5
"Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD'—and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

By now you've probably discovered that even a room full of shiny new Christmas gifts won't bring lasting joy. Once the newness of the gift wears off, the happiness starts to fade. Presents get lost, toys get broken, and dreams of long-lived happiness begin to evaporate. The truth is, nothing in this earthly life offers unending joy.

Last night I had a truly terrifying dream. In it I had committed a murder and I was desperately trying to cover up my crime. A crushing burden of guilt weighed heavily upon me. When I finally awakened to learn it was only a dream, the flood of relief I felt was difficult to describe. I was no longer guilty of my sin; I was free from its oppressive weight. What joy filled my soul!

Like waking up from my dream, there is a way—but only one way—to be rid of quilt from sin and experience everlasting joy. We must walk through the door of repentance. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." All sin, all unrighteousness—past, present, and future—is washed away by the blood of Christ when we confess our sins and receive his cleansing salvation. Our souls are forever freed from the crushing weight of guilt, thanks to the loving sacrifice of our Savior.

If you listen to "Joy to the World," the popular Christmas hymn by Isaac Watts, you will hear a command for every heart to prepare Him room, and for every creature to tell of His joy. What a wonderful calling. I hope and pray that the joy of the Lord will resound in every family and every person.

How will you respond to this joy this Christmas? If you've walked through the door or repentance, then you've awakened into the hall of joy described by Charles Spurgeon. This is the message of the Gospel that we celebrate at Christmas—God's pronouncement of everlasting joy to the world!

Friday, November 21, 2008

New York City

Tonight we had a meeting to discuss the details of the New York City trip. I was reminded of this quote by Taylor Field from his book "Mercy Streets." It says "Our task is to walk in the cool of the evening with God on the hot subway platform and to make a single dirty park bench an Eden." That is so true. We are to meet God where He is already working to make His grace known to the people in the city.
I also thought about how my own vision of the city has changed each time I have gone. My eyes see things differently every time, and inner city life is to blame. The city streets, and more pointedly, the life on the city streets, has brought enlightenment to my eyes. I now see life where I thought there was no life, hope where one would assume there was no hope, and beauty in the ashed of humanity. People are magnificent, even in ruin.
New York City, in all its brilliance and decadence, still represents the worst and best Western civilization has to offer. And when we see the souls of the people, we see that mercy and the God of mercy still lives on the streets.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Blog

So, I have decided to start a blog. I love the new beginnings of things. I have no idea what I will end up writing here, I don't usually like to share my thoughts or writings with people. Maybe I will get a little creative and write a poem or something that's actually worth reading. Who knows. At any rate, I'm excited! Almost as excited as cute little John Brian is in this picture...