Monthly Archives: December 2013

Our role

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A friend reminded me of this story from Arnold Dallimore’s biography of Charles Spurgeon.

     During the 1880’s a group of American ministers visited England, prompted especially by a desire to hear some of the celebrated preachers of that land.
     On Sunday morning they attended the City Temple where Dr. Joseph Parker was the pastor.  Some two thousand people filled the building, and parker’s forceful personality dominated the service.  His voice was commanding, his language descriptive, his imagination lively, and his manner animated.  The sermon was scriptural the congregation hung upon his words, and the Americans came away saying, “What a wonderful preacher is Joseph Parker!”
     In the evening they went to hear Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.  The building was much larger than the City Temple, and the congregation was more than twice the size.  Spurgeon’s voice was noticeably superior.  But they soon forgot all about the great building, the immense congregation, and the magnificent voice.  They even overlooked their intention to compare the various features of the two preachers, and when the service was over they found themselves saying, “What a wonderful Savior is Jesus Christ!”

What is the goal of our service to Christ and His church?  I think John the Baptist has put it best.  “He must increase.  But I must decrease (John 3:30).”  Our role as Christian leaders is that Christ would be lifted up and worshiped.  That call is made more difficult when we allow our work and ministry to center on us.  My prayer is simply that when people leave our church they will have a fresh understanding of “what a wonderful Savior we have.” 

Blessings,

Larry

Reflections on the birth of Christ

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I have been reading the accounts on the birth of Christ in the New Testament.  Each year, it seems, I am struck by the incredible account of Joseph and Mary.  There doesn’t seem to be anything in their lives that would have prepared them for the events they experienced.  Joseph was not a Rabbi, he did not have an extensive education or access to the great teachers of the day.  He was a carpenter.

Mary was betrothed to this carpenter.  Her expectation was not a life of fame and fortune.  She knew that she would spend her life simply and possibly poor.  She loved Joseph and knew that her future was with him.  All of that changed when the angel came.  Mary was thrust into a life no one would have guessed.  None of the scholars or teachers were telling people to expect a virgin birth.  No one was predicting a manger or that the first visitors to the Messiah would be shepherds.

And yet, Mary and Joseph obeyed.  The scripture unfolds to us a couple that trusted God above all else.  How does that happen?  How do you go from simple, poor people to a man and woman of remarkable, history-changing faith?

Consider the fact that from birth they had been told the stories of God’s provision and his promises for his people.  They had learned the stories of Egypt, the wilderness, the Prophets, and they believed God was trustworthy and faithful even if their circumstances were hard.  They were waiting for God to act.  In addition, I think they had made hundreds, if not thousands of small decisions in their lives to trust God.  Decisions that at the time may have seemed insignificant, but as they added up a trust and loyalty to God grew deep roots in their hearts.

Most of us make those decisions everyday.  We decide in small ways and in large if we are going to trust God.  Do we believe he will keep his promises to his people?   Let the story of Mary and Joseph settle into your hearts and minds this Christmas season.   Ask the Lord to grow the kind of trust for him that they had.  What would that look like in your life?

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own

understanding

In all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessings,

Larry