Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A summary of our Christmas Experience (video style)

Here's a video that my totally awesome wife made for our family and friends to recap the Guaranteed White Christmas event hosted by The Weather Channel at our house on Christmas day.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Year-End, New Year Inventory

  1. Am I submitting to, and finding joy in God's sovereignty over all things?
  2. What are the recent evidences of God's grace in my life?
  3. Do I have an accurate view of God?
  4. Do I have any temptations or sins that are sinking deep roots into me?
  5. How are my closest relationships?  With Ginny?  Our kids?  The Church Staff?
  6. How am I doing with "temple care"?  Health?  Sleep?  Diet?  Exercise?  Energy level?
  7. What am I "feeding" to my mind?
  8. How is my dominion over technology?
  9. How is my stewardship of what God has entrusted to me?
  10. Who has sinned against me and how am I responding?
  11. Who or what is "filling" me?
  12. Who or what is "draining" me?
  13. What am I doing to advance the kingdom of God on earth?
  14. How is my flesh getting in the way of being an effective witness of God's grace?
  15. Do I love people?
  16. Is there a spiritual discipline I need to employ or focus on more this coming year?
  17. What was the most significant thing I read this year?
  18. What was the most significant thing said to me this year?
  19. What was my most significant answered prayer this year?
  20. What is one thing I'd like to say about 2011 next December?
The first 15 questions were posed by my friend Chuck Thomas.  I added the last 5 because those are good questions for me.  Hope it's all helpful.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sermon Notes from 12.26.10

We did an abbreviated service this Sunday and here are the notes from the sermon.  You can find the notes and audio at sermons.heritagepark.org.  I like to end each year with some teaching on prayer and an exhortation to it.  I hope, before God, that this stirred people to it.

Prayer 2010
Ephesians 6.17-18

The imperative:  take up the sword of the Spirit.
Take it up personally
  • Ask questions of the text that will help you live it out.

Take it up prayerfully
  • The Scriptures are inherently relational because they reveal God to us.
  • Fueling our prayers with Scriptures puts our eyes on God.
  • The promises in the Bible incite our prayers and affections.

Take it up missionally
  • Pray with a sense of the warfare around you.
  • Push your prayers outward – begin with you but end with something global.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

But He HAD to...

This is probably the last post before the awesome insanity of the Guaranteed White Christmas from The Weather Channel starts around here.  So, Merry Christmas everyone!

A question:  is there something God has to do?

If you're an aspiring theologian, you can probably name a few:  He has to be truthful, He has to be pure, etc.  If you're consumed by American idiocy clothed in religious clothes, you might say He has to bless you or He owes you a good life (you might not say it that way, but you might say it nonetheless).

Here's one that's probably not on your list:  He had to be made like His brothers in every way (Heb. 2.17).  That is, Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity and God the Son, had to become like us - a human.  It's a beautiful little Christmas truth smack in the middle of Hebrews.

But why?  Why does God the Son have to become like us in every way?  The rest of the verse answers that question:  so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Jesus had to take on humanity, becoming incarnate (literally "putting on flesh"), in order to be a high priest and make propitiation for our sin.  If He were not human, He would not be a merciful and faithful high priest.  He would be unable to sympathize with us in our temptations, struggles, pressings, tribulations, and even our tears.  But clearly He can (Heb. 4.15).  If He were only God, hovering above us, He couldn't identify with us.

But also He, as a human, can make propitiation for us.  That is, He can become the sacrifice that takes away God's wrath and gives us righteousness.  Gregory of Naziansus (c. 329-390) said it this way:  "What is not assumed cannot be saved."  In other words, if Jesus didn't become a human He wouldn't be able to save humans.  If He didn't have a human body, a human mind, a human will, a human heart, a human ____________, He couldn't save humans who have those same things.

So Christmas is about God's saving work.  Don't forget that.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Why Church is Family (or it ought to be)

I said this before I started the sermon this past Sunday, but I couldn't be prouder and more grateful for our church family at Heritage Park.  During the past week, they have done exactly what Romans 12.15 says to do:  rejoice with those who rejoice.

We have received emails, notes, calls, Facebook posts, and shouts down the hall of congratulations for winning the Guaranteed White Christmas from The Weather Channel.  Their excitement for us has blessed us tremendously and ratcheted up our excitement even more.  And for all those not a part of the Heritage Park family who have done the same, our gratitude to God for you too.

And that brings me to this brief reflection:  church is family or it should be.  Yes, we have a Kingdom to advance like an army - but we don't shoot our wounded because they slow us down.  Yes, we're parts of the body and function differently - but adding body parts doesn't really compute (and yes, I know it's a scriptural analogy).  I like and advocate for the idea of church as family because...

God is our Father
Families are committed to one another
Families welcome new members with celebration
Families advocate responsibility and chores
Families laugh...hopefully a lot
Families cry when appropriate
Families do hard times together
Families party together
Families have...unique...personalities in them (which makes them fun or at least memorable)
Families gather regularly

Can you add to the list?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sermon Notes from 12.19.10

Here are the sermon notes from Sunday, December 19th.  I wrapped up the Christmas series from Romans 5.6-8 with some thoughts on God's love for us in Christ.  I didn't finish the sermon via the notes, going off the outline in the third portion, explaining the difference between what you hear and what's on the page.  As always, you can find these notes and the sermon audio at sermons.heritagepark.org.  May the Spirit shed abroad God's love in all our hearts.

Christmas 2010
Love – Romans 5.6-8

The reason why this is Xmas:  God’s love doesn’t come to us apart from Jesus Christ.

Sacrificial love
  • At the right time, Jesus Christ gave Himself for us. 
  • In light of who we are apart from Him, it was the right time.

Unique Love
  • Part of what makes His love unique is its prior nature.
  • Part of what makes His love unique is its affect – it frees us to love Him. 
  • We have never been loved like this.

Demonstrated Love
  • His love justifies – saving us from wrath.
  • His love reconciles – creating relationship with Him.
  • My perception of His love determines my perception of His pursuit.
  • My perception of His pursuit determines my perception of His love.
  • God leaves nothing to chance by demonstrating His love in Jesus and pursuing our hearts.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What a day...

First, it was announced this morning that we won the Guaranteed White Christmas from The Weather Channel.  Then, we got a call at about 11am or so that our local NBC affiliate, KPRC, that the weather man, Frank Billingsley wanted to show Jack around and do a piece for the 5pm news.  Well, this is what happened...



Unbelievable news.  We won the Guaranteed White Christmas event with The Weather Channel.  They're going to bring a snow blower, a portable ice rink, and a bunch of other stuff to our house on Christmas.  They'll also broadcast their morning shows from our house.

Crazy stuff!

Here's the winning video created by my amazing wife...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What kind of love?

So this week, at least at Heritage Park, is the 4th week of Advent which is the week we focus on Love.  As I said in an earlier post, I'm not sure we do it in the order everyone else does, but it makes sense to us and so we stick with it.

Here is an insight I'm working on for Sunday.  There appears to be a pretty consistent cycle in my life and in the lives of many I know.  The two-pieces of the cycle are (1) whatever I think a person is after determines my perception of the kind of love that person has for me and (2) whatever kind of love a person has for me determines what I think that person is pursuing.

You easily see #2 on reality TV.  Which bachelor or bachelorette has taken the kind one over the hot one?  And to my knowledge, only one of those couples is still together.  And #1?  Look at any relationship (good or bad) between a teenager and parent.  If teens succeed in keeping in mind that parents want the best for them, their sense of love and acceptance makes them pick up the phone and call when they run the new car into the pole at the gas station.  If teens think parents want me not to be a screw up and embarrassment, they hide and hide everything:  blemishes, grades, sexual struggles, hurtful conversations, etc.

And here's the beautiful thing about God's love - He demonstrates it and it reveals what He's after.  His love shows up in the death and resurrection of His Son.  It's free, unconditional, unique and transformational.  And it shows that He's after the hearts of men and women everywhere, capturing their allegiance and affection.

Can't wait for Sunday to preach this.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I simply cannot improve on this...

FBC Dallas has a Grinch website set up for those companies who do not say, "Merry Christmas," but opt for the more PC, "Happy Holidays."  I'm sure this makes Jesus, who has something to do with Christmas, look great to those watching.  And I'm confident it reflects well upon the people who claim to follow Him.

Okay, enough sarcasm.  My friend Tommy Kidd has a great article on the founding fathers and Christmas.  He's excellent on historical perspectives on Christianity in the public sphere.  I can't improve on it so I'm putting it here (from www.patheos.com, posted in its entirety)...

Christmas in 1776           EVPT_ThomasSKidd_100.jpg

By Thomas S. Kidd
‘Tis the season to argue about religion. Or more specifically, to feud about whether to say Merry Christmas or Seasons Greetings . . . to call it a Christmas Village or a Holiday Village . . . or to allow a crèche or menorah to stand on public property.
What would Americans at the time of the founding think about all this?
They would have been perplexed. Perplexed, first, at the ways that we fuss about the public role of religion. The Revolutionary era was shot through with public expressions of faith, from the days of prayer and fasting declared by presidents, to the chaplains employed by the Continental Congress and Washington's army, to the faith principles undergirding the Revolution itself, especially the notion that all men are created equal. The concept of a public square stripped of religion would have been deeply unfamiliar to Americans in 1776.
But they would also find our kind of Christmas strange, and probably unpleasant. We are constantly warned by the prophets of our age -- Charlie Brown and Snoopy chief among them -- that we should not become obsessed with commercialism at Christmas. Yet this is like warning fish about the pollution in water -- a world of consumption is what we Americans live and breathe in.
Christmas in 1776 was very different. One difference, of course, is that America was engaged in a terrible war with Britain. That is why George Washington and his army spent Christmas night of 1776 crossing the Delaware River through a blizzard of sleet -- to attack the Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey.
Wartime or not, Christmas was not a big public spectacle at the time of the Founding. One searches in vain through the newspapers and almanacs of the Revolutionary War period to find references to Christmas. It was almost never mentioned, even on December 25th itself. When it was, the holiday was usually only cited as a reference point. ("General Washington hopes that the war will be over by Christmas," and such.)
But let's not be romantic about their simple, subdued Christmas, either. One reason that Christmas was downplayed in the New England states is because the Puritan fathers had banned Christmas for much of the 17th century. This was not because they were killjoys, but because they did not see how the Bible taught a December Christmas. They believed that the festival of Christmas was invented by medieval Catholics -- and this, if you were a Puritan, was never a good thing.
You did see occasional evidence of commercialism in Revolutionary America, too, especially after the war was over. In the Christmas Eve edition of Rivington's New York Gazette for 1783, there was a screaming advertisement -- almost reminiscent of our "Black Friday" ads -- for "CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR'S PRESENTS," which included gold and silver watches; goblets fit for drinking "Porter, Ales, Punch, Sangree" and other holiday beverages; and assortments of stockings that the merchant pronounced "Monstrous Cheap."
Christmas at the time of the founding -- for those who embraced it -- was mostly a family and church affair. Lauren Winner's delightful new book A Cheerful and Comfortable Faith shows how Christmas occurred naturally as a part of the household devotion of 18th-century Anglicans in Virginia. Wealthy families there often had sumptuous feasts. At one Christmas dinner, the menu of the Fairfax family included "six mince pies, seven custards, twelve tarts, one chicken pie, and four puddings." Twelfth Night, the evening signaling the end of the Christmas season, saw even bigger bashes, which could sometimes turn into drunken brawls. Devout Anglicans also made their way to church for the Sunday of Christmas week, where they would hear a special sermon on the incarnation and receive communion.
In modern America, outdoor nativity scenes and other Christmas displays became common after World War I, encouraged by the advent of electricity to light displays at night. Some of these displays ended up on government property, a circumstance that predictably elicited lawsuits by secularists. The first major lawsuit on this topic sought to remove a nativity scene from the White House Ellipse in 1969. A number of contradictory court decisions have followed, fostering annual feuding and court cases regarding Christmas or Hanukkah displays.
Americans of 1776 had no particular need for public manger scenes. Christmas, when observed, fit easily in the traditional rhythms of home and church life. Obviously, they had no secularists screeching for the removal of Baby Jesus from the public park, either. His image was not there in the first place, nor did it need to be. Their society was already pervasively religious, even though not every American was a saint. They lived in a serenely religious milieu that we can only approximate today. We certainly can't recreate it on today's fractious courthouse square.
Thankfully, believers can still foster an indisputably Christian Christmas in our homes and churches. I guess that is where Christmas is the most edifying anyway.

Thomas S. Kidd teaches history and is a Senior Fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion, and is the author of God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution (Basic Books, 2010). Follow his writings viaFacebook.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We're not alone and not designed to be alone

Galatians 6.2:  Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

I could be the most pure-hearted, well-intentioned person and not be able to carry this out.  Why?  Because this is yet one more of these commandments in the NT that you simply cannot complete without others.  We're not hatched on a farm when we become followers of Jesus, we're born into His family with a Father and siblings.

I sat with a lady yesterday who's in the midst of marital trials.  She knew there was no magic pill and no formula to fix the situation.  But she had shared with her small group and was sharing with me for prayer support.  Her statement was, "I just needed to tell someone."

That's exactly right.  We weren't made to go it alone.  We weren't made to bear things by ourselves.  God gave us a family with Himself as our Father.  Sometimes hiding the issue seems like a better path for prideful or social or even spiritual reasons.  We weren't made to go it alone.  None of us were.

And so we prayed and I gently reminded her what I try to remind people in the midst of trial:  God is for you and God is with you.  That's true for you too.


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Power of Words (Spoken and Unspoken)

So I did some conversations yesterday that included people asking me some questions and me engaging the people and their questions.  They weren't tricky.  They weren't goofy.  They were questions that needed answers.

And I answered them.  And this morning I was wishing I answered them differently.

I didn't say anything bad.  But I could've been clearer.  I could've been more precise.  I could've been even more engaging.  I could've talked about myself less and Christ more.  I could've...

Yes, this was after a great morning of worship with God's people and a great message from God from His Word.  Yes, this was after a fitful and short night as most Saturday nights are.  Yes, we were up early and had plenty of distractions.  Yes, it was the afternoon and I was already exhausted and knew we had another event that evening.   Yes to all of that.

But I still wish I would've been clearer, more precise, more engaging.

And then I have to rest in the fact that God is in charge and He knows what He's doing and there are plenty of opportunities for Him to do what He desires without me.  I'm not His spokesman, communications director, pitch man, or press secretary.  I'm just a guy.  And this guy needs to be humbled and humble himself more often.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Post #250 - and appropriately a sermon...

Today's post is the 250th post on the blog.  Thanks for reading along.  Appropriately, the 250th post is a sermon post.  Here are the notes for this week's sermon.  As always, you can get the audio and notes in PDF at sermons.heritagepark.org.

Christmas 2010

Romans 5.2-5

Rejoice:  you’re under only grace
  • Some think God relates to them on the basis of their performance.
  • If you are in Christ, you are under grace and only grace. 
  • Anything and everything that comes to you is Father-filtered and for your good.
  • We have a bedrock of firm footing:  God is for us. 
  • The realm of grace reminds us this isn’t all there is, leading to joy in what will be. 

Rejoice:  your trials have purpose
  • Endurance – the ability to stick to something.
  • Character – tested, hammered, proven that glorifies Jesus.
  • Hope – the same hope for what will be.
  • No matter our trial or reason for it, God is with us. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Heisman (?)

So I'm not usually one to follow a ton of college football.  Being a Baylor graduate, our football season tends to be the warm-up for the sports in which we're actually competitive.  My standard response to the Aggies and Longhorns and others who are football crazies goes something like this:  "Well, basketball season's coming."  This year was wonderfully different and we're bowl bound while the Longhorns sit at home.

But this leads me to Cam Newton, the Auburn quarterback.  He's the hands down frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, the award given for the outstanding football player who exhibits excellence with integrity.

And here's my question:  if you were a Heisman voter, would you vote for him?

Excellence he has, no doubt.  28 passing TDs.  20 rushing TDs.  Even a receiving TD.  I think he threw the ball enough to get it past the moon or something and Auburn's the #1 school in the nation in the BCS polls.

But what about integrity?  He apparently has none.  There is at least one scandal surrounding him and his recruitment process and how much he knew and when he knew it, how much he took and when he accepted it.  It's Reggie Bush all over again.

But Reggie gave back his Heisman.

And so we're in this cultural melee where "excellence with integrity" means, apparently, not as much as it used to.  My guess is that he'll receive the Heisman.  And then about 3 years from now he'll have it stripped from him or have to return it (a la Mr. Bush).

And if so, then it's not just the kid from Auburn who has an integrity problem.  It's all those who voted for him.  And they represent what we'll accept in society.  And therein lies my issue.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spiritual Junk Email

I was thinking about the continuance of spam email that comes into my inbox.  I get a lot - some of it true spam, some of it junk from people who can't resist the urge to forward without going to Snopes.com first.  And then I thought about the spiritual junk that comes into my life.

It comes from quips and quotes that have their place in culture but can't be found in the Bible.  Most famously:  "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" becomes "God helps those who help themselves."  The problem isn't with the quotes necessarily, it's that sometimes I believe the lie within them.

It comes from pressures that I don't need and don't want but are there.  Seemingly, they deal a lot with children.  Are they good enough, smart enough, reading at a high enough level, popular enough, involved enough?  Though I'd like to pass it all off on children, those (and many other pressures) are mostly about me.

It comes from a pace that tries to sprint through a marathon.  Get here.  Get there.  And hurry!  The organizing principle of life actually becomes a calendar instead of the calendar reflecting the organizing principle of life.  Love shrivels and the demands get more frantic.

I have to delete spam in my inbox.  Probably need to do the same in my life.  And replace it with something worthwhile.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Hip Hip Hooray - it's Cast Off Day

The title of the blog was the song our youngest and I were singing on the way to Dallas this morning.  Why were we headed to Dallas?  Therein lies the point of this blog entry...

When we adopted our daughter, she was born with arthrogryposis, which is the technical name for bilateral wrist drop.  Essentially, her arms were down by her side in the womb and her hands formed bent both downward and outward.  She hasn't really missed a beat in life and can pretty much do whatever the stink she wants to do because she's determined (like her mom) and stubborn (like her dad).

But we live in a wrist-neutral world, so setting them to neutral was an option that we explored.  Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children came across our radar and we applied for their care.  They are a Masonic charity organization that cares for orthopedic cases in children up to 18.  And their care is stellar.  We have never been treated so well.

They have high-quality staff and volunteers there.  One thing that struck Ginny and me the first time we were there was the nature of the volunteers who were there.  Certainly there were older folks around.  But at night, it was almost exclusively young people - collegians and young professionals.  I even asked why one guy helped out.  His reply?  "Well, I was in the hospital a lot when I was a kid and I know what it's like.  So I come by to try to make a kid's day better."  He was 19.  I don't know many 19-year olds who think like that.  But every Friday, that guy is there.

Answering a brief objection:  you don't have to be a Mason or even agree with them to receive care from TSRHC.  But I am grateful that God used them to minister His mercy to my family.

If you're in the Dallas area, I encourage you to check them out.  They're a worthy charity.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quotable on Tuesday

I read this during my study for the retreat I did over Thanksgiving weekend.  It's been with me a while and I figured it's a good time to roll it out.  O, for more God-knowers with pens like this...

A.W. Tozer on the Holiness of God

...A new channel must be cut through the desert of our minds to allow the sweet waters of truth that will heal our great sickness to flow in.  We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of.  God's holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered.  We know nothing like the divine holiness.  It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible, and unattainable.  The natural man is blind to it.  He may fear God's power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine.

I'm with Tozer here.  Nothing in our concept of God would dream up holiness.  And yet our hearts long for something "other."  Therein is the deep calling to deep.  We were made for admiring the beauty of holiness and worshipping the Holy One, yet sin twists our minds so that we would never create it on our own.  But it's there, built into our imago Dei and reflected in the yearnings and desires of our hearts that we may only sense when it's very still and the only thing moving at 3am is the ceiling fan.

But that's just me (and Tozer) thinking thoughts...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Spending, Wisdom, and a Small Insect

So I'm reading through the book of Proverbs right now, trying to live in the wisdom that it espouses.  At least once a year, I read through the book, one chapter per day for 31 days.  It's a practice I encourage you to adopt.  There are so many gems in here.

So on to today's reflection.  In 6.1-11, Solomon contrasts two very different financial situations.  They apply both to individuals and to nations (Congress, are you listening?).

The first person is the person who has pledged his goods to his neighbor to buy something he wants now.  I'm sure none of us are in that situation (to MasterCard or AmEx or the next generation...).  Wisdom says to run to the neighbor and work it out right then and to do so with intensity:  like a gazelle caught by a hunter and trying to get away and flee.  Dave Ramsey's "gazelle-like intensity" comes from 6.5.

In light of our Christmas and Congressional spending as of late, sounds like a good reminder.  Admittedly, our family is not a "no credit and no credit card" kind of family like Mr. Ramsey.  But we can write a check for every expenditure.

The second example is the Ant.  She works hard.  She saves.  She plans ahead.  She has plenty when it gets bad and plenty when it is good, though (honestly) probably not as much as others have when it's good because she's always putting away from when it's bad - and it inevitably gets bad.  The sluggard, in contrast, merely wants to nap.  But when snoozing, poverty and want come along and commit robbery.

Which do you want to be?  And equally as important:  how are you going to get there?  What practices do you need to change to get there?

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sermon Notes from Sunday 12.5.10

Here are the sermon notes from 12.5.  As always, you can find the notes in PDF and the sermon audio at sermons.heritagepark.org.  In this particular sermon on the Advent theme of peace, I tried to tie the cross to the incarnation.  May God grant us ears to hear and courage to obey.  Amen.

Christmas 2010
Peace – Romans 5.1

What does God give?
  • Peace = wholeness (shalom)

Why does God give peace?
  • Spiritual Fracture:  with God.
  • Relationship Fracture:  with others.
  • Nature Fracture:  with the world around us.

How does He give peace?
  • It is not by our earning peace.
  • Our best, most perfect efforts would only balance the scales.
  • Peace comes by righteousness that is ours by confidence in Jesus Christ.

Isn’t this Christmas?
  • Jesus had to become fully human for us to be saved (Heb. 2.17).
  • Gregory of Nazianzus:  What is not assumed cannot be saved.
  • The incarnation is essential to His saving work.

Friday, December 3, 2010

You probably have seen this...

So you've probably been passed this email or have seen it on Facebook or YouTube.  However, it's the Christmas season and I absolutely LOVE the Hallelujah Chorus.  And I love that, whether or not these folks are people of faith in Christ, they proclaimed incredible Truth at a food court in a mall, right beside a #1 with cheese and no tomatoes with fries for the side and a Dr. Pepper to drink...

Thursday, December 2, 2010


This is the second week of Advent.  I'm not sure we, as a church, do it in the order that everyone else does.  But this week is the week we think about Peace.

I have done a lot of thinking about peace this week for various reasons (not the least of which is I get to preach about it on Sunday).  God brings us His peace - shalom - wholeness and does so through Jesus Christ.

Why do we need it?

The answer (and a preview for Sunday's sermon) is clear:  we have no peace - shalom - wholeness.  We have brokenness.  There is the fracture of our relationship with God because of sin.  There is the brokenness in our relationship with one another.  And there is the cracked relationship between us and the rest of Creation.

Brokenness is everywhere.  So God brings peace - shalom - wholeness.  Right in the midst of the ugliness is this beautiful thought.

Enjoy that this week as we head toward Sunday.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

After such a crazy fall, I can tell you I'm ready for Christmas season.  One thing I'm noticing in my own heart after such a long couple of months is a tendency toward apathy.  I guess being tired can bring that kind of response.

Going to war for my own heart and joy includes hearing this morning from Solomon in the book of Proverbs.  "Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and have their fill of their own devices.  For the simple are killed by their turning away and the complacency of fools destroys them" (Proverbs 1.29-32 ESV, emphasis mine).

Did you see what I saw?  Apathy (complacency in the text above) destroys.  Turning away from the Lord, even by not pursuing Him, means that same Lord will let us have what we want - the fruit of our ways, the fill of our own devices.  Romans 1 has a lot to say about that.

So this is an exhortation to me and you and everyone else:  stay in the fight.

Christ is worth it.  He's the greatest treasure anyone could find.  His passion for us is not waned by our passion for Him or lack thereof.  His love has not stopped flowing toward us freely and fully.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...