Get Outside The Reach @Christmas

Get Out Side The Reach

Usual travels this week include a trip from OKC to Matamoros and back again.  Sort of a Bilbo Baggins adventure.   Though, I’m not sure which end is the Shire.   Raul and I certainly don’t look like Hobbits even though we might have hairyness.

This year, I am staying home. Raul and Abdiel are in Matamoros.   Fiero will take another load of   toys today.   I will watch the star from afar and trust the wise men to do the job.

Why do we do this?  Why have we connected with this congregation in Matamoros called CAREVI?  Why don’t we just stay home instead of drive for 12 hours one way?  What is the purpose?

Get Outside Your Self…

A big reason is to stay outside of ourselves.  It is easy to go downtown and deliver gifts to kids who have more on a poor day than some kids in Matamoros on a rich day.   Ever watched a kid who has never opened a new box open a new toy?  Used stuff really is not the focus.  But getting a new toy in the box is an amazing experience for some of these kids.   Sure, I’ve helped a little and my wife has helped a lot right here in OKC with families needing Christmas.  Yet, they have so much even when they have little.

Get Outside Your Comfort

There is a need to be uncomfortable.  Our lives have little real sacrifice.  Try driving toys across an armed border knowing you will drive past military and cartel operations just to bless someone.  A little unnerving.   We need to be unnerved.  We need to remember.  We need to think about the chaos our comfortable, drugged, entertainment, make me happy culture in the US creates to sustain.  All of those guns and threats exist to supply US entertainment and leisure.  Hmmmm

Get Outside The Reach

Sometimes we need to see the miraculous.   How in this world doe multiple churches and business professionals in OKC come together to support folks in Matamoros?   Black and Latino and White churches here; Baptist and Nazarene and Full Gospel churches here;   join and bless with gifts and gospel folks they will never meet.

Return

Then we come home.  Then we live with memories and facebook connections in between.  Sure I  get to stay connected unlike missions works in the old days.  But it doesn’t smell the same.  It does not taste the same.  It does not love the same.  Sorry, I can’t hug a facebook post.   I can hug a friend, a child, a cohort, a fellow human on the journey.

That is Christmas

There you go.  That is Christmas.

Jesus went outside Himself and became an extension in humanity.

Jesus went outside His comfort zone in the throne room and stepped into an earth zone.

Jesus went outside the heavens and touched the earth, where we live in sin and destruction disturbing His intended peaceful creation.

Jesus returned to heaven; yet, He stays connected with us.   He is more powerful than facebook.  He takes up residence in hearts and stays even though He returned.

Guess That’s Why

I guess reliving that journey of Christ every year is what drives me and the team.   Thanks for sending us.  Thanks for allowing us.

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Enjoy the Light of Christmas


navimg8Isaiah 9: In Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.

During the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my family has always enjoyed watching Christmas themed movies and celebrating with friends.  For us, an opportunity to have a world focused on giving and receiving and thanking the God of Comfort is special.

I am thankful for each of my friends and family. The honor to exchange prayer with you is a blessing.

Yet, one friend belied the missing element of Christmas movies.  Where is the Christmas movie that celebrates an individual connecting with Christ and His love?

  • There is connecting with the Bishop, Santa Claus.  http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/bishop-of-myra/   Surely he loved Christ and spread His love.
  • There is connecting with others.  Surely some of them are full of the love of Christ.
  • There is connecting with ghosts.  Surely some of them lived for Christ.
  • There is connecting with the spirit of Christmas.  Surely it is the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ that spawned the spirit of Christmas.
  • There are movies about the life of Christ that end with a story but not a changed life.

What about connecting directly to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Light of Life, and the salvation of our souls?  Where is that movie?

The entertainment dollar is king.  People don’t want their souls pricked and a challenge made for real life change.  We like entertainment in our movies, churches, community events, and homes.  Real life changing impact is not supported financially for the most part in our communities.  Yet, ignoring truth is a dangerous seasonal habit to form.

There is a mournfulness underlying our Christmas season.  Aversion to life changing truth brings depression.  It brings pain.  And pain brings destruction.  Evil is real and waiting for opportunity to express itself in dark acts.  Yes, especially at Christmas, evil erupts.  Suicides prevail greater than other times of year.  Depression is in high season.  Conflicts shatter otherwise smooth relationships.

Understand that the truth of Christmas does show itself.  It cannot be denied.  As a society, we love to deny the truth and replace it with a smoother reality.  Repressed truth erupts in pain and anger and depression and destruction.  Embraced truth erupts in joy and liberty and happiness and thankfulness and strength and life.

It would be better if we embraced the truth of Christmas and placed some life changing messy messages into our media.  Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  He is no longer a babe in the manger.  He is a Lion of Righteousness.  He demands we face truth and change our direction.  Yes, He demands it.  He knows that repressed truth ends in destruction for eternity and embraced truth lives in liberty for eternity.  He loves us enough to change us.

Embrace truth for a healthy life.  Embrace Christ.  Face realities and connect with a power to change and develop full health in body, mind, desires, emotion, spirit, and relationships.

Prayer:  Father, give a little light.  Better yet, let the Great Light You have already given explode into our darkness. We need You.   We need Your light.

Raise Your Eyes

raisedeyesWatching a group approach God with heads bowed, a thought struck me.  It is good to humble ourselves before a mighty God. It is also good to approach the throne of grace with boldness and confidence as a received and favored child of God.

So, raise your face for a moment.  Look into the kind and loving Father face of God.

We are not prideful, but we are purposeful.
We are not egotistic, but we are energized.
We are not overconfident, yet we are courageous.
We are the head and not the tail. We are the lender and not the borrower.
We are the leaders set in place of God.
What we do prospers.
What we think is established.
What we speak is encouragement.
God lives in us, with us, before us, and behind us.
Of one thing we are sure.  He is our good and gracious and encouraging Father Forever.