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Archive for the month “November, 2010”

Cookies and Milk for Santa? What About Jesus?

This morning my love preached his second sermon in his series, “Christmas: Take Back the Story.” He preached on how we need to engage the story of Christmas by worshipping Jesus. It was such a moving message, and I found myself getting a bit teary eyed as he closed his message out. Did you realize that Americans spend 450 billion dollars EVERY YEAR on Christmas shopping? EVERY YEAR! 450 billion dollars goes toward ugly sweaters, useless gadgets, unwanted ties, unnecessary toys, and other meaningless items to wrap up and place under our decorated Christmas trees, EVERY YEAR! That is a waste! I am not saying that giving gifts is meaningless and wasteful, but I am saying how we become so consumed with buying more stuff is a waste. Do we really take the time to think about the gifts that we give to others and how it will benefit their lives? Or do we just buy things out of an obligation to buy gifts? Did you know that it only takes 10 billion dollars  to help provide clean drinking water around the world? Compare that number (10 billion dollars) to the number that is spent every year on Christmas gifts (450 billion dollars). Hmmm…..something is not adding up folks!

As Brian continued in his message this morning he shared how Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the magi worshipped Jesus. None of them went out to the nearest marketplace to buy Jesus a new toy to play with or a new outfit to wear, and He was the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Emmanuel! No, instead they all gave THEMSELVES. Imagine that concept? Even though the magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh they brought them in WORSHIP of JESUS! Everything was centered in Jesus! It was all about Jesus!

At the close of the message Brian brought up some ideas of how we can worship Jesus this Christmas season, and one of them was fridge journaling. This is where you take a post-it-note or piece of paper and write down one thing that Jesus has done in your life that has changed you, and post it on the fridge for you to see everyday. As you look at the note, give thanks to Jesus for how he has changed your life. This is where I got a bit teary eyed. As I sat in the pew and listened to this idea, I started thinking about giving to Jesus. Yes, I know as a Christian I have given my life to Him, but I was thinking on really giving to Jesus. Having Jesus stand in front of me and giving him something, and thinking of how much he has given to me. Talk about overwhelming. Then I thought, every Christmas Eve most of us (usually those with kids) make sure to set out a plate of chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, but what do we set out to give to Jesus? Usually it is nothing. That is a saddening thought, and it should pain our hearts that we give so little recognition to the One that gave His life for us.

I pray that we will “Take Back the Story” of Christmas by worshipping Jesus Christ! Leave the ties at the store, and instead give yourself to the One who gave himself for you!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~Isaiah 9:6


Be Strong and Courageous

A couple of days ago a friend in Christ posted this question on twitter, “What is your life verse?” He had posted that his was Romans 12:2, which is a great verse of Scripture. I was thinking more on this question this morning, and I kept rolling around Joshua 1:1-9 in my mind. This passage of Scripture is very near & dear to me, as I felt the Lord give it to me when He called me into ministry. Here it is:

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.  7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What a powerful passage of Scripture! I felt the Lord speaking to me through this passage, as to say, “Jaclyn, I have called you to go out and tell other people of my great love. Share with them my goodness and faithfulness. Tell them about my grace and mercy. Share with them how I have and am still working in your life. Offer them hope. Offer them grace. Offer them love. Offer them ME! And when it gets tough, and you begin to question whether or not you are able to do this, remember that I am with you. I will do what I say I will do. I will make the way for you, just trust in Me. Everywhere you go, I will be there. Every step you take in my Name, will be honored. You will bring Me to places that have never known Me. You will be the change. You will make a difference in my Name.”

I think it is so awesome to be called into God’s ministry and to do His work! I want so much for others to know how loved they are. I want other people to know how wonderful Jesus is, and how much He cares for them. I want to bring the hope of Christ to places that seem without hope. I want to be the change and make a difference for Jesus Christ. I urge each of you to discover what your life verse (or passage is), and live it out! I encourage you to uncover your God-given dreams and pursue them, even if it seems difficult. There is no such thing as impossibility with Jesus.

“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9

Not Satisfied with the Sidelines

This past week was kind of tough week for me, but coming out of it I have been challenged. I am not satisfied with just the same old’ , same old’. I want more. SO MUCH MORE! I am not referring to material things. I want more of the abundant life Christ promises me, and to all of His followers! I want to change the world by living like I have never lived before. I want to make a difference in other people’s lives more than I have ever wanted to do so before.

I believe there is a difference in saying, “I am a Christian,” and ACTIVELY living as a Christian. I want to ACTIVELY live as a Christian! I want to be a sold out Jesus follower, Jesus believer, Jesus lover, and world changer! I am no longer satisfied with sitting on the sidelines cheering other people on as they change the world & make a difference. No, I want to cheer and play! And I want to challenge other people to do the same. Let’s get off the bench & start actively setting out to change the world & make a difference in other people’s lives! Let’s not shy away from standing out, and let’s not bow down and hide away when some people tell us it can’t be done. Christ promised that with Him all things are possible! So, who says we can’t change the world? I say we can!

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

World Changers & Shakers, not Suckers

My heart is heavy as I type this. It is heavy for people. It is heavy because people have become to comfortable with life. Yes, I am guilty of this at times myself. We all are guilty of this at one time or another. We don’t choose to see anything beyond our own worlds. We see OUR jobs, OUR schools, OUR families, OUR churches, OUR circle of friends, OUR communities, etc. What exists to us, is what we involve ourselves in, and that is usually very limited. Our world revolves around us. It’s kind of like the scene in NEMO where the seagulls are all sqwaking, “MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE.” But what if it were different? What if we were able to look beyond ourselves and see the whole world? What if we could see past our own little bubble & see the needs of others? What if we invested in other people’s lives and not just worried about ourselves?

My heart is heavy because there is too much apathy in the world. We need to be world changers & world shakers, not world suckers! Life isn’t about what we can GET out of it. It is about what we can PUT into it! God has called us to make a difference, and in order to do that we must look beyond ourselves. We must get our priorities in order (and in the right order, not what we would like for them to be). We need to start asking ourselves what is really of eternal value & not just momentary value. We need to start asking if what we are doing is making a difference in the world & in the lives of others. ” Lets be the difference. Lets be the change. Lets be the Generation that rises to the occasion.” (Jarrid Wilson) We are the salt & light of the world, and we can’t season it or brighten it from our couches. It’s time to move people! What are you going to do?

The Past is the Past

Do you have a past that you just can’t seem to shake, no matter how hard you try? Maybe you can’t shake it because other people won’t let you forget. Or maybe it’s because you can’t seem to forgive yourself for all the mess that came with the past? Whatever the reason is, your past keeps haunting you. Well, did you know that we are not suppose to live life that way? We are not live in the past, but we are to leave it behind and press forward!

“Forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what lies ahead, i press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

We are to continually pursure moving forward in Christ! As I was checking out twitter today, i came across Steven Furtick’s tweet which states, “Just a friendly reminder about your identity in Christ: the NEW you is the TRUE you. 2 Cor. 5:17” WOW! That is so true! Scripture tells us that the old has gone & the new has come! Our past is just that, THE PAST! It is done, finished, over, POOF GONE! We cannot go back to it. We cannot rewrite it. We cannot erase it. But what we can do is learn from it, grow from it, and MOVE ON from it! We are not the same people any more. We are different. 

This Sunday I will be preaching, and my sermon title will be, “A Lesson From Kendra” (for those of you who do not know who I am speaking of, Kendra is a former GF of Hugh Hefner and has her own reality TV show on E!). This message will be about learning & letting go of your past. I have struggled with this myself, and still do at times. I know though, that I am not the “Jaclyn of my past.” No, I am a new creation in Christ Jesus, and He has redeemed me! THANK YOU JESUS! I pray for those of you who struggle with your past. I pray that you will see & believe that the “NEW you is the TRUE you!” So, tell the ghost of your past that you’re not scared any more, because you are over it & moving on!

The Blessedness of Unity

 “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. It is like dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.” ~Psalm 133

What a true blessing unity is! When we can be unified in things, progress is made. It is when there is division that progress is halted. Unity is something that Christ emphasized a lot. And in Acts 2 we see how important unity is. On the day of Pentecost the disciples were gathered TOGETHER, then the Holy Spirit came and filled ALL of them. Peter speaks to the crowd and quotes from Joel saying, “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh..” (Acts 2:17) Then in we see further in Acts 2 that the believers lived TOGETHER and had “ALL things in common,” and spent time in the temple TOGETHER. They gave to ALL who had need.  And then in the very last verse of Acts 2 we read, “And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (vs. 47)

How wonderful is that? The Lord blessed them because of their faithfulness to Him and because of their unity with one another. Imagine how different things would have been had the disciples been quarreling and divided against each other. What if they looked at their possessions as their own & refused to care for and help one another? Imagine if they were only concerned for their own welfare? Oh how devastating & discouraging it would have been. Acts 2 gives us the idea of just how important unity is.

We are called to be a blessing to other people, and by walking in unity with one another we do just that. When we see to the needs of others, pray for one another, encourage one another, listen to one another, reach out to one another, and love one another then we are unified with one another. When we hold on to our possessions as if we can’t bear to see them in anyone else’s possession, or when we look out for ourselves and never see to help someone else out, we distance ourselves not only from other people but from Jesus. Jesus was all about investing in other people’s lives, and by doing so He was walking in unity. He was one with the Father (God), and so what the Father desired He desired too, which meant that He sought to reach out to other people, share what He had with other people, help other people, encourage other people, listen to other people, and love other people.

I encourage each of you (and myself) to see to walk in unity with one another. Let us care for, listen to, reach out, encourage, and love one another. We won’t be disappointed that we did so. And by walking in unity with one another, we can change the world!

Yes, God is Still There

“God’s presence is not as intriguing as His absence. His voice not as eloquent as His silence. Who of us has not longed for a word from God, searched for a glimpse of His power, or yearned for the reassurance of His presence, only to feel that He seems absent from the moment? Distant. Maybe even unconcerned. Yet later, we realize how very present He was all along.” ~A Woman of Strength & Dignity Esther, Charles Swindoll

I am about to begin teaching on the book of Esther, beginning on November 14th, and I decided that I would use Charles Swindoll’s book  A Woman of Strength & Dignity Esther to pull some resources from. The paragraph above is the opening paragraph in the first chapter of the book, and it stuck out to me. I have gone back to read again a few times and each time it still hits me like, “Wow.”  How true is it that we often feel as if God has abandoned us and so we cry out to Him? We question where He has gone, why He has left us, and was He really with us in the first place. Then after whatever it is that we find ourselves in during that time passes, and we look back at the circumstance we see just how faithful & present God was. We see that God never left our side. I know I have found myself in this situation time & time again, only to be shown time & time again that God is FAITHFUL!

I pray that whatever circumstance you might be in right now, that you not forget that God is with you. God is walking with you every step of the way, and He loves you. His love for you is indescribable and without limits! He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will hold you in His everlasting arms. He will guide your path, and He will be your strength.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~Lamentations 3:22-23

Age of Change (Reblog from Jarrid Wilson)

 No matter how old, how young, how small or how tall… we have the power to bring change to the world. We can be a generation of change, hope and passion for the future. Don’t let anyone get in the way of you dreams, visions and prayers. Allow God to fuel the fire to getting where you need to be. The world is at our fingertips and God has a future for the faithful. I see passion and a drive to bring Gods love to the world…. Nothing can stop us with God on our side. Forget the world and start focusing on your life with Christ, for then you will be able to focus on changing the world. Psalm 31:24 -Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. – Jarrid Wilson

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