A Special Christmas Blog: A Matter of Priority
DATELINE: From a hidden office deep in Greeley, Colorado, USA....
I write this to you in the middle of a self imposed quarantine.
Sunday afternoon, I was in the presence of someone who tested positive for COVID 19 and therefore, for the sake of our people, I am sequestered in my office, which is where church will take place on Sunday.
Actually, our gathering will be on-line for this week and this week only, and only due to the fact that I and others were exposed and cannot field a team to hold the services safely for one week.
Next week, we will be back together, whether I get a flu, COVID, or even a sniffle or not. December 20th - 10am.
Some will say, I thought we were meeting regardless? It is true. But I cannot lead worship, speak and keep enough people in the game after the general exposure to COVID last week. So, we are punting to meet again on DECEMBER 20. We will however be online this week from my office/bunker at 10am.
In the meantime a couple of things before I share some of the word with you>
The Governor of Colorado acknowledged in a conference call this week that yes, indeed, church is a vital institution in Colorado and cannot be shut down, thereby agreeing with what we were acting on in moral principle based on a mandate from the Holy Scriptures and as a part of our worship - Hebrews 10:24,25 - “24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
All that we do, we base on the Bible as our guide for faith and not the government. Our views on life, on commerce, on charity, on family, on sexuality, on worship and even government itself come from the Bible. Although I consider it a blessing and privilege to be an American, I am a believer first and foremost.
The Bible, being the written expression of revelation about the greatest, most important ,and pertinent subject in history, Jesus, should fundamentally shape our thinking in all areas. This does not mean that we are not aware of culture that is outside of us bending and curving and moving in different ways according to the flow of history, but we do not allow the culture to shape and bend us, only God Himself.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” is a common phrase throughout the Proverbs and a steadying one for us. If we allow a healthy fear and respect for the Lord, one that puts Him first in our thinking and living, we will be able to navigate the siren calls of culture and not have to be lashed to the proverbial mast to sail past them, because our ears and hearts will be full of the culture of heaven and its eternal song. (For the cultural reference c.f. Homer, “The Odyssey”)
Isn’t that what God is calling us to and has always been calling us to, to be first and preeminent in everything? Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Also, even in our leading the repentance in a nation, He state in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “... if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
With God it is the priority and constancy that He desires. He empowers us in the midst of all this by His grace and moves us in the direction of His love and kingdom.
This season in our nation will pass! This moment in the church’s and my life will most certainly pass as well! We will get to the other side and we will be intact.
In light of that, along with your prayers, please remember the following things as we prepare to gather again on December 20th.
If you have any symptoms at all or have been exposed to someone with the virus, please take one for the team and stay home for that Sunday and let us know so we can pray.
Continue to live your life with wisdom and freedom! Don’t allow one to supersede the other. The Holy Spirit is your guide in all things.
Remember the poor in this time. More and more people are being squeezed economically. Be generous at red kettles, in your neighborhood and through your giving at Fusion as well. If you want to nominate someone to receive help for Christmas, please let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instill flexibility in this time. “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break.” Being a “Gumby for Jesus” (you tube for reference) is key in seasons like this. Love and peace are great lubricators of our relationships and responses. Get full injections of both in His presence.
Finally, remember that your celebration of Christmas cannot be changed by circumstances. Before we found out we were exposed, Janice and I while watching TV, would push back on commercials and Christmas when they would state, “the Holidays are all about…” then insert the following: “family”, “giving”, love”, traditions”, and more.
Let me state this clearly: NO, THEY ARE NOT! (Sorry for shouting.) Christmas is not a secular holiday, it is first and foremost the celebration of God’s declaration of war on the enemy and His invasion, greater than D-Day, in redeeming man, the world and destroying the works of the devil. Keep that first and foremost and you can then enjoy gathering (or not), family (or not depending on your circumstance), giving and all the rest. I have no problem with Santa (another sermon for another time), elves, reindeer and the rest, because they are not preeminent in my heart and mind, Jesus is first and foremost, in every season.
After all, it like everything else we have been talking about, is a matter of preeminence and priority.
See you online this weekend and in person, Lord willing on December 20th, but either way, let’s celebrate Jesus!