December 24, 2012 by Paul Chappell
Don’t make the mistake of enjoying the wrapping of Christmas—activities, time with family, gift exchanges, traditions—enjoying what is behind the wrapping—the gift.
Quite simply, Jesus is the gift of Christmas. And, with Paul, we exclaim, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
How do we unwrap this Gift?
Receive the Gift
I pretty much assume that regular readers of this blog know Christ as Saviour. But perhaps you’ve stumbled across this post by accident—or by God’s purpose—and don’t know Christ personally. Romans 6:23 tells us that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” A gift, however, must be received. If you haven’t made the choice to receive Christ, I’d encourage you to follow this link to discover how you can.
Enjoy the Gift
Salvation is just the beginning. But sometimes Christians—including we who are in ministry—become so consumed with the functioning aspects of the Christian life or ministry that we fail to personally revel in who Jesus is to us. (more…)
Category: Christian Life
Tags: Christian Walk, Christmas Comments (0)
December 22, 2012 by Paul Chappell
The story is told of a struggling community who called an open town meeting to discuss their financial straits. Included in the group of a couple dozen people at the meeting was a stranger. No one knew him, and no one paid him any attention. In fact, once when he tried to speak up, he was interrupted as the townspeople continued to hash out possible solutions. Soon the stranger left.
A few minutes after he left, a late-arriving town resident ran breathlessly into the meeting. “What was he doing here?” he asked excitedly. “Is he going to help us?”
“Who?” the others looked at the man with surprise. “You mean that stranger? Who was he anyway?”
“You mean you really don’t know?” The latecomer’s body sagged with disappointment. “That was John D. Rockefeller. His yacht is in our harbor. Didn’t you get his help?”
This town missed its golden opportunity because they didn’t know who Rockefeller was.
Does this story sound familiar? (more…)
Category: Christian Life, Ministry Leadership
Tags: Christian Walk, Christmas, Church, ministry, Ministry Moments, Ministry Philosophy, Resource, Striving Together Comments (0)
December 10, 2012 by Paul Chappell
It’s strange that the very time of year we celebrate “peace on earth” is one of the most frazzled and hectic.
But Christmastime or not, many of us grind through our days with a heart empty of peace. The world is filled with overload of all kinds. But God’s children have been offered the peace that passes understanding.
How do we live in peace?
1. Remember prayer and meditation.
It’s amazing to me how many people—good Christian people—ask for pastoral counsel without first having spent one minute in prayer about the situation. Literally.
Suggesting that you remember to pray about whatever disturbs your peace may seem elementary, but if we’re honest, I think we’d acknowledge that it’s not always our first response. More often, it’s our last resort.
There is no substitute for spending quiet, focused time with the Lord in prayer—bringing our needs to Him, claiming His promises, and allowing His truths to grip our souls. (more…)
Category: Christian Life
Tags: Christian Walk, Christmas, visit with the Pastor Comments (0)
December 1, 2012 by Paul Chappell
My wife gets serious about Christmas. So serious that we built a shed in the backyard to store her accumulated wealth of Christmas decorations—indoor and outdoor. Last week the inevitable moment came when Terrie asked me to pull the decorations out and help her begin the annual launch of the season with these treasures.
Silencing my inward groans, I began pulling boxes and crates and wreaths and garlands and lights and more out for Terrie to sort into which direction I would carry them next. In one of my trips out of the shed with an armload of decorations, I looked over at Terrie. She was radiant.
And then I remembered—Christmas is a joy, not a burden!
I’m not sure that I’ll ever develop a delight for unpacking Christmas decorations, but I do want to always savor this season and remember its focus. (more…)
Category: Christian Life
Tags: Christian Walk, Christmas, Family Comments (0)
November 30, 2012 by Paul Chappell
In case you haven’t already noticed, December is a busy month. Whether or not you are a pastor, your schedule is surely more filled this month than is comfortable.
As a pastor, December is literally the most challenging month of the year for me. There are three specifics I pray for (and ask others to pray for on my behalf) this month.
- Strength— Sometimes I get chills up my spine just looking at my schedule. But more often, I get exhausted. I have a ministry-related event on my calendar for nearly every evening in December. Frankly, I need God’s strength to serve Him this month.
- Souls—Busy as December is, there is a reason for the activity! I encourage pastors to fill the Christmas season with seasonal outreach as people are often more tender and receptive now than at any other time of the year. And yet, a long list of activity itself doesn’t see souls saved; we need the Holy Spirit’s power to make this season fruitful.
- Family—Some of my family’s most cherished memories are Christmas memories. I thank the Lord for my wife, Terrie, who has often reminded me over the years to slow down and enjoy creating family memories. For pastors who have a “type A” personality, it’s easy to get so caught in the schedule rush of December that we miss savoring “the most wonderful time of the year” with our family.
So there they are—three simple, but incredibly vital, ways you can pray for your pastor in December. (And if you are a pastor, three areas to pray for God’s help in your life.) Ask the Lord to give him strength, fruitfulness, and the wisdom to enjoy all of it with his family.
Tomorrow I’ll share a few thoughts for all of us on how to have a joyous Christmas season.
Category: Ministry Leadership
Tags: Christmas, leadership, ministry, pastors, Prayer Comments (0)