Monthly Archives: December 2013

Flash mob gone wrong (Children, Carols, Crisis, Cookies)

Led by the vision of a few of our Children our family and a few others planned a 3 minute flash mob at the local mall.  In all there was about 40 of us. After a brief practice at a local church our planned “go time” was 7:22 PM.  Everyone made their inconspicuous way into Valley View Mall just after 7 PM.

It would start with 8 children who would stand and sing some Carols beginning with “Joy to the World”.  More adults would join for another verse or two, then a verse of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and the conclusion, a verse of “O Holy Night”  It was about 3 ½ minutes of good music.  The purpose was to spread a little Christmas cheer and remind us all of the birth of Christ.

The start was subtle but strong.  As voices joined the volume grew and the crowd quieted.  Many pulled out their phones to video.  Others joined in singing.  Applause was heard at the end of each song.     

Then came the Crisis. About half-way through “O Holy Night” (ironically not long after the line “long lay the world in sin and error pining”) Mall security abruptly walked up and tapped the leader of the group on the shoulder.  The orders were a repeated and loud “STOP NOW” followed by a half-hearted hand-waving “cut” gesture.    And so we quit.  The abrupt ending was met with jeers from the crowd.  The crisis was enhanced by his threat to ban all singers from the mall for “1 year”.

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Cheer up, It’s Christmas

So all in all, the night was a confused mix of excitement, joy, music, singing, yelling, and children moved from caroling to crying.  Followed by more over-reaction from the mall security officer we all left a bit deflated.  We rendezvoused at a restaurant to recount the story. 

So now the CookiesAfter some discussion a couple of us went back to the mall, purchased a ½ dozen cookies from the The Cookie Factory and presented them to the mall office for the officer who undoubtedly felt as bad as we.       

We realized that sometimes in life the opportunity to minister is not as we plan.  Although our attempt was to spread Christmas cheer to the masses we realized that our greatest opportunity was to minister to an over-zealous mall cop. 

All in all this was the summary of our night! 

Flash Mob – Fail

You-tube Sensation – Fail

Christmas memories made with family – NAILED IT!

 

 


Uh Oh my thoughts on Duck Dynasty and A&E

The internet is abuzz about the suspension of the Duck Dynasty Dad, Phil Robertson for his comments regarding his views of homosexuality. It is almost impossible to not have some reaction to this event.  So here is my personal, internal, spiritual and emotional response to Phil Robertson’s suspension and all the discussion surrounding it. 

I am SadI am not sad because Phil lost his job on TV nor am I sad that A&E just lost their #1 rated show. Phil is doing ok.  He is well-grounded in his faith, family and his fortune.  A&E has savvy people who will recover this show or create another that will continue to make money.  My sadness is this.   As an American,  I am sad about the decline of this country.  As a pastor it breaks my heart that morality is being lost in America.

I am not SurprisedA biblical view of this world is more and more outside of the mainstream  of American culture.  Having seen statements from Phil about his religion over the course of the past year or so the only surprise to me is that something of this nature didn’t happen sooner.  Does this really surprise anyone?

I want to Stay Focused.   I don’t want to get caught up in an argument with the world.  I want to proclaim the Gospel.  Jesus did not command me to “go into all the world and picket for the gospel”.  He told me to “preach it”.  Money may prevail and one of the parties may fold.  We are all tempted to make this moral rift our mission However, as a Christian I do not win if I only convince A&E to put him back on the air.  We only win when people are transformed by the power of the Gospel.   The people I choose to love today, the sermon I am preparing to preach on Sunday and the Gospel we live out everyday are far better ways to impact the world than screaming at a Hollywood Television Station.  I want to stay focused on the only solution this world really has, Jesus Christ.

I Tim. 1:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,


Don’t Forget Christmas!

ImageWhat if we forgot Christmas?  What if the busyness of the fall season, the kid’s sports schedules, the Thanksgiving Holiday and the coming New Year’s celebration was so overwhelming that we simply forgot to have Christmas.  What if the 25th of December came and went as any other day?   What if we never sang a Christmas song, never gave a gift and simply forgot to enjoy those special Christmas recipes?   I know it sounds ridiculous but what if Christmas passed without anyone remembering?

I believe there are several reasons why an absurdity of this magnitude is impossible.  I am quite sure the merchants would not let us forget Christmas.  Certainly our children would never let us forget Christmas.    Even our own memories and nostalgia would inevitably awaken us before Christmas passed. 

But are we forgetting Christmas?  We are if we forget the following.

We must not forget the Poor

Christmas must never pass without our awareness and care for the less fortunate.  The story of the nativity is God identifying with the lowly.  Bonhoeffer said it well.  “At the manger thrones shake, the mighty fall, the prominent perish, because God is with the lowly.” Mary a maid, sits in prominence at the manger, humble shepherds are the first to be invited to see the child and a simple carpenter is asked to mentor the young Messiah. If we forget the poor we are forgetting Christmas!

We must not forget our Future

Christmas is a gift from God that made our futures bright!   Now Christmas is a festive, gift-giving season.  It is easy to get caught up “in the moment” and spend money that we will have to re-pay in the coming year. People do all sorts of foolish things in order to buy gifts.  Payday loans, credit cards and borrowing from ourselves are all ways we forget the future. Let us not forget that January is coming.  If we forget our future we are forgetting Christmas. 

We must not forget the Hurting

As a pastor I have witnessed that for many Christmas is a time of great pain and sadness.  For some this is the first Christmas without a loved one,  another finds themselves alone without their children or family.  The pain of loneliness, loss and brokenness is extra poignant during the Holidays.  Let us not forget the hurting, lest we forget Christmas.  

We must not forget the Reason

What really makes Christmas special is that in that stable, God became man!   You see Christmas is much more than a sweet story of the birth of a founder of a religion, it is a centuries old promise made by God almighty to send a deliverer for our sins.  That which God promised, that which the Prophets foretold, that which the angels declared was realized that first Christmas night, the Savior of the world was born! If we forget to worship, experience and share Jesus, then we have forgotten Christmas. 

 I admit there are some things about Christmas we should forget.  Figgy pudding?  Fruitcake?  Long shopping lines, for sure!  But let us never forget the poor, our future, the hurting or the true reason for the season, Jesus Christ!