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Ready for Christmas?

If it was this easy!

If I have been asked once, I have been asked a thousand times: “Are you ready for Christmas?

Well, if by “ready” you mean “have you purchased gifts for every relative and friend, cleaned your house, wrapped everything in red foil, watered the tree, mailed the cards, etc.,” then NO! I’m definitely not ready!

On the other hand, if you’re asking if I am ready for Christmas to get here, then yes, I am.

Am I the only person in this situation? I would suspect most people probably wish they had at least another month to get everything on their lists done.  On the other hand, I hope that we are always ready to celebrate the birth of Christ, which is, of course, the point of the whole day.

But aside from getting ready for the Christmas celebrations, there are other things for which we should be prepared.

As a matter of fact, below are three things we all should be prepared for, maybe even more so than Christmas.

Be Ready to Preach

Paul said, “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel…” (Romans 1:15).  I should be able to say the same, for, just like the apostle, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” (1:16). I should, and YOU should be ready to preach/teach/share the gospel at anytime with anyone.

But you may say, “I am not a preacher, though.” Really? Well, the words of Jesus apply to all of us. He said,

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. – Mar 16:15

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. – Mar 16:15 ESV

Even though you may not be a pastor or Sunday School teacher, if you are not ashamed of Jesus, then it is still your responsibility to “proclaim” the message Christmas, the gospel (“good news”) of Jesus coming to save.

Be ready to preach.

Be Ready to Give an Answer

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer [a reasonable defense] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” – 1Pe 3:15 NIV

If Jesus is the “reason for the season,” are we able defend the Reason based on reason and evidence, not hollow, empty faith?

There are so many who are quick to attack Christians and the God of Christianity. They claim Christmas is based on a myth no more verifiable than the existence of Santa Claus himself. These same folk who deny Jesus was the Messiah then choose to follow some other pagan god, or no god, and say their “reasons” are more logical.  Really? Where is their evidence?

The Apostle Peter, when he said to “always be ready,” knew that there would be those who would question us and ask, “why do you have so much hope?” There are still plenty of people who are without hope in this world.  They are looking for answers. What they are not looking for is a fairy tale to make them feel good; they are looking for Truth that will make a difference in life, both on this earth and in eternity.

Be ready to give an answer.

Be Ready to Go

I know that Christmas is just around the corner, but who can assure me I’ll be around to see it?  There are no guarantees about tomorrow; one day life on this earth will be over and eternity will begin.  However, for many of us, we believe that Jesus is coming back one day.

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. – Mat 24:44

I want to be ready for His return.  I want to be ready to go with Him.  Being ready for that day, I believe, is a lot more important than getting everything wrapped just so, or cleaning house. If any “cleaning house” is done, we should always make sure our spiritual “house” is clean and ready.  One day, someday, a trumpet is going to sound…

1 Corinthians 15:51-54  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Are you ready to go?  If not, then there is good news: You can be!

You may say that you are not good enough.  You may think that you have done too many things to be forgiven.  You may think that if God is real, then there is no getting right with Him, because you’re just too bad.  Well, if you are willing to put your faith in the Christ of Christmas, the good new is that God is also ready…ready to forgive.

For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. – Psa 86:5

Get ready for Christmas; but make your heart ready for Christ.  The Jesus born in a manger wants to give new life to you.

Are you ready?

Questions about faith in Jesus Christ?

Call 1-800-NEED-HIM

 

 

 

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Filed under Apologetics, Christmas, Culture Wars, Preaching, salvation

Santa Claus Is Riding My Bus

Larry’s On Board

This morning, as I was pulling off the lot with my school bus, one of the dispatchers waved me down. “Are you still going to be having surgery?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied.

“So, you’re gonna be out after the first of the year?”

“Yes.”

“Perfect!” she exclaimed. “I want Larry to ride with you this morning, because he needs to learn your route…he’ll probably drive it while you’re gone.”

So, no big deal, Larry stepped on to my bus and took a seat. But it’s Larry…not Larry the Cable Guy…but Larry the Santa Claus.

Santa’s On Board

Larry not only looks like Santa, but he is a professional Santa for hire. Larry dresses up and poses for photos with children – like as a mall Santa, etc.

So, when it came time to pick up my elementary students, I told Larry it might get amusing – and I was right 🙂

Earlier on my route I told Larry (a.k.a Santa) that my young kids are not bad, just a little unruly. However, once the little loudmouths saw this older man with a familiar appearance sitting in a seat on their bus, taking notes, attitudes were strangely calmer.

Not one child asked the obvious question, but it was obvious in their glances and demeanor. It was clear what the sneaky little cookie snatchers were thinking: “He looks like Santa Claus…but he’s riding a bus…but he could be Santa…he’s probably not…but what if he is?”

As we approached the school, I began softly singing – just loud enough to be heard – an altered version of a classic Christmas tune.

“You better watch out / You better not cry / You better not pout / I’m telling you why / Santa Claus is riding your bus.”

I looked in the student (rear view) mirror and saw the emotionless, yet slightly-anxious faces of quiet children, all looking forward, except with their eyes darting back and forth in the direction of Larry…

…or was it Santa?

Jesus On Board

It shouldn’t be difficult to guess the spiritual application of this story. What would you change about how you act in life if Jesus were to ride along on your bus?

Oh, but that’s silly, isn’t it? Jesus wouldn’t just show up one day and ride with me to school, would He?

I don’t know. Could He? Does He? Actually, yeah! All the time. Consider these two verses alone:

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me. – (Jesus) Matthew 25:40

[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. – Hebrews 13:5

I guess you could say He’s one of those children I transport…or not…or maybe… And beside that, as a believer, He’s always with me. Hmmm, maybe I should quit laughing at the kids and start treating them more like I would treat Jesus, should He ride my bus.

And He does, you know.

How are you behaving on YOUR school bus?

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Filed under Christian Living, Christmas, General Observations, Humor, Jesus

Ready for Christmas?

If it was this easy!

If I have been asked once, I have been asked a thousand times, “Are you ready for Christmas?

No, I am NOT ready for Christmas!

Well, if by “ready” you mean “have you purchased gifts for every relative and friend, cleaned your house, wrapped everything in red foil, watered the tree, mailed the cards, etc.,” then NO! Quit pestering me, alright! If, on the other hand, you mean to ask if I am ready for Christmas to get here, they yes, I am.

I am not the only person in this situation. Most, if honest, probably wish they had at least another month to get done everything on their lists. It is really hard to get ready for Christmas, traditionally speaking. On the other hand, I hope that we are always ready to celebrate the birth of Christ, which is the point of the whole day, you know.

Aside from getting ready for the Christmas celebrations to come, there are also some other things for which we need to prepare.  Last night I gave my congregation three things that all of us should be ready for, maybe even more so than Christmas.

Be Ready to Preach

Paul said, “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel…” (Romans 1:15).  I should be able to say the same, for, just like the apostle, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” (1:16). I should, and YOU should be ready to preach/teach/share the gospel at anytime with anyone.

But you may say, “I am not a preacher, though.” Really? Well, the words of Jesus apply to all of us. He said,

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. – Mar 16:15 KJV

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. – Mar 16:15 ESV

Even though you may not be a pastor or Sunday School teacher, if you are not ashamed of Jesus, then it is still your responsibility to “proclaim” the message Christmas, the gospel (“good news”) of Jesus coming to save.  Be ready to preach.

Be Ready to Give an Answer

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer [a reasonable defense] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” – 1Pe 3:15 NIV

If Jesus is the “reason for the season,” are we able defend the Reason, based on reason and evidence; not hollow, empty faith? There are so many who are quick to attack Christians and the God of Christianity. They claim Christmas is based on a myth no more verifiable than the existence of Santa Claus himself. These same folk who deny Jesus was the Messiah then choose to follow some other pagan god, or no god, and say their “reasons” are more logical.  Really? Where is their evidence?

The Apostle Peter, when he said to “always be ready,” knew that there would be those who would question us and ask, “why do you have so much hope?” There are still plenty of people who are without hope in this world.  They are looking for answers. What they are not looking for is a fairytale to make them feel good.  They are looking for Truth that will make a difference in life, both on this earth and in eternity.  Be ready to give an answer.

Be Ready to Go

I am writing this on the day before Christmas Eve, which is the day before Christmas.  I know that Christmas is two days away. But unlike Christmas, I do not know if I will be here in two days.  There are no guarantees about tomorrow, for one day life on this earth will be over and eternity will begin.  However, for many of us, we believe that Jesus is coming back one day.

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. – Mat 24:44 KJV

I want to be ready for His return.  I want to be ready to go with Him.  Being ready for that day, I believe, is a lot more important than getting everything wrapped just so, or cleaning house. If any “cleaning house” is done, we should always make sure our spiritual “house” is clean and ready.  One day, someday, a trumpet is going to sound…

1 Corinthians 15:51-54  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Are you ready to go?  If not, then there is good news:  you can be.  You may say that you are not good enough.  You may think that you have done too many things to be forgiven.  You may think that if God is real, then there is no getting right with Him, because you’re just too bad.  Well, if you are willing to put your faith in the Christ of Christmas, the good new is that God is also ready…ready to forgive.

For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. – Psa 86:5 KJV

Get ready for Christmas; but make your heart ready for Christ.  The Jesus born in a manger wants to give new life to you. Are you ready?

Questions about faith in Jesus Christ?

Call 1-800-NEED-HIM

 

 

 

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Filed under Apologetics, Christmas, Culture Wars, Preaching, salvation