They didn’t know


“Why did Jesus come to be born as a baby?” my friend Annie and I asked two other girls at the mall. They thought and thought. They threw out a few ideas, but they didn’t really know.

Before giving a complete answer, we switched gears and began to talk about sin, God’s justice, and our need for a perfect substitute – Jesus.

“No one can kill God, so God had to put Himself into a body that could die. But in order to die he had to first be born,” I emphasized to the girls.

“Ah…I see!” one of the girls said, smiling as it clicked.

The thrill of watching an unbeliever have an “ah ha” moment as she comprehends a truth about the gospel makes me think about what a privilege it is to witness. Because Annie and I had let them wrestle with the question for a while, they absorbed the answer when we finally told them.

There are two days left until Christmas. Many of us will still be out and about shopping and interacting with people. Let’s not forget how many people genuinely don’t know why Jesus came, and let’s pray for opportunities to make it known!

Pictured above are Annie, Augusta, Sarah and Xin Hui. Xin Hui, from Malaysia, has been part of our church for the last couple years but left on Monday morning. Sarah and I enjoyed spending some time with her last Saturday (part of which included the witnessing at the mall). We are going to be missing you, Xin Hui!

Merry Christmas everyone!

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him…” (Col 2:9-10)

You May Be Surprised

If you have never Christmas caroled before, you may be surprised at how much some people are touched by it. We took our Bright Lights group caroling the other night, and I was reminded of what an impact it can make. Many stand outside the door, trying to savor the moment, thoroughly enjoying the old carols.

After we sing, we greet them, ask for a favorite, explain who we are, and leave them with some cookies and a book that explains the Biblical meaning of Christmas.

Many of the carols themselves have great gospel words: “Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!

While we were caroling, a passage popped into my head. I had been reading it the previous day. “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.” (Psalm 105:1-2)

Amazing. We get to praise the Lord in song, in front of the on looking world, (well, house by house) and thus proclaim both the gospel and our delight in it! What a privilege.

“Are you carolers?!” the elderly couple in this vehicle asked as they rolled down the window.
“Yes, would you like us to sing something for you?”
“Would you??” they asked eagerly.
The lady explained how she used to carol around this very neighborhood as a girl.

Then we came back for hot chocolate and our normal Bright Lights lesson time and activities.

Nickie shared with the younger girls about our response to Christ, emphasizing how we need to be committed disciples.

Simultaneously, Sarah was sharing with the older girls upstairs. We are beginning a six week “winter discipleship” study in which we are going to be keeping each other accountable to be seeking Jesus more diligently.

The joy of fellowship with sisters in Christ…
Pictured above are Amanda, Annie, and Hannah

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” (1 Kings 8:27)

Birthday Party In a Bus

Last weekend we suprised Chelsy Bontrager for her birthday. Her sister, Allison, did a fabulous job planning the whole event and Chelsy was completely surprised. We spent most of the time in their bus. (Their family has a really neat singing ministry and are “on tour” about a third of the year.)

Allison treated all of us to lots of great snacks…coffee drinks, biscotti, chocolate…

Most of us haven’t seen each other since the last Bright Lights conference trip, but we always pick up right where we left off. Encouraging fellowship with like-minded girls is special. Although most of us live hours apart, we’ve grown close through doing ministry together. (When you think about it, that’s really one of the best ways to become closer as brothers and sisters in Christ.)

The girls helped me by “rating” the cartoons my dad has drawn so far for my book and giving suggestions. [smile] Pictured above are Lilly and Allison.

Before the girls from out of town headed home, we had them over to our house for lunch after church.

Eschatology and Evangelism

My dad played this clip as an introduction to the sermon he gave at church yesterday.
We have been studying eschatology (end time prophecy) recently, and my dad’s sermon was on “eschatology and evangelism.” Here were some of the points from his sermon:

We are in a time like no other. Israel is back in the land. Satan wants to control the world and the political, economic and moral stage is being set to make conditions right for the Antichrist.
As the coming of the Lord draws near,what does the Lord want us to be doing?

• Be Aware – we can’t know the day or hour, but we can know the general prophetic timetable and understand current events.

• Be Ready – that means be saved.

• Guard you heart – identify Satan’s lies in society, contend for the faith, stay in the Word, maintain a clear conscience, and abound in ministry.

• Keep gathering with other believers – “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.” (Hebrews 10:25) True fellowship isn’t just being together but working together.

• Make Christ known – there are two thrones in Scripture that are important to understand. People must come to the “throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16) now to avoid standing at the “great white throne” (judgment of unbelievers) later. (Revelation 20:11-15)

• Be excited about the future that God has prepared for us – it can’t be destroyed or defiled. It is kept by God’s power to be revealed later.

How is the study of eschatology helpful?
• It motivates us to proclaim the gospel because the time is short
• It gives us confidence and boldness because we see God’s mighty hand in fulfilled prophecy, both past and present
• It gives content to our message. We can explain all the ways God has fulfilled prophecy down to minute details, and we can point ahead–knowing that He is continuing to fulfil prophecy.
• It opens doors for conversation because people are interested in end times.

Heart of the matter: the gospel needs to be proclaimed, and there is urgency–so let’s not get distracted.

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…” (2 Peter 3:13-15) [emphasis added]