Taking Back Christmas

I’ve seen the Black Friday footage of crazy happenings-pepper spray, shootings, brawls…good grief. I am disturbed. The celebration of the birth of our Savior being ushered in that way is disgraceful—and I’m not so sure we as believers are doing much to stop the madness.

As I consider my own life and frantic pace during some past holidays, and as I look around, it occurs to me that we in the church (all Christians not just at my church) have let society dictate to us what Christmas should be about. How has that happened?? I mean, what is our problem? How do we listen and follow the lead of a culture which is so counter-Christ??

Friends, it’s time!! It’s time for us to take back Christmas! To place Christ where He should be in our lives and in our celebrations–right at the center. I’m burdened that I, and many others, have allowed this deviation from Christmas to happen on our watch. Just like anything else that the Lord burdens me with, I began to consider what do I do? How do we as believers make changes and how can we stand against culture most effectively??

Imagine what could happen if:
-our Christmas season really is all about Jesus and not about impressing others or running ourselves ragged like culture says we should.
-we choose to invite some people over(maybe lost people) and share some favorite Christmas memories together.
-our encounters with others in stores, schools, work or wherever are all about bringing light into the dark of this world (Matt 5:16)

Maybe, just maybe the world is waiting to see some Christians who are willing to live what they say they believe–every day. If we decide to look like who we say we follow then wow! there is no limit to what God can do with us then.

I definitely don’t have all the answers but I do know this–we have to be intentional. If we don’t have a plan then we will default to the easiest setting and that will be what the world dictates. There is probably no time of the year when people are more open to conversations about Jesus. SOOO what if we just commit to talking about Jesus every day —with someone, somehow, anywhere??? Matt 5:16 says “Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” Let’s take it seriously and let our lights shine. One of the best ways to do that is to make Jesus a part of our everyday conversations. Share your faith, tell your story, talk about your Savior to someone every day.

When I’m being intentional about bringing Jesus into my conversations it’s interesting what leaves my conversations–things like ugly words, negative talk, whining, bragging, fussing and so on- will all have to be absent from the way that I talk (whether in person or online). When I bring Jesus in–they go out…and that can only be a good thing:)

I am speaking at an event in Alabama on this very subject, called Lighten Up, and as part of that event, God laid it in me to develop a tool that could be used to help us follow through on this commitment (because as we all know ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’) and as Christmas gets busy with school events, church events, parties and gatherings, we all need a little something to remind us to stay focused and be intentional.

That’s where this little flip book came from <a
It's just a simple, cute (thanks Robyn) booklet to challenge us to be intentional. It's a 25 day challenge. Each day has a Scripture, devotional thought, challenge (action step) and an accountability place to write down who you share with. There are also some fun hints throughout of ways to start conversations about Jesus and other extras. They can stand on your kitchen counter, desk or be carried around in your purse or car. If you would like to join the challenge with me and want one of these you can just email me rachel@rachellovingood.com and I can send you one or more if you want to get a group together. They are $5 plus shipping which would prob only be about 1.50.

I'm hoping you will join me on this challenge (with or without the book) and that together we can begin "Taking Back Christmas"!!!! What ideas do you have that can help us keep Christ where He belongs in our celebrations?? comment and share those:)

JOYfully,
Rachel

ps…we also made some darling tshirts that make good conversation starters using the Lighten Up logo–here they are (they come in kiwi green or black)

Advertisements

Persevere!

Reading today in James and this struck me “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”

It is simple and easy to understand and yet like so many things I read in the Word of God–I don’t always put it into practice. I began thinking about what I have given up on (or been tempted to give up on recently) because it may have gotten hard or been inconvenient?? When did I buy into the philosophy that says “if its too hard just dont bother or try something else until you find what is easy for you”? I’m sorry, but no where in my Bible (or my experience) does it say that living as a Christ follower is supposed to be easy.

Actually its a bit contrary to that. I read about a real enemy we have and that expect to suffer some persecution for His sake and then these verses in James to count it all joy when…not IF but WHEN.

It takes me back to the whole Kardashian wedding fiasco that I blogged about earlier. Our world preaches a “just do what you want as long as you want and then witch to something else” philosophy that has nothing to do with the Truth of God’s Word. It is completely void of commitment and follow through and perseverance…AND maybe that explains why there are such immature people around us. Look at what is the result of perseverance–maturity!

that my friends is what we need. To be Christ followers who are mature and growing in our faith so that WHEN tough times come we will stand firm and not be shaken!!!! If we don’t want to be wimpy believers we must do what it takes to grow.

The next time you, or I, feel tempted to just give up, quit on something, not follow through, or anything else that smacks of not persevering may we be reminded of these words from James—lets count it all joy and look for the blessing of spiritual growth that is to come:)

JOYfully,
Rachel

Odd Kardashian humor…

I been hearing such random supposedly funny quips and word plays about the Kim Kardashian marriage breakup, and while I love to laugh, I just can’t be amused by yet another marriage ending. It breaks my heart and seems to be so reflective of this culture and its lack of understanding of what marriage was designed and intended to be.

I know that God doesn’t laugh about it and I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t either. The media is full of news about this break up—people are joking about the short length of the marriage and that is so very sad. On more than one front. News- supposedly hard news agencies are reporting about this celebrity relationship and the implications of the divorce in the same breath as presidential situations and world economic crisis—really???? we are listening to people discuss how this is going to affect Kim’s image?!?! have we lost our minds? Does the image of a reality TV star rate the same amount of air time as troops overseas, wall street, presidential race, and all that???

It seems to me that reality TV stars have no sense of what reality is and the American public is just jumping right in. Some people have been quoted as saying these things “it (the divorce) is something that just didn’t work out. It’s better that they got out now”–really? you can say that something as serious and with as deep a commitment as marriage should have just didn’t work out after less than 3 months??? or what about this “they gave it a shot” how much of a ‘shot’ does a marriage deserve?…72 days isn’t even enough time to get a closet sorted out much less to give marriage a shot.

And that may be where much of the problem is—our society is full of people who are ‘giving marriage a shot’–it was designed to be a life long commitment between a man and a woman–NOT something that happens in a basketball game where you score 2 or 3 points.

Marriage is tough enough when you do it God’s way–it’s worth it but it’s tough sometimes…I’m afraid that when we begin to buy into this “give it a shot’ mentality that it may very well become impossible. Sadly, Christ followers are being just as deceived by our media and culture as those who don’t know Him. When was the last time you laughed about a marriage breaking up? or about some type of sin? —-remember (and I’m talking to myself too) when we laugh at sin we start to become desensitized to it and when we become desensitized to it there is no telling what all can happen.

I’m saddened by another marriage ending. It makes me more and more thankful for a husband who sticks by me even when it can’t be easy and more and more grateful for the examples I see of men and women who love each other through sickness and heath, tho richer or poorer–till death parts them…..may God give us grace to love each other and encourage one another and maybe even to be that person who says “You can make your marriage work. Trust God. Follow His plan and stick with it. Don’t give it a shot. Make it last.”

As believers we have a responsibility to be light in this world not to be followers of current culture. I think He has called us to more…more prayer, more faith, more sharing our faith, more than the world settles for, more of Him.

I can’t laugh about some things…and I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t:)