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Warming Up to God

December 6th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

evangelismThe accompanying photo shows me trying to communicate spiritual truth to a snowman. He may look like he’s smiling, but truth be told, I’m getting a cool reception, a downright cold shoulder! Maybe I have him snowed; his eyes looked glazed over, don’t they? OK, enough of this silliness. When I took this picture in Iowa it was really cold. I mean really cold! Thankfully, while my wife Diann quickly took the picture the snowman cooperated and never moved a muscle, an icicle, whatever. We dashed inside to get warm (the two of us, not the snowman).

Sometimes I set up a picture to communicate a message, as was the case here. People can be cool to receiving input, and that includes spiritual input. Putting it more personally, it’s good to reflect on just how open we are to letting God get through to us.

This is the first week in Advent, Advent being the period of time beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas (which was last Sunday). Advent is viewed as a time of preparation, to get ready to celebrate Christmas.

As awesome, and humongous, and glorious as God is, He will not impose Himself on us. Perhaps His greatest miracle is the ability to hide Himself from us when we really don’t want to find Him! He gives us the freedom and space to do with Him as we want. Even if we’re really serious about Him there are still a great many distractions and attractions we have to deal with and overcome in order to sensitize ourselves to His presence and working.

The Practice of the Presence of God is a small volume of the collected teachings of 17th century monk, Brother Lawrence. During this Advent season how about joining me in practicing the presence of God?

How can we do this? You know, I think I’m just going to leave that an open ended question. The Good Lord will help each of us figure out just how we might open ourselves up to Him. Let’s not be a Frosty the Snowman when it comes to faith! Instead, let’s warm up to the idea of a closer experience of God this Christmas season.

Just a Thought…

December 6th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Christmas Hymn

December 4th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »
You have my permission to use the following song
I wrote for a Christmas celebration or worship.
It’s sung to the public domain tune “Immortal, Invisible.”
I would appreciate it if you’d let me know you used the song
and give me credit with my name and web site –
” Copyright 2001 by David J. Claassen — www.daveclaassen.com “

It’s Christmas
 

It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas, a time of great joy,
A stable, a manger, the birth of a boy.
The leaving of heaven to earth He came down,
Relinquishing glory and heaven’s great crown.

The stars on that dark night were lost in the light
As heaven’s great chorus to earth took their flight.
Amazed were the angels at what God had done;
They let loose with praise for the gift of the Son.

God’s heaven was emptied of His only Son.
The shepherds, in awe, to the village did run.
The wise men, they came from a distance so far,
To worship the Christ Child, announced by a star.

It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas, a time to rejoice.
To make Him our King is our very own choice.
None other, none other we hail as our King;
His praises forever and ever we’ll sing!

Copyright 2001 by David J. Claassen
(Sung to the tune of “Immortal, Invisible”)

Just a Thought…

December 4th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Just a Thought…

December 3rd, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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1st Week in Advent

December 1st, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Giving Thanks 365

December 1st, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

aaaaliu copyThanksgiving is not just a holiday but it’s something we should be doing all the time, the other 364 days of the year. Being thankful is so good to do because it deepens our relationships with God and with each other, and it feels so good!

Thanksgiving being as wonderful as it is you’d think we’d have no trouble doing it, or remembering to do it. Actor Roberto Benigni said, “It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.” The Bible declares twenty-nine times the specific admonition to “give thanks.”

We can give thanks both vertically (to God) and horizontally (to others). It’s good to go both vertical and horizontal with thanksgiving!

God responds favorably to our being thankful to Him. He can draw nearer to a thankful heart, nurturing a deeper relationship with Him.

People appreciate being appreciated. It draws them closer to us. It nurtures a deeper relationship.

Sure, there’s always parts of life that aren’t the way we want them to be. On the other hand, there’s always something for which we can thank God and for which we can thank another person. Let’s do it! Can you think of a good reason not to?

“Give thanks in all circumstances, this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Influencers

November 30th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

RippleFixedC. S. Lewis was arguably the most influential Christian writer of the 20th century, and even up to this point in the 21st century. Lewis wrote the classic children’s allegorical stories of the Chronicles of Narnia series, with the first in that series being The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The main character was a lion named Aslan, who was a Christ-figure. Lewis’s non-fiction books, particularly Mere Christianity, give a clear, logical explanation of the Christian faith. His work has helped bring many people to a faith in Christ. It would be hard to exaggerate the influence he has had on Christianity.

Interestingly, Lewis found faith through the influence of his friend J. R. R. Tolkien, author of the famous Lord of the Rings. We admire people like Lewis, who had such a positive influence, and someone like Tolkien, who had an influence on Lewis.

Who has had a significant and positive influence on your life? I asked this question in our weekend services and asked people to call out their answers. Parents, grandparents, a mate, and a friend were some of the responses. We’ve all had people influence us for the good.

All of us not only have been influenced in a positive way by others but we can have such an influence on others. I know, sometimes we have our doubts about this. We see our weaknesses and are vividly aware of our struggles. How can we be of any help to others?

If we think about those who have had a great influence on us we’d have to admit that they weren’t perfect people, and that they had their own struggles. In fact, every single Bible character, other than Jesus, was far from perfect, and yet their stories are in the Bible to inspire us with what God can do with ordinary and imperfect people. Maybe, just maybe God can use us too!

When the apostle Paul asked the Lord to heal him of something that he thought was inhibiting his work he heard the Lord say to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (1 Corinthians 12:9)

Just a Thought…

November 30th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Just a Thought…

November 29th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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