Solidarity is what she opened her discussion with. Shortly after the December 2nd mass shooting in San Bernardino by a Muslim husband and wife, Wheaton College Professor, Larycia Hawkins, set out to demonstrate solidarity with her Muslim neighbors by wearing a hijab. She cleared the actions with Wheaton, which is a major Christian liberal arts university, and all appeared to be fine. While my idea of solidarity promotion wouldn’t include the wearing of a hijab any more than suggesting that a Muslim cleric wear a Catholic Priest’s collar, I understand the desire to do something to foster a spirit of peace. I agree that stereo typing all Muslims as terrorist is something that we must fight. Days later though Professor Hawkins was suspended by the university. As some raced to condemn the institution and point to the public wearing of the Islamic female head covering as their reason, the real issue was much deeper and I completely agree with Wheaton’s decision.
They did it again! It’s just another reason why I’m proud of Cypress Crossings Christian Church. This past weekend volunteers from the C4 family reached out again this year to bless children and families in our area. For a church family of our size; they did an amazing job in providing just under 150 children and families in our region with Christmas presents. The thrilling part is that this outreach project was not something pushed by the lead minister. It actually grew up organically from within the body and that’s what Christmas and real Christianity is all about.
Jesus clearly noted that he came to seek and to save that which was lost and to give his life as a ransom for many. Jesus came to give. The folks of C4 have not only experienced the life changing grace of Christ but have turned around to bless others. They are giving.
People have pointed to John Lennon’s song, Imagine, as a hope for humanity. As for me, I like imagining a world, not with or without religion, but where more people truly know Jesus Christ and are radically pursuing Him. Such a place might actually do what politics simply cannot accomplish. Change the heart and thus the world. To indeed bring “Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men.” Yes; Imagining a world with more Jesus, more Christmas.
But for now . . . I’m stoked at how C4 is giving it an amazing shot.
Recently I noticed an article chiding followers of Christ for their misunderstandings of Christmas floating around cyberspace. It was gathering a good bit of attention from some of my friends who don’t normally go in for Biblical Christianity. Usually when that scenario plays out you can bet the post is cynical at best and derogatory at worst and most often simply filled with half-truths. This particular post was found in Time.com and written by Mark Sandlin. (link here) In the post, Sandlin shared what he felt were 10 things Christians should NOT DO on Christmas to which my skeptical friends thought were great. A few of Mark’s comments were right on while on the other hand a few of them made me question if the guy really knows Jesus or not. So today I have written a quick response to Mr. Sandlin and then 10 quick things that Christians SHOULD do on Christmas. So anyway, here we go . . .
I’m excited about our final Sunday Night Discussions show of the season at 8p central on the 22nd. This week we’ll have two guests live from England with us. One of them is an incredibly encouraging guy named Larry Kineman who makes Santa feel boring. I’ve known Larry since the summer of 1988 when I worked with him on a college mission trip to Chile and he’s always been a huge blessing to me and many others around the world. For our time this week we’ll continue our conversation and questions surrounding Christian influence in culture with a special emphasis on how that can take place in Britain and any post-modern setting. While Larry is actually a Yank, he’s been in the United Kingdom for over 20 years and he’ll be joined by Ryan Muliette who is from the UK and has been working for over a year to plant a church from scratch in an area with little or no Christian influence at all. If you have any questions from last week’s show that you’d like more commentary on or any specific questions for Larry or Ryan, feel free to send those in early and we’ll try to address them on the show. These two men have done a GREAT job of living out the Kingdom of God and sharing the love of Christ in the UK.
For Google + users, you will be able to send in questions live during the show on the SND page. So make plans now to join us for what’s going to be a great show and conclusion to our trial season of Sunday Night Discussions. We’ll even have one final free resource to give away. See you then.
I remember reading about Johannes Kepler in High School and know he was a smarter man than me. But of course that’s not hard to imagine especially when it comes to math and science. But I came across his name again while studying for my sermon this week. Indeed, Kepler was a brilliant mathematician and astronomer. You may not know this, but he was also a serious minded man of faith and follower of Christ. While Kepler was credited in discovering new planetary movements and even today has departments of NASA named after him, he also gave serious effort to finding of the Star mentioned in Matthew 2:2. This was the Star that led the Biblical Wiseman to Bethlehem on their search for the birth of Jesus. Like Galileo, Newton, and other brilliant scientist of old, Kepler didn’t take the path of many modern scientist who choose to reason away the divine. He didn’t hold that science explains away God; but rather that science was just another tool to explore the magnitude of God and figure out this great creation of God we call the cosmos.
My boys love this clip and have begged me to show it at The Crossings. Verdict is still out on that one. But it is kind of funny and I love its point. We live in a society today where saying “Merry Christmas” is becoming more and more “Politically Incorrect.” But as I’ve done the past two Sundays; I want to encourage everyone to step up and say it anyway no matter where you’re at. Could you offend someone? Maybe. But it also just might encourage someone. Who knows, you might even be able to plant a seed of the real reason for the season and thus open the door to the truth that “God so loved the world that he GAVE his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” So I suppose it’s kind of like the old Nike challenge . . . “Just Say it!”
I was blessed to be part of the Crossings “Share Fair” 2010 event this past Saturday. To me it was just another wonderful example of a local body of Christ putting their faith into practice by coming up with creative ways to serve their extended community. The “Fair” was a great success this year as we gathered donations and gifts and networking with a local school, were able to get them into the lives of families in our area who are struggling. A HUGE thanks goes out to Larry Foster who handled the goliath share of the details which made everything come together. I also want say thanks to everyone who helped with the setup, teardown, and serving throughout the day. In all, “Share Fair” was just another reason why you rock Cypress Crossings. So keep up the good work and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!