Connecting Point Blog
Risk the Adventure of Christmas!
God is looking for adventurers! He desires people who will trust His words, follow His lead, and take faith risks in order to know and experience Him personally and help others to do the same.
Christmas is all about God’s great adventure! He came as a human being in Jesus Christ to build his family of faith, love, and forgiveness. Through Christ, God is drawing people separated from Him into a fulfilling faith relationship. Take a look at the adventurers below and get yourself inspired by and drawn into God’s great adventure...
Jesus risked shedding His divinity as God to be born in vulnerable obscurity as a human being. He risked challenging the status quo of religious hypocrisy and risked taking the burden of selfish and rebellious human beings upon Himself on the cross.
Mary risked giving her body, reputation, and future over to God and then Joseph in order to bear and raise God’s only Son, fulfilling God’s promise of a Savior for the world.
Joseph risked yielding his broken heart and shattered dreams to God and then exposing himself to public ridicule and humiliation in order to fulfill God’s improbable promise.
So what faith risk is God asking of you this Christmas season? If it involves trusting and following Jesus Christ and helping others to find Him, the adventure far outweighs any risk. Just ask Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
"6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. - Isaiah 9:6-7"
Choose to Be a Difference Maker!
By the time you read this, the Packers should have already played the Vikings again this season. Hopefully with better results this time! Whatever the outcome, those who watch should get to see two fine quarterbacks, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, playing and leading their teams at high levels…
While Favre and Rodgers are very different people (in age, background, personality, and professional experience), they have something important in common. They both have learned and trained under good coaches. Favre spent seven years with Mike Holmgren and Rodgers has had three plus years with Mike McCarthy. Do you think either would be the difference makers they are today without the influence of their coaches?
Similar to NFL coaching, God is looking to develop difference makers for His purposes in the world. This is what Jesus Christ called “making disciples”! God welcomes people into his family, through simple faith in Christ, and then to involves and elevates their abilities and ambitions according to his purposes by practical training and a team approach.
So, how do you become a difference-making disciple of Christ? God’s training and team approach starts with working hard at being FAT- faithful, available, and teachable:
- Faithful - follow through on faith steps and commitments to Christ
- Available - make a priority of listening to Christ and serving others
- Teachable - learn from God’s Word and his “coaches” in your life
When you commit yourself to apply to your life the “coaching” of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and dedicated Christ-followers with in the team of God’s local church, there’s no telling what kind of difference we can make in the world!
Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:18-19
Jul - Aug '09
Catch the Vision, Share the Mission!
I’ll never forget my excitement when going to get my first driver’s license. My future as an “effective driver” was about to begin! What a shock when I failed the vision screening and was sent home... Without even realizing it, I suffered from myopia, or near-sightedness, and was only able to clearly focus on things close to me. Without vision correction, I would be ineffective and unsafe as a potential driver.
Though it was confusing and difficult to admit that my vision needed help, a whole new world opened up to me when I put on my first pair of glasses! I could see everything with greater clarity and depth. It was an amazing transformation that made it possible to fulfill my purpose of becoming an effective driver!
Similarly, the living God of the universe is calling every person to fulfill their life purpose by becoming “effective followers” of Jesus Christ. Key to this process is overcoming our spiritual myopia or selfishness. Life is not all about us, but about God and his purposes for us.
We all need spiritual vision transformation to follow Jesus Christ effectively, taking ownership of his mission and making it our own on a daily basis! Otherwise, we will remain in or slip into spiritual near-sightedness, consumed with our needs and out of touch with Jesus’ mission.
Jesus came to seek and save or find and restore people who are lost, unconvinced, and disconnected from him. His mission, of connecting people with God, must direct all that we are and do in daily life as an expression of worship and gratitude to God.
“For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.” - Luke 19:10
“When he looked out over the crowds his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were... “What a huge harvest!” He said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” - Matthew 9:36-38
“Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.” - 1Corinthians 9:22
Make It a Season of Lasting Growth!
Have you noticed? Our days are getting longer and warmer, grass is greening up, and buds on trees and bushes are literally exploding with life! Birds are singing again and people are smiling and socializing more readily. This time of year really invigorates me! The time is now, in our little corner of the northern hemisphere, for everything in nature and creation to hungrily soak up and eagerly rejoice in greater contact with the energy of the sun. Healthy physical growth and long term survival depends on it!
Life and growth in nature, in many ways, mirrors what is true about growing spiritually. The key involves good contact with Jesus the Son of God and the energy of His love, forgiveness, and leadership (soaking it up, rejoicing in it, following it, and sharing it freely)!
While nature is hardwired to take in the sun’s energy to grow, people must choose to keep connected with God’s Son. Here are a few ideas for using the extra daylight this season to better worship Christ, making it a fun and meaningful time of spiritual growth…
Worship privately by praying & reading/reflecting on the Bible regularly. Start with one of these- Gospels of Luke or John; Book of Acts; Philippians, Colossians, or Galatians Letters). Share life with another about what you’re learning, questioning, going through, etc…
Worship personally by showing appreciation and giving encouragement to people you live, work, study, or hangout with. Be diligent and thankful for your work at home, school, and/or job. Take an interest and initiative in making a new friend in your neighborhood.
Worship publicly by taking advantage of summer worship hours at Crossroads (June-August at 9:45-11:00 am) as often as possible to celebrate and worship Jesus together.
Let’s commit to being “true” balanced worshipers and have a great summer together!
“True worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."
- John 4:23-24
The Table and Towel Rescue!
“I’ve got my own problems,” I thought, distancing myself from the situation and person at hand. “Why should I get involved? I don’t have the time or energy to help.” My steady stream of rationalizations continued taking me further into self-absorbed thinking.
That’s when the rescue came! Not for the person before me with a need, but for me, the one unwilling to care or inconvenience myself for another. His unmistakable voice…
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done…”
Isn’t that just like Jesus, to whisper what I need to hear at just the right time! Rousing me from my self-centeredness, His voice activated a generous servant spirit within me.
At his last meal, Jesus used imagery from the table’s elements and the towel of a servant to invite his closest disciples to live vitally connected with Him. His invitation didn’t make sense to them until they had actually seen His broken body (bread), shed blood (wine), and willing sacrifice (towel) during crucifixion followed by His unexpected resurrection on the third day of death and entombment. That changed and changes everything!
So, are you interested in escaping the trap of your own selfishness, making you and the world much better to be around? Learn to actively trust in the risen Christ, listen for His voice, and wash others’ feet as Jesus did. Easter lasts the whole year that way!
“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” - John 13:17
Dispel Darkness with His Light
I’ll bet you’ve been getting hit hard with a lot of bad news lately. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s reading the morning paper, scanning the internet, or watching a nightly broadcast, it’s been mostly bad! Taking it all in can get pretty discouraging. How do you deal with these dark times and their impact on you and the people around you?
While the answer is simply stated, it can be a challenge to live out… Remember to hold on to the Good News that trumps all bad news! In the person of Jesus Christ, God became a human being to do three things that last forever…
- To show us what God is like, clearing away all confusion
- To free us from sin’s penalty, offering Himself and His love on a cross
- To empower us with His Spirit, giving us His purpose and capability for life
Jesus Christ is not yesterday’s news… He is alive and well in the 21st century, expanding His family and building His kingdom amidst the good and bad of modern times! That’s why He said that He is the “Light of the World” and that whoever follows Him, will “never live in darkness”, because they will have and be experiencing His light!
So, in these dark times, let’s actively trust Christ’s light to lead us forward and to show through us to a world in desperate need of good news and light!
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12
“You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” - Matthew 5:14-16
Share His Gift and Smile in 2009
As the gift surrendered its wrapping paper to my daughter’s eager fingers, she let out a gasp of surprise and a glowing smile took over her face. I had gotten her a good gift and her excitement was matched only by my satisfaction and delight as her father. Yes, dad was smiling from ear to ear, too!
In the days ahead, I anticipate being even more satisfied as my daughter begins to use the full functionality of the gift to benefit not just herself, but also our family and her growing circle of friends. The best gifts are meant to be shared and to connect us together!
In similar ways, that is God’s intent for everyone in giving the gift of his son, Jesus Christ. He desires that we not only receive Christ’s forgiveness and new life with joy and enthusiasm, but also put into practice the innumerable capabilities and qualities that are part of a growing faith relationship with Him. Now that’s worth living for and sharing with others!
God smiles with delight when we live that way, taking to heart these insights from Jeremiah 9…
- Avoid getting caught up in your wisdom, power, or money & possessions.
- Seek the perspective and personal friendship of God.
- Demonstrate loving-kindness, fair treatment, and right living to others.
Let’s make God smile in 2009, by fully utilizing and sharing the practical gift and contagious love of Christ!
This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let those who boast boast about this: that they understand and know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. - Jeremiah 9:23-24
Have a Dangerous Christmas! / December 08
The Necessity of Being Thankful in the Land of “Un” / November 08
How to Triumph over Turmoil / October 08
Be a Gold Medal Christ Follower! / August 08
Be Flexible and Available this Summer! / June 08
Just Walk Across the Room! / May 08
Standing at the Crossroads of Easter! / March 08
Get into the Adventure of Advent! / Dec. 07
Thrive Throughout the Holidays! / Nov. 07
Thaw Mar. / Apr. 07
Northern Exposure Feb. 07
Step Into The Arena Of Life! Jan. 07
Start Fresh, Past the Crash!
Don’t Miss the Christmas Miracle of New Birth!
You Are Invited to the Fire!
Strength for Whatever’s Ahead!
Lighting the Darkness! Preparing for growth!
Catch the Vision, Share the Mission!
Praying for and Passing through Doors of Opportunity!May '05
Spring Forward and Produce Fruit Together! Apr. '05
From Captivity to Release and Healing! Mar. '05
Close Contact with Jesus! Feb. '05
“Andrew 2005” Experience and Share Jesus this Year! Jan. '05
Change and the Changeless One Aug.‘04
One Priority, Passion, and Purpose! Sept. '04
Running Our Race of Faith Oct. '04
Operation Mobilization Nov. '04
Be Used and Renewed this Christmas! Dec. '04