As crazy as it is to say, it is that time of year again. Our kids just have a few more days of school before they begin their Christmas break. We have our lights on the house, the tree is up, and we were wearing shorts this weekend – gotta love our Houston climate. Christmas parties and concerts are in full swing. Christmas shopping is an obvious objective for so many who are filling the roadways each weekend. It is that time.
During the Advent season we enjoy the rhythm of looking ahead towards Christ’s return. I have learned to love this season and I look forward to it each year. When we talk about the return of Jesus it invariably sparks some conversation about those who claim to ‘prophesy’ the very moment of that return. This has turned into a thriving market in the Christian marketplace. It seems that many of us really love reading or watching as so-called prophets or experts tell us when this world will come to an end.
Honestly, we have such explicit clarity on these things. The scriptures do include ideas that will mark the final stages of life before the return of Jesus. Yet it is also crystal clear that no one will know the moment or expect the timing of Christ’s return (Mt 24:36). Although not the purpose of this writing today, we should understand that those who claim to know or predict the end have placed themselves firmly in the ‘false teacher’ category as they are attempting to do exactly what the Bible indicates cannot be done. This should create a considerable concern in us when we hear these things.
I’m not sure if it is a product of age or just my natural neurosis, but I find myself getting more and more forgetful. I could share countless examples of this growing reality. First, it is a regular occurrence that I walk into a room of the house with fervor, obviously on a mission, and arrive in that room to find myself standing there wondering why it was that I needed to go into that room.
Second, of many, would be the moments that I call someone (by the way, I hate to talk on the phone) and I hear a familiar voice answer which finds me having no earthly idea why I would have called that individual. Surely you have experienced this as well… depending on the person, I will either have to engage in a little improv or I will have to let them know that I have no idea why I just made the phone call.
This is the time of year where we hear about being thankful. We get to see all the lists of what our friends are thankful for through their social media megaphones. From the seemingly most thankful, we get to see things they are thankful for everyday. It is a pretty common family tradition for many to gather for a Thanksgiving celebration and all share one or two things for which they are thankful. Many of our children who are in school will talk about thankfulness with their teachers in some fashion as well.
I think being thankful is an incredibly important value to embrace. I honestly really enjoy Thanksgiving. The actual day is usually positioned in the week where I am able to enjoy spending a low key day with family. For that, I am thankful.
Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I have the great opportunity of teaching a group of church planters who are participating in a training program through the Houston Church Planters Network. They are in a residency which carries them through a training process before they are sent to various locations around Houston to begin new churches. It is a blessing for us at Crossings Community to participate with this program financially, prayerfully, and in training.
If you live anywhere around our home state of Texas then you have noticed the hints of weather change. We have suffered through another summer and the joys of breaking a sweat during the walk from your front door to your car. We can only let our kids go outside for short little bursts and they still come in smelling like a wet dog while being completely exhausted.
There is so much greatness to be celebrated on this wonderful day! It has created the most memorable bedtime stories for our family. We also celebrated the day when we were able to begin watching the movies which accompany it with our oldest daughter. It is powerful because it is not just myth or folklore but rather a celebration of world changing historical events.
Over the years of 1516-1517 the church in Rome was raising money to make improvements to St. Peter’s Basilica. The strategy used for raising the funds for this building project was to send out messengers teaching church people that they could purchase souls out of purgatory and into heaven. You might ask, ‘Why would anyone believe that to be true?’
The following is a post originally published November 5, 2012.
Alex Kennedy is a man who has spoken into my life since I was about 16 years old. He was the man who officiated my wedding, and someone I have been blessed by throughout the years no matter where God had moved each of us or what stage of life we were walking through. God had brought him back to Katy and he was the pastor at Kingsland Baptist Church. Alex was the man I took on that drive to share the vision of what God had been speaking.
The following is a post originally published November 3, 2012.
Lori and I thought God was calling us to plant a church for a long time before there was any action taken. It began with conversations here and there all surrounded by much prayer. We had come to a pretty definite conclusion about three years before the first home meetings began. We knew God was equipping us through great relationships and ministry experiences in that season, and we were waiting on him to give us the green light.