Wednesday, 22 December 2010

"Merry" Christmas

First of all let me say Merry Christmas to you.
I remember being told not to use the word "merry" as it had connotations of behaviour that we don't condone as Christians. Here is the dictionary meaning for "merry" -
full of cheerfulness or gaiety; joyous in disposition or spirit
Thats a pretty good description of how I want Christmas to be for me, my family and my church community. Its typical of human nature that we can get so caught up in trying to get everything right in order to please someone. As Christians we do that for God (its called legalism). We so often forget that we live in His grace, and faith is what pleases Him, NOT making sure we don't use words that may have some loose connection to having one drink too many.

This period can be such a time of high stress and low peace with the planning of feasts fit for royalty, the careful selection of presents for our friends and family then realising that we don't have everything we want to make everything perfect. What happens if we forget to get that present or forget the Yorkshire puddings (actually that would push the limit of my grace). Are we still going to have a "Merry" (full of cheerfulness) Christmas? Parents, are we trying to get everything our kids want? They remember our presence not our presents. Especially if, with our presence, we are "joyous in disposition or spirit".

This season for us as a church community has been amazing. It feels like we are moving forward in so many areas. Our Christmas service was phenomenal. People worked so hard to present a relevant message of hope in Jesus Christ. I personally was blown away by all the effort that went in behind the scenes to make the day a "win". I believe that behind the excellence of the performance people's motivation was to lift the name of Jesus high. We took up an offering of £2470 that is going to help create so many hope-filled Christmas memories for the girls that A21 have rescued. Nick and Chris Caine were blown away by our generousity and want to extend their personal thanks to us at NCLC.

We also saw close to 40 hands go in the air that evening signifying people coming back to Christ or coming to Him for the first time. Those hands are not an end in themselves. They are really just the beginning. We as a church now have to make them into disciples.

This coming year our focus is establish a stronger discipleship culture. This will not be done by adding programs or meetings BUT by each of us making room to get alongside someone and BE discipled and also get alongside someone else and disciple them. This is not just the role of those leaders of teams or specifically gifted people. Jesus told us all in Matt 28:19-20
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

He didn't say our Christian life consisted of just going to church. He commissioned us, as local church, to find people and make them like us as we are like Him.
Are we up for the challenge? I hope so because that is where we are heading in this next year. We are working hard to build the infrastructure of church buildings, finances and offices but they mean nothing if they become the goal and not the tools to achieve our goals.

So, have a fantastic Merry Christmas.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas to you too Pastor John! Thank you for all your encouraging teachings and constantly bringing freshness to Nclc I am glad to be part of a moving church. Have a great Christmas. Looking forward to 2011. God Bless!