Christmas “Charity”

Christmas “Charity”


The word charity became most famous in the English language by its use in the King James Version of the Bible, especially in Paul’s chapter on love….

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 KJV “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

He goes on to describe the characteristics of “charity” which we will read in a few minutes

The problem with the word “charity” is that it has suffered some disuse as the word love has replaced it in modern translations.

And “love” can and does shave so, so many meanings in our world today Read more



Last week we were talking about adding a sense of “wonder” to our walk with the Lord Jesus

In our daily lives — In our prayer times — In our Bible reading

I had us look at some of the amazing references to “wonder” in the Christmas story in the hope that it would encourage you to return to that amazing “wonder” we experienced when we were first born again and everything was new

The grass was greener — The sky was bluer — The wife was wifeier 

Today, again in the same flow of working to regain the amazement of being a believer and removing the religious and traditional garbage as well as breaking the routine and that ‘been there and done that’ feeling…

I want to look at another aspect of Christmas that is often overlooked or forgotten – Affection Read more



You know, 20,000 fans! A packed stadium! A great time to be had by all! Singing, celebrating, dancing, and having a great time! And yet, most of these people don’t go to church every week…but they PAID money to come to the concert; sit on the GROUND; and watch a group of old men on the stage HUNDREDS of feet away play the same songs they listened to in their CD player on the way to the concert! What gets these people so excited about, that the church, overall, can’t seem to connect with? Why don’t these people want to come to church? What is it these people love about this concert?”

 Here are my thoughts: 

They can be themselves 

They can dress any way they want to. 

They can act any way they want to, as long as it was legal. 

They can smoke, drink, and curse. 

They can meet new people of the opposite sex and leave with them. 

They can re-connect with old friends. 

They can sing at the top of their lungs and no one can hear them 

They can forget their terrible day at the office and with the kids. They can dance. 

They can sit back, chill, and allow some grooving tunes and the words to the songs minister to their soul, and no one is going to ask them to do anything! 

So… If we KNEW this is what UNCHURCHED people were looking for, would we be willing to offer it in the church? 

Does that make you uncomfortable? 

That’s my point. If the church is going to reach unchurched people, we are going to have to get a little bit more uncomfortable! 

We are going to have to CHANGE the way we think about church! 


By changing the way we think about Jesus! 

In fact, go back through the list: THESE people were the ones Jesus hung out with the MOST! He accepted them! He loved them! He partied with them (remember water into wine?!). 

Yes, He was different! But He didn’t expect non-believer to act and think like believers before He became their friends. 

Are you willing to do that? 

Is your church willing to do that? 

Sometimes I Just Wonder

Sometimes I Just Wonder

As we enter fully into the Christmas season sometimes I just wonder

Wonder what I should get my wife for Christmas?

Wonder what I should be cooking when so-and-so come over for Christmas?

Wonder if we should set limits on our gift buying this year?

Wonder what ever happened to the way Christmas use to be?

Sitting by the fire in the fireplace, Christmas carols, simple gifts

Wonder if after all these years the sparkle has gone from the season?

Sometimes I just wonder… Read more

Unto Us a Child Is Born

God became an embryo and entered the womb of Mary. He became one of us. The God of the universe was born into the poverty of a peasant and spent His first night in the feed trough of a cow. “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). The God of the universe left the glory of Heaven and move into the neighbourhood. Our neighbourhood! Who could have imagined He would do such a thing?

He loves to be with the ones He loves, so much so that the One who made everything “made Himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7). Christ made Himself small. He made Himself dependent on lungs, a larynx, and legs. He experienced hunger and thirst. He went through all the normal stages of human development. He was taught to walk, stand, wash His face, and dress Himself. His muscles grew stronger. His hair grew longer. His voice cracked when He passed through puberty. He was genuinely human.

When he was “full of joy” (Luke 10:21), His joy was authentic. When He wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), His tears were as real as yours or mine. When He asked, “How long must I put up with you?” (Matthew 17:17 NLT), His frustration was honest. When He cried out from the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46), He needed an answer.

He took “the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). He became like us so He could serve us! He entered the world not to demand our allegiance but to display His affection.

Jesus may have had pimples. He may have been tone deaf. Perhaps a girl down the street had a crush on Him or vice versa. It could be that His knees were bony. One thing’s for sure: He was, while completely divine, completely human.,

Why? Why did Jesus expose Himself to human difficulties? Growing weary in Samaria (John 4:6). Disturbed in Nazareth (Mark 6:6). Angry in the temple (John 2:15). Sleepy in the boat on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:38). Sad at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35). Hungry in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2).

Why did He endure all these feelings? Because He knew you would feel them too. He knew you would be weary, disturbed, and angry. 

He knew you’d be sleepy, grief stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul … pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is that He understands. And because He understands, we can go to Him.

He has been where you are and can relate to how you feel. And if His life on earth doesn’t convince you, His death on the cross should. He understand what you are going through. Our Lord does not patronize us or scoff at our needs. He responds “generously to all without finding fault” (James 1:5). How can He do this? Listen to the words of the writer of the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 4:15-16 (CEV) “Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.”

For thirty-three years He felt everything you and I have felt. He felt weak. He grew weary. He was afraid of failure. He was susceptible to wooing women. He got colds, burped, and had body odour. His feelings got hurt. His feet got tired. And His head ached.

To think of Jesus in such a light is … Well, it seems almost irreverent, doesn’t it? It’s not something we like to do; it’s uncomfortable. It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation (our Christmas celebration). Clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of His eyes. Pretend He never snored or blew His nose or hit His thumb with a hammer.

He’s easier to handle that way. Something about keeping Him divine also keeps Him distant, packaged, predictable.

But don’t do it. For heaven’s sake don’t. Let Him be as human as He intended to be. Let Him into the mire and the muck of our world, for only if we let Him in, can He pull us out. 

Christmas Music

It is an interesting time of the year when many secular radio stations begin to play an occasional Christmas song. And, the closer we get to December 25th the more the music is oriented towards Christmas until often in the last week all music played has a Christmas theme. 

In the midst of Christmas music taking over the airwaves, the internet, and most streaming services I have been thinking about what a privilege it is to sing the songs of Christmas – the worship songs whose theme is about the birth of the Christ child. The real message of the season. 

However, we are so deluged by Christmas music each year that we are in danger of not hearing the music or the message at all. It’s like the college student who highlighted every sentence of his textbook as the professor lectured from it in class. By the end of the semester, the whole book was highlighted — and, as a result, nothing was highlighted. When we hear non stop Christmas music in the elevators, in the malls, at church, on the radio, on the streets, and at home, we are in danger of its becoming mere background noise.

But carols are original elements of the nativity story, for the angelic choir composed and sang the first anthem: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14). Have you ever paused to imagine what that sounded like? Myriad angels, a multitude of the heavenly host, lifting their voices in harmony, chanting or saying with all their hearts, the darkened skies strangely aglow with their luminous presence?

Every time we sing a Christmas carol, we are reenacting that wondrous scene.

I suggest you make a little purchase for yourself this month — a personal hymnbook or book of carols. Every Christian should keep a hymnal nearby. Older generations of believers thought of their hymnals as almost as precious as their Bibles, and they used them to round out their devotional time. Hymns emotionalize and personalize our doctrine and help our beliefs seep into our souls.

Learn to sing a hymn each day; and during this season, let it be a carol. Let your eyes linger over the words, and let the theology soak into your heart. I’m especially thrilled every time we get to verse two of Charles Wesley’s “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” because of that inspiring line saying, “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see: Hail th’incarnate Deity.” That’s powerful affirmation that Jesus Christ, the Babe in the manger, was the eternal God Himself. He was “born to rise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.”

Web sites also list the words and music to thousands of hymns, many of which have fallen by the wayside in our popular church culture. Rediscovering them is one of the great joys of worship. When you hear a carol at church or even in the store, pause and sing along, allowing your mind to focus on the words. Fill your home with the carols of Christmas. In so doing, you can enjoy spontaneous moments of worship throughout the day.

Let’s not let the music of this season go to waste. Let’s listen to the words as the carols and songs help us to worship and remember the reason the for season – a child is born and His Name is Jesus Christ and He will save His people from their sins.

The Christmas Hypocrites

It is almost the start of December, the month we celebrate Christmas as North American believers. The world started to “celebrate” their way – consume more and accumulate more debt – well before Halloween even arrived. It seems to me the world’s Christmas observance has been starting earlier and earlier … as I think it use to at least wait until after Halloween was over.

It must be confusing for those who celebrate both. You have your halloween decorations up on the front lawn and yet the stores are already decorated for Christmas. So, the morning after Halloween is officially over everyone in my neighbourhood rushes out to take down the inflatable Halloween monsters to put up and inflate Santa Clause, Elfs, Minions, and assorted other non-religious front yard decorations. A few still display the baby in the manger, the Wise Men, and the shepherds with a few weak looking sheep. 

It is the time of year that I try not to do any shopping but the basics – food, coffee, and Coke Zero. I don’t want to deal with the crowds. People looking for bargains and spending money they can ill afford to spend are not pleasant people to be around. And, if I end up shopping in the Christmas rush I loose my sense of inner peace – the peace that passes all understanding that Jesus talks about. You know – Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Amazing how we lose peace celebrating the birth of the Price of Peace. But, I digress.

The other reason I don’t go shopping and visit all the stores is because so so many of those buying Christmas gifts are hypocrites. They don’t believe in Jesus, His ministry and message. At best they are religious and believe in some set of rules, rituals, and rigamarole. Many are agnostic or even atheists. So, what are they doing celebrating my season, my holiday when they have no real interest in the true meaning of the season?

When I do end up in a “Christmas rush” of shoppers it takes everything in me not to stand on my shopping cart and yell, “Why don’t you all just got off my holiday!” After all, why do you take the 25th of December and assorted other days around that day to celebrate something and Someone you don’t believe in? Why don’t you just go to work like any other normal day? Why are you taking advantage of something you don’t believe just to get a few days off? Do I hear the word hypocrites?

I don’t celebrate Halloween because I don’t believe in it. I don’t pray to the saints on their special days because I don’t believe in it. I don’t go to or watch football games because I don’t believe in paying people large sums of money to run around in tights and fight over a ball. I celebrate the Christmas Season because I believe in Jesus, God born as a man who died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, and rose again from the dead on the third day after His death proving that He is God and that what He taught was and is true. I celebrate His birth because I am one of His disciples and followers. I live according to what He preached and taught. I have made Him Lord of my life. 

So, I take the opportunity that the Christmas season offers to talk to people about Jesus. I see all the decorations in the neighbourhood and as I walk my dog I comment about the way people have decorated their yards. Comments like, “So, you are a believer?” And “I am so glad that you believe in Jesus!” This allows them to tell me what it is they believe and what they are really celebrating. I do the same when I am standing in a long, slow moving line at the checkout at Walmart … I simply turn to the next in line and say, “So, are you a believer in Jesus?” The looks on people’s faces and the resulting conversations would astonish you … and embarrass you. 

Hey, if you are going to edge in and benefit from my holiday season I think I have the right to bring up the “reason for the season” and see if and what people actually believe, if anything. I take every opportunity the Christmas season offers me to share what I believe and who I follow. 

After thought: A lot of these same people will tell you that they don’t go to church because the church is full of hypocrites. Umm…. So is Walmart during the Christmas season. 

Grace and Truth

One of my favourite passages is John 1:1-14 which is usually read out on Christmas Eve in most traditional-styled church services. In verse 14 it tells us that Jesus, born that first Christmas, was “full of grace and truth.” And, I for one am glad that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and yes forever… because that means He is still full of grace and truth.

Grace and truth

Grace told the adulterous woman, “I do not condemn you” (John 8:11 NASB)

Truth told her, “Go and sin no more” (verse 11 NKJV).

Grace invited a swindler named Zacchaeus to lunch.

Truth prompted him to sell half of his belongings and give to the poor (Luke 19:1-8)

Grace washed to feet of His disciples.

Truth told them, “Do as I have done to you” (John 13:15 NKJV).

Grace invited Peter to climb out of the boat and walk on the sea.

Truth upbraided his lack of faith (Matthew 14:29-31).

Grace invited the woman at the well to drink everlasting water.

Truth tactfully reminded her that she had gone through five husbands and was shacking up with a boyfriend (John 4:18).

Jesus was gracious enough to meet Nicodemus at night.

He was truthful enough to tell him, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (John 3:5 NKJV).

Jesus shared truth, but graciously.

Jesus offered grace, but truthfully.

Grace and truth.

Because of grace Jesus can accept us as we are.

Because of truth He can then speak to us and work with us to become who we should be. 

I am so thankful that the Christmas season reminds me that “Jesus came full of grace and truth.”

Sometimes I Fail to Worship

Sometimes I Fail to Worship

As I read the Christmas stories in the four Gospels I realize how much emphasis is placed on worship

Worship as a response to what God is doing

Worship because of how God is touching people’s lives and changing them forever

Worship because people are becoming involved in the supernatural and experiencing miracles, seeing signs and wonders

Worship that is both heavenly – the angels singing – and earthly as the Wise Men kneel before the Christ child and worship Him

And I notice the times when the response to what God was doing or Jesus was saying seems to fall short of worship or even a recorded response at all Read more


I have not written a blog in a few days … I try not to write just for the sake of writing but to write when I have something to say and want to share. Thus last month I missed three days writing a blog and four this month. Breaking routine.? Yes! Allowing more time to read? Yes! Thinking a little deeper than usual? Absolutely! 

In the past three days I have been focused on reading an excellent book on Jesus by Max Lucado called “Jesus, The God Who Knows Your Name.” Written in a very readable and easy to follow and understand manner. Yet an excellent study into the life and ministry of Jesus. This morning early I started another book on the life, times, and ministry of Jesus written with a more scholarly format yet just as good. The book is “Simply Jesus” by N.T. Wright. Again, a worthwhile investment of time and energy.

We are approaching Christmas and I become quickly overwhelmed by advertisements to buy everything from a kitchen appliance to a new Toyota in their year-end sale. At least the appliance usually fits under the tree. Consumerism runs at top speed this time of year and it takes effort to stay focused on Jesus and the true message of the season. I am instantly reminded that the crib (baby Jesus) means nothing without the Cross of Calvary and the crowning of Jesus as King. Remember the words of the Magi when they asked, “Where is He who is born king?” The crib must remain connected to the crown and the cross was the path needed to be travelled so as to receive the crown.

So, each year at about this time in the Christmas season I turn my focus to Jesus and read so as to refresh my understanding but also to deepen and enrich my relationship with Him. And, this approach and focus keeps me anchored and helps me not get caught up in the commercial aspects of the season. It reminds me, as the now worn out phrase states, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

As I read both the biblical account of the birth of Jesus and other books written about Him I look for fresh insights to a very familiar story of His birth. Like the Israelites in the Old Testament who received fresh manna every day from their heavenly Father I am looking for “fresh manna” of another sort. Jesus said that “we don’t live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The Greek tense is the present perfect which can be translated “proceeds continuously day after day” from the Lord. So, I am looking for that fresh manna that feeds my soul and spirit and refreshes me as I allow the words and insights to sink into my very being. 

This takes time which always seems in short supply and even more so with all the added family events which happen around the Christmas season. So, I work hard to protect my time and not waste it on unnecessary things. Time is precious and seems to be in short supply even at the best of times. More so around the festive season of Christmas. But to receive and digest fresh manna takes time and focus and so I work hard to protect my time with the Lord in the morning and even add to it so as to spend a little more time than normal.

There is always more to see. More to know. More to understand. More to experience. And, so I look forward with serious expectation to knowing the Prince of Peace better by the end of this season called CHRISTmas. 

How about you?