It All Goes Back In The Box

I love the game Monopoly.  Not the online game…the real board game – the old school version.

The game Monopoly was originally created to highlight the pitfalls of greed, consumerism and the world banking system. Winning the game means having a monopoly – all the pieces, all of the properties, and all of the money. The only way to do that? Bankrupt all of the other players.  As good as it feels to bankrupt everyone, when the game is over, everything goes back in the box.

Monopoly

 

Life is like a game of Monopoly. You strategize, take risks, and wheel and deal to improve your position. But when the game is over, all the pieces go back in the box. When the game of life is over, your body is placed in the grave. Only eternal investments will follow you into eternity.

To get the most out of life, you must arrange your priorities around what matters most. A life that focuses on temporary prizes will result in disappointment when the game is over.  Consider today’s post as an invitation to join me on a journey to study the life of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21).

Be a friend and bring a friend to Mars Hill Baptist Church (8AM or 10:30AM) on Sunday, February 22, 2014.

God Moves Without Our Approval

Here’s a fact: God doesn’t need our approval before He acts.

In case you didn’t hear me, let me repeat it again: God doesn’t need our approval before He acts.  There, I said it twice.

Poor Joseph— God didn’t get his approval before acting.  Joseph received the worst news of his life: his hopes and dreams for a wife and family came to a dreadful halt (Matt. 1). Before Joseph could follow God’s path, he had to decide if he was on the side of propriety, or scandal.

when-god-moves

Before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, Mary became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Joseph and Mary were not yet married, when Joseph was shocked to learn that Mary was pregnant.

Mary and Joseph were in the one-year waiting period when Mary was found to be with child.  They had never had sexual intercourse and Mary herself had been faithful.  While little is said about Joseph, one can imagine how his heart must have broken. He genuinely loved Mary, and yet the word came that she was pregnant.

His love for her was demonstrated by his actions. He chose not to create a public scandal by exposing her condition to the judges at the city gate. Such an act could have resulted in Mary’s death by stoning (Deut. 22:23-24).

Instead he decided to divorce her quietly.  Then in a dream (cf. Matt. 2:13, 19, 22), an angel told Joseph that Mary’s condition was not caused by a man, but through the Holy Spirit (1:20; cf. v. 18). The Child Mary carried in her womb was a unique Child, for He would be a Son whom Joseph should name Jesus for He would save His people from their sins.

God did all of this without asking for Joseph and Mary’s approval.

Can you recall moments when God moved without asking for your approval?     

 

What I Really Want For Christmas

Over the next few weeks, congregations will be taking up love offerings (hint, hint) and gifting their pastors with nativity-scene Christmas ornaments, sweaters, neckties, baked goods, and framed pictures of the church building.

Christmas wish listSome pastors have no problems articulating their Christmas wishes (I’m one of them).  However, some may be sheepish about their requests or feel awkward sharing their wishes.

But what do pastors really want for Christmas?

I thought long and hard about what I would like for Christmas and here’s my list:

How Greed Killed Thanksgiving

Last week I noticed something deeply disturbing.  As long as I’ve been living, Thanksgiving was a day to relax with family, friends, football, while enjoying great food.  It is the day when we express our gratitude and show appreciation.  What’s disturbing is how greed & excess invaded and took over the ethos of Thanksgiving.

SaleBanners

It is sad, but 2012 will be remembered as the year, where last semblance of a boundary between the actual day of Thanksgiving and the formal commencement of the holiday shopping season finally collapsed. It wasn’t just the decision by some of the biggest retailers to move their opening hours earlier than ever before. For many customers, the exact time when the doors were unlocked was irrelevant, because Thanksgiving had already become completely subsumed in shopping mania. What difference does it make if the doors open at 8 p.m. or midnight, if you were already in line days earlier. Something is wrong with this picture.

Investigating Christmas – What Christmas Is Really About?

Monday’s post challenged readers to ponder, “When Was Jesus Born?”  Wednesday’s and Thursday’s posts explained why God chose Mary and Joseph as part of His divine plan.  If you missed it, you can catch up on your reading HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Many responded how they enjoyed reading and learning the truth surrounding Jesus’ birth.  Many agreed that it really doesn’t matter “WHEN” Jesus was born…we all agree that it’s important “THAT” He was born.

The reality of Christmas is not about Santa Claus, Elves, Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer, or shopping.  The reality of Christmas is Jesus Christ and that He came to model what an abundant life consists of.

Here’s the reality of Christmas:

YOU MATTER TO GOD!

Investigating Christmas – Why Did God Choose Joseph?

Are you enjoying the journey as we investigate the circumstances surrounding Christmas?  Personally, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed  our journey together.  We already know God chooses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.  He chose a teenage girl to give birth to our Savior – Jesus.  Today, I invite you to look at Joseph, Mary’s husband.  Like her, he was a part of God’s divine plan.

Why Did God Choose Joseph?

Allow me to cut across the yard and say: Joseph was OBEDIENT.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 1:20

Joseph was struggling with his dilemma when God spoke to him (I know i would’ve struggled too).  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife (Matthew 1:24).  Joseph did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do (consistently).

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”  So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, Matthew 2:13-14

Investigating Christmas: Why God Chose Mary?

This week we’re investigating the truth regarding Christmas.  While we navigate through massive malls, peruse exquisite boutiques, my goal is that the real meaning of Christmas IS NOT lost.  Additionally, I want to show you how God uses EVERYDAY people to do amazing things.  Scripture is replete with examples of these people.

Was God arbitrary when He chose Mary?  The Bible says, “God is looking for people to use.” If you’ll just get useable, God will wear you out!  You have not really lived until you experience being used by God to bless somebody else.  Some of you are saying, “God could never use me.”  Please allow me to sum up that thought with two words:  You’re wrong!

Investigating Christmas: When Was Jesus Born?

The Christmas week is here and as soon as I share today’s post, I’m loading my family in the car and headed downtown to experience Christmas time in the greatest city in the world: CHICAGO!  Although Christmas has been commercialized & secularized, many haven’t forgot that the reason for the season is Jesus Christ!  Although we traditionally celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th, I can assure you it’s highly unlikely Christ was born on December 25th.  Intrigued?  Please hold your judgments and read on.

DISCLAIMER: The Scholar In Me Is About To Come Out 😀