December 28, 2008

"Out with the Old..."

A sermon I gave this morning.
I'm not sure if you've been to the new Indianapolis Airport but I’ve been there quite a bit over the past 2 weeks to drop off and pickup different family members. I have yet to actually go inside but from the outside it seems pretty nice. My sister and I were getting ready to leave my house to get her to the airport when she heads inside, grabs the bathroom scale and begins weighing her luggage in my driveway. There is a certain weight limit and if you go over it you have to pay extra and as I’m talking to her about her giant piece of luggage, which was as a matter of fact over the weight limit, she told me that most airlines are now charging for checked baggage. It’s hard to believe that you have to pay for even 1 checked bag and to check 2 cost even more. I guess the more baggage you have, the more it will cost you.

We find ourselves again at the end of another year. Christmas has passed, the visitors have all left the manger scene and we’re left cleaning up after all of the holiday parties. The beginning of a new year is such an interesting time to me because we hear so much about doing this or doing that. Maybe like me you find yourself saying things like, “This year I’m really gonna do it.” or “Things are going to be different this time around.” and yet we find ourselves lugging around baggage that we’re still paying for.

This morning I want to talk about a couple things that perhaps are weighing some of us down. Things that need to go. Baggage that you and I need to check at the feet of Jesus because it’s costing us way to much to keep carrying around. My hope is to challenge us to be thinking along the lines of “Out with the Old, In with the New”. Next week Rodney will be talking about “In with the New” and on this last Sunday of 2008 I’m going to spend some time talking about “Out with the Old”. There are a couple things that come to mind when I think about Scripture with this “Out with the Old” perspective that I hope will challenge you and I to think about the things we have been carrying around that need to go.

Names were a big deal in Bible times. They were more than just simply something to call someone, they were a person’s identity. A person’s name described their perceived purpose, calling or personality. A couple examples: (Gen. 17:4-6) Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many), (Gen. 25:25-27) Jacob (he grasps the heel, figuratively he deceives) and Esau (may mean hairy but he was also called Edom which means red), (Matt.16:17-18) Peter (rock), the different names of Jesus….. Names were a means of finding identity, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. The key for us is this idea of identity. Is there baggage in your life that is keeping you from the identity that God desires for you? This baggage might be our own fault or the fault of someone else and yet everyday that goes by with us still holding onto it, we pay a price.

You might remember a story in the early Old Testament about this guy Moses who was out shepherding some sheep when he saw a burning bush. God tells him to get his brother Aaron and go tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. After a number of visits and signs Pharaoh is convinced to let them go. So over 600,000 people leave Egypt for the Promised Land but on the way some of the people start to have bad attitudes. They start to whine and grumble, cursing their leaders and doubting God. All of this even after God provides for their needs and guess what God says, “Out with the Old.” Numbers 14:26-35. Are we holding onto a resentful or bitter attitude that needs to go? Is a certain perspective costing us our ability to love and be loved? Do we need to take a second look at the perception of God we have been carrying around for some time now?

So much of what we hear about resolutions for the new year have to do with getting rid of baggage that we have been carrying around for way too long. I’m not talking so much about the baggage around our midsections, though almost half of the top resolutions deal with weight and health, but rather the baggage we carry around from past hurts, choices, attitudes, words said or not said, actions done or left undone. We have been carrying some of this old baggage around for long enough, isn't it time to let it go? That baggage might have to do with family, friends, a spouse, an ex-spouse, a co-worker, yourself or even God. What better time than now to get out with the old so that we can get in with the new?

December 26, 2008

Christmas Kaleidoscope

Welp, it's the day after Christmas, we are currently experiencing a thunderstorm(got to love midwest weather, they are saying it could be 65 tomorrow?!?) and it's been a long time since I last posted. Overall I would say I did a pretty decent job of keeping things simple throughout this holiday season and am hoping to continue this concept of simplicity right into the new year.

How did you manage? Did you find Christmas time this year to be especially meaningful or special? OR Did you find it particularly difficult to find the Christmas spirit this time around?

Tai and I had a great time visiting friends and family, volunteering with an inner city church that provided presents, clothes and food to over 100 families for Christmas, see people excited about gifts they recieved and experienced people being way too generous to us. Overall it has been a great past two weeks. Here are a couple random pics for no particular reason.

*Here's our Christmas tree. Y
ou could probably say it is "non-traditional" but that is the advantage of being married to an artist. In the picture on the right you'll also notice our new front door that was about 2yrs in the picking out/deciding/ordering/scheduling/having put in....

*Not only am I not good at picking out gifts for other people, unless of course you're my brother who likes everything I like which makes it really easy, I am also really bad at wrapping presents. I bet you can't guess which gifts Tai wrapped for me and which ones I wrapped for her. We had a hard time keeping the camera still and getting it to focus as you can see in the blurriness.

December 11, 2008

Keeping It Simple?

How have you been doing so far this holiday season? Have you been finding ways to slow down and keep it simple? I know I haven't posted in a while and I apologize for those that have been paying attention but I'm sure like me you are finding that it's not so simple to keep things simple.

I had the opportunity, as I do every year, to read the Christmas story to a group of kindergartners from one of our preschools yesterday. I always think it's going to be harder than it ever is. I worry that the little kids will think I'm boring or won't pay attention or even worse, start crying and yet, none of those ever happen.

I leave my time with these little kids always reminded of the simplicity of the season. It starts from the very beginning of my time with them when I ask them what Christmas is all about and some 5yr old shouts, "God sends us a present!" and another one follows with, "It's Jesus' birthday!!"...I'm not sure I could say it any better myself.