December 31, 2010


Happy New Year!!

What things are you looking forward to in 2011?

What do you plan on doing differently than 2010?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
~2 Corinthians 5:17

December 23, 2010

The Xmas Story Through a Social Media Lens

Thoughts? Love it? Hate it?

December 21, 2010

The Example of the Magi

"They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route."
~Matthew 2:11-12 (CEB)

The quest of the magi had finally brought them to the place where the newborn king lay with his mother Mary. They had come all this way and talked with handfuls of people to find him so they might honor him with gifts fit for a king. These men were different from the Jews in the area; they were Gentiles who possessed a completely different heritage and worldview…and yet, when they saw Jesus, they fell to their knees in worship.

|| Could it be that the birth of Christ might be a way to break through the barriers of class, race and religion and bring the outsider in? ||

Having seen the light from the star the magi had no choice but to respond to the divine initiative. Compelled to act, they gathered supplies for a potentially lengthy journey bringing with them gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Their response was one of generosity, humility and honor.

|| Does the birth of Christ compel you to respond? How? ||

|| What might become of Advent if we were to give ourselves as gifts of worship to the newborn king? ||

*I am humbled to have been asked to write this post as part of the 2010 Advent Blog Tour featuring the Common English Bible (read here to win a free copy). 25 bloggers over 25 days highlighting 25 passages from the CEB. This post is day 22.

December 18, 2010

Jesus: the man

I had put together an Advent sermon series that was going to talk about 5 different aspects of the person of Jesus...and then our son Theo decided to begin his arrival on the 1st weekend of Advent which forced me to rework by series a little as I missed the first 2 weeks of Advent. Over the next week or so you will see a condensed version highlighting 3 aspects of Jesus: his humanity, his divinity and him as a baby. Right now we'll focus on the humanity of Jesus.

You might recall a story from back in the day about a group of people called the Israelites who spent about 40yrs camping in the wilderness? It was during this time that God really wanted them to know that they were His people, He was their God and that His presence would be with them. So He told this guy named Moses to get the people to build a place where He could dwell among them and so they built Him a tabernacle. Fast forward hundreds of years later...

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14)
In "church" language we call this the Incarnation, the union of humanity with divinity in the person of Jesus. About this Carlo Carretto (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors) writes

The Incarnation brings the world his presence. It is a presence so complete that it overshadows every presence before it.
God is made human in Christ. God makes himself present to us with such a special presence, such an obvious presence, as to overthrow all the complicated calculations made about him in the past.
“The invisible, intangible God has made himself visible and tangible in Christ."

~From The God Who Comes by Carlo Carretto
As we continue on this Advent journey toward the manger I think it is important we keep in mind the significance of the humanity of Jesus. The idea that God came in real flesh and blood in the form of Jesus changed everything and we cannot afford to miss weight of this event in human history.

I find it meaningful that Jesus as a human...

...faced temptation. (40 days of fasting in the wilderness being tempted by the devil himself and still not giving in, as a human being)

...suffered. (The events surrounding His crucifixion are enough to turn anyone's stomach, all of which He endured and experienced as a human being. Can you even begin to imagine that pain?)

...experienced death. (He died as a human in order to conquer death as a human so that all of humanity might live. Hebrews 2:5-18)

...has empathy. (This is the Christmas story of hope, joy, peace, love because we know we serve a God who can empathize with us, who has been there and done that. Hebrews 4:14-16)

...understands. (I am reminded of how upset Jesus was at the death of His friend Lazarus. He understands what it is like to feel pain and hurt, to suffer loss as a human being. John 11:17-36)

...connects humanity with the Divine. (If Jesus was not truly human than this whole thing is pointless but as a human He gives humanity a chance. Romans 8:3)

December 17, 2010

CEB Giveaway

Right now, as you read this, there is an Advent Blog Tour taking place for the Common English Bible, which I have been asked to be a part of. Not only do I have the opportunity to write one of the 25 blog posts during Advent but the great people at Abingdon Press have given me 3 brand new copies of the Common English translation of the New Testament to give away FREE.

Here's how you can enter to win a copy:

1. Follow me on Twitter (@mattlipan) and link to this post. Be sure to mention me so I can keep track of your entry. This counts as 1 entry.

2. Comment on this post by talking about what the Christmas story means to you. This counts as 1 entry.

*the max # of entries is 2 if you do both of these.
**the winners will be selected at random.

December 2, 2010

A New Look at Advent

ad·vent: a coming into being

Advent is a season of anticipation, excitement and wonder. A time of year when patience is truly a virtue and waiting is something to be expected. I enjoy the season of Advent because it reminds us of our need to slow down as we hope for things to come. I believe hope is one of the key aspects of this season, all of which stems from the birth of a baby a long time ago named Jesus, who changed everything.

I gained a new perspective on this season we call Advent with the birth of my son just 2 days ago. Never have I waited for so long with so much anticipation, excitement and anxiety. After 2 years of trying, 9 months of growing and 21 hours of labor, it is hard to believe he has finally arrived. Now having a better understanding of how Mary & Joseph must have felt at the coming of Jesus has provided me with a new way of looking at Advent, not only as a parent but as a world that waits for hope to come into being. Much like a little baby.

December 1, 2010

24hrs of Fatherhood

Some of you might be aware that my son, Theodore James Lipan, was born yesterday (11/30) at exactly 5:56pm. He weighed 7lbs 11oz and was 19 3/4" long. He has been "out and about" for over 24hrs now and here's a couple things I've learned so far...

-A clean, dry diaper can make all the difference

-Eating, sleeping, and getting cleaned is not a bad way to spend 24hrs

-Sleep is a hot commodity

-The birthing process is truly a miracle

-The level of sensitivity to sounds increases 100 fold

-Breasts are well designed and quite utilitarian

-Swaddling a newborn is truly an art

-Despite their size, newborns can EAT A LOT

I'm looking forward to much more that Theo is going to teach me in the many days to come. What things have you learned from parenthood?