Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Venite- the summons- O Come God with us!

It Stinks to Work on Christmas Eve

Every Christmas Eve at New Season Church we seek to bring some cheer to folks that are working on Christmas Eve by delivering them baked goods like cookies, cakes, pies, and donuts. One of the local bakeries gives us a bunch of stuff. As part of this servant evangelism project we take the items to fire and rescue stations, the police station, the hospital, gas station/ convenience stores that are open and anybody else who might be working on Christmas Eve. It is our simple way of saying to those in our community God loves you.

So tonight after our Christmas Eve Service a number of people will gather, be loaded up with their goodies and their locations and get to bring some joy and happiness to some people having to work on Christmas Eve. Because after all, it does indeed stink to have to work on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve at New Season

Don't miss the Candlelight Christmas Eve service at New Season Church this Wednesday at 6PM. It is going to be an inspiring service that blends Christmas present with Christmas past. I am really excited about this service which is awesome every year. For New Season folks be sure to invite, invite, invite you friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors. Let us worship the new born king!

Make Use of Christmas Eve

Most churches will have quite a few first time guests on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is one of the only times a segment of people in our communities are going to come to church. It is a time when people are open to the invitation to the Gospel and January with its fresh starts, new beginning and resolutions is coming up. What better time than this to invite people back after the new year for a special message series.

At New Season, we usually do a January message series on relationships or sex. Yes, God did design us to be in relationship and did design us to have sex within the bounds he set up. For 2009 we are doing the "Ultimate Guide to the Opposite Sex."

One way to invite people back for January is to make use of small postcards/ invites that will go in the Christmas Eve worship program. Another way, is to put together a short 45sec-1:30min video trailer for the series you can show on Christmas Eve. Whatever means is used the worship leader should announce the series and invite people to return for it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Longest Night

Last night was the longest night of the year- the winter solstice I think it is called. It was the day with the greatest darkness and the least amount of light.

It just seems appropriate to me that as followers of Jesus get ready to celebrate how light entered a dark world and brought hope, peace, love and joy to mankind that such a celebration would happen during the season with the longest night.

The hopeful thing as it pertains to the light of day is that now the light of day continues longer each day. Each and every day from here on out we will have more sunlight. The days will get longer, the nights shorter.

The same happens spiritually when Christ enters the world and enters our lives. Hope comes. Our dark nights are more bearable. The darkness of being out of a job, struggling in a relationship, breaking an addiction becomes less and less. As we invite the light of the world to invade every part of our lives then the darkness we experience begins to disappear until the full light of his love reigns.

After December 21st the light increases. After Christ enters the world and our hearts light increases in our lives.

I Believe in Yesterday

Here is the latest message in the "Let it Be Christmas" series that has been posted at the New Season Web Vault. You can listen to it here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Advent Coming Again

During the season of Advent we not only prepare our hearts for God taking on flesh and coming to us in Jesus born in Bethlehem long ago we also prepare our hearts and lives for Christ coming again in glory a second time when he returns in victory to create a new heaven and a new earth.

In many traditional churches that follow the Lectionary Readings for each Sunday, the readings mostly come from the Old Testament and are the prophetic announcements of one who is to come again.

While much has been written about and debated regarding Christ's second coming (will there be a rapture etc.), the key truth is that he is indeed coming! I have always held that Christ's second coming is less about "our inheritance" or pie in the sky theology as it is about how we live today. The truth that Christ is coming should affect how we live for him today. It is not just some ticket we hold on to that we wait to be punched. The fact of his coming again should affect how we announce the good news of God's love to those around us.

This Advent as we prepare for the inbreaking hope of the world found in the babe in Bethlehem let's remember that the humble baby born in a stable is coming back to us triumphantly ready to vanquish evil, brokenness, and sin and fully initiate the Kingdom of God. Come Jesus come!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Now is the time of the year when any churches are having their Christmas Cantatas. For those that do not know this is when the whole worship service on Sunday morning is taken up with the choir singing songs they have practiced for months that nobody knows except them. It is rousing to say the least. (wink,wink)

I do not particularly care for Christmas or Easter cantatas. In fact, in previous churches if I was not the minister I would have skipped that Sunday. The only good thing about cantata Sundays is that I did not have to prepare a message! That is why it is interesting to me that as I perused the Saturday Religion Section of the Free Lance Star it was interesting to see the number of churches who had put an announcement about their cantatas in the calendar section. If I went to that church I would say "thanks for the warning" and stay home and watch Joel (no- not really- probably D. James Kennedy of Dr. Schuler).

I wonder what unchurched people think if they ever see such announcements? I doubt they ever do since they probably do not spend much time on the religion page. But if they did see what would they think? They might think what is a cantata? I certainly do not guess that a person who has never been or stopped going to church would jump and down and say "oh yippie XYZ Church is having their cantata, load up the kids, we are there."

To my friends in former churches please know my personal opinion and dislike for cantatas has nothing to do with you fine people or your beautiful singing. I recognize that many people love the cantata just as I love you and your signing very much. As for the cantata- God bless you.

Long live the cantata!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let it Be Christmas

We began our Let it Be Christmas series last week with the message "All the Lonely People." You can listen to the message here and can always visit the Message Vault at our website to read a text version.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


There are two seasons of preparation in the church- Advent and Lent. Advent is the time of preparation before Christmas and Lent is the time of preparation for Easter. In each season followers of Jesus prepare themselves spiritually to mark the holy days of Christmas and Easter respectively.

Perhaps the harder of the two seasons of preparation to engage is Advent. While the expectation of our culture calls us to prepare through gift buying, baking cookies, and attending parties, the church season of preparation called Advent calls us to be still and experience God's love in the One who is to come and the One who is coming again.

I have found a great Advent Devotion that has helped me to prepare for the promised coming. It is called Following the Star: An Advent Devotional Series. If you are looking for a resource to help you prepare for Christmas and Christ's return then I would highly recommend this site.