I Don’t Wanna Change!

I’m only 39 years old, but I like things a certain way. This year, I had to face some facts about myself and accept who I am – I had to accept who God wired me to be versus who I wanted to be. Some of you would do well to accept this reality; it’s quite liberating!

Please understand I’m not the guy in church who is constantly complaining about every little change. You know the kind – the ones who gripe about music, decorations, the type of pulpit, etc. On this side of ministry, I have tried to be the kind of person who is a blessing to the pastor and staff because I know what the opposite looks like.

As I was driving on Christmas Day (normally a 4-hour round trip to pick up my oldest kids), I began thinking about how some things have changed that I wish would have remained the same. Why would I want these things? They bring back memories of good days and times. Here’s a list of some of those things. These will indicate that I’m an old soul.

  1. I miss the days of Dick Clark being the host of the New Year’s program. He’s dead. Would I bring him back? No. But it’s a nice memory.
  2. I would have kept Darlene Zschech as Hillsong’s worship leader into her 90s. Please don’t go on a Hillsong rant. Her music touched my heart at a key time in my life. Brooke Ligertwood’s presence in Hillsong’s music has come close, but there’s something about Darlene. (I’m not crushing on her.)
  3. I miss the worship-leading church choir. I’m not talking about the choir that struggled to sing but the one who understood its biblical purpose and blew the roof off the worship service. You have no clue what I’m talking about until you’ve been in that kind of worship service. The last time I saw that was October 2014 at a church I previously served. The choir there no longer exists, but it once helped people encounter God’s presence. Does that mean I hate contemporary services with a few singers (worship team) on stage? No. That was my service of choice at our church before I was asked to lead the traditional service. Once again, the memory stirs the heart of powerful moments of worship in my life.
  4. I miss the days of enthusiastic preaching that was solid and demanded a response. Some say it is no longer wanted, necessary, or it just played on people’s emotions. There are still many great preachers today, but we have come to a time when either enthusiasm exists with no substance or vice versa.

Why did I share these? Because I’m a grumpy young man who wants to be the next Jack Lemmon or Walter Matthau (look up “Grumpy Old Men” if you need to). Seriously, the point is that memories are good, but make new ones. The past is great, but we’re not done creating the past. Let’s write a great history book so that people can continue to see progress for the glory of God!

The Ugly Side of Glory

We love to think about all the positives about positivity, but we are so quick to forget that the road to positive can have some potholes. You may remember the song lyrics “Every rose has its thorn.” It’s true!

The glory of God is revealed in the most unusual ways. Consider 2 Corinthians 4:17 which says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Our problems reveal God’s glory. Weird, huh? That sickness. That financial problem. That wayward child. That failed marriage. These were never in God’s perfect plan, but His glory can be shine brightest in the midst of difficulty.

Let’s connect this to Christmas. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus (the Word) became flesh (took on a human body) and dwelt among us, and we beheld the glory of the Father. Where did this happen? In a manger. In the nastiest of places, the Lord of glory was born. If that doesn’t tell you that God’s glory can show up anywhere, I don’t know what does.

I know you want to experience God’s glory this Christmas. But be prepared as you pray, “Lord, show us Your glory”, anything unexpected can happen. Elevation Worship wrote these lyrics in “Here Again” – “In my weakness, Your glory appears.” God majors in bringing beauty from ashes. So, weary soul, take heart. God is going to meet you in that rough place this Christmas, and you will appreciate His glory now more than ever before.

Wishing you a glory-filled Christmas!

Money and Christmas

May I be honest again? I despise what Christmas has become. I dread it because my financial situation does not allow me to purchase gifts like others expect. Our gift exchange is modest, to say the least. I would rather do away with it and somehow find the real meaning of Christmas again.

I am normally in a funk during this time of year. Seasonal depression hits, my checking account and bills are extremely unbalanced, and everything seems to go wrong. Does anyone else feel like this?

I probably shouldn’t break my blogging silence with this, but I believe that at least one reader out there feels the same way. Your Christmas cheer is shot because you don’t have the money to keep up with the expectations. I also don’t have the credit (and I think it’s a shame that people put Christmas gifts on credit and spend until next Christmas paying it off).

Just know that you won’t be getting an iPhone from me for Christmas. I might have an old box or case somewhere. Take that and give me Jesus!