A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHRISTMAS.
Every year, we say we’re going to cut back, simplify, and have a family Christmas that focuses on the real reason for the season—Jesus. But every year, advertisements beckon, the children plead, and it seems easier just to indulge our wants and whims. Overspending, overeating, materialism, and busyness rob us of our peace and joy and rob Jesus of his rightful role as the center of our celebration. This Christmas, cut through the hype that leaves you exhausted and broke at the end of the year. Instead, experience the peace of knowing that God is truly with us, the joy of giving sacrificially, and the love of a Savior who gave everything he had for us. United Methodist mega-church Pastor Mike Slaughter inspires us to approach Christmas differently, and be transformed in the process.
11/30/2014: Christmas Is Not Your Birthday: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Christmas has become a consumer-centered orgy of materialism and self-indulgence and we need to refocus on Jesus, his purpose in coming, and the birthday gifts he truly desires.
12/07/2014: Expect a Miracle: Isaiah 9:2-7
Who gets top billing in our Christmas celebrations? Santa Claus or Jesus? Too often, the two morph together into a magical Santa Claus deity that comes just to grant our wishes. We tend to confuse magic and miracle, craving a magical, holly-jolly holiday rather than an experience of the miracle that God came to earth in such a humble form.
12/14/2014: Giving Up on Perfect: Luke 1:26-38
We have unrealistic expectations for the “perfect” Christmas. How much money, time, and energy go into chasing this unattainable ideal set for us by Norman Rockwell? The first Christmas was pretty messy, and life today is pretty messy—but God shows up in the middle of the mess to bring us a message of hope.
12/21/2014: Scandalous Love: Hosea 3:1-5
We often fail to understand just how scandalous God’s love for us is, and how radical it is that God would show that love by lowering himself to be born in human form. Using the story of Hosea, this week’s sermon emphasizes how doggedly God pursues us, in spite of our unfaithfulness.
12/25/2014: Jesus’ Wish List: Matthew 25:31-46
We put so much time and energy into finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones—but what about the things the real Birthday Boy wants from us? Jesus made it clear that we give to him by giving to others—feeding the poor, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned.
12/28/2014: By a Different Road:
On Epiphany, we celebrate the magi’s visit to see Jesus, and note how they were transformed by their experience of the Christ child. As we start a new year, let’s resolve to make things different, to live a life transformed by Jesus.