Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas {Jesus}. All Year {Jesus}.

   The church’s new year, underway this week with the start of the Advent Season, began with the prophet Isaiah shining light into a dark world. Before there was a baby that first Christmas, there was a world longing for a Savior. The message from Isaiah 2 is still true today: Every generation needs assurance that the powers of this world (Assyrian, Roman, or modern) do not determine the future.
   Who does?
Prince of Peace, by Akiane at the age of 8
   Paul writes to the church in Ephesus that there is One who is in charge of the future. Paul claims to know who the One is. He uses a compound word, anakephalaíomai in the original Greek, to describe how this is happening. It literally means recapitulate, but Paul reworks it to say that this One he is talking about is the organizing center, causing all the parts to work together in harmony. Read it in Ephesians 1:8-10. Paul says that Jesus of Narazeth, who is the Christ (christos was an ancient word for Lord), is the One.
   This was a bold claim then. It is just as bold a claim now. Jesus is Lord over the future.
   Christmas is about Jesus. When we pull away all of the other distractions that would cover up the story underneath, Christmas is about God’s love breaking into the world that the world might be saved. God changed the trajectory of history.
   I want Epworth to spend more than just this Christmas season talking about and searching for Jesus. I want 2014 to be about Jesus. I want more Jesus in our teachings, our songs, our lessons with children. When our lives together are summed up, I want the tally to be Jesus. I believe the world needs more Jesus. I think we do, too.
   I am excited that the new year is here and excited we can choose to pursue the One who holds the whole word in his hands.
   I offer for you to join in praying with Paul from Ephesians 1: I pray that the eyes of your heart
may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. 
   Grace and Peace, Scott

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