21 December 2012

This 'n' That

HT: Alpha & Omega Ministries
Well, as I write this, it is officially 21 December 2012 everywhere across the globe and, to my knowledge, the world has not yet ended. It's probably for the best. There are quite a few people enjoying Christmas vacation right now, whether from work or school, and it would be such a bummer if the world met its fiery death right in the middle of that. On the flip side, there likely are also a lot of people who have stupidly gone into debt buying Christmas presents, and perhaps they would have welcomed the world's demise. Ah, well, life's not fair.

This date does have quite a bit of significance for me personally, though. December 21, 2012, marks the 10th anniversary of the death of my grandfather. Today, in his memory, I will do silly things like wear his dog tags from WWII and enjoy a chocolate doughnut from his favorite bakery. Gestures like this are only meaningful to me and to a few members of my family, but they bring back fond memories of a man I dearly loved (and those doughnuts are downright delicious).

My grandpa was the one person on this earth who thought that I could do no wrong. Of course, that's not the reason I loved him, but it didn't hurt! On December 21, 2002, at 12:21 pm (yes, really), I thought that my world had ended. I vividly remember exactly what I was doing when we got the phone call, and I recall with even more intensity, and shame, how I reacted. I remember quietly screaming at God for taking my grandfather away from me, and for doing so at Christmas, no less. I remember realizing, in the midst of my rebellious response, that my grandpa would have been deeply disappointed in my reaction. And I remember healing, and finally coming to a place where I could go to my grandfather's funeral and, rather than mourning his death, celebrate the eternal life that had become his new reality. I will see my grandfather again, thanks to the merciful grace and salvation granted to him and to me by Christ Jesus.

After already living through my own December 21 nightmare, I can do little except laugh at those who take the silliness of this so-called Mayan prophecy seriously. Oh yes, God will one day end this world as we know it. For those who have not been saved by Christ, it will be a fearsome day of judgment and eternal regret. But those of us who have been graciously saved by a merciful and loving Savior have nothing to fear. In fact, as we happily and humbly serve our Lord in this life, let us at the same time remember that He is returning one day so that we may be with Him for eternity. Amen, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Okay, before you trot off to enjoy whatever end-of-days activity you have planned, take a quick moment to enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • The shooting in Newtown, Connecticut has unsurprisingly dominated the media this week. Reformation 21 offers a worthy Christian perspective.
  • It will cost you at least $1,000 to party like it's the end of the world in Russia.
  • Have you been putting off buying Christmas presents in the hope that the rumors of the Mayan Apocalypse were true? Here's a great last minute gift idea for just such an occasion.
  • Rick Warren sure knows how to select his guest speakers. Word Faith preacher Brian Houston of Hillsong Church will be preaching at Saddleback next weekend.
  • "People are no longer celebrating the truth of Christmas, but rather they are celebrating the truth they have attached to Christmas. Thus, in effect, people are celebrating themselves. It’s not about God becoming man, but about man becoming his own 'god.' Welcome to the era of the postmodern Christmas."
  • I don't watch a lot of television, but the other night I did hunker down and flip on a cheesy Christmas movie when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a creepy "Christian dating" commercial illustrating my worst fears. (Bad rhyming attempt, I know. Sorry.) ChristianMingle.com has ickily demonstrated the problem with contemporary Christian pop music by taking the popular Jars of Clay song, "Love Song for a Savior," and turning it into a "won't you pretty please be my boyfriend?" song. Friends, if references to Jesus can easily be replaced in a song by references to your significant other, then it's not worship and it's not praise. In my opinion, it's not even Christian. It's just plain icky. 
  • *Sigh* What's with all the so-called Christian reality shows coming up next season? Watch out for 'Divas for Jesus'!
  • Ligonier shares some seasonal devotional thoughts based upon the favorite Christmas carol, "Joy to the World."
  • Russell Moore says we should rethink our holly-jolly Christmas songs.
  • I had no idea there was a gummy bear battle raging in Europe. Now that I do know, I kind of want some gummy bears.
  • A documentary is being made to "correct" the West's view of Islam. Great...
  • The flagship church of C.J. Mahaney's Sovereign Grace Ministries is leaving the organization. 
  • Steven Furtick's Elevation Church is planning a $20 million facility to house administrative offices and a *measly* 1,500 seat auditorium. $20 million for administration, huh? I guess Furtick needs a lot of space to achieve his full, creative, narcigetical potential.
  • Tim Challies reviews James MacDonald's Vertical Church.
  • Some parents are going to sue their school district for introducing yoga into their children's classrooms. 
  • Yes, we all know that, as an infant, the Lord Jesus Christ most assuredly did cry when necessary, but I still love "Away in a Manger." It's always been a song that brings me sweet memories, even more so in recent years since we sang it at my grandfather's funeral a decade ago. Enjoy.
  • Hope Through the Curse:


  1. Love your Friday posts! Thanks for sharing your memories of your grandfather.

    Glad to see the challies.com review of Vertical Church. The comments are worth reading as well. There are so many problems with that book and I was wondering if anyone else noticed.

  2. Everyone…flee from James MacDonald’s Vertical Church tactics and attitude.

    As told in the book in James’ own words…quoted by Tim Challies, how does James handle a serious dispute with a building contractor working on church campus construction?

    “Sensing the Lord infusing [him] with still greater boldness” he told this man,”[here James threatens to deliberately bankrupt Harvest Bible Chapel and spend the rest of his life on a personal vendetta against the contractor, stating a big part of him hopes he can follow through on his threat]” (see quote on Tim Challies’ blog).

    The gall of it all is:

    James MacDonald directly attributes his hostile and menacing behavior to the LORD!

    The LORD supposedly infused him with “boldness” to make threats and intimidate!

    The LORD led him to declare that deliberately bankrupting a Christian church is an option if James’ demands aren’t met!

    The LORD, according to James, enabled him to hold an evil grudge and relish payback!

    Wow. What lord is James serving????

    Not Jesus Christ, who said “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

    So grateful the LORD opened my eyes to what was so wrong with JM and HBC, and I got out. Thanks Erin for your insightful and interesting posts, as always. Carol

    1. Carol, Sounds like a tree producing thorns and thistles to me which Jesus said a good tree cannot produce.

      From what I understand as a Christian the greatest evidence of genuine Christianity is forgiveness... We simply cannot forgive others if we ourselves have not truly been forgiven by God at the cross through Jesus Christ who IS our Peace with the Father.

  3. Forget the Mayans nonsense... Ravi Zacharias praising and affirming Joyce Meyers and her shamanism as "good Bible teaching" is much, much, much more ominous...


  4. Since the world did not end as expected, will your Escalator Church be doing anything especially relevant for Christmas this year?

    1. Rob, at Escalator Church we will be taking 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' to a whole nutha' level. You won't want to miss it. I am so PUMPED about everything that's happening at Escalator!

    2. LOL! Ebenz, you never disappoint. All God's blessings to you and yours this Christmas and always.

    3. giggles @ EBenz~ "whole nutha' level"


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