November 28, 2011
Can you feel it? The trajectory of the cultural flow has made the full-on, year-end shift. We’ve passed the Thanksgiving marker; we’re now headed for Christmas. In an economic climate dependent on the recovery of consumer confidence and spending, retail sales will tell the tale of recovery…
But, it’s Christmas! The timeless headlines – unhindered by the politically correct redefinitions – recount the details of Jesus’ birth. Stables, shepherds, wise men, angels; they’re all there. It takes a more profound filter to sort out the meaning from the news. Paul does that, when he writes: “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God,” (Galatians 4:4-7).
Christmas? Great story! The effects of Christmas? An even greater story! The Christmas story recounts the birth of God’s Son. The effect of Christmas is our adoption as sons/daughters of God. Without the First Birth, there is no Second Birth.
For the next few weeks, you and I will stretch our creativity to discern “just the right gifts” for the people we love. I wonder: as God considers His gift-list, what gift would He want to send to 500 million people He loves… who have never had the chance to hear about Christmas?
There are millions more who live in cultures where the Good News is available in their language, and access to the headlines about the First Advent is there through missionaries or internet connection. But there are still over a half-billion people – who are in the “God so loved the world that He gave His Son” roster – for whom the message of Christmas, and the carriers of that message, have not yet arrived.
“When the fullness of time came,” Jesus came to humanity, via Bethlehem. When will the fullness of time come for Jesus to come to the rest of humanity? Do you and I have any part to play in determining the answer to that question?
You’ll spend days focused on the Christmas gift question between now and December 25th. Are you willing to spend a day with me on January 16th to focus on the gift of Christmas, and how we might arrange delivery of that message to the 500 million who have nothing to celebrate next month, because they’ve never had access to a 2000 year old story?
On Monday, January 16th, we’re convening a conversation involving some of the most dynamic leaders on the front-lines of the Great Commission to allow us to hear about the last frontiers for the Christmas/Easter message (that’s the Gospel); men and women whose careers span from marketplace to ministry, but whose convergence involves the last outposts where God’s gift of His Son has not yet been delivered.
January 16th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Dr. King had a dream; it has been fulfilled. Jesus – the King of Kings – had a dream, too: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come,” (Matthew 24:14). When will Jesus’ dream be fulfilled?
My gift/invitation to you, for Christmas: join us for that day-long event in Orange County. All of the program folks are coming from afar, at their expense, to meet and talk with you. Click here to go to a page telling you more and giving you an on-line RSVP opportunity. It may be the most strategic Kingdom conversation you’ll ever engage.
God sent His Christmas gift, to you. He encourages “re-gifting:” when will we pass it along to the last people to get the word? You accepted His gift, for yourself. Will you join us to think about how we can help make the same offer available for the people who have never heard about Christmas?