Monthly Archives: December 2013

Stairway to Heaven

Growing up with 5 older brothers living their high school days in the thick of the hippy scene, I spent many hours as a kid with their headphones on listening to music through their hifi stereo system.  Led Zeppelin and The Stones were the top echelon of the daily repertoire of music.  They lyrics to the song Stairway to Heaven have stirred countless hours of debate, negotiation, and argument about their meaning, ranging from them being spiritual genius to the ranting of a raging drug addict.  And if you look at the lyrics, it’s not hard to understand why.  They are stupid confusing… let’s just be real afterall.  If someone handed you that as the blueprint for how to get to heaven, could you get there?  Quite simply, no, you couldn’t.  It’s totally confusing, unclear, esoteric, and quite frankly, meaningless.

What about the countless other ways that we learn how to get to heaven?  Sing this hymn, give your money to charity, be a good person, speak with righteous words, go to church on Sunday, work hard, volunteer, go on a mission trip, feed the poor, be on the prayer team at church, become like your pastor, become like your pastor’s wife, host a life group, recite your prayers every night, bake a cake for your neighbor, sit and spin, stand on one toe under a full moon and sing at the top of your lungs until your voice explodes, JUST TRY HARDER!  Whew!  Forget it!

All of these ways to heaven have one thing in common – they are all wrong.  There is nothing confusing about the way to get to heaven.  There is nothing difficult about it either.  The way was never meant to be hard or unclear or a secret or reserved for special people or good enough people.  The way is available for everybody and is shockingly simple.  Believe that Jesus is the Son of God who took away the sin of the world.

Picture the Grand Canyon.  Picture you on one side and God on the other.  There is no amount of work you can do to bridge that gap.  The great news is that God doesn’t expect you to.  He’s already got you covered.  Jesus came as fully human and fully God to stand in the gap for us.  The cross that He died on is the bridge that takes us across the gap.  You need to put your hand in His, your faith in Him, to get across.  When you do, the sacrifice He made for us, his own life, is acceptable payment for all our wrongs and allows us to walk across and stand in the presence of God in heaven.

When you declare Jesus as your Savior, your life is transformed.  He comes in and starts scrubbing and buffing and softening and polishing your heart.  He fills you with His Spirit and frees you from the things that have you trapped right now.  Then you can do the things you are called to do, like those above, from a place of gratitude and appreciation instead of obligation and effort.  If you believe in Jesus already but have not yet made a declaration for Him, do so today.  If these ideas are new to you and you want to learn more, contact me to discuss it.  Don’t let your walk to heaven be blurred by esoteric, inaccurate, or meaningless untruths.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

We had a festive and cheerful long weekend of diving into the Christmas season with decorating the tree, submerging ourselves in Christmas music, hanging lighted garland outside, watching the first of our annual repertoire of Christmas movies, and even getting some shopping and wrapping done.  The kids are excited to have the first packages under the tree!  Now we just hope they make it to Christmas without the 75lb golden retriever deciding they would make a good afternoon snack.

Bono

But what about the real reason for the season?  At church on Sunday, our pastor talked about it, we hear about it all the time, and everyone’s heart is yearning for something more than the commercial craze that dominates our holiday.  Jesus is the reason for the season.  But how do we find Him buried amongst the packages and boxes and bows?

Last night at dinner we were deciding what we were going to do for the evening.  We didn’t have a lot of time but we wanted to close out a great weekend together as a family.  I got the idea to do a Christmas devotional.  I hopped online and with a quick Google search I readily found a plethora of devotional series to choose from.  We cozied up on the couch together in front of the Christmas tree, invited Jesus into our presence, and did the devotional.  It only took 20 minutes.  But by choosing to dedicate some time to Him alone, we were filled with His spirit overflowing that otherwise hollow place inside that permeates the commercial Christmas.

If you’ve not done devotionals before, they are great little tools to learn a bit about scripture, to get a life application for how it plays out in today’s world, and to stimulate conversation when otherwise everyone would be staring at the walls or the TV.  They make great dinner conversation or bedtime stories and you can find them in any flavor you need, for families, for young children, for parents or adults.  They can focus on Advent or the birth of our Savior or music or anything and can be daily, weekly, or whatever frequency you might be looking for.  There is one fantastic website that will send the devotional to your email and track your progress for you:

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans?category=devotional&lang=en&query=christmas

And you can always Google to find just about anything you are looking for.  As you allow these tools to transform your Christmas focus, I pray for you and your family to be filled with the joy and peace that goes beyond our understanding that only He can bring.