The Star Still Shines

I love what I get to do. Not only do I get to help people love Jesus, I get to see His love in His children.

On Christmas Tour I got to spend time with a family of three brothers and a sister after one of the concerts.

The sister cherishes the time she gets to spend with her friends and has a great passion to help others. The brothers love to talk sports which, of course, I don’t mind at all.

Even though we cheer for different teams, we found common ground in our favorite players. It was fun to hear them share their wealth of knowledge of both basketball and football. I was even more impressed with how these three brothers took turns sharing their thoughts and stories, never trying correct each other or outdo each others comments.

For almost an hour, the four of us sat around the table sharing why we liked or didn’t appreciate certain players and teams. While the boys didn’t always agree, they respectfully listened to one another and each one got a fair chance to share his opinion.

photo credit

photo credit: CliffMuller via photopin cc

Throughout Advent we’ve been talking about light. Both literal light like on my farm and while I’m running and also figurative light like the light of traditions.

Those boys shine a different kind of light. They shine the light of Christ.

When the baby Jesus was born, the star over the manger could be seen all around. It’s how the magi found the Christ child. They saw the star, were drawn to it, and followed it until they found Jesus.

Light still points people to Jesus. Except now it shines in us.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

If we’re walking in Him, then His light shines in each one of us in the way we live our lives, the choices we make, and the words we use.

It shines in the way we treat each other. From the convenience store clerk to the people living in our house.

His light is His presence.  If you are a follower of Christ, carrying His light is bringing His presence.

Chances are this Christmas you’re going to spend some time with your family. Maybe your family gets along great. Maybe you’re like my family and sometimes there’s some tension.

Sometimes shining the light of Christ isn’t the easy option. But it’s the right choice. The good choice. It’s what family does.

No matter which sports team you’re rooting for, root for one another.

Merry Christmas, my friends,

Peder

The Yard Light

I love light!

I mean, if we had no light, we couldn’t see things.

We couldn’t see each other. We couldn’t see where we are going and would step on really sharp toys that weren’t put away! We would not know how to stay on the highway at night. We would struggle to get a tan. We would be colder. We wouldn’t wear matching clothes.

To walk around in the dark all the time? Awful.

We would miss so much beauty. There is actually a form of depression some people suffer from when they are living long periods of life without sunlight. The list is infinite about how hard life would be without light.

You get the picture. Light is pretty important.

As we enter into this Advent season before Christmas 2013, I want to spend time looking at the message, power of, need, and reason for light. Specifically the Light of World that comes to us in Jesus Christ.

I remember on the farm we had a single yard light that was right in the center of our homestead. It was probably a 75 watt light bulb at the top of a telephone pole that was turned on and off in the house. It was there for the purpose of helping you see where you were going from building to building at night.

Walking from the steel shed or the barn or chicken coop on a dark Minnesota night back to the house could be nerve-racking for a seven-year-old who thought Scooby Doo haunted mysteries could be real.

The yard light, though, was a lifesaver. If I needed to flee from any monsters lurking in the near by woods I could run freely with worrying about tripping over a bike, running into clothes line, or falling in a trap set by enemy trying to take over the world starting at my farm!

(Yes, I had an imagination…go figure).

As long as that yard light was on, no worries.

But I’d lose confidence when I was closing up the barn door for the night and my older brother (let’s call him Tom) was watching out the window to turn off the yard light. He’d force me to walk in the night without a light.

It changed how I walked, hoping I wouldn’t bang my shin on something. The wind, the creaking of branches, gates swinging, and squirrels running were all way more evil than ever before.

My breathing would speed up, my senses on alert, and I’d move towards the house in total fear but with one single goal: don’t die before giving paybacks to the brother we’re calling Tom.

We need light. Not just physically but spiritually. God the Father knew it. It was why He sent His Son to a darkening world. We are meant to live this life in the light not in the dark.

Do you feel any of those emotions in your day-to-day life I was feeling when my brother turned off the yard light? If anything at all, then that’s why this Advent is important for you.

Wouldn’t it be great if this Christmas you discovered the light of Jesus in a new way so you don’t ever have to fear the dark?

The best part about the light of Jesus? There is no one who can ever turn it off with a switch. It is always on.

Let’s get ready to run in the light this Christmas, my friends, because darkness cannot overcome the Light!

God is good all the time!

Peder

Independence Day

photo credit: sunsurfr via photo pin cc

I can’t believe it’s July already. I love summer in Minnesota, and July marks the middle of the warm weather to me. It’s baseball, fishing, swimming, camps, MLB All Star break, really green golf courses, fireworks, and, of course, Independence Day.

July 4th carries so many memories for me. Growing up on the farm near Hitterdal, MN, we would spend the day mowing the lawn, hand washing all the vehicles, blowing things up with fireworks, and then we would travel to Detroit Lakes, MN, for a picnic, swimming, watching fireworks with the family on the beach, and then falling asleep in the back of station wagon as Dad drove us back to the farm.

I loved those times. My dad and mom did so much to make it fun and yet didn’t say yes to everything we wanted. They would try to be economical and pack as much food and drink so we wouldn’t buy anything we didn’t need. They provided all the blankets, sunscreen, sand castle making equipment, water, coffee thermos (for Dad), mosquito spray, and sweatshirts for the evening show. We were free to enjoy the day with no needs to be worried about. Freedom feels good.

That’s what Independence Day is about right?  It’s about the Founding Father’s declaring they no longer subject themselves to the tyranny of the King and England itself. Even after the declaring independence, the cost to achieve that freedom would not be measurable until it was attained. The cost of human lives sacrificed on the battlefield was not projectable. The attitude was “whatever it takes to get it done.”

It got done, and this freedom has been challenged, defended, protected, and preserved with many more lives “no matter what it takes.”  Freedom is just that important and worth it.

It’s a freedom that doesn’t allow us to do whatever we want but a freedom that says we can pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

Look, my friends, I want to point you in a direction to remember the most important freedom you have. That’s the freedom from the bondage of sin that God gave us through the death AND resurrection of His Son Jesus. That Independence Day is eternal. It’s not just heaven and eternal life but it’s also freedom to pursue the Father God’s love, presence, will, grace, and not have to be afraid. No worries. It’s all been provided for you to approach your Abba Father God.

In John 14:6 Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  Jesus took care of all your needs so you can have the freedom and independence to come into the presence of God and have no fear. The cost and sacrifice was great. In Jesus, your freedom from death has been challenged, defended, protected, and preserved. He did whatever it would take because you are worth it to Him.

No more tyranny of sin and condemnation.

Thank Jesus even as you read this for your freedom and celebrate Him. Sing. Dance. Fireworks.

God is good all the time!

Peder