Advent #4–In His Presence

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the Savior’s birth with us! We had such a great time on the This Christmas Tour.

As we head into these final few days before Christmas, I have one more invitation for you.

If you are in need of some peace and joy, respond the way we see throughout scripture:

The way Adam and Eve responded.

The way the prodigal son responded.

They all responded the same way.

(Technical difficulties? Here’s the YouTube link)

Whether you need refreshment of joy, hope, encouragement, or healing, I invite you to respond in the same way.

Allow yourself to spend some time in God’s presence.

Sing. Worship. Pray.

Find the hope, joy, and love wrapped in a little baby.

You won’t regret it.

From my family to yours: Merry Christmas!

Peder

Advent #3: Sometimes Christmas Is Hard

Christmas is a wonderful time of year!

But sometimes the joy of the season is not always what you’re feeling.

Maybe you’ve recently lost a loved one.

Maybe the season brings up hard memories.

Maybe you’re alone this Christmas.

Maybe some other situation has left you in a difficult place.

Join me at my house this week as we talk about the best thing you can do in those hard moments.

(Technical difficulties? Here’s the YouTube link)

Did you hear that?

You are ADORED by God.

You are loved. You are appreciated. You are enjoyed.

My friend, He is with you.

Even if it feels like you’ve got nothing else going for this Advent, cling to that truth.

It’s what Christmas is all about. Immanuel. God with us.

If you know someone who might find this helpful, please pass it along to them.

Make sure they know they can find hope in the manger.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

May you know the hope in the One who has come.

See you next week.

Peder

“Up Close” With The Famous–2nd Sunday of Advent

A few months ago my son Ethan and I went to California. While we were there, we had a day to ourselves when I wasn’t singing.

So we visited a lot of places including the beach which was awesome since beaches in Minnesota are closed now … but the ice fishing is not far behind. :)

The smiles say a lot!

The smiles say a lot!

We went down to Hollywood and took in the Chinese Theater, looked at the stars on the sidewalk, saw the Dolby Theater, and so on.

Ethan thought it would be cool to take a tour where they show you where the “stars” live. So why not?

On a whim, we bought two tickets, got into a 15-passenger van without a roof, and found our seats among other star-seekers.

The brochure said we’d see the houses of Tom Cruise, Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, and others. The brochure also said, “No one gets you closer to the house of the stars” than this company.

Ethan was interested and I was curious so we put ear buds in so we could hear our driver/tour guide tell us where to look and whose house we were looking at.

He had a bit of a game show host to him with a voice of a stereotypical surfer dude and car salesman. It seemed to fit the Hollywood tourism vibe.

As we went along he would point out certain buildings where scenes from famous movies were shot and iconic streets. He told us that every famous person drives a black Range Rover.

He also would point this is the place where a certain star had a meltdown, that so and so’s ex wife or husband now owns this place, or the last time he saw the actual star (“about seven months ago”).

IMG_3902

I think that’s Ironman’s house on the top of the hill :)

He is doing his gig. I get that. But at times I felt like I had just turned on TMZ. I wasn’t ready for that.

The part that stuck out to me the most is when he would tell us a big star’s house was coming up. People would get their cameras ready and then it happened more often than not: the house was completely covered and surrounded by trees, or a wall, or it was a mile away so it looked no bigger than a pack of gum to us.

The key line of the trip was our tour guide saying, “Hey folks, that’s Tom Cruise’s chimney! Pretty cool yes?”

I’m not making that up.

I can’t imagine what these movie stars feel like as day after day vans full of people coming to take pictures—just to be near where someone famous lives. That is another world.

Yet, people do this tour by the hundreds every day.

When the angels came to the shepherds in the fields the night Jesus was born, they told them they would find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go and see this thing that has happened!”

When they got there, they did not have stand outside of a grove of trees or look at a huge wall and wonder if the Messiah was on the other side.

The shepherds got to get as close as they wanted. Right up to the manger!

I fact it’s what God wanted in the first place: that anyone can come to Him and know real love, hope, joy, and peace!

Way better than just a chimney!!!

This is the focus of the new original song we wrote for the Christmas card project.

The lyrics say:

May the star invite you
May the angel song remind you
May His mercy find you
And give you perfect peace

May you seek your treasure
Only at the manger
May you find no strangers
Only family
This Christmas

May you find joy, joy, joy
May you find love, love, love
May you find hope in the One
Who has come, come to give you
Joy, joy, joy
Love, love, love
May you find peace
In the One who has come

This Christmas

THIS CHRISTMAS
Peder Eide/Paul Marino/Jeremy Johnson
(c) 2014 Van Ness Press, Inc. (ASCAP)

I’m excited about our new Christmas project, This Christmas, for a lot of reasons.

One of the many reasons is that how people can use this Christmas Card of music to give away to friends and family and share the amazing truth of God’s love that comes in Jesus!

My friends, don’t miss this next invitation:

YOU CAN GO TO THE MANGER AND GET AS CLOSE AS YOU WANT.

You don’t need a ticket and your tour guide is the Holy Spirit.

There will be no sarcasm. :) Only joy, love, hope, and peace that comes from the One who has come This Christmas.

God is good all the time!

Peder

This Christmas and the Weather-1st Sunday of Advent

There is a joke in Minnesota (and I’m sure other places too) about the weather: If you want to know what the weather is like, look out the window every ten minutes because it could change that fast.

It never seems predicable, and it’s never like last year. :)

There are a number of things in life like that. Relationships are not always the same, sporting events are not predictable all the time, the economy changes, and so on.

For some this can be hard because we like to know the future or at least be able to plan ahead.

Maybe it’s control. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it helps us feel like we can trust something more when we know how it’s going to turn out.

Over the next four Sundays of Advent, I want to put before us the goal of focusing on this Christmas.

This Christmas is about saying to the Lord,

“What do You want me to know about You this Christmas? How can I be different by the end of the Advent season?”

I believe if we go into the Christmas season expecting it to be like last year or what not, we will either be disappointed or distracted and not see what God has for us.

Don’t misunderstand me, God’s promises DO NOT CHANGE. :) Those are very predicable, trustworthy, and God is in control.

The true experience of Advent is when we come to the manger and say “O Come Emmanuel and do what You want with me.”

How do we put handles on that? It’s like this picture on the side of the Blessing Cup we bring to our Taste Worship events.

The Blessing Cup

When you look at the two lower case letter i’s, can you see the cross?

Yes? Now it’s really what you’re going to see. When you look for it you will find it.

This Christmas, you will find the joy, hope, love, and peace that comes from the One who has come this Christmas.

You just gotta look for it!

Be willing to let it look different than last year.

So here is an Advent question for you and your family to ask each other at a meal together:

“What would you like God to do in your heart and life this Advent season?”

Everyone answers and everyone listens. :)

I’d love to hear some of the answers in the comments section below.

Blessings, my friends,

Peder

Hope! The First Sunday of Advent 2012

Hey my friends,

It’s that time of year again, time for my traditional Advent devotions. I have received many posts and emails wondering if I am doing them again and the answer is YES. I am honored to know these devotions are helpful and even useful to you and your family.

This year I am about the Advent candles. The candles are symbols of what we want to focus on each Sunday during Advent. I like candles. Candles have a great ability to change the mood of any room and atmosphere.

The candle for the first Sunday of Advent – Hope!

photo credit: mtsofan via photopin cc

How many times do we say the word hope in any given day? Phrases like “we’re hoping it works out, I have hope, and I put my hope in this or that”? We even have seen it in slogans like “Hope and Change” or “The Year of Hope.” Sometimes it’s just the line that says “I hope so.”

I wonder if hope becomes more like wishing.

I’m going to wish upon a star. I hope I win the lottery. I hope I pass this math test; I hope he asks me on a date; I hope she will say yes.

Does wishing take away the power of hope?

Webster defines hope this way:
1. to desire with expectation of obtainment.
2: to expect with confidence. 

 The archaic definition is to trust or put confidence in.

This sounds less like a wish and more like an expectation in something that is founded; perhaps an assurance in something that is proven or shown itself to be evident.

If we look at it like this, doesn’t it change where we put our hope?

The first candle for the Advent season is purple.

As you know, I am a devoted Minnesota Viking fan. Vikings are known for the color purple.  As a fan I hope one day they will win a Super Bowl. It’s what makes being a fan fun. But that’s not a life of hope; it’s a life of wishing. Remember, hope is assurance of something that has shown itself to be evident… perhaps not the Vikings. Ahhh, it’s just a fan thing, I think.

Throughout the Old Testament, the people of Israel heard about a King who would be the King of kings and Lord of lords! He would be the Messiah who would set all captives free. In Isaiah 11:10 it says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in Him.” For hundreds of years they put their hope in God’s promise that He would send this Prince of Peace for their freedom! They hoped He would come.

It wasn’t wishing. It wasn’t guessing. It wasn’t a lottery.

It was real hope.

It wasn’t the hope of the Israelites that made it happen. It was Whom they put their hope in that made the difference.

God has given us a promise of what we can obtain, of what we can expect with confidence, of what the Israelites could expect with confidence. God Himself has proven that He comes through with His promises.

God did come through like He always does.

This is a great place to start this Advent season.

What or who do you put your hope in?

I mean your life hope. Hope for your children, maybe how they will grow up. Hope for how you will live each day at school, maybe hope for who holds your future and dreams?

I can only answer these questions with Scripture…

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

This first week of Advent, take the time to look at what or whom you are putting your hope in.

Let me know your thoughts.

God is good all the time!

Peder

The Real Thing

While traveling in India, I had a couple of chances to workout. The exercise room in the hotel had a tv that was showing a movie that looked familiar to me. At second glance I realized it was the movie Rocky IV. The classic movie is about the boxer Rocky Balboa taking on the super-sized Russian fighter Drago to avenge the death of his friend Apollo Creed. It’s a movie with little Oscar-potential but you leave the theater with the desire to fight the world.

What was strange about the Rocky movie on the tv was that it was a remake. A remake with all Indian actors using the same poses, lines, boxing scenes, camera angles. Only the actors were different. Well, and, of course the Rocky character had Indian-colored shorts instead of USA. They even added the “Cut me, Mick” scene even though that was from an earlier Rocky movie.

It struck me how I found myself with this cheapened feeling with this imitation. It felt just wrong. The original, genuine movie is out there and some people only know the imitation.

We visited a couple of Hindu Temples in India.

There are about 330 million gods and goddesses in the Hindu understanding. 330,000,000! It’s unreal to comprehend. A very confusing concept.

Hmmm. (read it again)

We were walking back down the steps leaving the temple pictured above and passed a boy with a crippled leg hopping on one leg up the steps to get to the temple. His determination and ability to keep up with his friends as they navigated the steps was amazing. One of my friends made the comment, “He is going to do all that work to get to the top and there will be nothing for him there.”

That comment struck me to the bone. He was right. If that sweet boy was looking for something that heals, something that make a difference, he would find nothing at the top of those stairs. Nothing.

When Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” He means He is the only One. Not the 330,000,001. It’s not being judgmental; it’s pointing out the truth and who Jesus said He was. You will not be disappointed when you seek Jesus. You will find Him.

Anything else is just an imitation that will leave you empty and left wanting.

It’s a major reason why I love what Compassion does. They are in the midst of all the imitations with the only thing that is real: Jesus.

God is good all the time!

Peder

Goodbye, Camera

It’s not exactly how I wanted to begin my experience in India but it’s what happened. At the end of our first full day visiting a Compassion project, where Sherri, Taylor, and I met a child we will begin sponsoring, I lost the camera that I had a plan for. We searched everywhere, multiple times in each place.  It really bummed me out. Since Sherri and Taylor are here with me, I wanted to capture everything I could. Fortunately God made the church and surrounded me with other camera-carrying folks who have been more than willing to step in and take pictures for us and even give us pics they have taken.

Taylor and I with the cows of India

For this I am thankful. Is it ideal? No, but when you have no pictures, you are even more thankful for whatever you can get. I think the rest of the group is tired of me saying thanks.

That’s my first word to describe our time here.

Grateful.

This is everywhere

These people are not picky, selective, asking for something different if what is given to them is not exactly what they had in mind. They receive whatever they are given with joy, tears, smiles that span the borders of India.

Why?

Because they have nothing.

It’s overwhelming here in Kolata. Poverty like I’ve never seen it. It’s like a blanket over the whole city. I’m not sure how I will process it. Yet they are still so thankful.

I lost a camera. I’m glad for some friends’ pictures.

They’re losing hope. They are forever grateful for someone not to forget them.

More later,

Peder