Extravagantly Christlike this Christmas

Merry Christmas, Church!

Few occasions offer us a more profound opportunity to demonstrate our identity in Christ as Christmastime. But, with every worldly and fleshly influence trying to derail our proclamation and worship of Christ, how can we win the battle? What does it look like in our homes when we win?

This brief Christianity Today article nicely diagnoses these common fleshly battles, and offers a biblical path towards becoming extravagantly Christlike at this time of year. I encourage you to read it and dream and plan for your best celebration ever of the greatest act of love in history (John 3:16).

Click to read article

Read this Christianity Today article here.

One Immediate Answer

There are myriads of ways to be extravagantly generous this Christmas. The Holy Spirit has already led us to one way – Lake City’s Giving Tree: buying requested gifts for the children of our Food Bank clients.

Many dozens of children will receive their only Christmas presents from the anonymous generosity of our church members. Will you be among them? This is the final week (gifts must be brought back wrapped this weekend!), and we still have over 20 tags on the tree. Come grab a tag and instruction sheet on the table next to the tree this week; or call the church office if you cannot come, 253-582-8040.

It may not change the world right away, but it will make a difference for one child – and in your own life.

Wishing an extravagantly Christlike Christmas season to you and yours,

Pastor Reg

Faith In Action Weekend, 2012: RECAP and VIDEOS

Last weekend was our third annual Faith In Action weekend, when as many from our church as can participate canvas our community in service/mission projects. This year 250 served in 22 projects.   In case you missed it, here is the slideshow:

In addition to showing this video in all of this weekend’s services, we celebrated our experiences with testimony time. The testimonies were great. They were not recorded, unfortunately, but such a blessing for everyone who heard them.

But, an annual day of service always raises one question:

Does having such an annual service day mean this is the only weekend our church is out serving people? Of course not, and thank God that LCCC cannot credibly be accused or even perceived that way.

But yet the remark is still made each year: “I wish we could do something like this all the time.” Well, the truth is, we can! Lake City is loaded with ministries and missions who are doing this every week.  Our 30-plus small groups can recreate this thrill any time they choose! We are training small group leaders to place an increasingly higher value of serving people and doing mission together, as a formative, obedient and blessed part of their Christian community.

Sermon

Another all-too-prevalent hindrance to a life of service is an all-too-busy life. I had the honor of preaching the “sermonette” in our testimony services last weekend. I focused on not merely serving, or leading, but servant-leading, as our Founder and Master Jesus Christ set the way for us to do.  To stay within my allotted time, I had to cut out this great illustration, which hits very close to home for me (and likely the other ultra-busy Christians out there). Thankfully, I have the opportunity to include it here.

Two administrators, named Darley and Batson, performed a moral psychology test at Princeton Theological Seminary, which I will call the Good Samaritan Experiment:”

Seminarians were asked to prepare and deliver a short talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan, and then to deliver their talks in another building, requiring a short walk between campus buildings. Darley and Batson used the walk as an analogy of the famous road between Jerusalem and Jericho, and to complete the scenario, positioned a student confederate along the way, who was slumped over, shabbily dressed, coughing and groaning. Darley and Batson wanted to see how each of the subjects would respond to the “victim.”

The factor that made a large difference in helping behavior was the time pressure put on the subjects. Those seminarians who were placed under great pressure tended to help less than the seminarians who were given a more leisurely pace to compose and deliver their short talks.

The seminarians under pressure seemed not to have processed the new situation (the “victim”) since they were so absorbed with fulfilling their first duty—preparing the talk and getting to the other building for their presentation on time. Indeed, several seminary students literally stepped over the victim as they hurried off to speak on the parable of the Good Samaritan!

When I think about this study, it reminds me that I too can fail to meet ethical obligations on my way to do a good deed.

“Faith In Action Man” Videos

Enjoy the videos, and take the poll!

Blessings on our church family as we serve and lead, for others’ benefits, all the time,

Pastor Reg