Tag Archives: The Jesus Chick

What’s on your page?

blank page

Often time my writing begins before I’m out of bed in the morning. As soon as my eyes open thoughts begin to flood my mind, praise His Holy Name! when those thoughts are on His goodness, but other times, try as I might the world won’t seem to get out of the way; and when I do get up I’m staring at a blank page praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit. This morning I was not staring at a blank page, I was thinking about the blank page between the final Words in Malachi 4, verse 5-6 ~ Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. And the first Words in Matthew 1 ~ The book of the generation of Jesus Christ.

400 years separate those two pages. That’s a long time to look at a blank page and hear nothing from God. I panic if it’s just been a few days. But for generation after generation they sat in silence waiting, waiting, waiting… and then many of them missed it. He didn’t come as they thought He should, He came as He said He would. There’s a lesson in that for me this morning as I wait ~ I’m without excuse for direction. God’s presence is clearly felt in my life and I may choose to ignore it but I cannot say He is silent. Sometimes I think I mistake His silence for His patience with me. If I’d be still a little sooner, stop running day in and day out I’d hear, see, and experience the Lord in greater, deeper ways.

Christmas season goes by me in a whirrrrrrrr! I just about miss it every year as I run to and fro, from event to event, meetings, rehearsals, shopping, dinners, all in celebration of what I’m missing. My page is not blank, it’s not read. But thinking back on those 400 years of silence, I’m not sure how they survived. Yes, I get caught up in the mundaneness of the day, but because of His faithfulness I still hear Him. He speaks to be in snippets throughout the day, He is so patient with me.

So… what’s on our page today?

For me I hope it’s a little more focused on Christ.

As some of you have noticed my blogging has been sporadic this week… Too many irons in the fire. I can feel it spiritually as well. Time to get focused. Just 5 days until we celebrate the birth of Jesus and I want my heart ready! Maybe you could share with me how you’re preparing your heart this season… what has God written on your page today? Post it below!

A Frustrated Pastor in the winter


II Corinthians 13:2 ~ I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:

Can you hear the fatherly conversation “If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a hundred times, and if I have to tell you again, you’re gonna be sorry.” Paul’s getting ready to crack the whip on the Corinthian church, he’s had it up to his eyeballs with their naysaying and questioning of his leadership. Why I landed in II Corinthians 13 this morning I don’t know, but Paul’s attitude really caught my attention in these verses. You can feel his frustration! I loved it in verse 10 when he said “Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.” I don’t know that loving that verse is appropriate. Paul writes this letter to them because if he they could actually hear how he feels it wouldn’t be good!

I feel this Pastor’s frustration. Not that I’m a Pastor or have any desire to be, but I speak in general of his frustration with the church. Just as Paul did, I still have the utmost faith in the church because it is the instrument for which God is using to usher in the return of Christ. And at this present time my own home church is full of fire and it’s spring time in the village. It’s full of great people and awesome opportunities but I don’t want to be caught off guard if there’s a cold front coming in. It’s winter in the hearts of many in the world who have no desire to allow the Holy Spirit to lead a church; because if the Holy Spirit is in charge things heat up and there’s an expectation of right living and servitude.

Jesus came into the world to seek that which was lost and before He left for Heaven He left orders that we were to do the same, under the direction of a Pastor. I guess maybe this scripture was pointed out to me by the Holy Spirit this morning because we are Pastorless, not leaderless, but without a Pastor. And God knows the burden on my heart to see the pulpit filled and my concern for God’s direction. I love being lead, else I’m a sheep wandering around in the field looking for a gate. No I’m not looking to leave, I’m looking for something to do.

My heart breaks for church leaders who struggle to motivate their congregation. I want to come to their church and sit on the front row and be a cheerleader for Jesus. That’s kind of what I do at our church. I want to encourage God’s people! It’s not easy to try and live right (believe me when I say, I fail daily), but it’s a harsh reality when you see the cold nature of people toward “right living.” It’s almost as if a Preacher is meddling because there is an expectation that his people should follow Christ’s example.

My message to you today is “Take care of your Pastor this Christmas.” It’s sometimes as cold in the church as it is in the world, and they can use your warmth. Spread God’s cheer this Christmas season beginning with the leadership of your church, it will be returned with rejoicing!

That Good Thing

Good Thing

Every Christmas season the desire to “do good” abounds most every where; someone wants to see a smile on the face of a child or a family receive a gift of hope. Even the “grinchiest” of Grinch’s find their heart enlarged when they discover “that Good Thing.” And then there are those who continue to walk in blind rebellion and refuse to discover that “Good Thing” but would rather believe it is they that are good. My heart is saddened and I fear for those who created the Christmas campaign for Atheists, spending thousands of dollars (if not millions, I really have no idea) to convince the world that Christ is a myth and “reason” not “The Reason” of Christmas should be celebrated. It is my prayer that actress Julia Sweeney who arrogantly and using the name of God in vain, proclaimed on a billboard in Times Square of New York City that “There is no God,” will discover the goodness of God before she finds herself kneeling before the One she said did not exist.

It is only the goodness of God that allows us to breathe one more breath and that God does not annihilate us from the face of the earth when yet another billboard taunts our faith with the remark “8712 inches per hour = nonsense, what other biblical nonsense is there?” referring to the rain in Noah’s day. It’s a good thing God is good, else the first bucket of the next load would be dumped on their house with no ark in sight. That is why we read in Matthew 19:16-17 ~ “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” With the arrogance and ignorance of mankind there would be no hope of Heaven without the goodness of God Who knows us, and loves us anyway. He, Who from the beginning of time knew of our weakness to keep the law and made a means for redemption which was that “Good Thing”  prophesied in Jeremiah 33:14 ~ Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

That Good Thing promised was the Messiah! The same Who now dwells within the child of God and as Paul reminded Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:13-14 when he said ~ Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

Paul knew how hard it would be to keep hold of sound doctrine in a world that is anything but good. They may not have had billboards in biblical times but they had their version of Julia Sweeney. I’m so thankful this Christmas for saints of God who risk and give their lives to share the gospel of that Good Thing. Hallelujah for that Good Thing that have to look forward to because of that Baby in the manger, the Man of Galilee, the Savior on the Cross of Calvary.

Hebrews 9:11-12

 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

 

10 Reasons Why People Don’t Attend Church – The unlit tree

As I drove through our small town yesterday the Christmas tree in the town square was flashing to the beat of Christmas music and the whole atmosphere in our normally economically depressed city was transformed to a happier place. The people in our quaint town are wonderful, the politics… not so much, but we’ll not park there. The population of our entire county is roughly 7600, depending upon how many people are out of town Christmas shopping, (I’m kidding). But we are rural America at its finest and sometimes worst. I would venture a guess at the number of those 7600 who attend church as less than 1,000. I actually believe it’s far less than that, but according to an article on churchleaders.com approximately 20% of Americans attend church regularly, which would make Calhoun’s estimate at 1500. I have to wonder what they define as regularly. If by annually, then maybe. Well, that’s not very nice is it? You’ll have to forgive my cynicism, perhaps I should go back to town and check my Christmas spirit, but church attendance is a biggy on my list of Christian do’s and don’ts.

It’s like having an unlit Christmas tree. Pointless.

I’ve heard most every argument on why you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, and while that’s true, because there are many who absolutely cannot get to church and they are indeed children of God; my argument is if you can go and don’t you’re the unlit tree.

Here’s the top 10 reason people don’t go to church from AmericanPreachers.com:

Reason 1 – The church is full of judgmental people.

Are there judgmental people in every church? Probably! And let me give you my theory on why. If they’re in a church that’s preaching the gospel of Christ as it should be preached, that preacher stands before them as the brightest Christmas tree in the building and what that does is illuminate wrong living. So rather than dealing with their own err it’s easier to point out someone else’s making their own sin seem less in their eyes. Go anyway.

Reason 2 – Church is boring

You’re either in the wrong the church, or you’re there with the wrong attitude. Go anyway. The church is not for your entertainment, it’s for your edification. If you don’t like the menu in a restaurant, you find a new place to eat, you don’t starve to death! Amen?

Reason 3 – The Church is “exclusive.”

Scratch off denominationalism here. When searching for the right church for you, regardless of what name brand it is, one thing better be there “A welcome sign.” A church is your Father’s house; and if you’re not made to feel welcome, there’s a good chance you’re not home.

Reason 4 – The Church is homophobic

The bible under no uncertain terms says that homosexuality is a sin. It also says that lying, coveting, stealing, idol worship, disrespect and adultery is a sin. And there are those in every church in America. Find a church that loves people, let God deliver the message. If you truly want a relationship with the Creator, you need to position yourself in a place where His message is delivered, and that’s church, and that’s Bible. Go anyway.

Reason 5 – I don’t like organized religion

I don’t either. I like structured freedom for the Holy Spirit. Huh? Let’s face reality, there has to be some sort of organization else there’s chaos. Someone has to be in charge. So, you find the right Pastor and follow him, and then let the Holy Spirit lead. If he’s a God lead Pastor there will be freedom to worship in that place and the experience will be awesome! Go!

Reason 6 – Churches are full of hypocrites

Truth. And you’ll be one too. There isn’t anyone I know that lives a life like Christ, therefore we all are hypocrites. When we call ourselves Christians, by definition we are saying we live like Christ. No, we don’t, but we do the best we can and love each other regardless. Go anyway.

Reason 7 – The church just wants your money

Not true. But it does take money to operate a church. You have to look at it from the survival aspect: you buy food because you need it to survive, you pay for a car because it transports you from one place to another, you buy clothing because it covers you and keeps you warm, you buy things you like because they bring you pleasure. That’s what church does, only in a way that lasts an eternity.

Reason 8 – Life is better without religion

Yes. But church attendance isn’t about religion, it’s about relationship. In the very core of our being is a desire to have a relationship with the Creator and family. Church provides you both. And even if your family is dysfunctional, messed up or nonexistent, God will fill the voids in your life through His people in His place. That’s church. Go anyway.

Reason 9 – Christians live on another planet and wear brown sweaters

I so laughed when I read that, because it’s so true, until you get saved. I used to think that people who went to church every Sunday, and prayed at the altar and talked about God were just people without anything else to do, and then I became one of them. I then realized I had been missing out on the greatest experience in life – Non circumstantial living. Regardless of circumstance, God is good, I am loved, and He understands.

Reason 10 – I don’t have time

Refer to reason 6 and Commandment 9 of the big 10. You lie. In the words of my former Pastor, “You do what you want to do.” If you want a relationship with God you’ll make the time. And then a funny thing happens, you’ll discover you had far more time than imagined because God will open up doors for you to  fellowship with Him that you could never have imagined.

John 1:4-5 says “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

If the light of Christ is not shining in you and through you, your tree’s not lit.

Get the point?

And God said, “No you won’t”

Numbers 24:17

I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

I love Bible prophecy, especially that which shows Satan getting his just dues. It doubly sweetens it when God uses Satan’s very own words to further the gospel of Christ! In Isaiah 14:13 God sites Satan’s plan for overthrowing the Kingdom of Heaven. “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:”

And God said, “No you won’t.” That of course was a Shari Quote of verse 15 that reads Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

And so on the night that Christ was born, what do we find making its way into the Christmas story? A star!

Matthew 2:1-2 ~ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

And for generation after generation, every time the story of the coming of the Messiah is told there is also the story of the star that lead the Shepherd’s and Wise men to Christ. The very thing that Satan said he would exalt himself above, God uses to proclaim His Son’s birth and the salvation of earth. The star that Satan would use to lure men into idol worship, God used to light the path to the greatest story ever told.

In Deuteronomy 4:19 God warned ~ And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

As if to say to Satan, what you believe yourself to have dominion over, I’ll show you Who is in control; and as the Magi were possibly doing something they shouldn’t be doing (looking for signs in the stars) God reveals Himself and they begin their journey for the Creator of the Star. Oh my goodness, how awesome is that! We too forget sometimes Who it is that is in control and that God will use even our mistakes to light the path to His purpose. The wise men followed that star to the Messiah and from their story we find four things that should be in the heart of every believer

Matthew 2:10-13  ~ When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Joy – It should be evident. (Theirs was great, so should ours be)

Worship – it should be experienced. (They fell down! In awe of His presence)

Giving – it should be earnest. (They were the takers, now they were the givers)

Changed direction – it should be everlasting. (They went another way. There should be some notable changes of direction in our lives when we meet Christ)

I pray this Christmas each time you see a star you’ll be reminded of Christ and experience the great joy that comes in knowing Him!

No matter the season, He walks with me

It was a conversation with my teens last night that really got my heart stirred for the Christmas season. I’ve been through a lot of other “seasons” in life. The season of discouragement, the season of failure, the season of disappointment, the season of doubt… some, if not all have been annual seasons just like winter, cold and harsh. They’re most always inward battles that few people (if any) know I’m going through at the time, I just plod through like a chick in the snow; wrapped in layers of colorful fabric that detracts from the ugly thin layers beneath that are so easily torn with words.

Wow, that’s a very deep thought that could leave you thinking… I don’t really want to go down this road, it seems like a sad trip. Take heart, remember I said that it stirred my heart for Christmas! The reality of life is, everyone I know goes through similar battles and each deal with them in different ways. I personally don’t play well with others; meaning that I don’t share inward turmoil. Partly because I truly don’t want to “share” it with someone else and create sadness in them, and partly because not everyone is an encourager. As a matter of fact some of the people I’ve been stupid enough to share with have beat me with my own stick. Truth.

Now let’s get to that Christmas Season:

Deuteronomy 30:15-18

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

That’s got to leave you saying “What?”

It’s not your typical Christmas story by any stretch of the imagination but Christmas is written all over it. In red. Prior to the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord, God gave us two choices. Life or death made possible by right or wrong. A wrong choice could lead to death without any hope of a second chance. Sin was serious business. It still is, but the price that was paid to cover it was so high a price God didn’t refuse it. If His Son was willing to die for it (us), God was willing to accept it. And in so doing the gift we were given that first Christmas night was the gift of opportunity.

An opportunity to right every wrong through a relationship with God that hadn’t been known since the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve walked with God and then sin separated them from His goodness, but because of the final sacrifice that Christ made, we too can walk with God and overcome those seasons of our life that once would have destroyed us. The ultimate Christmas story is why that Baby came, not how He came. He came to save and restore what was broken. Me.

Every time I get something wrong, mess something up, lose faith in somebody or something I’m reminded of what that angel said to those nasty, dirty shepherds in Luke 2:10-11 “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

My Savior. Who came to earth as sweet, innocent babe, and died as innocent as He was born, for nasty, dirty me, and you.

No matter the season, He walks with me. How awesome is that!

The Wise, the Worried & the Wayward ~ What do you seek?

I can clearly remember as a child the fear that I had regarding Armageddon. Having very little knowledge about it, only that it was the war to end all wars, and when it happened, horrific things would be about us and the world would be out of control. That fear followed me into adulthood because I still had not learned the scripture as one would have thought I would have being raised in church. Jesus’ return and the end of the earth as we know brought nothing but dread in my heart. I guess I wasn’t alone, nor the first to have experienced it.

Matthew 2:1-3

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Wise men fear and Seek Christ

The wise men were said to be men of great spiritual and philosophical understanding. They knew of the coming Messiah and did not fear it but rather embraced it knowing that God’s plan is the right plan. Their obedience to travel such a great distance speaks volumes of their character. They were invested in this trip with time, money and risk; committed to finding God. That’s what wise men (and women) do. They seek God at all costs knowing that the end result is blessing. But then there was Herod…

Worried men fear and Seek Control

Herod sought Jesus too, but not for worship or wisdom, he sought Him for control. He wanted to destroy anyone he thought would threaten his power as King of Judea, and he didn’t care to kill them young or innocent, calling for the mass murder of all infant boys under the age of two. I somehow block out that part of the Christmas story. The political wickedness that ripped the heart out of mothers. The killing spree that filled Bethlehem’s residents with immeasurable pain was so horrific that Matthew quotes Jeremiah’s mournful words regarding Israel’s pain during the Babylonian Exile in verse 18 ~ In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Perhaps I block it out because it rings too true in society today. Our government will, it seems at any cost, cater to the wicked to keep control, including forsaking God, murdering babies and joining with allies totally against any Christian principal for the sake of power. They should worry, for try as they might, God’s plan will not fail.

Wayward men fear and Seek Comfort

Those who do not know the comfort of Christ will seek comfort in the world at all costs, even freedom. The scripture in Matthew 2 said “all Jersalem” was worried too. They were troubled because they did not know that Christ was coming to bring peace, they only knew Herod was upset and that wasn’t good. They desired no King other than Herod; him they understood. Therefore Jesus was not a King they cared to know. And so it is with many today, content to stay in the ignorance and controlled by what they’re comfortable with than to relinquish full control to God Who will provide them a peace immeasurable.

It’s not hard to see why the world fights against Christianity, because true, undefiled Christianity shatters the lies and deceit that have been created to control a lost generation. Once you truly understand Who Jesus is, the world’s control is gone and you have the freedom to live without fear. You no longer fear the coming of the Lord, but just like the wise men in Matthew you embrace it. You are willing to go and do at all cost and risk, because you know that His coming again will bring wickedness to an end. Why should we fear? Yes Christ came as a baby, but He’s coming again and this time He’s all grown up! This time there will be no risk or danger for those who know Him as their Savior, but to those who don’t there is much to fear.

Do you know Jesus today? If not, give yourself the gift of Peace this Christmas.

You are the Christmas Story… What version are you telling?

unwrap

This morning as I began to study and read the Holy Word of God, I just about skipped over the first half of Matthew 1, the genealogy of Christ. I was going straight for the Christmas story! I usually read the Bible online so that I can copy and paste my scripture without fear of error, but I resorted to the traditional leather bound Bible this morning and noticed the notes scribbled across the pages from a previous sermon “The Forgotten Chapter of Christmas.” This is why I write in my Bible, else days like this I would have missed God’s message for me.

Four women were mentioned in the lineage of Christ at a time in the culture when women were not generally found worthy of mentioning, and indeed what women they were! Tamar (in verse 3) reminds us of Judah’s failures in Genesis 38, Rahab in verse 5 was a harlot in the book of Joshua, Chapter 2; Ruth was a Moabite and subject to a special curse; and Uriah’s wife Bathsheba had an affair with David, and yet there they are in all their messed up splendor, listed in the lineage of Christ our Lord. These are Jesus’ people. Yesterday I wrote on the commonness of the characters of Christmas, this morning my theme seems to be on the uncharacteristic characters of Christmas.

If I asked this morning “Why God would use such women to accomplish his cause I would have to ask, “Why would He use me?” But because He has chosen to use such an imperfect cast of characters I can better ask “Why not me?” I have friends who constantly berate themselves for their failures in their walk with Christ, and while it is true that we can all do better, it is a lie of Satan that our mediocre lives prevent our effectiveness for the Kingdom. If faults trumped God’s purpose the Bible would be a much shorter book. But instead its pages are filled with dysfunctional families, lies and deceit throughout… and then came Jesus.

God never condoned or approved any of the wicked nonsense in the Bible or in our lives, but He did acknowledge it as fact and provided the means for redemption. Those verses this morning were God’s way of saying, “Listen, I know you’re messed up, but I fixed it! From this point forward you’re my child and as your Father, I have the right to forgive.”

In Luke 5:21-25 there was a conversation between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees.

 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

God alone has the power to heal the broken whether it be physically or spiritually. Those who have acknowledged Christ as their Savior are without excuse for serving, because God cleared the pathway for us to get up and walk! Today, with Christ living in us, we are the Christmas story. What version are you telling? There’s only one right version. It’s the one that says you’re a forgiven child of God. Go tell somebody!

What WV and Heaven have in Common

Grist Mill in the Winter, Babcock State Park, West Virginia

Photography credit: http://www.forestwander.com

I have for as long as I can remember, been proud to be a West Virginian. There are as many redneck and hillbilly jokes as ‘Carter’s got liver pills’; some I’ve laughed at, some made me nauseous, but very few have ever upset me. Most are told in good country fun and those that are not, are told in ignorance of the goodness of God that dwells in this place. I don’t think for a second that we are “Almost Heaven” because 1 Corinthians 2:9 says “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Heaven’s way better than anything here on earth!  But West Virginia does have one thing in common with Heaven… commonality.

Drive down practically any country road in West Virginia and ask for directions and you’ll likely get more information than you wanted! Not only will you get directions, but quite possibly a little family history, political insight or advice on the best place in town to eat. It’s our way. There are the occasional grumpy guss, elitist, or recluse but I can almost guarantee they’re a transplant from another State. It’s just not the nature of the people in rural (Country) West Virginia not to want to help. Yes there is the exception to the rule, for them, I apologize.

The story of Christmas is filled with country. Mary, a virgin girl from the city of Nazareth, who called herself a “handmaid,” meaning servant or voluntary slave (Luke 1:38) is visited by the angel Gabriel with the news that she is to carry in her womb, God. And following her most likely initial shock it says in verses 39-40, And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.  There it is. Just good country people, Mary, Elisabeth and the country Preacher, Zacharias, willing to be used by God. He could have chosen anyone and most would have expected that the Messiah would surely come from a royal estate. But it’s apparent that God’s idea of royalty is unlike ours. He likes country!

And what about Joseph who would be the earthly father of the Christ child? A common carpenter, blue collar worker, although he was of the lineage of David. A man we know very little about, except his trade, and willingness to marry the mother of God, love the Son of God and deal with the stigma that was to come.

And then there were the shepherds, farm boys, who were the lowest of the low in the eyes of society in that day and God sends a host of angels to bring witness of the news of His Son’s birth to these unlikely men. A common thread woven into the Christmas story is common people just like you and I. God didn’t exclude royalty, the wise men received the same news and although it was much later they too were a part of the story of Christmas. No one is excluded from Christ’s story. And although it was a cast of common characters it was far from a common occurrence, it was a once in a lifetime, exclusive event that changed the world.

Jesus’ birth story brings home the message the God uses common, ordinary people to do extraordinary things then and now. God created each of us as a character in His story that continues to be the greatest ever told and each time a “new birth” occurs, at the time of someone’s salvation, the excitement level of that day in Bethlehem is still there and the desire to go and tell somebody! The song go tell it on the mountain scrolls across my mind and cheers my heart with the Christmas Spirit this morning.

I like country. I like common. I love Christ. Go tell somebody!