Who’s Your Daddy?
Hold the Baby
This is the Christmas Testimony of St. Nicholas of Myra.
He claims that Santa Claus is an idol.
And that we better hope that God is not making a list and checking it twice to find out whose naughty and nice... or “we’ll all be going straight to hell and Ho, Ho, Ho!”
“God is not Santa Clause; He’s the Anti-Claus,” says Nick.
“God gives good gifts to naughty people, and he is the Good Gift that he gives.”
“God is a baby in a manger and a baby is good for nothing, just good.
A baby is hard to manipulate but easy to love... and God became a baby.”
God wants what every baby wants.
He wants you to pick him up and hold him close to your heart.
And he wants to give you his heart—Jesus, “from the bosom of the Father.”
We think we get a gift for “being good,” when being good is the gift we get.
To think you make yourself good is like stealing baby Jesus from the manger.
To actually be good is like holding baby Jesus close to your heart.
You are the manger.
You are “the naughty” and Jesus is the nice.
God makes you nice with Jesus.
He is not keeping a record of wrongs but cancelling the devil’s record of wrongs by making us right—he is your righteousness.
When he seems to be good for nothing, just good, would you pick him up and hold him close to your heart?
He may seem to be good for nothing, but he is the something that makes everything good.
Pick him up and hold him close to your heart.
It’s how you make his Christmas and how he makes you.
Relativity and the Reason That is Right (Christmas)
Relativity and the Reason for Wrong
My Dad was really into safety, but he was just nuts for me and the mountains.
One day, when I was a boy, we set out early to climb Peak One in the Ten Mile Range. We started early to avoid afternoon storms, but not early enough. White puffs soon turned into black thunderheads. We were in sight of the peak when I noticed my father’s hair standing on end. The wind was beginning to howl. The rain was beginning to fall. We saw lightning and heard thunder. Then, I heard crackling sounds in the rocks beneath my feet.
I looked at my Dad and yelled, “We need to turn back, NOW!”
My Dad, the safety freak, looked at the peak, looked at me, and yelled “We can make it!”
And I thought “This is so wrong.”
Do you ever look at our world and think, “This is so wrong.”
Then look at our Father in Heaven and say, “I thought I was following you!?”
God our Father can’t choose wrong for wrong is defined as ‘that which he does not choose.’
But maybe he can choose that we would gain the knowledge of that which he does not choose—the knowledge of evil.
He doesn’t choose evil, but he does, at times, seem to lead us into temptation.
The temptation is always to put Him and His Word to the test.
He put two naked people, with no knowledge of Good and evil, in a Garden with an evil talking snake, the strangest tree, and a cryptic word warning that the day they ate of it, dying they would die.
Is it right that God would let it all go so wrong? What’s the reason for wrong?
Why would he lead us into a temptation?
My Dad glanced at the peak and looked back at me with a look I’d never seen before. There was a fire in his eyes. He smiled and yelled, “We can make it; let’s do this!” And we did.
Alone on that peak with my Dad in the storm is one of my all-time favorite memories.
It was the day I learned that there are some things worth dying for—specifically, the view from the top of the mountain.
Ezekiel tells us, what most of the ancient Rabbi’s believed, that Eden was at the top of a Holy Mountain—a primordial and eschatological mountain at the beginning and end of time. Eden was also Moriah, Zion, Calvary, and the site of the New Jerusalem containing the tree of Life with leaves for the healing of the nations.
Perhaps all the chaos, sin, suffering, and pain of this world is worth the view from the top of that mountain?
In Roman 3:3 Paul states his “Theological Theory of Relativity”
We must let God be faithful and true (that’s the constant) and let all men be unfaithful and untrue (we are the variables). The implications are astounding.
In Romans 3:22-24, he simply states: “There is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
How many fall short? ALL.
And how many are justified by Grace as a gift? ALL
That’s the view from the top of the mountain.
In the middle of his discourse, he refers to David’s words in Psalm 51—the words he speaks before the Judgment seat in the Sanctuary on the Holy Mountain after he is confronted with his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah, and learns of God’s judgment:
1. David will experience what Uriah experienced. His wives will be taken from him.
2. But it’s not retribution; it’s discipline, for his sin has been “put away.”
3. The Son of David born to Bathsheba will die; it seems this is how the sin is put away.
4. David will “comfort Bathsheba.” He will know her in a new way, not as fruit to be taken, but as a bride to be loved. And she will bear a son: the Prince of Peace. Bathsheba is the great-great-grandmother of Jesus—The Son of David, The Son of Man, The Judgment of God. Jesus is the Judgment of God in David. He is David’s righteousness.
That’s how God makes David—the “man after God’s own heart.”
So David prays, “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned, that you may be justified in your judgment.
Relativity and Thanksgiving
An old friend once told me, what Billy Graham once told him but didn’t share often in public. That is, that years ago somewhere in China Billy approached a Buddhist monk praying on the side of a road and, through an interpreter, told the monk about Jesus and handed him a Bible.
Then, through the interpreter and through tears of joy, the monk told Billy: “How could I ever thank you for such a book? This Jesus you described—I’ve always known him. As you were reading from this book, within me, he was saying, ‘he’s talking about me.’ And when you said the name ‘Jesus,’ he said to me, ‘That’s my name. That’s my name.’”
Billy Graham told my friend that he didn’t often share the story in public, for it offended and confused Evangelicals Christians. “Evangelical” literally means “good news teller.”
Why would Evangelicals find the good news of salvation to be offensive and confusing?
In Romans chapter 2, Paul revealed that all humanity will be judged with the same judgment. And in Romans 3:1, he anticipates this response: “Then, what advantage has the Jew?” That is, “What advantage has the Christian? If Jesus can just show up in the heart of a Buddhist, why talk about Jesus at all? What’s the advantage?”
Paul responds: “Much in every way! ... Let God be true, and let every man be a liar.”
Yet every man lets himself be true and lets God be untrue--divided, changeable, and false.
Then Paul starts talking about justifying God’s judgment.
We think: We sinned, so God judges and inflicts wrath to reveal his judgment.
Paul thinks: God judged, so we sinned, so God could inflict wrath revealing his judgment, so that we would justify his judgment saying, “Wow that’s a good judgment! I could worship that judgment!”
Then Paul makes it clear that we all are untrue, and that Scripture has always revealed this to be true; there is a reason that we are confused and offended.
If we let God be true—undivided, unchanging, ubiquitous, and eternal—then, we must let ourselves be divided, changeable, limited, and temporal . . . as in, “dead.”
And that’s offensive. And confusing.
If you’ve been in the dark for a time, the light can be quite offensive.
But if you allow yourself to be offended, the light will cease to be offensive, and everything will begin to make sense, as the light makes sense of you.
In 1905 a 24-year-old clerk, named Albert Einstein was riding a bus and looking back at the clock tower in Bern Switzerland. He imagined what he would experience if the bus were traveling at the speed of light. He suddenly realized that the hands on the clock tower would stop, and not just seem to stop, actually stop, for him... if he were light.
But we’re not light, are we?
We’re matter and energy moving through space and time, right?
Until Einstein, physicists assumed that matter, energy, space, and time were constant and then built their house on that foundation.
But Einstein jacked up the house and suggested a new foundation: the speed of Light.
He took it as a constant, and everything else changed—matter, energy, space, and time.
To us, Light appears to be two incompatible things—a particle or a wave.
But maybe we are two incompatible things and light is One—undivided, unchanging, true.
Physicists have discovered:
1. Light is one and undivided
2. Light is unchanging. It exists in some sort of eternal now.
3. Light is ubiquitous. Whether we “see” it or not, light is everywhere and every-when. In light, we literally “live, move and have our being.”
Scripture declares, “God is light.”
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World.”
Paul wrote, “You were darkness, but NOW you are light in the Lord.”
If you believe that, it will jack up your house and replace the foundation; you will repent and “walk as children of light.”
I call it St. Paul’s Theological Theory of Relativity.
“Let God be true” (that’s the constant) “and let
Put Your Church Clothes On
Love the messages i have heard but won't download want to listen when I have no wi fi
Incredibly dynamic, powerful, thought-provoking. I'm amazed that this new podcast has 297 messages up already. I visited a few times up in Denver and it's great to be able to listen from our home in San Antonio, TX. May God richly bless Peter, his congregation, and his ministry.