Wednesday, December 23, 2009

“Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus,” by C.S. Lewis

And beyond this there lies in the ocean, turned towards the west and north, the island of Niatirb which Hecataeus indeed declares to be the same size and shape as Sicily, but it is larger, though in calling it triangular a man would not miss the mark. It is densely inhabited by men who wear clothes not very different from the other barbarians who occupy the north western parts of Europe though they do not agree with them in language. These islanders, surpassing all the men of whom we know in patience and endurance, use the following customs.

In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card. But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival; guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the marketplace is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness.

But having bought as many as they suppose to be sufficient, they return to their houses and find there the like cards which others have sent to them. And when they find cards from any to whom they also have sent cards, they throw them away and give thanks to the gods that this labour at least is over for another year. But when they find cards from any to whom they have not sent, then they beat their breasts and wail and utter curses against the sender; and, having sufficiently lamented their misfortune, they put on their boots again and go out into the fog and rain and buy a card for him also. And let this account suffice about Exmas-cards.

They also send gifts to one another, suffering the same things about the gifts as about the cards, or even worse. For every citizen has to guess the value of the gift which every friend will send to him so that he may send one of equal value, whether he can afford it or not. And they buy as gifts for one another such things as no man ever bought for himself. For the sellers, understanding the custom, put forth all kinds of trumpery, and whatever, being useless and ridiculous, they have been unable to sell throughout the year they now sell as an Exmas gift. And though the Niatirbians profess themselves to lack sufficient necessary things, such as metal, leather, wood and paper, yet an incredible quantity of these things is wasted every year, being made into the gifts.

But during these fifty days the oldest, poorest, and most miserable of the citizens put on false beards and red robes and walk about the market-place; being disguised (in my opinion) as Cronos. And the sellers of gifts no less than the purchaser’s become pale and weary, because of the crowds and the fog, so that any man who came into a Niatirbian city at this season would think some great public calamity had fallen on Niatirb. This fifty days of preparation is called in their barbarian speech the Exmas Rush.

But when the day of the festival comes, then most of the citizens, being exhausted with the Rush, lie in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much supper as on other days and, crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and reckoning how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine. For wine is so dear among the Niatirbians that a man must swallow the worth of a talent before he is well intoxicated.

Such, then, are their customs about the Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. (The reason of these images is given in a certain sacred story which I know but do not repeat.)

But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, “It is not lawful, O stranger, for us to change the date of Chrissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left.” And when I asked him why they endured the Rush, he replied, “It is, O Stranger, a racket”; using (as I suppose) the words of some oracle and speaking unintelligibly to me (for a racket is an instrument which the barbarians use in a game called tennis).

But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough about Niatirb.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


What a blessing it is to see Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, praying for me. I believe there is some pretty heavy things to take from his prayer.

First, his distinction between believers who the Lord has “given” to him and those who will believe in him by the message of those who were "given" to him certainly sounds like evidence for limited atonement. But that’s neither here nor there, you can research the 5 points of Calvinism yourself.

A verse that was incredible to me was this, where Jesus prays for his disciples:
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” John 17:14
Is that not staggering? That to Christ, believers should not be any more of the world than he was? It should floor us what he’s claiming here. We are responsible for being a pure presence on earth while Christ is absent. There is no excuse for our inadequacies.

Next, he prays for other believers:
“...I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of us may be one,...” John 17:20-21
Christ pleads with the father for unity. In just three verses he asks for it four times. This certainly makes me believe it is important. What does unity look like? How are we to act? Perhaps my previous entry may elaborate more on seeking unity in the body of Christ. Also, check out Acts 2:42-47.

Finally, I want to point out how desperately Jesus wants people to know the Father:
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” John 17:24
After all, Christ is not praying this when everyone loves him. He is praying that they would know him on the very night they arrest him- and he knew it was coming, but he still prayed!

What if we had the same intensity that Christ has? Our flesh is not an excuse to be of the world, we know that now. And we also know that we should deeply desire to be unified under the banner of Christ with the whole world. (What an insane vision! Was Jesus crazy?)

We also must desperately want people to come to know him. And that means abusive fathers, alcoholic mothers, drug addicts, porn stars, complacent believers, lying preachers, careless strangers, ruthless drivers, angry store clerks.... the list goes on and on.


Thursday, October 29, 2009


“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
How beautiful each person really is! Think about it- people are so diverse! From race, to culture, to physical features, to personalities, to emotions- our God has an endless amount of creativity. Who else has created something that breathes? Reproduces? Creates? No one but the Lord.
And each person has been given a gift- for a specific purpose! The Bible says that we each have a certain “manifestation of the Spirit,” (1 Corinthians 12:7).

1. Why is man so prone to wonder from this manifestation? What has enticed him so fiercely that he can altogether forget what he dreamed of growing up to be?
2. Why are Christians so threatened by the talents and abilities of others?

Every man has a dream, a hobby, or a passion; yet for some reason the world has convinced us that we should compartmentalize what makes us diverse. So passions become weekend hobbies, and we get bored of a “Christianity” that exists on Sundays and disappears once the work week begins again. Is Christ alive in you every day of the week?
Perhaps the Lord gave us our dreams so that we might have the courage to follow them and give Him glory joyfully.
Is it money that has stolen your passion? Or having that car? Or that house? That life? What sacrifices are we making that are causing us to become the people we never intended to be?
I believe that each one of our “manifestation[s] of the spirit” are deliberately assigned by God, and he has given us things that make us come alive for a purpose. It is quite a task for me to perform certain ministries, while others come a lot easier. This is the beautiful mosaic that the church should embody, and is a perfect segway into point #2.
When we don’t recognize the intrinsic beauty that our brothers and sisters (both believers and nonbelievers) posses, we make Christianity a to-do list, where everyone looks the same. Because of this, people get bored of the “Christian” tasks that stress them out week after week... so they eventually burn out. Which is understandable, because no one was built to live in perpetual failure, or should be forced to smother what they are naturally good at.
Matt Chandler spoke of the “Secular and Sacred Divide,” an invisible line that has been popularized in Christian culture, where God and Jesus are found in Church, and other things like business ethics, art, music, etc. become superfluous to faith and are thereby classified as “secular.”
This is a wrong way of thinking. Everything is God’s.
So if you are good at sports, use that to praise the Lord. And if you are good at speaking, use that to praise the Lord. The truth is that there are right ways to do things and that there are wrong ways to do things.

And all truth is our truth because we are of Christ and Christ is of God.

So what if the church was a breeding ground for creativity? What if people saw God in the art displayed (or created) in church? What if business ethics that pointed people to Jesus lead successful businessmen to the church? Wouldn’t it only further the glory of God for us to marvel at his creativity in our brothers and sisters?
Maybe the body would function as a more cohesive unit if we would learn to appreciate how our diversity is a shadow of Christ (and necessary to our survival). Maybe then we could love more appropriately, and serve more effectively.

If we really are the “body” of Christ, and I am one organ, and you are another, then we really need each other. And even if I am not directly connected to you, but you were to die, I (and the whole body) would suffer.

So I need you. And you need me. Hallelujah.


Friday, October 9, 2009


Do people take me seriously? Have I given them anything to take me seriously over?

Somewhere along the lines it has been drilled into my brain that my faith should not be offensive. Or perhaps my own sin has lead me to be afraid of being someone who stands for something.
The Lord has showed me recently that there are actually very few who truly know how much I value Jesus Christ. Think about it- don’t we all just assume each other knows what matters to us?
Its a natural thing to do, because we never get outside of our own heads. So we know within ourselves how much we value God, but others are left to assume:
“Oh he carries his Bible, he must be doing good.”
“I saw his eyes closed during worship, he loves God.”
“He must be expressing his freedom in Christ right now.”

In addition to our tendency to stay quiet, we live in a culture where everything points to a life that is going nowhere. Nearly every popular song is focused on tuning out responsibility and indulging in life’s pleasures. Every new comedy finds hilarity in people with no morality whatsoever. The world is creating unconscious, unaware people who are all going nowhere in life. We start to care more about suburban life, a steady job, and kids who behave more than we care about a hot pursuit of God Himself.

But I’d be willing to argue that most people DONT actually want that. I’ve never met anyone who WANTS to be non-influential their entire life.
So what DO you want to do? What DOES matter to you?
And if Christ DOES matter to you, who knows? What steps are you taking to do something that matters?
Or are you going to live your life like everyone else....


Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Call To Anguish by David Wilkerson

It pretty much speaks for itself. Show it to friends. Maybe revival will come if we can be more aware of who we are.


Friday, September 11, 2009


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Matt 6:25-27

How much time do you spend on homework?
How much time do you spend working?
How much time do you spend on facebook?
How many movie quotes can you recite?
How many TVs do you have?
How many clothes do you have?
How many girls are you dating?
Do you have enough THINGS?
When is the last time you were alone on purpose?
When is the last time you sat in silence?
When is the last time you cried?
When is the last time you asked a friend for help?
When is the last time you

"Why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matt 6:28-34

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Christians often don’t talk about things that Christians should talk about. Yes, we are to be “in the world, not of the world,” but I believe that that for the most part, our conversations are no different from atheists or agnostics.
Beau Hughes, the Denton Campus pastor of The Village Church mentioned this past Sunday that all we ever talk about is news; that every conversation is a news update in some fashion... which is why I used last post to talk about “what is good news?” Unfortunately, i got a bit side-tracked.

My vision for this blog is to mobilize Christians with topical conversation that can be practically applied to a broad range of relationships. I believe that to wake up the Church (capitol C), Christians have to get fired up about something; but when left to our own devices, the flesh will pull the eager sails of our faiths to the islands of self gratification and shallow existence. For this reason, it is crucial that we unite as the Body of Christ, and sail on together, well versed and studied on topics that influence our faith and the eternity of the world. Therefore, it is my will (and I believe God’s will too) that we begin to see our purpose as being in the world IN ORDER TO point people to the Savior.

May the news posted on this blog start more influential conversations among us, and may it begin to change our paradigm of what we see as important.

To start with, kick around the ideas of Aaron Weiss.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.“
Philippians 4:11-16

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Of all the things we talk about, why don’t we talk more about good news? You can assume you know what I mean, but what if our entire perception of good news (and the gospel) is a bit off-kilter?

What I mean is this: most of us Bible-belt-Sunday-school-raised-in-the-church “Christians” have a pretty accurate portrayal of the life of Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin, grew up and did miracles, claimed to be the Son of God, died for the sins of the world, raised from the dead, and went up to heaven. The problem is that most of us think that is the good news in itself. We’ve over-commercialized John 3:16 and reduced it to a simple application of fire insurance accessed by the repeating of a designated prayer.

This is not the good news Jesus testifies about, and I wonder if it is also the source of so many sleeping “Christians.”

Yes, it is stunningly beautiful news to know that God became flesh and died for us, but what does the resurrection entail, and what did He mean when He said “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full?" For hundreds of years we’ve searched for fulfillment in things that have proven to be meaningless. Even Solomon, who had more money, more sex, more alcohol, more things, etc declares that “everything is meaningless.”

So what are we doing?

What are we counting as gain? What will that thing I'm obsessing over really bring me? Solomon had more things than I’ll ever have, and he says “everything is meaningless.” So surely no thing can be counted as gain. What about her? Will she really satisfy? And I’m not raising the question about lust, just the simple obsession with finding a spouse. Solomon said that even his 300 wives and 700 mistresses were “meaningless,” and Paul said it was good for the single “to stay unmarried.” What about comfort? Why is it that in the comfort of our friend groups we all too often find ourselves stagnant? And why do we often loose what the Lord has put on our hearts because it would just be uncomfortable to bring it up- especially among our “Christian” friends.

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
Phil 3:7-8

This verse is not necessarily saying that you have to be homeless to follow Christ, but it is saying that when you truly follow Christ, nothing else will matter. This is life lived to fullness- To be joyful when you have money and when you don’t. To be satisfied when you’re on a mountaintop or in the desert- because God Himself is consistent and His grace is sufficient. This is ultimate freedom! This is news worthy! This is truly good news!

This is what I want my life to look like, and this blog will notate my journey to decrease and let the Lord increase. I hope it will encourage you.