It’s ok NOT to buy people stuff this Christmas

Read this blog then come back for my thoughts…

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Ok, now wasn’t that an eye opener? I mean, we know this, but we’re just sucked up inside this holiday tradition.

– we spend way too much in seasons of Christmas

– we buy people stuff that WE like but THEY don’t need.

– we feel guilty for not buying people presents

– we even feel annoyed for receiving gifts with lesser value than the gifts you gave!

Commercialism on Christmas season simply sucks. I mean, really sucks. We lost it. This is not supposed to be. Giving generously is fine. But obliged, guilt-driven, price-tag focused giving is not. Sadly, this is Christmas now a days.

So, friends, it’s ok if you’re not giving us gifts this Christmas, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. We, however, sincerely thank those who gave and sure appreciates whatever you gave. We’re giving away simple gifts this Christmas to some friends — but will not to others. That doesn’t mean we don’t love you, we simply want to save and wouldn’t want to spend a lot this Christmas.

The best way to celebrate this season is to be with the family, worshiping Jesus for who he is — a God who decided to be a man on Christmas morning in his love for us all.

If you’re about to loose everything, is Jesus enough?

If you’re about to loose everything, will you still trust and praise God?

When I met Jesus — for who he really is — 10 years ago, one of my battle cry was “Jesus is enough”. He is enough to give comfort, joy, eternal security. He is enough when we feel inadequate. He is enough when life seems to fall apart. He is enough even if you’ll loose everything.

Matt Chandler is a very popular pastor in the US. He leads a successful church, The Village Church, that ministers to thousands of people. He is a well-known speaker in conferences. And, with his words, it seems that at 35 years old, God has given him victory after victory in this life.

Not until the morning of Thanksgiving day. He had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. They found a tumor in his frontal lobe and has undergone surgery last Friday. He recorded this video before this operation.

If you’re about to loose everything, is Jesus enough? Watch this video and be encouraged — or even be led into repentance for trusting on what you have even knowing that Jesus should be enough in our lives.

So how are you spending the Christmas season?

Christmas has always been traditionally the fondest, most anticipated and busiest time of the year. And this is also the most misinterpreted holiday of the year.

So how should we spend the Christmas season. Let’s go back to basics. A note from LifeChurch.tv’s Facebook account:

Christmas has become, for many of us, a season of eating, shopping, hosting and spending. We run ourselves ragged in an effort to please the people around us and make everyone get along long enough for all of the holiday pictures to be taken. It’s exhausting and it’s all a bunch of focus on the things that Christmas was never meant to be. We’re not gonna take it anymore. We’re going to make this year different.

This year, (let’s go) back to the basics. This year Christmas (should) be about worship, giving, and love. Those are the things that the first Christmas was all about. When Jesus was born he was a gift from the creator. He was the symbol of God’s love for us. These two realizations caused the shepherds who first visited him to worship in awe of the wonderful miracle of the Messiah.

So as we head into the holiday, let’s conspire to change Christmas. Let’s leave behind the stress and spending and trade them in for worship, giving and love.

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Hell, no!

This month is Halloween month. So at Grace Place, we thought of having a series for that. It’s called, “So you’re dead… now what”. It talks about anything about the after life. It’s a very uncomfortable topic, but heck we know we’re all going to die. It’s better to know what’s next than not at all!

This week, we’re talking about Hell. As my wife said, it’s a good topic, no body wants to talk about it, so let’s bring it on. While preparing for my grace group tonight, these thoughts run through my mind.

– We’re all going to die. Oh, yeah, we are. Whatever life altering procedure you do, we’re all going to die.

– There are 2 major views of death. I came from a tradition that says when you die, you sleep (a.k.a the doctrine of “soul sleep”). I changed camp. Most evangelicals believe that when you die, you continue to exist and will either directly go to heaven or hell (a.k.a. the doctrine of “Immortality of the Soul”). I will have a few Adventists on my grace groups, and if this question will be raised, I’m just going to say, “You continue to believe what you know is true, I believe mine, and it’s alright. Because whether the soul sleeps or is awake when you die is not the real issue. The real issue is, what are you doing now that you’re alive so that you’ll know exactly where you’re going in the after life?

– Heaven is real.

– Hell is real. But we don’t want to talk about it. Because we want to live as if it doesn’t exist.

– You won’t see your buddies in hell. You won’t drink beers with them, won’t laugh with them, won’t party with them. In hell, you’re going to be all alone. All by yourself. Nobody to talk to. In utter darkness.

– God doesn’t want us to go to hell. In the first place, hell is created for Satan. But because of our sinfulness and God’s holiness, we’re going there. And if we do, that doesn’t mean God didn’t do anything to save you. He did EVERYTHING you can imagine when he sent Jesus on earth and die a criminal’s death. You just don’t want to do anything with Jesus today. You simply want to do what you want to do with your life. And God will let you. Go. To. Hell.

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PRAY like you never prayed before

We still have not recovered from Ondoy. Pepeng, a super typhoon is coming. Like, a 230 kph strong typhoon is coming.

Pray like you never prayed before.

Pray like you mean it. I mean, something that comes from your heart. An authentic cry for help.

Pray like you really expect God to answer. Because he does answer. He does care. He does know what’s happening.

Pray even if some spiritual police mocks you for praying only at times of need. Pray.

Then rest in his arms and say, “Yet not my will Lord, but yours.” At the end of the day, God knows exactly what we need. We may not understand what’s happening. But God is still God. He is sovereign.

In the midst of these storms, may we find peace in the one who is immovable, certain and strong – Jesus Christ.

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