Monday, December 24, 2007


Have you ever been in a situation where you got completely absorbed by the little stuff, but entirely missed the big, important thing? If you’re a husband, maybe you came home and your wife had a whole new ‘look.’ She’d spent the whole day at the salon getting this brand-new vibe – and she was doing it to please you – but you didn’t even notice it when you walked in. You only noticed she’d moved the remote control across the room. (That’s a mistake you only make ONCE!)

But at Christmas, something worse than missing a detail can happen. We can miss God and the miracles that come from His hand. Every time we do water baptisms at our church (, I always think about what mind-blowing, eye-popping times those are -- REAL LIVE MIRACLES of God’s amazing grace taking place in people’s lives.

Could it be that God is wanting to do – even actually DOING stuff IN and AROUND us – miraculous things that we walk right on by? But we’re looking for the remote control instead? Christmas is the Season of Miracles.

In the Luke 1 Christmas Bible story, Zechariah partly misses his miracle. The angel appears to him and says he and his wife Elizabeth will have a son in their old age – a son named John. But Zach’s response is more disbelief and skepticism than hope and thanksgiving. He’s basically saying: “That’s impossible – no way – not a chance. Listen, I’m an old man – I’m not even sure this whole thing is really even happening – have you looked at me lately? Have you seen Elizabeth lately? Come on, not a prayer.” And as a result, the angel strikes him mute, effective until the birth of his son.

There is this anti-Zechariah principle – ‘The people poised to receive God’s work generally get the work of God happening in their lives.’ God tends to work miraculously in the lives of people who are open-handed to receive it. But the flip-side is true too. Those who come close-handed and are not ready, God doesn’t waste time putting the gift into their hands. It’s not a punishment, it’s just … you wouldn’t take it if I gave it you. Being skeptical can be costly.

Contrast Zach’s experience with another person in this story … Mary. Same messenger – GABRIEL. Same basic dilemma -- NO BABY. Same basic message – YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A SON. Very different answers.

ZECHARIAH responds with: “Get outta here! ME … have a BABY? No way; can’t
MARY’s approach is very different. She says “How can it be?” But it’s not a response
full of doubt – it’s more like, “Wow! Really?! How is that going to happen?”

Hear the DIFFERENCE? ‘I don’t understand; NO WAY!’ compared to ‘I don’t understand; GO FOR IT!’ Do you HEAR that? God is eager to bless your life – eager to bless your kids – eager to bless your finances – eager to bless your heart – eager to cut the anchor of your past away – eager to help you live free of prejudice and past bitterness and resentment – eager to lavish His love ALL OVER YOU. THAT’S what God wants to do.

Matthew 7 – “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (vs. 11 - NIV)

I don’t need to fully understand all the miracles of God in order to RECEIVE them – and neither do you. We just have to be like Mary and say, “Lord, I’m YOURS – do as You will. God, I’ll receive Your work, even if it doesn’t completely add up.”

WHAT IF … this Christmas … God’s plan was for His ultimate miracle to happen, not just AROUND you … but IN you. So I’m asking – in what areas of your life do you most need a miracle from God? In your marriage ... parenting ... finances ... self-image ... heart? Where do you need the miracle right now?

Thursday, December 20, 2007


OK - it is five days before Christmas and I'm doing some shopping with my youngest daughter, Olivia. She is intensely interested in being outrageously generous in her Christmas shopping for the family. I don't know where she got that tendency. I mean, we're ALL generous, but she takes it to a new level. And it's kind of nice to see, but she would literally spend nearly everything she has - not to mention MY money as well - to get whatever she thinks her sisters and mom and I want for Christmas. I tried to slow her down, but her mind seemed made up. She was going to buy something elaborate and expensive for each person. So, she bought -- wait --- I can't post that news until after Dec. 25th, just in case my wife and other 2 daughters read this. I'll let you know.