Matthew R. Perry

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Speaking at EKU’s Campus Outreach Tonight — Please Pray

In Christmas, Church Life, Evangelism on December 11, 2008 at 4:19 pm

I’m speaking tonight at EKU’s Christmas Outreach at 7:30. The theme is “Don’t Miss This Christmas” with the idea of not missing the true meaning. It will take place in the Student Services Building which seats between 500-600 people. Campus Crusade for Christ (hereafter, “CRU”) invited not only students but also faculty.

I ask for prayers for God to speak and just use me as His vessel. I’ll preach from John 1:14, which is the Christmas message in a nutshell, don’t you think?  I’m thankful to God for Adam Dixon, director of the EKU CRU for the opportunity.  I’m excited–but I want God to be glorified through His Word.
I’d appreciate your prayers.

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Santa Christ?

In Christmas on December 1, 2008 at 11:47 am

Tim Challies excerpted a portion of Sinclair Ferguson’s wonderful article on “Santa Claus Christianity” which is found in his book “In Christ Alone.” Here is an excerpt:

I took the hand of my toddler son (it was several decades ago now) as we made our way into the local shop on the small and remote Scottish island where earlier that year I had been installed as minister. It was Christmas week. The store was brightly decorated and a general air of excitement was abroad.

Without warning, the conversations of the customers were brought to a halt by a questioning voice from beside me. My son’s upraised index finger pointed at a large cardboard Santa Claus. “Daddy, who is that funny-looking man?” he asked.

Amazement spread across the faces of the jostling shoppers; accusing glances were directed at me. Such shame–the minister’s son did not even recognize Santa Claus! What likelihood, then, of hearing good news in his preaching at the festive season?

It is always easier to lament and critique the new paganism of secularism’s blatant idolatry than to see how easily the church — and we ourselves — twist or dilute the message of the incarnation in order to suit our own tastes. But, sadly, we have various ways of turning the Savior into a kind of Santa Claus.

For the Christian, this is easy to let happen. I listen to a local station here that has started playing Christmas songs 24-hours a day. I am saddened by how many of those songs are about Santa or the weather or the jingling of bells while riding on a sleigh. It brings out some great sentimentality, but it does not really cut to the root of why this season is so special.

I hope you will take time to read this very insightful article.

American Consumerism Turns At Its Worst

In Christmas on November 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm

By now, you may have heard of a 34-year-old Long Island Wal-Mart worker who was killed during the blackest of Black Fridays.

The 34-year-old worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. “They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too…I literally had to fight people off my back.”

The unidentified victim was rushed to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m., police said.

This breaks my heart for a number of reasons.

One, a man lost his life. The fleeting nature of our lives is one thing, but to die in this way is agonizingly brutal.

Two, a man lost his life while people were shopping for Christmas presents!! On a day when, like it or not, we honor the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, a man is trampled to death to find toys and products that will eventually wear out or burn out. On a day when we remember the selfless sacrifice of the Son of God gave up His home with His Father in glory to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21), the loss of life as a result of the selfishness and callousness of consumers simply trying to get a deal is a low point. This is American consumerism at its worst.

Three, a man lost his life while people were shopping for Christmas presents, and only a few stopped to check on him. The article notes that this man was gasping for air, yet people walked over him and around him.

Four, the way the economy is right now, many toy stores and other department stores are giving Black Friday-like deals and have been for almost a month! This Black Friday business has just turned into a shopping tradition. It’s the thing to do the day after Thanksgiving. If some of these shoppers had been looking in the previous weeks, they would see that getting up at 2 A.M. and working themselves into a consumeristic, frothy frenzy would not be worth it.

Fifth, this should be a wake-up call for America. Some of you are saying, “OK, now. You’re overstating things.” Am I?

  • In a culture whose citizenry simply thinks about their own rights, their own conveniences, their own ends-justifies-the-means mentality, more and more events like this will happen.
  • In a world that embraces Darwin’s survival of the fittest, who believe that this world is all there is, with no God to inform and direct their moral and spiritual center, this is the natural and logical outworking of that worldview.
  • In a world where one is defined not by who he or she is but by what he or she owns, we should not be surprised that this happened.

May God have mercy on us — and may His people not be caught up in the current of the times.

Matthew 1:18-25:

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  [19] And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.  [20] But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  [21] She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  [22] All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
 
    [23] “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
        and they shall call his name Immanuel”

    (which means, God with us).  [24] When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,  [25] but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.