Posts Tagged ‘orlando’

Five reasons not to let misguided spirituality keep you from the wonder of Christmas

Has misguided spirituality stolen the gift of Christmas from you and your family?

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My family and I live in Christmas ground zero—Branson, Missouri. The glory and wonder of the Christmas season in this tourist destination starts mid-October, successfully washing out the darkness of Halloween, and ignites the entire region in red and green. As I gaze through the window at Branson’s downtown Starbucks, where I’m writing this article, I can see a massive Christmas tree at Branson Landing on the shores of Lake Taneycomo and a huge crowd of people, many in their pajamas, at the Branson Scenic Railway depot waiting to board The Polar Express. The joy of Christmas has arrived!

We absolutely love viewing the 6.5 million lights at Silver Dollar City, one of the nation’s premier Christmas destinations. Holiday stage shows are numerous along Highway 76. Christmas lake cruises, drive through trails of lights, carriage rides and much more help make experiencing Branson one of the nation’s very best Christmas family traditions.

I can’t imagine not fully immersed in the wonder of Christmas—yet many Christians have decided to eliminate Christmas from their lives. Humbug!

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I applaud Christians who want to live pure, holy lives, but eliminating Christmas is not the way to do that. Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year as we exalt Jesus and enjoy family in ways that cannot happen at any other time, in any other way! I’m absolutely convinced Jesus loves it when we have fun, laugh, enjoy each other and rejoice!

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
With the kids jingle belling,
and everyone telling you,
"Be of good cheer,"
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
There'll be much mistletoeing
and hearts will be glowing,
when loved ones are near.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

FIVE REASONS why we’ve decided to celebrate Christmas with abandon:

1. JESUS

Amy, one of my boys, Parker, and I just returned from Orlando, including a day each at The Magic Kingdom and Sea World. Both places, most probably for the only time all year, exalted Jesus through music and productions. I was excited to hear songs like “O Come Let Us Adore Him” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” joyfully playing as I waited for my (way too big) ice cream sundae in the Main Street ice cream parlor at the Magic Kingdom. I was even more excited to see a living nativity called “O Wondrous Night” being produced at Sea World! Of course, Silver Dollar City here in Branson is unashamedly Christian based. Their mission statement declares that all they do is done “in a Manner Consistent with Christian Values and Ethics.” The majesty of Jesus and his birth are proclaimed throughout the park. In fact, in their epic Christmas production, Dicken’s Christmas Carol, Scrooge has a powerful, tear inducing salvation moment that was the actual cause of his reborn heart.

You simply cannot escape the truth that Christmas exalts the King! Do many (most) people ignore this and focus on less spiritual Christmas experiences? Yes. However, even as they do, the name of the Savior of the world is proclaimed every time they mutter the word CHRISTmas. They can’t escape the Christmas music that proclaims the love of Jesus or the spirit of giving that Jesus best exemplifies.

Most Christians who argue against celebrating Christmas do so because of supposed pagan roots or because they have determined that it’s “not really about Jesus,” and should therefore be avoided.

First, Christmas is overwhelming about Jesus! However, that being said, if Jesus had to be the subject of everything we celebrate, we’d have to eliminate birthday parties, watching fireworks on July 4th, Veteran's Day, New Year’s Day and most other holidays and special events. Wedding parties would cease. So would graduation parties and other celebrations.

Second, unlike Halloween which is still very much a pagan, demonic celebration that should be avoided by every Believer, Christmas is currently a glorious celebration of Jesus, life and family.

We pay attention to current status, not origins. Anything can be redeemed. The current status of Halloween is a world-wide celebration of Satan. The current status of Christmas is a world-wide celebration of Jesus!

Additionally, if we eliminated everything from our lives that had pagan origins, we’d have a hard time functioning.

Did you know that the following have pagan origins?

  • Wedding rings
  • Wedding ceremonies
  • Funerals
  • New Year’s/New Year’s Eve
  • Statues of people and animals
  • Money has pagan designs on it
  • The days of the week
  • The months of the year
  • Eye makeup
  • Wind chimes
  • Saying “Amen”
  • Baby showers
  • Making your bed
  • Birthdays

In the first-century Church, gentile Christians were told to avoid meat that had been sacrificed to pagan idols (Acts 15:29). However, Paul told the Corinthians that they could eat meat sold in the public market even though that meat may have been sacrificed to an idol (1 Cor. 10:25). He told them not to eat in the pagan temple. In other words, he told them to avoid blatant paganism, but they did not have to superstitiously avoid everything that paganism might have touched at some time in the past. ~gci.org

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

2. FAMILY & MEMORIES

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I’m 49 years old, and I still have a hard time falling asleep on Christmas Eve! I remember the Christmas mornings that my parents made so exciting and special in the 1970’s and 80’s. We’d go to sleep with nothing under the tree…and then magic happened. When we woke up several hours earlier than normal, a bright light from an archaic movie camera blinded our eyes as we walked down the hallway from our bedrooms toward the living room. As our pupils adjusted to the light, we would witness what happened over night. Presents wrapped in black and white newspaper (to save money for gifts) filled the room!

I’ll never forget the disk drive I got for my Commodore 64. My parents were Christmas geniuses. The hour or so of unwrapping gifts, one at a time, led to one final, climactic moment when my brother and I excitedly and nervously wondered if we would get what we had hoped for. The adrenaline was pumping. The mystery was almost too much to bear! As I unwrapped that final newspaper covered present, my eyes popped open wide as I saw it. I got my disk drive!

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Both of my parents are with Jesus now, and that disk drive is long gone. However, the memories that I have will live forever. I could share story after story from my childhood to current times that are so special to me. Spending time with Amy and the kids looking at Christmas lights or visiting Christmas villages and festivals, hustling and bustling at shopping malls and enjoying holiday attractions is precious beyond compare.

In fact, I’ll never forget the time, just a handful of years ago, my mom and dad filled their living room with presents, mostly for our kids. Skylar and Parker had wanted a Nintendo Wii, but Amy and I weren’t in a position to spend that kind of money that year. The last gift the kids opened resulted in jumping and screaming for what seemed like forever. They got their Wii. They played it all day. Grampy, dressed in his mismatched pajama bottoms and green T-shirt, spent some quality time bowling on the Wii with the boys. It was funny. I’ll never forget it.

My dad died shortly after that. That memory still causes a tear or two to this day.

Oh, there’s no place like
home for the holidays,
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
When you pine for the sunshine
Of a friendly face
For the holidays, you can’t beat
Home, sweet home

3. SANTA CLAUSE & GIFTS

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I’ll never apologize for loving gifts! I have so much fun buying gifts for Amy and the kids each year. I love receiving gifts too! I make out my list and email it to Amy early every November—and then modify it several times! It doesn’t mean I’m carnal or materialistic. It’s my love language. Some of you need to be delivered from condemnation that others have heaped upon you for enjoying gifts. Did the Wise Men not bring gifts to Jesus?

Celebrate the spirit of Saint Nick who selflessly gave. Amy and I share the truth about Santa with the kids so there’s no confusion there, and then we all celebrate the season with passion!

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships. (http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/)

There’s just something about the process of hunting for the perfect gift for the ones you love, finding the right size and color, sneaking it home, wrapping it behind locked doors and placing it in the perfect spot under the tree.

There’s also the excitement that I talked about in the last point. Gathering around the tree to take turns opening presents is an experience that can’t be duplicated any other day of the year. When I unwrap something from one of my little ones, no matter if it’s homemade or something from the dollar store, I come alive inside! The same is true for every other gift someone gives me, or for every gift I get to watch someone else open.

It’s the perfect opportunity to become childlike, to stop “adulting” for a while and just have fun!

After the gifts have been opened, the rest of Christmas Day is spent playing with new toys, playing new games, eating Christmas dinner and enjoying new things in a room littered with torn wrapping paper, boxes and glorious chaos!

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
So, to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

4. MUSIC, FOOD AND FUN

Is there anything better than a fire in the fireplace as Christmas music fills the room? Or, watching Rudolph on TV as a family for the hundredth time? Amy’s birthday is in November, and this year I bought her tickets to two stage productions: Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Story Musical. We’ll have a wonderful dinner each of those two nights, and then head out to the show for a couple hours of Christmas fun!

Again, I’m growing older, but I am often the first one in our family to start watching the old Christmas shows on TV. I’ll go to sleep with Christmas worship playing in the bedroom. Compared to the rest of the year, it’s nice that so much of the entertainment the world is offering is clean, family friendly and wholesome. Christmas does that.

Rudolf, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolf
play in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolf with your nose so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee:
“Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer,
you'll go down in history!”

5. JOY AND PEACE

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As the wickedness of Halloween dissipates in the atmosphere, the Christmas season slows things down and just permeates the atmosphere with peace and joy. It gets dark sooner, it’s crisp outside, the snow starts falling and life just gets a little quieter. As the anticipation of Christmas morning is before us all, we don’t have to wait to experience all that Christmas has to offer. We can bundle up and walk through the snow or drive through the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights and decorations. We’ll put up the tree, hang the ornaments and relax as a family.

It’s no wonder that joy and peace come with the Christmas season. After thousands of years of hopelessness, a little baby was born in a stable in Bethlehem. He brought peace to the storm and joy to the world. He changed my life. I celebrate him on Christmas. The joy and peace in my heart are his gift to me.

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!

Amy, the kids and I pray that you and yours have a truly wonderful, love-filled, joyous and peaceful Christmas. Enjoy your family, create memories and become childlike in this beautiful, wondrous season!

A New American Revolution: #DALLASSTRONG, #ORLANDOSTRONG, #BATONROUGESTRONG?

When we admit we are weak, then we will discover the Strength of the nations.

I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. Isaiah 13:11 (NIV)

It’s an indictment on our nation when we puff up our chest in the face of our enemies and make trite, inaccurate statements about our supposed strength. American pride is finally coming back to haunt us. Our haughty, arrogant spirit has opened the gates of our nation to our enemies.

#orlandstrong

#dallasstrong

#batonrougestrong

No, America, we are not strong, and we need to finally admit it. Without a radical devotion to Jesus, we have no hope.

A NEW AMERICAN REVOLUTION

We need our President to humble himself, to admit our extreme vulnerability without God and to lead the nation in cries of repentance. Pastors, do the same. Nothing less than a new American Revolution will stop our downward spiral as a nation.

Except, this time we aren’t fighting for our independence. We must humbly repent of our pride, arrogance and self-sufficiency.

Instead of overthrowing the authority of the British monarchy, we must submit to the authority of the Kingdom of God.

If we understand the nature of God, realization of our weakness is very good news for us—if we repent, cry out to God as a nation and surrender to the King.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Hebrews 11:32-34 (ESV)

American can become strong out of weakness and put ISIS, cop killers, terrorists and foreign armies to flight—if we turn to God.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

PROTESTS VS. REPENTANCE & FORGIVENESS

We Forgive the PoliceWhat if, instead of protests and attempting to force an agenda, we simply forgave?

What if we hit our knees and admitted how dark our own hearts can be?

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 (ESV)

God knows the depths of our heart and we are being tested as a nation.

Will we humble ourselves or rise up in anger and pride? The answer to that question will determine the direction of our nation.

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 (ESV)

We have to embrace meekness as a people—if we want our nation to be safe and favored again.

PRAYER FOR OUR NATION IS NOT ENOUGH.

It’s laughable when celebrities and politicians tweet and post about prayers being given during times of crisis. Are they really praying? To whom? Is the spirit of prayer really driving them, or is it something else?

Maybe if we didn’t wait for tragedy to hit before a national movement of prayer launches, we would find the protection and prosperity we so desire.

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (ESV)

Prayer isn’t enough.

Per the above passage in 1 Chronicles 7, the prescription for national safety is more involved than simply tweeting a prayer. It will truly take a new American Revolution to see a response like this on a large scale level:

  1. HUMILITY—We are nothing without God. This is why it’s so critical to elect politicians who are meek. Proud, arrogant people give hope in the natural, but spiritually they are a serious liability.
  2. PRAY—Prayer movements must erupt from coast to coast. Never ending, heart rending intercession must launch now.
  3. SEEK—God is calling us into his presence! A holy people running after and encountering God as a lifestyle is a must.
  4. TURN—The vile wickedness in our nation, and in so much of our church, is a stench in the nostrils of God. Repentance has to begin, and when it does, God will finally forgive our sin and hear our prayer!

 

Then, and only then, will God begin the process of healing America.

I’d say a revolution like this is well worth it.

Let’s do this America. Let’s see our great land become safe, free and prosperous again.

Corry Robinson TONIGHT at Revival Church

Expect a piercing prophetic message of revival by Corry Robinson TONIGHT at Revival Church!

imageCorry Robinson was with Pastor Joe Sazyc this morning and I received the following texts:

“Brother, I’m BURNING! Something’s gonna happen tonight!”

“Prophetic exploding! Bodies all over the floor.”

“I’m telling you. There is something powerful and REAL about this guy!”

Burning intercession begins at 5pm tonight and the night of fire begins at 6pm!

Check this out from Corry:

We are entering a time of true demarcation! Those who don’t really know Jesus from the place of intimacy will EXHAUST THEMSELVES with worthless attempts of self glorification. They may have big building programs and big MEDIA HYPE and big crowds; but at the end of the day, their works will be counted as ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the Presence of the ONLY ONE WORTHY of all those things. And the world will know the difference: those who will settle for hype will have NO SUBSTANCE, while those who are wholehearted will have THE NAME OF GOD written on their assemblies-the Name that carries more weight than anything in the UNIVERSE!!! I said all of that to say to those who embrace the life of simplistic wholeheartedness,  ”Continue to embrace the place of obscurity; and at the right time, THE LORD HIMSELF will raise you up-AND YOU WON’T HAVE TO SPEND MILLIONS FOR HIM TO DO IT! Just continue to spend your time wisely!

Corry is the founder of FireBrand Worship, a music ministry that emphasizes passionate, wholehearted devotion to Jesus Christ particularly through music. He has been referenced by some as one who ‘releases the trumpet sound of the Lord’ through spontaneous prophetic worship. Corry also founded the Orlando Night Of Worship (Orlando N.O.W.!), which seeks to gather worship leaders, intercessors, singers and musicians in the Central Florida area for monthly 8-hour ‘nightwatch’ gatherings that focus on cultivating intimate worship and intercession, and to equip individuals through teaching on intimacy with Jesus. Corry has a deep burden to see God raise up Nazarites out of the inner-cities to become burning and shining lamps, who will stand and hear the voice of the Lord, and herald the message of the Coming Bridegroom God.
Corry has served as a worship leader in a local church since 1998. He and his wife Lakisha live in Orlando, Florida.

CORRY ROBINSON AT THECALL

Here’s a video of Corry praying at TheCall Detroit: http://youtu.be/K2KDh5spVOc 

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