Monday, November 5, 2018

Party On!

I don't know if you have ever studied the festivals of the Jewish faith.  I had friends in Florida who gave far too much relevance to them and they were under the impression that Jesus would somehow reinstate the old Jewish system when He was in charge.  While I would never go close to that far, there is a part of the festival mentality that I would love to see us retain/address.  That is the idea of "party."

The Jews never needed much reason to party.  If you read the stories in Scripture you will see a multitude of festivals intertwining the Gospels.  The same is true in the Old Testament.  And we all remember the return of the prodigal son when the father did what was natural in the Jewish culture ... he threw a party!

John Ortburg's book,  The Life You Always Wanted , describes both Spiritual Disciplines and how those disciplines manifest themselves in abundant life for Christians.  Over the past 2 weeks we have talked about starting the journey to spiritual discipline and realizing that our journey may make us look peculiar to everyone else.  This week we will address a spiritual discipline that I have not been very good at celebrating.  That is the discipline of celebration.

In The Message Philippians 4:4-5 says, "Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!" Paul is both right and asking us to do something very healthy to our faith, our attitudes and our lives.  He says to revel in God ... be immersed in Him ... dive into life with Him ... take God in completely!

When I read Paul's words here I think about our plans for the Christmas season.  We will have a tree-lighting party on November 28th ... mark the date and come to the party!  We will have several community music events including special musicians at AUMC and our own Cantata on December 2nd (11am) ... please make plans to come party!  On December the 5th (our last Wednesday night meal and Bible Study for 2018) we will have a Christmas party to celebrate the Salvation brought to each of us by Jesus Christ.  On Christmas Eve (December 24th) we will enjoy both come-and-go Communion and a Candlelight Communion Service.  It will be a beautiful party all about the birth of our Savior!

I hope you will embrace the attitude of celebration and the altitude of joy.  For joy lifts us above our cares and worries and allows us to have perspective about life (James 1:2-3).  Joy gives us strength (Nehemiah 8:10)! And joy brings hope in times when hope is needed and scarce (Romans 15:13).  And joy is a party, holy to our Lord (Isaiah 12:6).  Party on!  Randy

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