As the year ends, it’s a good time to give to the people and causes that are close to your heart. As you evaluate your contributions, would you consider giving to the work Dawn and I are doing around the world? We are self-funded through Cru and any gift helps us pursue our goal of putting the gospel within arm’s reach of students everywhere.
We are looking forward to developing programs internationally through both study abroad students and in the medical arena in 2016. Your gift will help us pursue those strategies.
If you are so led, you can make a contribution through this link to CRU.
Thank you for considering our work and have a Happy New Year!
Ever wonder why the shepherds, those dudes keeping watch over their flocks at night, were the first people on earth that God chose to tell about the birth of his son? (see Luke 2). Why wasn’t the birth of Jesus announced in Rome, the capital of the empire? Or in Jerusalem, the center of the Jewish faith? Why wasn’t the birth of the coming king announced to the powerful or the mighty, or the well-connected? I suppose you could say it was, in that the Magi, kings from the East, read the stars and came to honor Jesus. But they only got a star, not a declaration by an angelic mob.
The first to get to the manger? Shepherds. Appropriate for a barn, I guess. God chose a group of lowly, smelly guys who made a living by watching animals, to receive the greatest announcement in history, namely that God was born into flesh and the world will never be the same! After mom and dad, the first people to greet Jesus was a group of herdsmen.
This says a few things to me. First, God cares about everyone, rich or poor, powerful or weak, in or out of the right crowd. In fact, God often favors the weak and those outside the mainstream, which gives me pause. Second, God doesn’t tone down the show for the shepherds. He gives a lavish glimpse into heaven, a peek into a terrifying, otherworldly reality. Third, the shepherds run straight to Jesus, and then after meeting him go out and spread the word concerning this magnificent child. They were the first missionaries.
Why shepherds? Well, why not shepherds? God will use shepherds, God will use kings, God will use you and I, if only we’ll let him do so. Enjoy the Christmas holiday and as you gaze out in the night on Christmas Eve watching for Santa, remember those shepherds waiting in the dark as well.
Toward the end of Luke 8, there’s a crazy story about Jesus casting demons out of a man and into a herd of pigs. The demons are named Legion, a name inspiring subsequent horror writers for years. What’s so strange about this story – as if casting demons into a herd of pigs is not strange enough – is that after Jesus heals this man, the people in the region were overcome with fear and ask Jesus to leave. Jesus frightened them.
Jesus was too much for them. Jesus in his true form may be too much for us. Jesus healed people, Jesus cared for people and sometimes, Jesus scared people. I think that these people got a glimpse of the very real power of Jesus. The status quo was upended, normalcy was trampled upon, change was afoot and they freaked. Jesus was simply too much for them.
Jesus can be too much for us, especially if we get a clear glimpse of his power. As we know, many embrace him, while others ask him to leave. Jesus is a gentleman and will leave if asked. Pity those who do so, however. Far better to risk with Jesus than to send him away.
Note the publisher of this well used Bible (click picture to enlarge)
To get the full flavor of an herb, it must be pressed between the fingers, so it is the same with the Scriptures; the more familiar they become, the more they reveal their hidden treasures and yield their indescribable riches.
— John Chrysostom, A.D. 347-407