Wednesday, December 19, 2007

GOD SPECIALIZES IN DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE

This Sunday I will wrap up the four-part series of Christmas messages called "What Is Your Impossible?" I don't know if anyone else learns anything from my preaching, but I know I do. Sometimes Christmas messages can be extra challenging. What can I say that will be fresh? How do I take the Bible's most familiar story and make it come alive for the present?

During the series this year, God has been stretching my faith. We all face situations that seem impossible. But what a great reminder the angel gave Mary and gives to us: "For all things are possible with God" (Luke 1:37).

Did you hear the story of Kyle MacDonald and his red paperclip? He was stuck in a dead-end job and money was extremely tight. Kyle came up with a plan. Starting with one red paperclip, he would trade on the Internet until he exchanged it for a house. Far-fetched, huh? Impossible?

First, he traded the red paperclip for a fish-shaped pen. Then he traded the pen for a doorknob and the doorknob for a Coleman stove. He traded the Coleman stove for an electric generator. He traded the electric generator for a Budweiser sign and a keg of beer (sorry, just the truth), which he traded for a snowmobile. Exactly one year and 14 trades later, he finally reached his goal. He exchanged a part in a Hollywood movie for a home in Saskatchewan, Canada.

This is a true story that is told in his book One Red Paperclip. And, you guessed it, the story is being made into a movie. Fame and fortune--all starting with someone in a dead-end job and one red paperclip.

This story reminds me of the Incarnation of Christ. A tiny, innocent baby born to an ordinary Mary who one day would die on a cross to save people from their sins. God in the flesh. The Savior of the world. The King of all kings. The Lord of all lords. Who would have thought...?

But that's what God does today also. He takes the ordinary and does the impossible. The story of the red paperclip reminds us of the power of the human mind and self-determination. But that's nothing compared to what God can do and wants to do. The Christ of Christmas still works miracles. What is your impossible? Doing the impossible is nothing to God. Surrender your life completely to Him and see what miracles He will do in your life. "For all things are possible with God!"

May God fill your life with a special touch of His power and presence this Christmas season.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

JOURNEY THROUGH 2 CORINTHIANS

Here are some recent gleanings from my read through 2 Corinthians.

  • After reading this letter, it is obvious that church members attacking church leaders is not a new thing.
  • Just like Paul, I need to remember that my ministry is planned by God and that I am on a mission sent by Jesus.
  • Sometimes difficult confrontations must occur in order to preserve the unity of the church.
  • God transfigures our lives as we walk with Him each day.
  • The hard times we go through now are "small potatoes" compared to the lavish blessings we will have one day.
  • Since we all will stand before Christ one day, I must do everything I can to help people be ready on that day.
  • 5:16-21 is one of the most powerful paragraphs in the whole Bible.
  • Jesus died for our sins; our lives have been transformed; and now we must tell others.
  • When we live inside the fence, the result is feelings of insignificance. If I truly want to live, I need to get outside the fence (but, of course, still bound by the teachings of Scripture).
  • We should make a clear break with anything that defiles or distracts us from reaching our God-given potential.
  • 8:9--great evidence that Jesus co-existed with God from the beginning of time. When else would Jesus have been "rich"?
  • Great principle for giving--the more generous I am in giving, the more generous God will be to me.
  • More important than what I think about myself is what God thinks about me.
  • If you think you're going through tough times, just read Paul's story in 11:23-27. No comparison.
  • God's grace is all I ever need to face any trial, temptation, or weakness.
  • I need to do regular spiritual checkups to make sure my faith is solid. Is it? Is it evident that Christ lives in me?

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

REVIEW OF GOING ALL THE WAY







What a great title for a Christian book--Going All the Way. Craig Groeschel was nice enough to send me a copy as long as I'd write a blog about it. Craig leads Lifechurch.tv, one of the most innovative churches in America. I had the privilege of hearing him speak this fall's Catalyst Conference. He is an excellent communicator. And God is using him to reach hundreds and hundreds for Christ.

As far as Going All the Way is concerned, my biggest question is: where was this book when I was in late high school, college, and in my early married years? The book's subtitle is Preparing for a Marriage That Goes the Distance. If you have high schoolers, college students, singles, just marrieds or if you fit into any of these categories, stop reading this blog now and click on the link above and purchase a copy. And in May when you give out graduation gifts, don't give "Chicken Soup for the Graduate". Give a copy of Groeschel's book.

Craig writes in a style that is very readable and very practical. The book is filled with biblical truth and personal stories. And in his typical fashion, he scatters the pages with laugh-out-loud humor.

He goes into great detail explaining why Jesus needs to be number one and your girlfriend/fiancee/wife needs to be number two. In developing a relationship with the opposite sex, he uses the analogy of the gears of an automobile to talk about the first gear of friendship to the fifth gear of marriage. He pulls no punches in talking straight about the sexual relationship.

To give you a glimpse of how practical this book is, he gives a checklist for signs of a bad relationship: your friends and parents are opposed to the relationship, your boyfriend/girlfriend has a bad relationship with his/her parents, he/she is running from God, etc. I can think back on all three of my sons and wish that I had this checklist to open their eyes with some of their relationships.

Bottom line--great book. For preachers needing good resources when preaching on dating and marriage this is a great read. For parents of high schoolers and college students, put this book in their hands today. For high schoolers, college students, and single adults, reduce your eating out one time this week and go buy the book. And, Craig, I'm always open for free books.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."