We’re counting down the days till Christmas. In addition to the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus and enjoy time with family and friends, Christmas serves as a reminder of some important things. For example, Christmas reminds us of the great price God paid to rescue us from the penalty of our sin. It remains a source of wonderful joy and encouragement to me that God would love me enough to take on human flesh, experience life in my world, including the hardness of the human heart, and still willingly go to the cross for my sin and the sin of the whole world.
Some people say that if there were only person on the planet in need of salvation, Jesus still would have gone through all that for that one person. While this is certainly true, it concerns me that this truth can breed arrogance in the hearts of some. It can cause us to think more of ourselves than we should and make us think there must be something special about us compared to others. In reality, nothing is further from the truth. While it is true that Jesus would have paid that heavy price for only one lost sinner, that reality should produce in us a deep humility. After all, it tells us just how serious our condition was and how desperate our need was. The truth of God’s love for each of us should cause us each to understand that we each were responsible for the horrific suffering of Jesus. He bore all that for me, and each one of us. The suffering of Jesus was complete for each and every one of us. This is the stuff of humility, not arrogance.
Christmas also serves as a reminder that the year is nearly over. It forces us to look back and consider how well we have used the time. I must say that as I look back on this past year of service to our churches in Montana, I feel like we have used the time well. Most of our churches are in a very good place. There is a spirit of excitement and anticipation across the state and our churches are focused on their calling. I believe we are ready for God to do a great work through Montana Southern Baptists. I’d say whatever role the MTSBC, and me personally, has had in helping us get to this point was a good use of our time and energy.
Not only does Christmas cause us to look back, it also causes us to look forward. It serves as a reminder that a new year lies just ahead. I am especially excited about that. In October, our churches voted in overwhelming numbers to begin a new three-year initiative called Go Montana. Go Montana is all about church mobilization. It asks each church what new work you believe God would have you begin. Through Go Montana, the MTSBC will come alongside each church and assist it with resources and expertise to the best of our ability to accomplish that new calling from God. We won’t be telling any church what to do or what we’ll do for them. We will be asking our churches how we can serve them in their calling to win the lost and make disciples. This will likely be something unique for each church. It really excites me to see what God will do as we unleash our innovative spirit.
Finally, Christmas reminds us that even in the bleakest of times, there is still hope. God remains on His throne. He is the Great Sovereign, Who wills things and makes them so. We shouldn’t miss the fact that we celebrate Christmas in the winter, when the ground is frozen, the leaves are off the trees, and the sky is grey. But that is only temporary. Spring is coming. Similarly, Christmas reminds me that it may be winter in the human soul for many today, but God is still at work. He is unfolding a great plan of human redemption. That plan made great strides to its completion 2,000 years ago at the birth of Jesus. And today, we are reminded that things only appear bleak. As Spring follows winter,so God makes all things new in the heart yielded to Him in Jesus.
So, my friends, I wish you a Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years. It’s going to be great!