Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Santa Claus and Jesus

Santa Claus and Jesus

Recently we have been reading Larry Crabb's "The Pressure's Off". As we read this evening a particular point struck us. The book deals with living the "new way" instead of the "old way". The old way being, if we do this, then God will respond by doing that. The new way being that we live our lives knowing and experiencing Christ. God's blessing upon us is not dependant upon what we do or do not do.

The point that hit us was this: We want the blessings of a better life more than we desire to draw near to Jesus. We approach Him the way a child approaches a weary Santa Claus in the mall, who for the hundredth time asks, "What do you want for Christmas?" I wager no child has ever pressed close to Santa's chest, looked up into his eyes, and said, "You! I want only you." No child believes having Santa join him for dinner could bring more joy than watching Santa stack presents beneath the tree. Our problem is unbelief in what can be called His "Immanuel Agenda," the relentless obsession He has for forming a family to gather at His dinner table, with Himself at the head and each of us thrilled to be there.

In our lives, we seem to so frequently run to God with our list of things we want (blessings) rather than run to Him to be with Him. In living the "old way", the pressure is there to live up to the standards that we can't live up to to begin with. We continually fail. We continually get more and more frustrated as we seemingly do the right things and yet the right things don't happen in return. That is the "old way".

In the "new way", the pressure is off. We need to live our lives running to be with Him. He will choose how and when to bless us, which is not based upon strategies or principles in this Earthly world. Our responsiblity is to know and experience God. As Larry Crabb ended the chapter we just read "...the pressure's off; the New Way is available. 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.'"

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ending and Starting with IMPACT

Volume 2, Issue 1
Ending and Starting with IMPACT

2007 is here! The last two weeks have been crazily busy for us as it may have been for you too! We celebrated Christmas split between the Lehman and Rebholz families. Christmas Night, 12 of the Keynote staff traveled in a caravan to serve at the IMPACT National Christmas conference held in Atlanta, Georgia.

Keynote’s vision incorporates partnerships. One of Keynote’s partnerships is with the Impact Movement. Keynote served as a resource during the conference by: running video cameras, helping with the programming, providing sound and lighting equipment and served as liaisons for concert artists.

You might be wondering what is IMPACT ? Let us explain. The Impact Movement is “a movement of evangelism and discipleship, and exists to mobilize African American leaders to reach the lost and build believers on campuses, in our community, in Africa and the Diaspora.” (taken from impactmovement.com)

This national conference occurs every 2 years. Mike served at it in 2004 when it was in Washington, D.C. The Impact Movement began as a conference in 1991. It is now a movement reaching thousands of African American college students. Many of the speakers have been students attending the conference in years past.

The Impact music summer project bands Soul Seed and Infinite Impact that were formed as a result of Keynote’s partnership performed New Years Eve. Keynote’s very own artist Rahlo (Mike Porter) was the Emcee for the Gallery Ballroom during the conference.

One of the activities during this conference was the Day of Outreach. The students were divided into groups and shuttled out into the community to share the message of Jesus. Here are the results: 2,142 people exposed to the Gospel message, 286 accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, 116 rededicated their lives to Christ.

Personally- It was an incredible experience yet taxing for both of us. Late nights, little sleep, long hours, loud music, talented musical artist, Godly speakers, personal spiritual growth, and applying flexibility. If the opportunity comes again we’d go!

God’s free forgiving love is the sole source of salvation.
- Gerhardus Vos