A Box of Chocolates

7098_dtEvery year around the holidays my grandmother would purchase Russell Stover boxes of assorted chocolates.  Lots of them.  (Wow, just thinking about this makes my mouth water.)  Anyway, she always had the chocolates out for family and friends who happened to stop by for a visit.

Motivated, of course, to help my grandmother resist these tiny temptations I would eat as many as possible on every visit.  I had actually become so familiar with these delightful sweets that I could identify them by color, shape, swirl, or just looking at the edges.  Of course the very best way to identify them was to  gently press your finger into the bottom of each one.

Those chocolates were amazing!  (I had to beat my sister to the box in order to get the good ones.)  Some of them had soft creamy centers and some had hard candy centers.  Some had peanut butter, some had caramel, and some had toffee.  Some of them even had peanuts, almonds, or walnuts in the center.

Now let’s be honest here. That pretty well describes any local church family.  Some people are hard, some people are soft, and some people are just nuts covered in chocolate!

One of the key strengths of the Church is that we are not all identical.  Why do I say strength?  Because the watching world looks at this local group of drastically different individuals and marvels at our unity and the deep affection we have for one another (see John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 4).

How is this unity amidst such diversity possible?  It is only possibly through the blood of Jesus Christ.  The Apostle Paul said, “For in Him [Jesus Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).

Through the precious blood of Jesus Christ we now share the same heavenly Father (John 1:12-13), the same Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), the same Body (the Church; Ephesians 1:22-23), the same heavenly Destiny (Revelation 21:1–4), and we share the same holy Calling (1 Peter 1:16)!

  • Do you know God’s peace? Romans 3:10-23; 5:8; 6:10-11, 23; 10:9-10, 13
  • If you DO know God’s peace: Romans 12:18; Romans 14:19; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:3; Colossians 3:15; James 3:18
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Ferguson & Friday

8316fdf799cf77f5891fbddc5177c47eIt’s true.  I typically start listening to Christmas music in October.  I start thinking about putting up a tree in early November.  I can’t help it.  This time of the year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with gratitude, great food, a sense of anticipation, deer hunting, gift wrapping, and snow (yes, SNOW) it is my favorite time of the year.

This year, at least for now, I have a heavy heart.  I’m writing this on the eve of Thanksgiving Day.  The past two nights have openly displayed the raw depravity of man’s heart.  How?  Ferguson.

Listen, we in America are conditioned to accept rioting and looting on Thanksgiving weekend.  It’s called “Black Friday.”  You know, that day when people are lured into stores so they can trample anyone and everyone in order to get the stuff you want. (Sorry, I meant to say, “take care of their Christmas list.”)

My heart is heavy watching buildings burn.

My heart is heavy listening to the “race” narrative.

My heart is heavy feeling the simple reality of sin unleashed as it destroys all in its path. (Ferguson or Friday)

In the background Christmas music is playing… “And in despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth,” I said, “For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men.” Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men.”

This world is a mess.  We human beings are a mess.  Why?  Because of our sin (Romans 3:23; 5:12).  If we don’t understand that, then we will not understand this: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11