Steve Ellison: Give Yourself A Present

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - by Steve Ellison

This time of year is a special, magical time.  The pleasures of Thanksgiving are still fresh on our minds.  The anticipation of Christmas joy looms large on the horizon.  Most of us are inclined to be kinder and gentler than we are much of the rest of the year.  We are more inclined to be tolerant of other people, thus more disposed to choose to be happy.  Benevolent organizations work throughout the year with the goal of being able to pour out blessings during the Christmas season, thus fewer people are ill-fed and ill-clothed during this season.

  All of this is wonderful and good; however, it is of little long term consequence.  I speak not of the need for kindness, benevolence, and tolerance throughout the year, though that would be nice.  Rather, I speak of the need for Christ to be formed in you for eternal consequence.

 

We must not lose track of Jesus being the Reason for the Season.  We must not miss the eternal purpose in His coming to earth as a man.  We must not fail to realize the consequences of His birth.  He was not born just to be born; He was born to die.  He did not die just to die; He died to be resurrected.  And these are not all.  He was also born to live.  Christmas is important. Good Friday is important. Easter is important.  However, His life was just as important. Colossians 1:27 tells me that the mystery revealed in the New Testament is that “Christ in me is the hope of glory”.  Galatians 2:20 tells me “it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me”.  Christ died in my place; He also lived in my place.  Jesus was sent as the representative man to replace the first representative man, Adam.  He was a substitute for you and for me in death but also in life.  Everything the man Jesus did was significant.  His birth, death, and resurrection were important but so were His circumcision, baptism, temptation, loving, forgiving, obeying, ministering, foot washing, interceding, transfiguration, Gethsemane experience, suffering, etc.   Everything that Christ did was so that we would not have to.  Surely we attempt to follow in His footsteps, and so we should.  However, our attempts to mimic Him are poor attempts indeed.  We would be helpless and hopeless if our salvation, our abundant life, were dependent upon our efforts. 

 

The birth of Christ at Bethlehem is a fantastic miracle.  The birth of Christ in your heart and mine is a greater miracle.  Paul told us in Galatians 4:19 that he was in labor until “Christ was formed in us”.   As we read the gospels, tracing the life of Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee and Judah, we would do well to trace the life of Jesus in our own hearts.  As He is progressively formed in us, we learn the truth of John the Baptist’s declaration: we decrease as He increases.  Our living doesn’t become easier; it becomes less.  We begin to learn the truth of “it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me”.  This is not ivory tower theology only for intellectual argument.  This is real world stuff for real people.  As Christ is birthed in our hearts and grows to maturity there, He gradually and progressively takes over every aspect of our lives.  We, who apart from Him can do nothing, no thing at all, eventually learn what it means to rest in Christ, allowing Him to live in our place.   The Christian life is not meant to be a misery filled struggle; the Christian life is meant to be a joy filled resting.  This Christmas, give yourself a present; give way to Christ, allowing Him to live in you, through you, for you.



The Union To Host Worship Night On April 30

The Union Praise Team and worship leaders across Chattanooga invite the public to join them for prayer and worship on Monday, April 30 at Worship Night. Worship Night will be held from 7-9 p.m. at Chattanooga House of Prayer, 3912 Dayton Blvd. in Red Bank.  Individuals and families are invited to attend.  For more information about The Union or to learn about ... (click for more)

Multi-Faith Panel: Raising Children In Chattanooga Is Sunday

Creative Discovery Museum is hosting its first Multi-faith Panel: Raising Children in Chattanooga.  This panel is designed for parents, teachers and other interested adults and teens. Participants are invited to come for pizza before the program. Museum staff will provide childcare and facilitated activities for children ages 3-11.  The event is free and open to ... (click for more)

Walker Sentenced To 4 Years In State Prison For Tragic Woodmore Bus Wreck

Johnthony Walker was sentenced to four years in state prison on Tuesday in connection with a school bus crash that claimed six lives and injured 22 other Woodmore Elementary students. Judge Don Poole declined to run any of the sentences consecutively, while finding that the 25-year- old Walker was not a "dangerous offender." Walker has already served almost a year of the sentence ... (click for more)

City Of Chattanooga Calls On Salvation Army To Open Overnight Shelter For Individuals Displaced From Brownfield Property

This past weekend, The Salvation Army was called upon by the City of Chattanooga to extend shelter for those displaced from the encampment that was forced to close on 11 th Street due to hazardous living conditions. “We are continuing to stay in contact with those displaced from the contaminated site and are working to get them into more permanent housing,” said Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Set Up A Council On Love, Not A Council On Hate - And Response

In Mayor Berke's April 19 version of the Berke Bulletin, he announced plans to establish a Council on Hate and indicated a focus on tolerance. I beg of him to reconsider that plan. One problem in Chattanooga and in other places in America is that there are some people who have already established an informal version of a Council on Hate. I suggest that a more productive plan ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Corker And ‘The Code’

Of all the vows, pledges, and bonds born unto the human race, nothing overrides “The Code.” It is an unwritten but deeply important knowledge that men should abide with equal respect, fierce loyalty, and chivalrous understanding of one another. For example, The Code dictates you must not and can never date a good friend’s ex-girlfriend, or ex-wife. Rather, you respect your friend ... (click for more)