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.


Bob Tamasy: Hands, Heads Or Hearts

When you look at people, what do you see? Recently I heard a speaker suggest that our perceptions of people typically lump them into one of three categories: Hands, Heads, or Hearts. Let me explain what this means. When we view people as “hands,” we’re perceiving them as means for getting things done. Not much different than regarding a knife or fork for eating; shovel ... (click for more)

2nd Missionary Baptist Church Celebrates Dr. Reid's 3rd Anniversary

Members of Second Missionary Baptist Church, 2305 E. Third St., will celebrate the third pastoral anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Ernest L. Reid, Jr. on Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 17- 21.    The mid-week service on Wednesday, Oct. 17, will begin at 6 p.m. with fellowship dinner and inspirational words from the Rev. Carlos Williams, pastor, Orchard Knob Baptist Church.  ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC To Build Soccer-Specific Stadium For 2020 Season

Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club is building a state-of-the-art, soccer-specific facility, where the team will host home games beginning in 2020. For its inaugural season, the club will play at Chattanooga Christian School’s David Stanton Field in 2019.   David Stanton Field seats 3,500, and the club plans to install additional temporary seating allowing up to approximately ... (click for more)

Case Against Soddy Daisy High ROTC Instructor Dismissed After Judge Sends Case To Grand Jury

The road rage case against a Soddy Daisy ROTC instructor was dismissed on Wednesday after a judge on Monday had sent the case to the Grand Jury. An order was issued on Wednesday signed by District Attorney Neal Pinkston and attorney Lee Davis that "no billed" the aggravated assault charge against 47-year-old Timothy Lee Hodges. Attorney Davis said, " Following a hearing in ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dear Faux Pelini

It has been my experience that of all the tribes and herds of different people on earth, sports writers are among the funniest people of all. Oh, there isn’t anything real sexy about Villanova beating Georgetown or a baseball player hitting for the cycle. Now, if a player hits a single, double, triple and homer in that order, that’s “a natural cycle,” and that is kind of fun to ... (click for more)