LOVING THE JOURNEY WITH

Pastor John

Pastor John

One December afternoon a group of parents stood in the lobby of a pre-school waiting to pick up their children on the last day of school before Christmas break. As the youngsters ran from their lockers, each one carried in his or her hands their “holiday surprise,” the brightly wrapped package on which the class had been working for weeks to give to their parents.

One small boy, trying to run, put his coat on, and wave to his parents all at the same time, slipped and fell. His “surprise” flew from his grasp and landed on the tile floor of the school hallway with the sound of a sickening ceramic crash.

The child’s first reaction was one of stunned silence. But then he began to wail—loudly and uncontrollably. His father, trying to downplay the incident and comfort the boy, patted his head and murmured, “Now there, that’s all right. It really doesn’t matter son. It doesn’t matter at all.”

But the boy’s mother dropped to her knees on the floor, swept the boy into her arms and said, “Oh, but it does matter. It matters a great deal. I’m so sorry.” And she wept with her son and helped him pick up the pieces of his broken surprise.

The God who was born in a barn and laid in a manger is not like the parent who dismisses the brokenness of our lives with a pat on the head and shallow assurances that whatever we do doesn’t really matter anyway. But rather, He is one who falls to the earth beside us, takes up residence in our torn and broken world in the body of a fragile human being, and says, “You matter to me. You were not made to live fragmented and fractured lives. You were made to know eternal life with me. I will enter your mess and take your mess on as my own and I will be broken and crushed for you so that you can find wholeness and healing.”

This Sunday we will continue the Christmas Soundtracks series by featuring a classic Christmas song that wistfully longs for a broken relationship that is no more. But the message of the Christ who entered our broken world means that His forever acceptance is greater than any temporary rejection or sorrow or loss that we can experience in this present world. And He doesn’t do so by telling us our losses don’t really matter. Not at all. But He does do it in a surprising way that nobody saw coming and that many still don’t understand. And yet, without the pain Jesus endured on our behalf, there would be no peace on earth.

I hope you join us in person this Sunday at either our Apopka or Lake County campuses, or online at 9:30 or 11:15am.

BTW: if you didn’t hear or watch Pastor Dustin’s message from this past Sunday, click here to do so as soon as you can. It was such a powerful and practical message that helps us hear what God hears and see what God sees during this special time of year.

Loving the Christmas Journey,

Pastor John

Click here to join us online!