JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the true meaning of Christmas?”
There are many possible influences that can take our attention away from the true meaning. Too much activity can lead to stress during the holiday season. Too much shopping can lead us to debt after the holiday season.
The true meaning of Christmas is marked by a special, sacred gift that came from heaven to earth about 2,000 years ago-a child born in a manger who was born to save God’s people from their sins.
The true meaning of Christmas can be found in the proclamation of the angel to the shepherds when Jesus was born. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
This focus point will make our celebration of Christmas meaningful during this holiday season in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the Incarnation.
This is a term that means “the act of being made flesh.” This term applies to Jesus in the sense that He came from heaven to become a man. The Incarnation of Christ refers to His humanity. At the same time, Jesus retained His deity in human form.
Speaking of Jesus, John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The meaning of the Incarnation to our lives is that God has come near to where we are. We know He can identify with the experience of being human, because He shared those experiences with us, except that He never sinned. He experienced hunger, pain, sorrow, anger, anguish, and joy. He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.
Josh McDowell says, “The Incarnation is Jesus’ way of saying, ‘I understand.’”
The Incarnation is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “How can I celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way this year?”
The noise, shopping lists, and busy schedules can cause us to lose the joy during the Holiday season. Here are some words to add meaning to our celebration of Christ’s birth.
The most important action word is to “Receive” the gift that God has offered. Jesus is God’s greatest gift to the world. Being receptive to this gift makes all the difference in having a meaningful celebration.
Another word to bring focus into the Holiday season is “Remember.” Take time to read about Christ’s birth in the Bible. Reflect on why Jesus came, and the miracle of His love.
The third word is “Recognize.” This involves coming to terms with the worth of Jesus’ birth. Ephesians 1:7 says about Jesus, “In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
If we receive, remember and recognize God’s greatest gift, our hearts will be filled with praise for God who provided what we need most in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the relevance of the Gospel for every generation.
There is no generation in history, present, or future that can say they do not need the Lord. Jesus is the worthy Savior who came for all people in all generations of history. This is why we have the calling to pass along the Gospel to the next generation-to make His salvation known to future generations. His righteousness is what we all need, and His righteousness is applied to those who trust Jesus for salvation.
Psalm 22, verse 30b and 31 says, “Future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!”
Methods of presenting the Gospel may change over time, but the actual message remains the same, and is changing lives daily from the inside out.
The relevance of the Gospel for every generation is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “How can I evangelize my friends and family without turning them away from the Gospel?”
The Bible calls Christians “ambassadors for Christ.” It is good to remember that we are on a peace mission to proclaim the message of reconciliation through Jesus.
Before talking about God to our unsaved loved ones, we are wise to talk to God about our unsaved loved ones. Pray for them. Let God prepare the way through prayer.
Another thing to remember is treating our loved ones with dignity, not as a project. As we share the reason for our hope, First Peter 3:15 tells us to do this with gentleness and respect.
One of the best things we can do is live out the Gospel with integrity. Jesus tells believers to let our light shine before others that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.
Prayer, respect, hope, and living the Christian life are some effective ways to evangelize loved ones without turning them away from the Gospel in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK-In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the witness of Moses.
Jesus said to His skeptics in John 5:46, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.”
Where did Moses write about Jesus? The place is Deuteronomy 18:15, where Moses said, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” This was not something that Moses came up with by himself. God revealed it to him. In verse 18, Moses said that the LORD told him, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.”
By the words of Moses, we see that the words of Jesus have divine origin. The words of Jesus are worth our full attention and acceptance.
The witness of Moses concerning Jesus is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is the Fall Foliage.
The many different colors of leaves on the trees reveal God’s creativity and appreciation for beauty. They are too numerous to count.
The Architect behind the leaves is also the Maker of each person on this planet. We have our own unique personality and characteristics.
We are here for a season in the realm of human history. While we remain, we are meant to reflect God’s glory and reveal His beauty on the earth. Beyond this life, those who are faithful to Jesus will be carried away to join the family of God around heaven’s throne.
The writer of Revelation 7:9 wrote, “After this, I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”
The Fall Foliage reminds us of the kaleidoscope of people who are made to reflect God’s glory, and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What does it mean to worship God in spirit and in truth?”
Jesus was engaged in a conversation with a woman at the well. They were talking about worship. She was a Samaritan, and as she learned more about Jesus, she said to Him, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus downplayed the significance of tying meaningful worship with a specific location. Instead, He focused on the matters of the heart. He said in John 4:23, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Worship that pleases God is not about the outward expressions of a ceremony or being in a certain territory. Worship is about expressing love for God with sincerity, and acknowledging Him for who He really is. So, as we grow in the grace and knowledge of God, our worship will thrive for the glory of God in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the meaning behind the Parable of the Rich Fool?”
Jesus told this parable in Luke 12 to show that life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.
A rich man had a bumper crop year. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops”. Then, he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many ears. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then, who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Jesus said, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves, but is not rich toward God.”
The point of this parable is not to suggest that it is wrong to save money or plan for retirement, but it does highlight the folly of storing up for ourselves treasures on earth without storing up treasures in heaven in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the moon.
According to NASA, the Moon is approximately 238 thousand miles from planet earth. On a cloudless night, it appears as a light in the sky faithfully.
Psalm 89:37 describes the moon as the faithful witness in the sky. We see the moon because it reflects the light of the sun.
God’s promises are like the moon in the sense that they reflect His goodness and trustworthiness.
Our good deeds carried out in the name of Jesus are also like the moon in the sense that they reflect God’s glory.
Jesus instructs us to let our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.
In this way, followers of Jesus can be like the moon and reflect Christ’s love and goodness to the world in which we live.
The Moon, as a faithful witness in the sky, is a reflector of light and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What does the Bible say about work?”
In the beginning of the Bible, we see a description of God at work in the world. For six days, He created the world, and on the seventh day, He rested from all his work. The Sabbath-rest followed this pattern of six days of work and one day of rest.
God gave work for man to do, even before sin entered the human race. Genesis 2:13 says that the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
The thorns and thistles came to the workplace after sin entered the human race. Frustration from work was what resulted from the fall.
The good news about Jesus is that His resurrection provides purpose for the labor that we do for Him. First Corinthians 15:58 encourages us to always give ourselves fully to the Lord, because we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain.
God uses work in our lives in various ways: to give us satisfaction, provide for our families and others in need, serve others, and bring glory to Jesus. Work is a gift from God that gives us the opportunity to serve Him productively in the Year of Exploration.