Halloween and Christmas, Christians swimming upstream…

Frankly, I don’t understand the affinity that adults have with ‘Trick or Treat’.
I saw on the news this morning, little bitty kids, who can hardly walk dressed in costumes to go trick or treating.
I have 5 kids (3 natural; 2 adopted) all pretty much grown and gone. With our two oldest daughters, we started them ‘giving out’ goodies at Halloween but not going themselves. After all, they got to share in the bounty they were distributing. This lasted until they were about 6 and 7 respectively, at which time one of their uncles asked if he could carry them ‘trick or treating’ with their cousins.
Not wanting to be hard-nosed, we relented. The rest is history; they were hooked. My desire was not to change the world, just NOT to celebrate the dark side.

I was more adamant about Santa Claus. We have never had Santa at our house!   Have I ever taken heat for that!  We have endured the scorn of parents and church members alike. Now, don’t get me wrong! We gave gifts and the kids got surprise gifts on Christmas morning but we never affirmed Santa.  After being told by members of our church that we should be ashamed, I asked my adult children if they had felt left out of Christmas by not having Santa.  Not one of them expressed regrets.

Several examples about how entrenched society is into Santa Claus:

My kids, each in turn would come home from school telling us that ‘we were wrong, there IS a Santa Claus’ because their friends told them so. We never told them that their friends were wrong. We had told them the truth and we knew they would remember that.

One day when Andrew was about seven, a man at church asked him, “What’s Santa bringing you sonny?” He looked up at me as if to say, “How do I respond to that dad?” I looked at him and said, “It’s OK to pretend with adults.” So, he began to tell the guy what he wanted for Christmas.

The most harsh challenge came from a church I pastored. I almost lost my job the first year because I replaced Santa.
I was asked if I would arrange for the distribution of gifts to the children at the church Christmas party. I agreed and arranged for ‘three wise men’ to give gifts. I thought things went well; the children enjoyed it, but the parents said I had broken a tradition of the church. I told them they should have handled it themselves; I knew nothing of their traditions.

So, what’s wrong with Santa?  The emphasis robs Christmas of it’s real meaning!  After all, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is  from above, and comes down from the Father…”  James 1:17


My Sheep Hear My Voice

One of my favorite passages is John Chapter 10 that we call “Jesus the True Shepherd” These are red letter words!  Jesus says, “…and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name…; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (vs.3,4) And then in verse 27 Jesus personalizes this even more: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
I once encountered a pastor who said he had never heard God speak to him and he doubted people who claimed to have heard God speak. This response was to a statement I had made, saying that if I were to confess a fear, it would be that I would fear growing so distant to God that I could not hear him speak.
I remember another elderly minister who once questioned me about my “call into Christian ministry”. He said “tell me about your “call”; what did God say?”
I replied, “God said, ‘Author…” He interrupted me. “You need go no further, because scripture says, “His sheep hear His voice, and He calls them by name.”
I’m so glad we serve a Lord and God who created all that is, and yet He calls us by name! I don’t confess fears because, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1:7

Did God change His ‘Plan of Salvation’ from the Old Testament to the New Testament?

Did God change His ‘Plan of Salvation’ from the Old Testament to the New Testament?

Absolutely NOT!    Scripture is quite clear, that God is unchanging.  Not exactly good news for the crowd wanting to convince us that we need to culturally compromise morality in order to attract more people to our churches.  Scripture tells us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Heb.13:8)

Galatians 3:6 tells us ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.’  Hmmm.  You understand ‘credit’; you get it now and pay later.  Abraham’s salvation was paid for on the cross, same as ours.   Our righteousness is given because we believe in Jesus and trust God.    Paul wrote Galatians because the heresy was prevalent that you come to Christ by faith but had to maintain or keep your salvation by obedience to the law.  Some people still cling to that heresy.  Paul maintains in Gal.3:13 that ‘keeping the law’ is a curse too heavy for any of us to bear.  We are told that “by works of law, shall no flesh be justified.”  We are also told that, “the just shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:17)  So, we enter by faith and we continue the life by faith.  It’s by faith from beginning to end.


A:  The law was given to demonstrate the need for a Savior.  The law shows me how inadequate my best is.   If God’s performance standard is perfection; None need apply.  It’s not a Santa Claus mentality where God is making a list and checking it twice to find out who’s naughty or nice.  Paul in Romans demonstrates that God’s standard is perfection.  If you want to make it by keeping the law; then One strike and you’re OUT!  On that basis, we fail before we start.  So, if I can’t keep the law, I need Grace.  And that’s what God provides in Christ Jesus, the gift of Life, because HE is Righteous!  I only ASK, BELIEVE, and CONFESS.  As simple as A B C!  Romans 10:9; “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”