“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.” ― Steve Maraboli
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” ― Dr. Seuss
Forward Thinkers, let’s make this Christmas confession together, “This is my bible and today I declare it to be my final authority; I am who it says I am and I can do what it says I can do”.
John 1:1-8 (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
Forward Thinkers, Jesus is the light that overcomes the darkness. Today it appears the darkness is winning because we have put Jesus (the light) on the bench.
Today, I’m declaring we will no longer continue to keep Jesus on the bench and I’m also challenging all believers to get Jesus off the bench so we can win again.
Forward Thinkers, John gives us great insight when he declares, I am not the light but only a witness to the light. The church has made a major mistake by turning the witness of the light, the messenger of the light, and the carrier of the light into the light.
Forward Thinkers, when I walk into a dark room carrying a flashlight or candle, I don’t become bigger than the light I simply become a light carrier.
We lose our true power when we put Jesus on the bench. After the San Bernardino shooting in California, the New York Daily News headlines read ‘God Isn’t Going To Fix This’. Forward Thinkers believe it or not the shooting actually took place during a Christmas party. During what should have been a time of celebration became a time of tragedy.
Forward Thinkers, the bible clearly states there is nothing too hard for God; however, the church has Jesus sitting on the sidelines while we are being defeated on every side. I don’t blame the editor of the New York Daily News because, the church, the same church Jesus declared the gates of hell would not prevail against, has kept Jesus on the bench so long many have forgotten his winning track record.
The light (Jesus) shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Forward Thinkers, I’m so confused, “why we would decide to turn away from a proven winner like Jesus”?
Billboard recently released their list of the top 10 rappers of all time and the list created a great deal of controversy because they did not include 2Pac. The Hip Hop community could not believe anyone could celebrate the history of rap music and not include 2Pac but, I’m wondering how can the church celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ, and not include Jesus Christ?
I know there are some great football fans amongst the Forward Thinkers community and I wonder who you would choose: Tony Romo over Tom Brady. The coach that would make that decision would quickly get fired yet, the church has chosen Santa Claus over Jesus Christ year after year.
Forward Thinkers, the enemy has been trying to silence Jesus from day 1 because, the enemy recognized the potential of Jesus even before Jesus started turning water into wine. Forward Thinkers, not only does the enemy see the power of Jesus but, the enemy also understands when we connect with Jesus, believe in Jesus, and live like Jesus we become the most powerful force on the planet earth.
Luke 1:18-20 (NIV)
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
Forward Thinkers Zechariah, the father of John, was filled with doubt so the angel of God had to silence him. Forward Thinkers, the enemy will use doubt and fear to stop you from believing and declaring the good news of Jesus.
Zachariah was listening to his current situation more than he was his faith situation so the angel had to shut him up before he talked himself out of the blessings of God.
Forward Thinkers God used Zachariah to birth John into the world because God had an assignment for John to declare to the world that Jesus is the answer to every situation and problem.
Forward Thinkers, I like to compare John to the announcer at a boxing match because, his job was to introduce Jesus. In this corner wearing red is Satan, the liar, the thief, the accuser of the brothers, he has a long record of defeating and bullying those with no faith; in this corner we have Jesus Christ, the son of God, savior of the world, the light of the world, the truth, the way maker, he comes into this battle undefeated and is ready to knock Satan back into the pits of hell.
Forward Thinkers, with Jesus is our corner why would we put our hope in a preacher, a choir, or any other source other than Jesus.
John 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Forward Thinkers, Jesus came to save us but we must get him off the bench. Notice Jesus does not desire to condemn us, therefore; if we are being condemned that probably means Jesus is still on the bench.
Forward Thinkers, in John chapter 4 Jesus is taken off the bench and tells a woman at the well all about her five previous husbands and that the man she is currently living with is not her husband, but Jesus does not devalue the woman at the well instead speaks life into her. Forward Thinkers, we need Jesus off the bench to help us win in spite of our past failures.
Forward Thinkers, in John chapter 5 Jesus comes off the bench and heals a man that has been disabled for thirty-eight years. With Jesus on the bench the man was unable to move forward but as soon as Jesus got off the bench the man was able to move forward and enter into his full potential. Notice when you read his story there were others at the pool with him but they could not heal him.
Forward Thinkers, in John chapter 8 Jesus rushes off the bench and saves a woman caught in adultery. They were about to stone her to death but Jesus intercepted their plans and gave the woman another chance. Forward Thinkers I’m so glad Jesus got off the bench and intercepted the devils plan to kill me.
John Ch. 9: John 9:25 (NIV)
25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
Forward Thinkers, others may have decided to bench Jesus but I’m like the blind man, I know what condition I was in before Jesus stepped in and I’m never putting Jesus back on the bench of my life.
In conclusion the bible says in John 10:10, Jesus declares he has come off the bench to give us life and life to the fullest, so if we desire to win in life we must make a daily decision to keep Jesus off the bench.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church now located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net