From the Archives: Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

Originally published November 24, 2010

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’s birth, but there is no biblical command to observe it. There are however feasts, songs and prayers of thanksgiving are all over the Bible. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with Christmas; during his lifetime Jesus was an observant Jew, and every indication is that he observed all the Jewish festivals, including the historical ones not just the religious festivals commanded in scripture. The arrival of “God with us” is a major turning point in all of history. But we are commanded to praise God and give thanks. Moses sang songs of thanksgiving, David wrote his own. James reminds us that “every good gift and perfect gift is from above.” The United States was the first country to observe a national holiday for giving thanks.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! -Psalm 100:4

The word thanksgiving appears 9 times in the Psalms. It appears a total of 42 times in the ESV Bible.  Click here to see them all. If you look up variants, such as “give thanks,” you will find many more. Whatever you read, however you celebrate, do not forget to thank God. No matter what this year has been like, there is much to be thankful for.

Happy Monday: Thanksgiving Special

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Most of our readers are in the United States and will celebrate Thanksgiving later this week. So let’s “get off on the good foot” with a compilation of scriptures and other fun things that make us smile. We live in a crazy world but there is much to be thankful for.

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Hindsight is Still 20/20

Screenshot 2015-11-18 at 2.54.57 PMHave you ever thought of a witty comeback long after it’s too late? We’ve all missed our chance at a laugh out loud one liner or zinger that could have an ended an argument at one time or another. Preachers also have to deal with continuing to critique a sermon long after it’s been preached.

A couple of weeks ago I preached this sermon at Unity Baptist. In summary, Jesus was the light of the world in John 1 but in Matthew 5 said to his followers “You are the light of the world.” The sermon was about being salt and light and how Jesus empowers us to be those things in his absence. There’s nothing wrong with the sermon the way it is. But then just a couple of days ago I came across this verse:

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. John 9:5 

John 1 describes Jesus as the light of the world. Jesus says himself a few chapters later that as long as he is in the world he is the light of the world. Then he tells his followers, that will be conformed to his image and become his hands and feet, they are the light of the world. It would have been perfect. What makes matters worse is that we have been studying John’s Gospel on Sunday nights and read this passage only a few weeks ago.

Hey, you live and learn. By posting this I am sure to remember next time.


Screenshot 2015-11-16 at 10.14.22 AMI posted Pastafarianism 101 on My Other Blog back in September of 2014. I didn’t know there had been an ongoing court case over the issue ever since. Pastafarianism (a play on the words pasta and Rastafarianism) is based on the idea that a flying spaghetti is just as likely to exist as God. Neither can be proven to not exist. Here’s an except from Wikipedia: Continue reading

The Rest of the Story

Screenshot 2015-11-13 at 2.15.36 PMThe Internet Monk has a post up today about jumping to conclusions based on an Internet meme or a quote on Facebook without having all the facts. Shortly after reading Chaplain Mike’s post I heard a story on the radio that very much relates, which I will try to paraphrase.

“I grew up in a small town that never had any big Christmas events but there was this one guy that put up all the lights. Every year he kept adding more and more and eventually traffic backed up as people drove from all around just to see this one guy’s house. One year we could see him up ahead holding a bucket and my friend’s dad just went off. ‘He’s taking up donations. I can’t believe after all this time he’s out here trying to make a profit.’ He just went on and on about money and commercialism and how this guy was destroying Christmas. When we finally got up to where they guy was with the bucket it was full of candy canes. He wasn’t collecting anything, he was giving stuff away! We were laughing our heads off in the back seat but all the way home my friend’s dad didn’t say another word. He wouldn’t talk.”

The point of this story was about we can never admit being wrong. If we admit to being wrong, even in an apology, it’s an acknowledgement of imperfection. But the Pastor Saeed post on iMonk was fresh in my mind and the story above certainly applies to rushing to judgement without having all the pertinent details.

Why is Nobody Talking About the Starbucks Advent Calendar?

I can’t believe plain red cups are the biggest trending story in social media this week but like I’ve said before no news is good news. So let me put on my Christian blogger hat and do the dance.

Screenshot 2015-11-10 at 10.59.11 AMUnless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you probably recognize former pastor Joshua Feuerstein from his viral video. He infamously pranked Starbucks into selling him a $4 cup of coffee. The evangelist is outraged over Starbucks “war on Christmas” that produced this year’s plain red holiday cup. The lack of snowflakes, doves and trees led Feuerstein to declare that Starbucks hates Jesus. The video describing the prank – that’s a screenshot on the left, no I’m not linking to it – has been viewed 14.5 million times since last Thursday. He told the barista his name was Merry Christmas so they would have to write that on his cup. He’s been drinking the Charlie Sheen Kool-Aid and considers this “winning.” Like I say, he tricked them into selling him coffee. They never saw it coming. Continue reading