Steve Ellison: Give Yourself A Present

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - by Steve Ellison

This time of year is a special, magical time.  The pleasures of Thanksgiving are still fresh on our minds.  The anticipation of Christmas joy looms large on the horizon.  Most of us are inclined to be kinder and gentler than we are much of the rest of the year.  We are more inclined to be tolerant of other people, thus more disposed to choose to be happy.  Benevolent organizations work throughout the year with the goal of being able to pour out blessings during the Christmas season, thus fewer people are ill-fed and ill-clothed during this season.  All of this is wonderful and good; however, it is of little long term consequence.  I speak not of the need for kindness, benevolence, and tolerance throughout the year, though that would be nice.  Rather, I speak of the need for Christ to be formed in you for eternal consequence.

 

We must not lose track of Jesus being the Reason for the Season.  We must not miss the eternal purpose in His coming to earth as a man.  We must not fail to realize the consequences of His birth.  He was not born just to be born; He was born to die.  He did not die just to die; He died to be resurrected.  And these are not all.  He was also born to live.  Christmas is important.

Good Friday is important. Easter is important.  However, His life was just as important. Colossians 1:27 tells me that the mystery revealed in the New Testament is that “Christ in me is the hope of glory”.  Galatians 2:20 tells me “it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me”.  Christ died in my place; He also lived in my place.  Jesus was sent as the representative man to replace the first representative man, Adam.  He was a substitute for you and for me in death but also in life.  Everything the man Jesus did was significant.  His birth, death, and resurrection were important but so were His circumcision, baptism, temptation, loving, forgiving, obeying, ministering, foot washing, interceding, transfiguration, Gethsemane experience, suffering, etc.   Everything that Christ did was so that we would not have to.  Surely we attempt to follow in His footsteps, and so we should.  However, our attempts to mimic Him are poor attempts indeed.  We would be helpless and hopeless if our salvation, our abundant life, were dependent upon our efforts. 

 

The birth of Christ at Bethlehem is a fantastic miracle.  The birth of Christ in your heart and mine is a greater miracle.  Paul told us in Galatians 4:19 that he was in labor until “Christ was formed in us”.   As we read the gospels, tracing the life of Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee and Judah, we would do well to trace the life of Jesus in our own hearts.  As He is progressively formed in us, we learn the truth of John the Baptist’s declaration: we decrease as He increases.  Our living doesn’t become easier; it becomes less.  We begin to learn the truth of “it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me”.  This is not ivory tower theology only for intellectual argument.  This is real world stuff for real people.  As Christ is birthed in our hearts and grows to maturity there, He gradually and progressively takes over every aspect of our lives.  We, who apart from Him can do nothing, no thing at all, eventually learn what it means to rest in Christ, allowing Him to live in our place.   The Christian life is not meant to be a misery filled struggle; the Christian life is meant to be a joy filled resting.  This Christmas, give yourself a present; give way to Christ, allowing Him to live in you, through you, for you.


"Chaos Can Lead To Victory!" Is Sermon Topic At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

St. Timothy's Church Presents Jazz Vespers Service On Jan. 27

David Worland To Be Speaker At Scenic City Women's Network Luncheon


Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, "Chaos Can Lead To Victory!" in the 10 a.m. service on Sunday. ... (click for more)

For the thirteenth year, a jazz vespers service will be held at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, this year on Sunday, January 27, 2019, at 5 p.m. Kathy Tugman and the David Walters Trio will perform, ... (click for more)

The Scenic City Women's Network will have its networking luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 24. The featured speaker will be David Worland. Mr. Worland, married to Sally and father to four children ... (click for more)


Church

"Chaos Can Lead To Victory!" Is Sermon Topic At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, "Chaos Can Lead To Victory!" in the 10 a.m. service on Sunday. Pastor Mitch McClure will lead the congregation in a time of worship, and prayer on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Sunday School classes are available for all age groups. ... (click for more)

St. Timothy's Church Presents Jazz Vespers Service On Jan. 27

For the thirteenth year, a jazz vespers service will be held at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, this year on Sunday, January 27, 2019, at 5 p.m. Kathy Tugman and the David Walters Trio will perform, along with Philip Newton (organ), Sue Ann Reinisch (flute), and Gigi Walters (piano). By now, many are familiar with this special service, structured around the lighting of a vesper ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Chattanooga Police Seek Information In Murder Of Taja Whiteside, 30, On Jan. 11

Chattanooga Police are seeking information in the death of Taja Whiteside, 30, which happened on Jan. 11. The death has now been ruled a homicide. Chattanooga Police responded a t approximately 11:52 a.m. to a CPR in progress call at a residence in the 5800 block of Moody Sawyer Road. Upon arrival, police located the victim who was unresponsive. Hamilton County EMS pronounced ... (click for more)

Governor-Elect Bill Lee Names Penny Schwinn Education Commissioner

Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee on Thursday announced the appointment of Penny Schwinn to lead the Tennessee Department of Education. “Penny leads with students at the forefront and I believe her experience is exactly what we need to continue improving on the gains we have made in the past few years,” said Governor-elect Lee. “As a former teacher and seasoned administrator, ... (click for more)

Opinion

The Culture Of Policing In Chattanooga - And Response (3)

I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by Brenda Washington. Over the years, I have noticed that people tend to ignore or dismiss what she says, or attack her. This is unfortunate, because she is alerting people of the problems within the culture of policing in Chattanooga, whether it is in Hamilton County or the city of Chattanooga. There are good, honest police officers ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Sunday’s Blood Eclipse

The sun, the moon, the stars, and the celebration of the late Martin Luther King are inching towards a perfect alignment for this Sunday night. At just before midnight, every child below the age of 99 … and, yes, there are other “older children” like me … will be able to watch a total lunar eclipse. This super blood moon is going to be fun because we will be able to see the moon ... (click for more)