Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Springfield Today, December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Blog

Good Moanin’ Springfieldians,

I love having grandchildren. Being a grandparent is so much more fun than being a parent. I’ve been yelled at more than once by my daughter when FaceTiming Fischer and I show him my chewed up food and he shows me his; or when I’ve asked him if he wanted a popsicle just before dinner.  Being a grandparent is so much more fun than being a fuddy-duddy, rule-enforcing parent.

And while this isn’t my story but another grandfather’s story – it could be my story.

The Grandpa walked into the family room and found his little grandson, standing up in his playpen, just crying his heart out. Great big tears were rolling down his pudgy cheeks.

He looked so pitiful standing there in his little baseball T-shirt and diaper.  His face was red and his eyes were puffy from crying.  But as soon as Jeffy saw his grandpa, his face lit up in a way that reached right into that grandpa’s heart.  The little guy immediately outstretched his chubby little hands and said, “Out, Papa, out!”

What grandfather could resist such a plea?

Not that one.  He walked over to the playpen and reached down to lift his little buddy out of his captivity and distress.

And just then, right at that very moment “Law and Order” stepped into the room.  Jeffy’s mom walked out of the kitchen with a dishtowel in her hand and spoke sternly.  “No, Jeffy!!  You are being punished.  You have to stay in that pen (more like penitentiary) ….And you leave him right there, Dad.”

Oh great.  Now what’s a grandpa to do?  His grandson’s tears and reaching hands tugged mightily at his heart – but he didn’t want to interfere with a mother’s discipline either.

He couldn’t stand staying in the same room with the boy, reading his newspaper and pretending to be indifferent, as if he didn’t notice his crying.  But nor could he turn around and walk out the door without feeling like a betrayer to his little buddy.

What could he do…?

Since Grandpa couldn’t take Jeffy out of the playpen, he climbed in with him.

“If you’re in the playpen, Buddy, I’m in the playpen.  What’s your sentence?  How long are you in for?”  And climbing up into his grandpa’s lap that little boy found joy even in his captivity.

And when the mom walked back in, she couldn’t say a word.

Folks, that is such a great picture of what Jesus did for us at Christmas.  As much as God wanted to pick us up and draw us close, because of our choice to sin and because of His holiness, His purity, and His justice – He couldn’t.

The prophet wrote, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; You cannot tolerate wrong.” (Habakkuk 1:13 NIV)

David wrote: “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil, with you the wicked cannot dwell.” (Psalm 5:4 NIV) Another translation of that verse says, “Those who do wrong can’t live where you are.” (Psalm 5:4 NIrV)

In other words, evil has no home with God.  Those who do evil can’t even be near Him.

Isaiah captures our situation when he says – “But your sins have separated you from God.  They have caused Him to turn His face away from you.” (Isaiah 59:2 -NIrV)

And yet, on the other hand, we are told over and over again – “For God so loved the world…”  (John 3:16 NIV)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)

“This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us…” (I John 3:16 NIV)

We’re told that He has compassion for us and yearns for us; that He is crazy in love with us.

So what was a holy God to do?

What was a God who hates sin; but loves people who love to sin, and are stained and marred by that sin – what’s a holy God to do?

He climbed into the playpen with us.                                                                                                              We couldn’t live with God, so God came to live with us.  Jesus couldn’t bring us to His house, so He came to our house.  John said it this way, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…” (John 1:14 NIV)  Jesus pitched His tent among us.

The joy of Christmas is knowing that the only way we could really know God intimately is if He climbed into our prison cell, our play pen.  And that is exactly what He did.

Don’t miss the joy of Christmas because you think you’re trapped in a prison – whether it’s a prison of your own making or a prison someone else has constructed for you – you have a God who has already climbed into that prison to set you free and bring you joy.

Joy to the world! The Lord has come!

 

What You Need to Know…

Thank your for your continual financial support of the church. If you are wanting to make a year end gift it will need to be put in the offering on one of the last two Sundays of this year.

Bring the family to celebrate “the reason for the season” at our Christmas Eve Services, December 24. Sunday School at 9:30am, Worship Gathering at 10:30am, and Candle Lighting Service at 6:00pm

Have plans for New Year’s Eve? The church will be having a Family Game Night in the gym on Sunday, December 31 from 7:00pm to midnight.  Everyone is asked to bring a snack/appetizer to share.  Come ring in the New Year with your church family.

Mark your 2018 calendars: Next Blood Drive is Wednesday, January 3rd from 3:30-6:30pm

Upward Tip-Off Party on Saturday, January 6th at 6:00pm

Upward practices start on Tuesday, January 9th 

Mug Sister Party is Friday, January 12th at 6:30pm

Pray for…

Brad Leggett’s mom in rehab after breaking her hip and wrist.

Kathi Krell’s great niece and nephew were born very early and very small – pray for the babies, parents and grandparents.

Teens that are struggling emotionally

Carol Tandy

Janet Castleman

Fran Herwehe

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