Tag: Bible

Aliens Among Us

The existence of aliens has been debated for a long time.  It’s time to end the debate.

Aliens are real – and they are among us today.

However, the true aliens have escaped us because of those deceptive fake aliens (those green things on TV and in the movies).  It is the goal of the fake aliens to make us feel that there is hope in them (external) when in fact, when the truth is that hope lies within (internal).  It is the goal of the fake aliens to divert our faith to think that salvation is found in them, but it is the ‘true aliens’ themselves, and them only, shall be saved from the certain end times destruction.

And I suspect that you might be one of them – a true alien.

I  know very well a man who, since he was a very young boy felt like he never really fit in.  As a boy he would speak of there being ‘something more out there’.  He would ask questions like ‘what happens to people when they die and where do they go?”  The people around him never had confidence in their answers.  They had nice fluffy answers like ‘Everyone goes to heaven, but not really bad people.”  He was then left to ask himself whether or not he was going to make it.  On more than a few occasions he ended up in a secluded place, far from the city lights, and far from the noise.  He looked up into the vastness of space.  He saw the order.  He saw the majesty.  Deep inside of himself he *knew* – beyond the shadow of a doubt – that this was all planned.  There was order here.  Although he grew up having never heard about a ‘god’ as creator of all of this, he saw and noted the absurdity of the ‘monkey-to-man’ theory.  Deep within himself he knew something was wrong.  He could feel the deception.  He could feel the lies.  He could feel them everywhere.  He felt like he was different – like he didn’t belong.

At age 14, while watching TV, a string of advertisements came on.  I remember him explaining how he could feel the ‘manipulation from the ads’ and how it was ‘changing him’.  From that day forth he never turned it back on.  At around that age he asked his best friend if he ‘believed in God’.  He didn’t but he invited him to join his family at a standard Christian church.  His dad always provided candy and bubble gum afterwards so regular attendance was no problem.  I remember him explaining that even at this church he felt that ‘something was wrong’.  And so he quit church, too.

At public school he observed that the ‘cool people’ weren’t people that he could endure – the superficiality and drive to be the coolest was as obvious to him as a plastic mannequin.  But he also didn’t fit in with the academics and their insatiable and vain pursuit of intellectual superiority.  He found his temporary place somewhere in the middle: with a group of people who similarly didn’t quite fit in with the established social systems.

Throughout those years, drugs, sex, rock and roll were used as a hopeful avenues to find his position and his place in the universe.  He moved from relationship to relationship, drug to drug and song to song, only to find himself more empty, more lost, and fitting in less than ever before.  His ‘searching for god’ was replaced with deep sadness and hopelessness as were his desires to ‘change the world.’  He began to notice how everything was broken, nothing was perfect, and everything was messed up – especially himself.

Not only did he know for sure that he didn’t fit in, but now he had simply accepted his place in this foreign land that wasn’t meant for him – like how a prisoner of bonds might accept the whip of their taskmaster.

And then it dawned on him.

The reason why he didn’t fit in and why he was never satisfied is because he himself was an alien!

This was not his true home!

And he longed so deeply for his home.

Only then did he remember a high school student who pulled him aside on the last day of school and told him that a man can be ‘born again’.  Then it seemed as it were dark folly but now an intriguing proposition.

Only then did he remember how his friend had not only separated himself from their unholy gatherings of hopelessness but it was obvious his entire character of who he was as a person was changed -forever – and for the better.

The young man met him alone and asked him what happened to him and why he was so different now.  He revealed that he was an alien.  At first it seemed weird and grounds for psychiatric evaluation but he listened on.

He explained how the world was lost in darkness but that it was not the way it was designed nor created.  He said that God – the God of the Bible – had created everything and a certain way but the current system was corrupted and destined for swift destruction.  He explained that it was designed perfect and designed for mankind. At that point our young man reflected on those moments gazing at the majesty of the stars, and the breadth of the creatures of the world and the beauty of nature and it all started to make sense.  He went on to explain that the reason he never fit in was because he wasn’t supposed to fit in.  In fact, fitting in guaranteed certain destruction in both this earth and the world to come.  It turned out that this young man was correct about his long suspicion of deception.

He was deceived.

He was alienated from God.

He was an alien in the earth wandering to and fro trying to figure out where to go in darkness.

‘And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness’ – 1 John 5:19

‘Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart’ – Ephesians 4:18

How backwards everything was!

The young man immediately received Jesus as his Lord and Saviour and was born again as described in John 3.

Right away, he realized that he had just become a ‘true alien’.

No longer could he hang out with his old friends who loved their sin and darkness.

No longer did he fit in with the world’s systems.

He was alienated from the world, but, God drew very, very close to him.  So close, in fact, that nothing else mattered.  Knowing where he came from, why he was in the world and where he was going totally transformed his life.

Complaining was replaced with thankfulness.

Hopelessness was replaced with hope.

Deep unforgiveness was covered by love.

Pride was washed away as all his sandy foundations were knocked out from under him and a new foundation of rock was established.

He was now a true alien – called to be separate from this world.

And his joy was made full.

Maybe you, too, are finally ready to be saved.  God doesn’t want any of us to perish in this destruction.  He wants all of us to become true aliens in this world.

Come to Jesus and become a true alien in this world.

Don’t wait.

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Overcoming the ‘spirit of christmas’ with the Spirit of Christ: Part 1 in a Series: Roots

This series (I’m assuming it’s going to be a series because I really expect this to blow up into something interesting) did not come out of one moment of frustration, or a single event, but instead it has been developing inside of me for many years.  It also is not just about Christmas but this journey pertains to any other ‘holiday’ or celebration that is rooted in something – perhaps something you don’t even understand.

In fact, the content of this series, and exploring the path travelled to get here, should be of benefit to anyone who truly wants to question every little part of their life and why they are doing it.  I suspect it will be advantageous even as far as asking questions like ‘why am I using this pacemaker?” to “why am I paying taxes for this?” The true purpose of this is not to ‘kill Christmas’ like some Scrooge character, but to merely question why I’m doing something and whether I should be doing it this way or not.  And, perhaps, to answer this question: ‘Does it matter or not?”

It’s also worthy of noting that I have been trying for years to pull this topic together in some kind of tangible way to which the average disciple of Christ can relate.  Here is one such article I wrote as I made my first few attempts.  As you will sense throughout, one of the underpinning challenges with taking action is that it results in pressure (and sometimes severe) from the people closest to you.

On that note, we’ve all got busy schedules so thanks for joining and hope you enjoy joining the journey because I also suspect it’s going to be difficult to wrap this up.

The word ‘holiday’ can be read as ‘holy-day’.  Before I was a disciple of Jesus, it was no big deal. Just a word.  Didn’t think about it.  Then, one day I was reading my KJV Bible (I like my KJV so don’t mess) and I came across this scripture:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. (Colossians 2:16)

Being a man of the fine English language, one of my favourite websites is www.etymonline.com.  A quick search of the word ‘holiday’ reveals this:

holiday (n.)
1500s, earlier haliday (c.1200), from Old English haligdæg “holy day; Sabbath,” from halig “holy” (see holy) + dæg “day” (see day); in 14c. meaning both “religious festival” and “day of recreation,” but pronunciation and sense diverged 16c. As a verb meaning “to pass the holidays” by 1869. Happy holidays is from mid-19c., in British English, with reference to summer vacation from school. As a Christmastime greeting, by 1937, American English, in Camel cigarette ads.

And so the word ‘holiday’ is definitely rooted in ‘religious festival’ whether or not we know what the roots it are, or think about it, or care about it.  A tradition of any kind at all started somewhere but most people don’t really think about its roots.  As soon as you start to investigate the roots you will hear something along the lines of this:

“I don’t believe or practice the roots of that.  It’s not about the roots but whatever power you give to it.”

I have heard this argument given by supposed Christians who think it’s OK to do yoga.  After I explained that it’s deeply rooted in Hinduism (no one denies that) they brush it off as ‘well I’m just stretching or exercising’.

So do roots matter?

God thinks they do.

Isaiah 11:1 describes Jesus as follows:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots

The entire start of the very first book of the new testament in Matthew 1:1-17 shows that God is very much concerned about from which lineage the Messiah Jesus would emerge.  There are books of the old testament where huge chunks are dedicated to genealogies, or, if you will, the roots of those families.

But let’s bring it back to the earth for the heathen who may be reading this.

If roots didn’t matter then why do people make family trees?  Why is there a certain strange feeling of connection when you see a photo of a great grandparent in a photo in the trenches of a war?  Why do people take trips to Jerusalem to see where Jesus walked or go to obscure cafes where Elvis sat (did he sit in a cafe?)? Why do we feel a sense of unity when we sing our old national anthems?  We sense these things because there are roots that exist and there is power in those roots.  Grand pappy Harold sang that national anthem at his school, too when he was a boy just after walking ten kilometers uphill to school in the ice and snow!

Roots are also very important in every area of our earthly lives.  The first thing that comes to mind is a discussion I had with my friend who is, in my opinion, a great example of someone who understands business and money.  He explained to me how a process called ‘root cause analysis’ saved a large corporation he was working for in Asia countless amounts of money.  In medicine, the entire goal is to find out the *root* of a problem and find the cure.  In counselling, the entire goal is to find the root of the thing that’s causing the couple to want to rip each others’ eyeballs out.

And that’s why God was very harsh in the old testament about digging those roots out at any cost such as when Joshua took and killed Achan, his entire family, stoned them, and then burned them and everything they owned and capping it off with a giant mound of stones.

Why had God instructed this? Because Achan had, in his disobedience, taken an accursed item from the enemy and hidden it after God had clearly said ‘don’t touch the enemies stuff!”.

The root had to be cut out completely.

A root is the organic equivalent of the foundation for a building.  I learned a lot about this this year while I was weeding my garden.  Some weeds looked easy to get rid of but when you grab them, they rip off at the soil level only to reappear a few days later in the same spot.  Other weeds you could just rake out and the never come back.  The difference?  Depth of roots and strength.  I was deeply impressed with this one toxic product I bought.  I sprayed it on this cute little weed and came back the a few days later to see that Mr. Weed had taken his last drink – he was brown, withered and dead.  His roots couldn’t resist and he was slumped over in his green grassy bed.

All throughout the Bible we read about roots and foundations.  Jesus said somewhere in the Bible: “If you build your house on sand, it’s going to wash away in a storm but if you build it on a rock you’ll be good to go. (King Wayne Version).”  Preach it, Jesus!

Is it OK for a disciple of Jesus to have a statue of Buddha on their coffee table?

Most believers would say immediately ‘no’ because they know that the statue of Buddha represents another god – another spirit.  The Buddha statue represents an ‘accursed thing’ – and item destined for God’s ultimate destruction as well as anyone who would worship this other god or system.  The statue of Buddha *represents* the spirit behind the statue.

“Oh, Wayne.  You’re too serious.  The Buddha statue only has the power you give it.  If you were a strong Christian then it wouldn’t have power over you.”

It sounds very attractive.  It sounds like it’s almost spiritually accurate.  Until we think again about Achan.  If it were ‘just what power we give it’ then Achan and his family didn’t need to get barbequed and buried and God is therefore a ruthless tyrant ready slit our throats for a home-staging error.

Sorry. That ain’t the God that I know and serve.

Roots are very important to the God of the Bible and the God whom Christians claim to serve.

God is very gracious.  I’m sure that if Achan didn’t know full well that he should not have done what he did that none of that would have happened.  Achan knew full well what he was doing and the lives that could be lost if the power of God were to abandon the Israelites in the heat of battle over this.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Many lives were lost because of his choice.

Good news.  God is still gracious.  He allows us years and years learn in our season but there does eventually come a time when He expects action.  He does not tarry forever.  There was an appointed time for God to send Jesus to the world to save sinners.  There is also an appointed time for each of us to die, and that day may come before the scheduled time of the second coming of Jesus.

For me, I have reached the season where I have learned enough and I really, really want to start taking action steps towards purifying myself and my family from things that God might find to be offensive or downright sinful.

I want to axe out and radically amputate (term stolen from Setting Captives Free) any root in my life that could be hindering my spiritual walk in any way at all.

Now that it has been established that roots are important (at least to me) and carry meaning and power and influence, we can move on to dealing with ‘the christmas spirit’ (lowercase on purpose).

EDIT: 150106 – Found this amazing video on the topic.

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The Secular and Spiritual Need for a Team

This topic has been on my heart a lot and seems to pop up all the time in entrepreneurial discussions and spiritual discussions.

In business, it seems there are people who want to start up a company but want to do everything themselves.  They want full ownership of the company and want to make sure that all gains for their hard work go right back into their own coffers.  It makes sense considering we are all selfish and greedy little creatures with serious control issues by nature.

At church I’ve noticed that people seem to think they can overcome evil by themselves or ‘God is big enough to help me overcome this problem’.  They don’t reach out to their brothers or sisters for help on personal issues.

Yet in both cases, full victory is never achieved and I think in both contexts if one were to look deeply at the results one would agree.

Oh sure, there are individuals who seem to be able to do monstrous tasks and start highly successful businesses by themselves, and even seem to maintain a great relationship with God, but rest assured that a) they have not reached as far as they could have gone with a team and b) they are not the norm.  I am the norm.  And you are the norm.  Otherwise you wouldn’t have stumbled across this article and read this far.

Good news.  God made Eve.

This act proves that one human was not enough and there is a need for each other.  In this case, for companionship and perhaps exciting acts of marital intimacy.   After all, the Bible says this:

“Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? – Ecclesiastes 4:11″

We need each other. We ain’t going to make it through this short and cruel life alone and real joy of it all is the comradery we experience through the battle whether it be with your family, friends, sports team, church, business, or otherwise.

I think it’s exciting to meet people who have such strength in areas where I’m completely useless.  One such example would be financial analysis.  I just can’t stand it.  And I can’t do it well.  And those two factors are related.  And I miss important details that screw it all up.  But I know at least two guys who not only know how to do it well, but they enjoy it – God only knows why.

Now, on a practical level, like the Bible verse above proves, there is a multiplication factor, or a ‘leveraged return on investment’ if you will, on the time and energy spent if we have a team.  So, it actually makes solid logical sense to choose teamwork over solo work, even with all the ‘extra headaches’ it causes.  Check out this little article I found on the topic which summarizes it well.

And so I have made it my goal that no matter what I start, whether it be my own start up company, a church, or whatever, I want to do it with a team.

No team, no go.

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Should a Believer be Active or Passive Against Injustice and Evil?

If something unfair, unjust, or evil happens, should we simply pray for the power to forgive the evildoer or should we take action against the evil?  This is the question I was in sudden need of exploring after a friend of mine called into question the motives behind where I was spending some of my time and whether or not the work I am doing is worth it.  His comment was, “The Bible says to forgive and move on.  God will take care of them.”

The Bible says to forgive and move on.  God will take care of them.

I am in a law suit against a group of people I believe operate their business  in a very wrong way that violates ethics and morals and that has direct and negative impact on the people we know and the communities we live in.  I have see the results of their style of business which includes, but is not limited to: depression, anxiety, broken families and shattered marriages, extreme financial hardship, increase in suicidal language, hopelessness, anger, fear and more.  No one would every associate these kind of results with the chain that is causing them.  After experiencing enough of the pain myself, and discovering that I was not alone in this unneeded suffering, I decided it was right to take visible and public action against it.  The comment from my friend made me stop in my tracks and check myself to make sure I was at peace with my direction.

During my personal quiet time today, I came across this article in a Catholic publication about non-violence which is a must read.   This quote in particular jumped out at me:

Nonviolence is directed “against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil. It is evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil.”

It is true that I am not doing a rally, or a march or a boycott, although we most certainly entertained the idea.  By doing this, we would damage the franchisees of the brand during the process who are already suffering enough.

Filing a lawsuit is the next best non-violent option in an attempt to bring about justice and expose wrong-doings.  A lawsuit, if picked up by the media, will shed light on darkness and bring about enough potential damage on the wrongdoer that they may be forced to look at their ways and hopefully even change them.  Everyone knows that a plaintiff in a lawsuit, if they even get their legal fees back, has succeeded and that oftentimes the lawyers are the ones who end up with the payout.   For this reason there must accompany every lawsuit a purpose that supercedes the cut-and-dry black-and-white letter of the filing.  There must exist, with every lawsuit, a desire to see injustice resolved – not just for the plaintiff but for every person who follows.

There must exist, with every lawsuit, a desire to see injustice resolved – not just for the plaintiff but for every person who follows.

The courts have one very useful feature built into them:  once the documents have been filed, they become part of the public record and can be discussed freely in public without fear of being sued for saying something personal. This one key feature is the reason why I am encouraged to carry on and spend my time on this.  I hope that one day someone will come across this document, read the details, and steer clear of the path of destruction that my family and I were forced to walk.

The crux of the matter is this: your ‘why’ that powers the battle must be based on good intentions for others, not ill will for the wrong-doer.

I hope that the people who have wronged us and others change.  I most genuinely hope that they fall to their knees and meet Jesus.  All things are possible.  Jesus died for them as much as He did for me.  It actually intrigues me to no end when I think of what their lives and business would look like if they were dedicated to serving God.  I hope that through this lawsuit that all parties experience an amazing personal spiritual revolution and revival.  But that is up to them and God.  Not even God Himself will force them to their knees – yet.

So, between now and then, I believe that I am called to action.  It’s a kind of ‘mission’ if you will.  I feel that I am well suited to participate in the process of bringing this to resolution – and one that will bring lasting positive change to the community where I live.

But what about my friend’s comment about what the Bible says?  Interestingly, it doesn’t have much at all on the direct topic of courts and faith.  It has a clear scripture that Christians are not to sue other Christians, it also shows that the courts exist to deal with the matters of this life, but it doesn’t give much if any teaching on this.  But I’m not concerned because the deeper issues are always those of motivation and heart condition.  With any issue in this life like, whether to sue someone, whether to buy a business, whether to get married, whether to accept a job in another country, etc, etc, are all matters of motivation and heart condition.  Instead of asking myself whether or not I should be suing these people, I ask myself these questions daily:

  • Am I at peace, or am I fighting against God’s will here?
  • Am I doing this out of vengeance or to bring about justice?
  • Will others stand to gain from this or just me (is this selfish or otherwise)?
  • What is the ROI on my time? Is it worth it?
  • and so on

I have perfect peace that I am doing the right thing.  Even though I have spent a lot of time on this process, I have learned innumerable useful life skills and have become a consultant to quite a few people already to whom I can pay it forward.  I am fully confident I am on the right path and I sleep like a baby every night.  Much better than before the lawsuit was started, in fact.  Furthermore, since starting the lawsuit, I have made many  new friends I would not have otherwise met.

So check your heart.

And fight for justice wherever you can in your sphere of influence.

Satan wins when you stand around and do nothing about evil.

 

 

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Jesus is Not the Reason for the Season

MODERN DAY DISCIPLE OF JESUS DECLARES JESUS NOT THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

Before I was a disciple of Jesus, I thought that Christianity and Jesus and all that virgin birth stuff was the root of the Christmas holiday. Even the word ‘Christmas’ seemed like ‘the mass of Christ’ – some kind of ‘Christiany-Catholicky-religiousy’ thing. It didn’t help that everyone around me – including those who attended Christian churches – boldly claimed ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’.

It wasn’t until I actually decided to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Himself that some of these claims about Christmas started to show some cracks. A little bit of study on these topics allowed some water to leak out and after digging in to the next level, the ship had sprung a leak and was on its way down.

One of the first thoughts that made me question this Christmas thing was the fact that many unbelievers around me had absolutely no problem ‘celebrating Christmas’. For many of them it was a chance to get more drunk for a longer period of time without work getting in the way. To take it one notch further, when I announced to people around me that I wanted to drop the gift-giving thing from Christmas (at that time it was just because I was broke and realized the nastiness of the commercial aspect of the season on broke people) it was the unbelievers who seemed to be most upset. They said ‘It’s fine if you don’t buy anything but don’t prevent us from buying gifts for you.” It was from these same folk from whom I received emails ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ or “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas’ or ‘I will say “Merry Christmas!” not “Happy Holidays!”’ as if they were standing up for something very dear to them. The notable thing was that I never heard the name of Jesus exit their lips at any other time of the year yet, for them, Christmas was about Jesus? They were ‘celebrating the birth of Jesus’ they sometimes said.

I have to admit – there was something about that ‘Christmas magic’ that compelled me. It had me addicted. Something about those gifts. Something about Santa. Something about that decorated tree. All these things are very deep, cultural, and most definitely unavoidable.

One of the second Christmas experiences that happened occurred while I was living in Korea. My wife is Korean and a believer, so I did Christmas Gangnam Style a few times. It was interesting for me to note that this entire country goes to work and school and don’t think twice about it. The Christians in Korea gather for a service focused on the birth of Jesus and that’s about it. I suppose even this is rooted in the long term connection between the North American and Korean churches. The Santa thing was considered an ‘American cute thing’ and no one treated him much more seriously than you would treat a fast-food mascot walking down the street promoting cheap burgers as you drive by. I don’t recall meeting anyone who would actually lie to their children telling them that this fat old man was real and had God-like moral authority over their lives. It made me question what this time of the year was all about and why I was even a participant as a Christian.

These events prompted me to search the history of all these Christmas symbols. I found that all of them were pagan or secular at best. There was even substantial evidence saying that mixing the birth of Jesus into this holiday was a way for the ‘church’ to be able to participate in the dominant pagan festivities of the time (related to sun gods and other winter solstice events). The ‘Christians’ may have felt left out and wanted a piece of the pagan pie. Or, another view was that they celebrated Jesus’ birth because there was already this event going on so you might as well ‘Christianize’ it. Regardless of the reason, there is no proof at all to substantiate that Jesus was behind this December event whatsoever.

There are, however, many reasons to believe Jesus is NOT the reason for the Christmas season. Here is just a snapshot:

  1. Christmas trees are a pagan ritual condemned in Jeremiah chapter 10
  2. Jesus wasn’t born anywhere near December 25th. All scholars agree on this one.
  3. Santa has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible but instead is a significant distraction from the God of the Bible painting an inaccurate view of our Heaveny Father and the reality of faith.
  4. It wasn’t really until around the mid 1850’s that Christmas was even regarded as a special day in the United States. Before that the celebration of it was even condemned and the existence of a Christmas tree in a church was nothing short of heretical.
  5. {More to be inserted here one day, maybe winter 2013}

After having researched these things and inside of myself decided that as for myself and my family we will not participate in these aspects of Christmas, I started to realize the immense social pressure to do it so as to not ruin the fun for others. In fact, the very day after I decided this, our family ended up at a Christmas event where I was the only white guy (again). Within just a few moments I was handed a big box full of Santa gear and asked to be Santa for these kids, one of whom was my daughter. Instead of ruining the event I decided that I would give them one year’s warning of my non-participation and make sure that as for my daughter, she knew that it was daddy under the suit. The pressure to do all these things is akin to high school social pressure.

The argument against Santa for Christians, with which I concur is this: If you lie to your kids about Santa, what makes you think they will trust you when you are teaching about the God of the Bible? In fact, it is this exact ‘argument’ that many atheists use when trying to refute the stories of the Bible. They say ‘The creation story, virgin birth and resurrection are nothing more than fairy tales like Santa and the Tooth Fairy.” Is this the kind of foundation we want to leave with our children? I cannot stop you from lying to your kids but if mine ask me if Santa is real, they are going to hear the truth in the same way I will tell them the truth that God is real. Our words and actions must line up.

So, then, what is the solution?

I do not have a complete answer yet and it will likely be a work in progress over the next few years. The best one I have heard so far and I will attempt to implement it is the idea of following the feasts and celebrations of the Bible (mainly Old Testament ones like the Passover). This will create a better understanding of the Bible while allowing us to celebrate something with eternal importance. Further, I believe that preparing a solid answer as to why we’re not celebrating the Christmas that the world celebrates will open many doors of discussion.

One of my concerns, admittedly, was that someone might consider me a cult member like a Jehovah’s Witness. So, I think it’s important to create a ‘new thing’.

Something that’s fun: family, friends, social.

Something that’s different completely from the ‘Christmas’ that the world celebrates.

Something that honours God.

 

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