Tag: Christmas

Is the Current Christian Church Biblical?

As I trudge along my spiritual journey to meet Truth Himself (Jesus is Truth)(remember that famous scene when Pontias Pilate said ‘What is truth?”) I have now come to what I used to think was small potatoes – the church.  I always used to view ‘the church’ as a kind of vehicle that helps you get to heaven – kind of like how a school is a vehicle that helps you get a better job.  It turns out both were lies.

Ack!  I’m pretty sure I just saw the Pope drive by my front window in a lowered car with tinted windows…

Wait Pope Daddy!  Let me explain!

In both cases, it’s about who you become, not where you go that matters and in both cases it’s about the people, not about the building.  I won’t waste my time on the education topic but I am eternally interested in the church and what God thinks about it and my role in it.

The purpose of this post is *not* to be divisive and appear heretical.  The purpose of this post is an honest search for truth.  The cults of the world absolutely love to point out that ‘Christianity is full of denominations so it can’t be the truth’.  Even the Catholic church uses this point.  And they are right.  It is all messed up and fragmented and not as it appears as the bride that Jesus is coming back for – without wrinkle or blemish.  This current church is blemished up the kahuna!  I have no idea what that means by the way…

Before I hack away like an angry health inspector on all the issues that I see with the current ‘church machine’, I’d like to first acknowledge that problems had already arisen and been identified in the body of Christ throughout the new testament.  Sometimes I like to point to the first church as a model but it wasn’t without problems either.  Nor should that be surprising.  Satan is on a full attack against the Truth.  Satan has little interest in deceived organizations.  They are already his.

So from Revelations 2-4 kind of range (I’m too lazy to look it up) the body of Christ already had the following major issues that Jesus was giving first hand warnings about:

  • false apostles
  • deeds of Nicolaitans (whatever that means)(probably liberal Canadian views on everything)
  • eating food sacrificed to idols
  • fornication/sexual immorality
  • dead religion (church zapped of everything)
  • lukewarm lazy slobs in need of nothing from God

I kind of paraphrased but whatever – read it on your own dime.

Here are the issues I see with the current church machine:

Elevated Role of the Pastor

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers

In the above list you will note there are five (5) key roles that God gives people.  The current pastor is expected to be all five which is bad for him, and bad for you – and it’s not from God.  Side effects from this lop-sided spiritual distribution may be:

  • excessive stress on the pastor
  • top-down incorrect theology trickling down
  • controlling and manipulation

Salaried Pastor

It seems that the default position of the pastor is to be salaried, instead of defaulting to tent-maker.  I have no idea where this one came from.  To me this is just illogical and bad business.  When you start a business, the co-founders starve and flip burgers at night until there is enough customer base to generate their income.  If they don’t do this, investors will look at the operation and ask why they should be funding their steak dinners and car payments.  Sorry to be so nasty on this topic but I read in the Bible that Paul made tents so his salary wasn’t a burden on the church.  That’s biblical.  The side effects from a salaried pastor may be:

  • pressure to take up more offerings
  • pressure to focus too much on the offering
  • pressure to teach the old testament tithe as new testament law
  • Guilt on the pastor for being a burden on what may be a small group (I assume this?)
  • temptation *not* to preach messages that might offend the people who drop the largest offerings
  • temptation to preach endless messages on financial giving
  • temptation to do what the elders or other board members think is best even if it’s not God
  • etc

Again, to me this is just basic business.  I have no problem giving a salary to any God-serving man or woman but it has a long list of potential dangers that I believe are to be avoided.  Just to be fair, the argument *for* the salaried pastor is to free this person up for the full time work of the ministry.

No Hard Preaching

The Bible is full of hard truths.  Pornography, for example, is both idolatry and fornication and divorce is unbiblical and damaging to everyone involved.  Oh, and of course the ever-distracting theme of homosexuality.  The only time that one is preached is when it’s being preached against and the impending destruction on our world like Sodom and Gomorrah.  Fair enough!  That’s true.  But isn’t it exciting to think that we can actually be the ones to help all these people above get free and HEALED!!???????  I know!  Make me walk the plank!  What a rebel rouser!  Excommunicate him!  Firing squad!  Sheeeeeeeesh.

If a full-blown sinner involved in, let’s just say fornication or adultery, can sit comfortably in your church for a few weeks, you need to seriously question which parts of the Bible you are preaching (or not preaching).  But we can’t just preach them out without letting them know there is a glorious freedom to be had.  The best day of my life was my born-again birthday when I realized the chains of my sins were broken and powerless over me and my relationship with God.

Elevated Physical Position of the Pastor

This section may just be my opinion (warning).

Not sure why this bugs me but I have always been bothered by the uni-directional, slightly elevated position of the pastor.  Usually there are a few risers and then a big pulpit.  Then off to the side is the rock band.  It just always seems like a ‘show’.  I suppose it comes from the need to project the voice and hear everything in times past.  It’s probably that simple.  But it feels like a university lecture hall with a rock band.  Who in the world participates or interacts with those?  Answer: No one.  And if you do, the other people don’t like you for interrupting the speaker.  So, I suppose if the whole goal of ‘church’ is to show up and hear a uni-directional message from the Bible without interruption, then mission accomplished.  But what if the pastor is preaching something that is totally off base?  What if something is burning inside of you from the Holy Ghost and God is telling you to share it with His people?  What if you are a prophet and this message must get out?  I’m sure God will forgive you for not wanting to interrupt the speaker for the sake of order.  Plus, you could email it to the mailing list after… HA?

Elevated Physical Position of the Worship Team

The more I look at what satan is doing in the secular world with music and idolatry, the more I am concerned about this ‘worship team’.  I saw a trailer for an upcoming movie on a secular kids DVD this week.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a bunch of tatooed hipsters with nasty haircuts, torn jeans and the like jumping around on a stage with all sorts of acid-induced lighting.  Had I not seen the words of the song on the screen behind them I would have surely thought this was a secular rock concert.  Every part of it looked secular.  It just kind of creeped me right out.  That’s all.  It was one of those ‘this is wrong’ moments. I don’t want to dwell on the ‘christians looking like the world’ topic but the ‘rock band’ thing really seems to be established in the weekly worship.  My idea was always ‘what would happen if we stuck the band BEHIND the congregation and started worshipping?  My guess is that no one would know what to do or how to worship – which is just plain disturbing.  Disclaimer: I have not run the test to check!

Boxed Lunch Set Meal

I also like to call this ‘compartmentalized faith’.  It’s also known as ‘the Sunday Christian’.  It’s the packaging up of our faith into nice little sections of our life, right down to the way we perform our ‘service’ (which by the way 5% of the people serve and 95% are served by the 5%).  It looks a little bit like this: quiet music, intro prayer, praise and worship team rock out, optional hymn(s) here, main prayer, sermon, closing prayer, optional communion here, the blessing prayer thing, a little more quiet music, hand shaking, optional meals, departures.  Repeat next week.  Sometimes in between there might be a prayer meeting or a cell group meeting but not usually.

All of the above is fine, per se, but I double-dog DARE any of you to try to change ANY of it.  I DARE you to listen to that still quiet voice inside of you and obey it and see what happens.  From my experience, the program dominates.  As a quick example, God might be leading the praise and worship team to continue.  After all, in heaven all we are going to do is worship God so maybe we should practice this blessed skill here a little more.  But if the clock says to stop and God says to continue…… who will win?

So, in conclusion, the program, the compartments and the order seems to win. I want to also declare that I love order and habitual things can be very good.  It’s very good to wake up with an alarm clock and read your Bible.  But these things cannot rule over the voice of the Living God and prevent our obedience to Him.

I do boldly declare that the church has become ‘meeting focused’ not ‘Christ focused’.

Lacking Discipleship

This again is not really the ‘fault’ of the pastor or ‘the church’ per se, but a cumulative result of the reliance on the Boxed Meal Comfort Syndrome (BMCS).  It’s much more comfortable to commit to one or two hours per week.  It’s much more comfortable to not open our ugly closets of sin and selfishness to our brothers. It’s much more comfortable not to look at their closets.  It’s much more comfortable to not pray with others and hence not be responsible for watching a failed prayer.  It’s much more comfortable to walk by programs than by faith.  It’s very comfortable to be a modern day Christian in a first world country and I’m no exception.  But Jesus said these troubling yet exciting words:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (most translations say ‘making disciples of all nations’), baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  (Matthew 28:19)

Jesus’ disciples didn’t wake up one day and know everything.  They lived and breathed the Living Word and then put into daily practice the command of living out the commandments.  We are to spend time and mentor others the same way that Jesus did with them.  That’s our model and it works.  If the business world has figured it out maybe it’s time for the church to revisit this one?

Limited Bible Knowledge

I’ll keep this one short and simple.  It’s shocking how little the people in your church know about what’s really in the Bible.  All of the above explains it though.  But no wonder we are lead to and fro by every wind of doctrine and food for the wolves.

Superficial Relationships

This is typically a by-product of the Boxed Lunch Meal above.  It’s very, very difficult to build meaningful and deep relationships if the only chance we have to do so is at the handshake and departure section of the Sunday meeting.  Many people are surprised to learn of sudden divorces, pornography addictions, adultery and more.  Why are you surprised? You don’t even know these people beyond a handshake.  If you were in their lives I’m very confident that God would have shown you the red flags waving and used you in some amazing way.  But you just saw their surface smile, not their dark broken insides.

I also feel that this is one of the reasons why the love is disappearing at an alarming rate from the church and why believers are turning to every other form of deception.  If true Christ-like love flowed like a river amongst your body of believers (the church) you would hunger and thirst for their fellowship.

Programs Programs Programs

This is another by-product of the Boxed Lunch Meal above.  The only way to deal with the scriptures that the Bible talks about related to outreach and work while maintaining the church machine system in it’s current state is to create programs that fit within that system.  I’m very glad for the good deeds being done, but I have to be honest. I don’t want a program.  I want a relationship with God Almighty and I’m pretty sure the people on the receiving end of the program do too.  So, as long as that is the goal and every single person in the group is going down this road, hallelluyah!  But a lot of people use ‘programs’ to appease their conscience which knows that they are not growing in Christ, nor doing the works themselves.  So they fund a program or join a few times here and there.

In Bed with Big Brother

This topic is interesting.  It seems as though either the church hasn’t thought of this or doesn’t know. As mentioned in another one of my articles, if you would like to see what any church (or charity) has done with their money in Canada, all you need to do is click this link to our friends at the CRA and take a peek.  Here, try for yourself.  Enter your favourite church’s name and watch the results!

That’s downright disturbing for so many reasons, but if you are familiar with the mark of the beast in Revelation, that might be a good place for you to start your research.

The church signed up for that deal, no question, and if any persecutions started one could simple shut down the church…. except for one problem: Everyone who has ever given money to said organization for the bliss of a tax receipt is also now linked by their social insurance number (SIN) which is linked to this blissful believers home address.

If I were a man given to fear, that would be scary….

It seems to me as though wisdom would call the Body of Christ to seriously and quickly question whether this is in the best interest of themselves or their congregation but I have a strange hunch that this will be a very tricky habit to break free from if one were to try.

Those tax deductions are like catnip to a cat.

Christmas and Easter Focused

I’ve done lots of writing on this topic and you can search this blog for it.  I’m kind of bored of the topic. I have decided both Christmas and Easter have nothing to do with Jesus and should not be a focus.  Yet every church focuses on these two days.  Enough said. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

Non-Local Congregations

This is another smaller point but I just want to point out that in the current church machine many well meaning people burn a lot of gas driving to congregations.  I feel that the more local we are, the more relevant we are. Simple as that.

Sunday Worship

Another small one.  I know the ‘day’ doesn’t matter, per se, but it’s just kind of weird that Christians meet on Sunday and not Saturday which was the sabbath.  I don’t want to spend too much time or energy on this but it is worth at least asking ‘why’, isn’t it?  Sun?  Day? Why?

And that just about wraps up what I thought was going to be a 20 minute post.  I have now grown older and grey and my bladder is about to explode so I must bid thee farewell, thou who readeth.

Blessings to you.


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Is Christmas Good or Bad?

As part of my ongoing ‘battle against the spirit of christmas‘ which started years back now, I continue to dig in deeper each year.  This year the fire was truly kindled when our family decided that we may not go to our church’s ‘christmas service’ next week as a form of ‘personal separation’ (call it protest if you want but we aren’t feeling any hostility) from a practice that we believe has pagan roots.

As this is a big decision with possible implications for us and the church, I continue to study the topic.  Today I came across perhaps one of the best articles defending Christmas for Christians.  This article nailed down most of the items and did a fairly good job trying to defend them from a biblical perspective.  I will, below, take the point, summarize it, and then comment on it:

The word ‘Christ-mas’ means ‘Christ’s Mass’

The author uses this as kind of a ‘proof’ of its Christian origin, saying that ‘Christianity took this idea from its Jewish roots’ and even goes so far as to suggest that there is a possibility that ‘the pagans may have adopted an already existing Christian celebration’.   Unfortunately all other sources I’ve read up to this point suggest unanimously that Christmas didn’t exist anywhere near the first church until somewhere around 300AD.  Most sources agree that it was put in by the Roman Catholics.  And, just the fact that he pointed out the ‘mass’ is a good proof that this entire Christmas thing is rooted in ‘something outside of the Bible’.  Mass is very much associated with the catholic church. Even if mass is considered an ‘ok ritual’ the question is ‘why the focus on Dec 25th’ and the ‘magnification of the day’?  And the question remains for me “Is Christ the reason for the season or was a pagan celebration slapped with a Christian-looking label and finessed for the church to try to make it fit?”  But this final quote is a good quote, and a good one to support Christmas as being ‘ok’ for Christians to join: “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of Him who made it.”

Christ’s Birthday

This section, honestly, is so weak that I didn’t read it twice.  Almost every source I read and most academia are in agreement that Jesus was likely *not* born anywhere near December 25th.  But this author worked very, very hard to build a big defence story for keeping it on Dec. 25th – which, is kind of interesting to me….

Christmas Trees

This section was also quite good.  I also know that throughout the Bible the tree has significance and often positive.  “Cedars of Lebanon” and such terms of strength.  His Hosea 14:8 scripture find was a great one.  However, it doesn’t wipe away the very most key point of the Christmas tree debate.  It’s not about the tree, it’s about the ritual.  No one would deny his tree support scriptures.  There are also other wonderful symbols in the Bible like Jesus being the Living Water and the Rock.  And the Holy Spirit being like a flame and such.  So a tree may represent strength and the evergreen more so.  No problem. However…. what happens at Christmas is the tree is (traditionally) chopped down, dragged inside, and decorated!  Come again?  First of all, I’ve always thought that God did a great job creating the fir tree by itself and made it look pretty great.  I’ve not felt the urge to decorate them.  Then there are songs like “O’ Christmas tree’ which, quite frankly, should creep out any born again believer.  Of course, it also doesn’t wipe away Jeremiah 10 which seems to be painting a pretty vivid picture of a ritual of idolatry related to a tree.  Read this and you will see that God is not a fan of this practice.  Try as hard as you want, but you really do have to fight hard to deny that this tree thing is steeped in something ungody that has crept into homes and even churches.  I remain firm against the tree, the more I study.


Interesting to read, interesting to learn about but I still see it as a ‘pagan tree concept brought into the church’.  It’s very interesting to me how hard we fight to keep this tree in our homes!  To me, this might be the biggest marvel.


Again, the author takes and focuses on the ‘christian history’ of the wreath but going back further shows that the wreath can be found in pagan rituals.  I don’t have a big issue with this one so far because it kind of reminds me of the crown of thorns Jesus wore – but what has that to do with his birthday?  Not much…. so… strike that one, too.

As a side note, I also tripped across this nice summary of mainly what I have come to believe about Christmas.

The current debate that we are having with some leaders at our church is whether or not it’s ok to ‘celebrate Jesus’ in this way and at this time or whether by doing so we are getting in bed with a ‘pagan thing’.  Here are some bullet point questions that we are grappling with moving forward:

  • Did the first century church ‘do Christmas’?
  • Does it matter if the first century church ‘did Christmas’ or are we allowed to tack on some new things as we move forward?
  • Is there any biblical basis for celebrating Christ’s birth?
  • Did Christ Himself ask us to focus on it as one of the most important days of the Christian calendar or is that something we have done?
  • If a ‘day’ was originally dark, pagan or otherwise (ie. satan’s birthday to be vivid) does that day hold any power over us?
  • Can a ‘day’ be dark, demonic, dedicated to satan or otherwise?
  • Is there a spiritual benefit to celebrating Christmas?
  • If it were decided that Christmas was even ‘partly pagan’ is it ok to keep ‘doing Christmas’ for the sake of the unity of the church (ie. not going so might send them fleeing to other churches)?
  • and more.

A few analogies that are in the middle of being debated are:

  • If one were to take AC/DC’s Highway to Hell song, keep the music, and change the words to “Highway to Heaven’ is the song now redeemed and ok for church/worship?  The analogy here is that the ‘Christians’ have taken a pagan holiday and then thrown a ‘Christian cover’ on it.

To counteract that example given, the following was given:

  • If a building used to be a whore-house, night club, casino, or concentration camp execution chamber, could it be now used as a place of worship for the children of God to gather and worship?  The analogy here is that yes it’s ok to ‘redeem a day’ if the motives are for Christ.

And so because of these two ‘truths’ I have yet been able to conclude my position.  Both seem to be true and applicable to christmas.

It will be most interesting to see where this week goes.

I will attempt a post-Christmas review.

Further Reading:

  1. Article by a 15 year ordained minister with his top ten reasons why he doesn’t do Christmas.  The comments at the bottom of this post are also very thought provoking.
  2. This is a good article, from a reliable source.  The article tries very hard to explain the history of the celebration of Christmas yet, even here it falls short of convincing me that Christmas deserves our focus.  In fact, oddly it further cemented to me that history backs the pagan perspective.
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Overcoming the ‘spirit of christmas’ with the Spirit of Christ: Part 4 in a Series: To Pull Your Child from School or Not

Well, Christmas 2015 is now behind us.  Before it gets too far behind us, let’s keep this series going so that we are better prepared next year instead of the annual tradition of scrambling trying to figure out what position to take at the end of November or early December.

Here is a quick link list to the previous parts in the series:

  1. Part 1: Roots
  2. Part 2: Christmas tree versus Vine
  3. Part 3: Santa

Thanks for following this developing series.

Now that we’ve covered some articles on the actual theology (in a practical sense) and some possible issues of conscience. Perhaps now you have, like me, begun to wonder if we’ve bought into a system of which God may not approve.

Now your child comes back from school to let you know that they will be doing weeks and weeks of ‘Christmas stuff’ leading up to the holidays.

Now you’re torn.

Do you let your child participate, or otherwise?

By letting them participate they are essentially celebrating the roots of all the stuff we’ve looked at.

Here are some pros about pulling your child from such activities:

  • they are not dabbling in pagan rituals
  • they are identified as ‘different’ from the rest (which is biblical) and for all the right biblical reasons
  • it will create conversation and discussion which might otherwise not get started (someone might get saved as a result)
  • you can spend the time they would have spent doing something biblical (or something else period)

Here are some cons I considered:

  • the activities are typically quite fun and the child would miss this fun with their school mates
  • they would be identified as ‘different’ which from a child’s perspective is a bit trickier to deal with
  • they may get labelled as a Jehovah Witness

This year we elected to let our daughter do another year of ‘Christmas stuff’ (her first year in kindergarten) but I’m not quite sure it was the right decision.  There is no question when the weeks leading up to the holiday were complete she came out of there very positive about santa and his ways as well as ultra positive about the christmas tree which, in my opinion, is the worst of them all.

I’m just not completely sure we made the right decision but we are human and we want to learn.

One thing I have pulled out of this for certain is that if you elect to pull your child, it is critical that you have big plans for Jesus during that time. In the next post I will start to explore exactly that – what we as parents can do with our children that will glorify God while simultaneously boycotting vain and even pagan rituals of these well established holidays.

Stay tuned for more.


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Overcoming the ‘spirit of christmas’ with the Spirit of Christ: Part 3 in a Series: Santa versus God the Father

In the first part of this series of Overcoming the spirit of christmas with the Spirit of Christ, we took a look at whether or not God is concerned about the roots of the things we do.  For example, is it OK to have a Buddha statue in your house or do yoga.  In part two we took a look at the christmas tree and I made the bold and very crap-storm-causing comment where I compared the ‘sacred’ christmas tree to a satanic pentagram.  It is here where I apparently really ruffled some feathers and made some people start to question whether or not I serve the God of the Bible.  Needless to say, I find this all theologically stimulating.  I find it most interesting how those who are coming down hardest on me for ‘not being Christian’ are those who have not attended a church in recent history nor were they even aware of Jeremiah 10.  It’s ok.  I’ve been a believer for nearly 20 years and I had no clue until about 2012.  And then it jumped out at me.  And the main issue here is this: once something is presented to you and your conscience has to make a decision, it is at that point where you are also accountable.  To support this point, the other night I drove into a drinking and driving road block.  I went in boldly and when the police officer asked me if I had consumed any alcohol *today*, I was troubled.  I answered ‘no’ but after I left I was convicted that I had lied.  Because I *did* consume half of one beer about 2 hours before.  The very question from the police officer brought the issue to the forefront of my conscience and I chose to violate it for the sake of convenience.  I believe today I failed that test and should have owned up to the half a beer. I bet he still would have let me go through.  And so whether or not you *did* know about this christmas tree stuff no longer matters. You know now and you have to do your own due diligence and live with your conscience.  Same goes with knowledge of Jesus.  I have told you personally and in my blogs that Jesus is the only way to heaven.  You can choose to deny that or not, but now you cannot stand before God telling Him that you didn’t know.  Your conscience is now at work and you should listen.

And that was just my preamble to this part! I’ll try to keep the rest more concise.

Today I’m going to shoot another ‘sacred cow’.  Feel free to stop reading.  If you thought my post about the christmas tree ruffled your feathers, this one will make you want to draw blood.  You will either love me for pointing this out, or you will want to see me beaten like a mule for ‘ruining your christmas’.  Either or, I’m only here for a few more years so I’ve just got to be me.

First, let’s find the similarities between God the Father (God of the Bible) and santa claus:

  • both pronounce judgement on evil
  • both reward good behaviour
  • both have supernatural power
  • both have a form of omnipresence (they know what you’ve done)
  • Both have songs sung in their praise or adoration
  • Both require sacrifices (cookies and blood of animals)
  • Both teach obedience to parents
  • Both have servants or helpers
  • Both require faith and faith alone to believe in your heart

Now let’s contrast them:

  • Santa has no mercy. You will pay for your evil.
  • Santa forces his way into your house. God requires an invitation.
  • Santa taught to children by society where God is taught by parents (if taught at all)
  • One is the truth.  The other is a lie (you can’t call it a ‘fairy tale’ because you tell kids that it’s real with a straight face)

And I’m sure there are many other great items you could add to this list.  As always, I welcome your help developing this article over the years.

Here are some of the reasons why people (even well meaning believers) continue the santa claus story:

  • It’s just for fun.  You will ruin kids’ fun
  • They will feel alone and different in school
  • you will take away their magic
  • they may rebel against you and go even more full-bore towards these things later
  • and please add more if you have heard them

I couldn’t help but think of a scripture as I was writing that list above.  Jesus said something very clearly

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14)

Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus even imply that we are supposed to fit into this world.  As you can see from just this one scripture above (and there are many, many more) He went further to prepare us for the fact that we are *not going to fit in*.  By letting our children go full bore into a lie or pagan stuff, just so they can fit in with the people that hate God is not a very wise choice.  By following the scriptures from an early age, they will be much better prepared to deal with the imminent experience of feeling alone in their quest for righteousness in a wicked world.

There is a second problem, though.  If you let them follow the worlds system (santa and such) when they finally do ‘graduate’ and figure out that dad ate the cookies and and the gifts also came from their parents, well, what does that do to your credibility as parents?  I suppose you could say that it helped them quickly realize that even family members will be the cause of large disappointments, and just hope that the disappointments stop at this one…

Yet there is a third problem.  What does this do to the children’s view of God and the world around them?  Hmm.  It turns out santa won’t punish me for wrongdoing.  And santa is also not the root of rewards for doing good.  Hmm.  This story sounds a lot like that Bible story I heard when I was a kid.  Maybe… maybe this God they tell me about is just another story they told me.  Maybe it too will one day go ‘poof’ in my face.  I don’t want to be the last kid in class believing in santa claus so maybe I better sack this ‘God stuff’ early because after all, only uneducated fools like those kids who believe in santa would believe in a God you can’t see and who rewards us in the afterlife.  Walking on water?  That sounds about as far fetched as a fat man coming through a chimney!

You see, this is not about santa.

This is not about a tree.

It’s about faith and where we put it and how we convey it.

It’s about the very core of our integrity and the legacy we are leaving our children.

Yet, I conclude this part by re-iterating this: I’m not writing all this to ‘kill christmas’.  I’m writing this because I care about Truth and the name of my God more than anything else in the world.  I care more about how boldly I can walk into the throneroom of God at the end of this life, more than I do about what you think about me and my position.  This series is about establishing my position as a servant and child of God and standing for truth.


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Overcoming the ‘spirit of christmas’ with the Spirit of Christ: Part 2 in a Series: Tree vs Vine

Compare and contract this:

Jeremiah 10:1-5 (underline added)

Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.  They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

With this:

John 15: 1-8

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

In the first part of this series, I spoke extensively about roots and whether or not they matter to the God of the Bible and concluded that, yes, they do.  Now we shall move from the roots up towards the living organism of Christmas and see what shall unfold.

Let me emphasize again that I’m not doing this to be a ‘christmas killer’.  I’m just trying to solidify all these things that I’m seeing and put it into one place with some structure so that I, and perhaps any other interested person can add to the discussion and make better spiritual decisions for ourselves and our families.

In both of the above scriptures God is speaking extensively about a tree and a vine.  Do these two plants have some kind of spiritual power? No.  They are plants like a dandy lion or a bamboo – a few unique DNA strands that make it what it is.  They are rooted in dirt and enjoy sunshine like the rest of us.

What matters in the plants described are the roots – or to be more precise – the meaning or significance we give them.  In the latter scripture, Jesus is saying ‘Hey, come here. See this vine? I’m like this vine to you.  Don’t forget this analogy because this is a spiritual truth.”

In the former scripture, God is saying “See those trees?  They don’t have power to do evil, or good, or speak yet you give them ‘god’ status in your lives and hearts.” Same with the vine.  I haven’t seen a vine helping an old lady cross a street or jump out of the woods to mug her either.  They are just a couple of great things that God made way back in Genesis.

So let it be known that I’m not afraid of your christmas tree.  It cannot hurt me or help me.  So, that’s *not* the reason I have elected not to have one in our home.  The reason I have elected not to have one in the home is that the christmas tree is rooted in pagan rituals.  The tree itself represents something that God is not ok with: idolatry.  It’s no different than having a statue of Buddha  on my table or a pentagram on my wall.  The ‘things’ represent the spiritual realm and some realities that cannot be seen with the eye.

ACK! Did you compare a christmas tree to a pentagram??!!! 

Let’s roll with the pentagram example.  Run this scenario with me.  I invite you over to my house for tea and cookies and a few olives on a toothpick.  You show up, tip your hat, slowly walk up the stairs into my living room where you are greeted by a full human size image of a pentagram with ol’ Baphomet in the middle just to make sure you  know it’s the real deal.  I’m pretty sure you are not going to say “Wow! What a neat piece of artwork! I love what you’ve done with ol’ Bappy’s horns there! Right-i-o!”

You would probably start to feel a little concerned about your personal well being and perhaps plotting your escape.

Now why is that?

Because you know what that image represents: satanic power.

And so the item, in that context, is a declaration of faith and dedication to satan.

A long time ago, a christmas tree was used, as you can plainly read in Jeremiah above, as a pagan god.  They decked it with ‘clothes’ and worshipped it.  They thought the tree represented eternal life.  In the same article some try to give it a ‘Christian history’ but it’s simply not congruent with the even older history of Egypt, etc.  Also, the Jeremiah scripture above should wipe away any ideas that this is a Judeo-Christian concept.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Boys and Girls.  Like it or not, your christmas tree is not connected to the Bible or Jesus other than the reference to paganism in Jeremiah 10.

Jesus is the vine.  We are to be as branches on that vine.

I’m not going to go on a campaign to ‘kill the tree ritual’ (I’m sure the tree huggers are well on top of that) but I am going to continue staying close to Jesus and hear His voice and instructions on the topic.  And, unless He gives me directions otherwise, the tree needs to stay outside.  I just simply can’t make a square peg go in a round hole.

Incidentally, I really used to like the ‘magic’ generated by the christmas tree until realized that this magic wasn’t from God. Kind of how I used to like the magic from excessive drinking and other such activities.  The magic was from another source from which I have since departed.  The ‘magic’ was exactly that – magic.  Earthly, secular, and based in paganism.  That’s what I was feeling.  And that’s why these trees are totally accepted and basically worshipped where the crucifix where my Lord Jesus died is not.  The cross is, after all, foolishness to those who are perishing.  You don’t see a crucifix in city hall do you?  But I saw a tree decked with gold and silver there the other day…

If we gave half the veneration we give our flashy trees to God Almighty, I suspect we’d have a pretty good relationship with Him this season.

Just something to chew on while unwrap those gifts.

 Edit: 141227: This is a great link about the christmas tree which pretty much covers it all

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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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Jesus is 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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