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Showing posts from December, 2005

So Much Treasure!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3, NIV

Without a doubt, Tutankhamen or King Tut for short is the most famous Egyptian pharaoh today. When he died at 18 years old, his followers buried him in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. After over 3,300 years, in November 1922, British Egyptologist Howard Carter found the tomb. It almost escaped discovery.

Carter was searching for the tomb for a long time. But King Tut’s enemies’ erased almost all the ancient records about him. Carter only found an inscription here and a mark there. His financial backer, Lord Carnavon, almost backed out of the project. He felt that so much time and money had gone to waste in what seemed to be a futile search. But, Carter persuaded Carnavon to fund one more dig. He even promised that he would pay for the final excavation if it would come out empty. Within days, Carter discovered the tomb. He exclaime…

The Birth of Our King

Open your Bibles in Matthew chapter one verse one. Yes, you heard me right. Matthew chapter one verse one. When I began reading the New Testament, I admit that I found chapter one of Matthew boring, particularly the genealogy of Jesus Christ. I mean, I was not that excited to read that this person begat another who begat another and on and on and on. I think you felt the same way also.

It is also challenging for pastors like me to preach an interesting sermon on the genealogy or the family tree of Jesus Christ. Yet I believe God has a reason why He placed it in the Bible. It says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live.” (Contemporary English Version) Notice that it says “everything” or “all of it is useful.” That includes the genealogy in Matthew chapter one.

Family trees are important. When we buy dogs, we want to check its pedigree. Or, let us say your…

Should We Celebrate Christmas? (Part 3)

Those who are against celebrating Christmas claim it has pagan origins. However, I believe the real reason was Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish festival of rededication that starts on December 25.

Almost 200 years before Christ was born, Antiochus Epiphanes (a successor of Alexander the Great) persecuted the Jews. On December 25, 167 B.C. he prohibited the practice of their religion and desecrated the temple by sacrificing pigs (an unclean animal according to the Jewish Law) on the altar. The Jews fought back and won. Exactly three years after the desecration of the temple, on the very same day the Jews rededicated it. They cleansed the Temple. They built a new altar in place of the polluted one. They kindled anew the fire on the altar and lit the lamps of the Menorah or temple lampstand. Since then, the Jews celebrated the Hanukkah (a Hebrew word for “dedication”). They also called it the Feast of Lights. Scholars believe the earliest Jewish followers of Jesus observed Hanukkah and they …

Should We Celebrate Christmas? (Part 2)

Those who don’t celebrate Christmas claim that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25. They say that we don’t really know the exact date. They claim the date was only fixed in the fourth century.

But Dr. Daniel Wallace in his book, The Birth of Jesus Christ: The Day Jesus Was Born, disagrees. “Why do we celebrate his birth in December? The tradition for December 25th is actually quite ancient. Hippolytus, in the second century A.D., argued that this was Christ’s birthday. …in the fourth century, John Chrysostom argued that December 25th was the correct date and from that day till now, the Church in the East, as well as the West, has observed the 25th of December as the official date of Christ's birth.”

Some point to Luke 2:8, where it says that on the night of the birth of Christ, “there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” (NIV) They claim that since it was winter, the shepherds were not in the field that night. Some modern scholars s…

Should We Celebrate Christmas? (Part 1)

Not all Bible-believing Christians celebrate Christmas. That’s a fact. However, the question is not “Who has the right belief?” but “What is the right attitude?”

We are commanded in the Bible: Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with… one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience. (Romans 14:7, 5, The Message)

Christians differ on minor issues due to many reasons. One reason was their backgrounds or past experiences. Paul wrote the guidelines in Romans 14 to discuss how Jewish and Gentile [non-Jewish] believers would live in harmony in the church. For example, Jews grew up with a lot of dietary restrictions. Gentiles did not have such a list of “clean” or “unclean” animals. So, when the…