A Christmas Message from the President of the Wesleyan Covenant Association

December 24, 2020

December 24, 2020

By Keith Boyette

The heart of Christmas is the message of a God – fully divine — who cares so much about His creation that He became fully human to deliver us from the prison we had constructed for ourselves. The inheritance we had earned was death and eternal separation from God – the ground of our being. But God could not bear the thought of that. So, in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, God made Himself vulnerable and entered into the creation we had spoiled so that He might take our brokenness – our sin – upon Himself and heal us. Amazing! Incredible! Fantastic!

If you take a few minutes to pause and reflect amidst the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, the reality at the center of the Christian faith is quite audacious. Who among us would throw off the privileges of our existence to sacrifice it all for those who have demonstrated that they are our enemy! Yet that is exactly what God has done in Jesus Christ. It is hard to wrap our minds around what God has done for you and me.

In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul shares the words of an early Christian hymn:

     Though He was God,
     He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
     Instead, He gave up his divine privileges;
     He took the humble position of a slave
     And was born as a human being.
     When he appeared in human form,
     He humbled Himself in obedience to God
     And died a criminal’s death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8, NLT).

Unthinkable! Dwell in that hymn for a few minutes and let the implications of its reality speak into the depths of your soul. Almighty God did that for you and me.

Is it any wonder that we are filled with awe, joy, and even fear at Christmas? Such an act is beyond our comprehension. It grabs our attention and not just for a passing moment. The act is contrary to the values of this world which has become our prison in its rebellion against God.

Such an event demands a response. And the response demanded is more than a seasonal exchange of cards, a festive decoration of our homes, and even the giving of gifts among loved ones. Divine privilege has been surrendered. The infinite has entered into the finite and even subordinated Himself so that He might love and serve. The magnificent love of God, through His selfless act, penetrates a world and individual lives seemingly hardened to such love. And as it graces our lives, we are transformed.

The concept of the divine is somewhat ethereal. But the incarnation is knowable, approachable, transformative. We are drawn to His light and life, and we emerge from our encounter forever changed.

In my childhood, I struggled to understand who God is. In my encounter with Jesus, God became concrete. Once again, the Apostle Paul verbalizes that which makes all the difference to me in this season:

     Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
     He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
     For through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.
     He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see –
     Such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
     Everything was created through Him and for Him.
     He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.
     Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body.
     He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.
     So He is first in everything.
     For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
     And through Him God reconciled everything to Himself.
     He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
     By means of Christ’s blood on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20, NLT)

Christmas is a celebration of the God who drew near, who revealed Himself in flesh and blood – in the person of Jesus the Son, the visible image of the invisible God. When you contemplate the babe lying in the manger this Christmas, realize that God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ. Bend your knee and praise Him. More significantly, bend your heart and will and affirm Him as Lord of your life. Allow His character to become your character. Receive the love communicated in such a wonderful gift. Receive fullness of life imparted to you by the author of life. May you be transformed by your encounter with Him in this strange Christmas 2020.

From all of us at the Wesleyan Covenant Association: Merry Christmas!


Keith Boyette is president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and an elder in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church.

12-20-20 Sunday Morning Message

December 20, 2020

Love, Joy, Hope, Peace

December 15, 2020

12-13-20 Sunday Evening Message

December 13, 2020

12-13-20 Sunday Morning Message

December 13, 2020

Sunday Evening Message 12-6-20

December 6, 2020

Sunday Morning Message 12-6-20

December 6, 2020

Sunday Morning Message 11-29-20

November 29, 2020

Daily Devotional from J.D. Walt of Seedbed.com

November 25, 2020

On Our Lives as Fishing Stories 

LISTEN NOW!

November 25, 2020

John 21:6-11 (NIV)

6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.

CONSIDER THIS

“Follow me,” he told them in those earliest days, “and I will make you fishers of people.” In a stunning flash of deja vu, Jesus does the miracle of the great catch of fish yet again. He completes the cycle. First century fishermen fished at night because the fish can see the nets in the light of day. No-one catches fish in the daylight—except Jesus. 

No-one turns water into wine—except Jesus. No-one feeds five thousand people with five loaves and two fish—except Jesus. No-one raises a man from the dead after four days in the tomb—except Jesus. And we could do this all day. 

Still, we are so bent on doing our own thing our own way. We love church consultants and missional strategies and worship styles and biblical frameworks and our endless exhausting ideas. We will do it all night long, repeatedly, come up empty and call it faithfulness. When will we finally realize Jesus plus zero equals everything? When will we start with Jesus? When will we humbly renounce our grandiose plans and dare to believe the impracticality of impossible things in Jesus name alone? When will we finally risk our reputation on Jesus alone—which is another way of asking—when will we become fools for his sake? 

We are at the end of the fourth and final Gospel and still fishing and still catching nothing. When will we give up on all our best plans and risk everything on Jesus alone? 

These are the painful questions of holy discontent; the path of the long journey to the end of ourselves—the way of the Cross. That’s the journey where we learn to trade in our love of results for love of people. 

Jesus said it so plainly. “Greater things will you do than these because I go to the Father.” After thirty years on the job, I still believe him, and yet I want to ask, “Jesus, when do we get to do the greater things?” 

Maybe I’ve got thirty years left; maybe only three. Only He knows. I do know this. Whatever time I have left I am going to go all-in and risk it all on Jesus, which means risking it all on loving those he came to save. He’s worth it. They are worth it. After all, at the end of a long night of trying everything you know to do and coming up empty—that’s when he strides onto the shoreline of our lives and turns it all around. 

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is risen from the dead and ascended at your right hand. Thank you for this great fishing story. That’s what I want you to make of my life—a great fishing story. Come Holy Spirit and bring me to the end of myself, the letting go of all I think I have to offer; where I find the only thing worth offering is Jesus himself. We pray in his name, amen. 

THE QUESTIONS

1. How do you evaluate the investment of the rest of your life in league with Jesus? What would you trade for some real fishing stories? 

2. When they are standing around at your graveside service, what fishing stories would you like them to be telling? 

3. What is the level of your holy discontent these days? Or are you still struggling with being a frustrated malcontent with everyone and everything else? 

For the Awakening, 
J.D. Walt 
Sower-in-Chief 
seedbed.com

P.S. As I am wont to say at the end of a Daily Text series, the Daily Text is free and yet it is quite expensive. This is a wonderful way to support the cause. And please know, I earn no royalties on these books. It all goes back into the mission of sowing for a great awakening! The Daily Text series on the Gospel of John is on PRE-ORDER TODAY. It’ll be regularly priced at $19.95, but for now we are offering a deal as big as the book. Only $9.95 per copy through November 30 (50% off!). At that rate, you can afford to sow them extravagantly.

Sunday Evening Message 11-22-20

November 22, 2020