Merry Christmas Starbucks!

The Gospel and the War on the War on Christmas

red cupThe War on the War on Christmas started early this year. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but a vocal minority of Christians have already begun to fight.

The so-called War on Christmas began a few years back when nativity scenes started being removed from public spaces and when the greeting “Merry Christmas” began to slip from civil and corporate parlance.

Some Christians began to take offense and someone labeled this cultural phenomenon a War on Christmas.

Let’s just get one thing straight: There is no War on Christmas.

Instead, there are millions of Not Christians who want to celebrate Not Christmas. Is that so hard to understand?

Are non-Christians required to celebrate Christmas in America? No.

Are Christians required to celebrate non-Christmas holidays in America? No?

So, what’s the problem?

To a small, misguided army of Christians armed with Facebook profiles and YouTube accounts the problem is red cups that aren’t wishing us a Merry Christmas.

As I see it, there’s an even bigger problem: The War on the War on Christmas.

Or, to put it another way, the problem is obnoxious people who claim to be Christians but wouldn’t know what it meant to be Christ-like if it slapped them on the face. (Hint: turn the other cheek.)

We are expecting too much if we want red cups to say “Merry Christmas”, public spaces to defend our faith, and darkness to shine like the light.

Instead, it’s supposed to be the other way around. Christians are to be a light in the darkness. We are to take the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and present this good news to people who are sinning and stand in in need of a loving and forgiving and compassionate Savior.

Our mission as followers of Jesus is to share and live out this glorious good news. To get sucked into the War on the War on Christmas is to dilute the power of the Gospel with 2/3 hot milk and a thin layer of foam.

To whom did Jesus ever say, “Follow me, and I will make you obnoxious in Starbucks cafes?”

To whom did Jesus ever say, “If you love Me, put nativities in public spaces and shout down anyone who asks for them to be removed.”

With all of that in mind, followers of Jesus are going to have to start the War on the War on the War on Christmas earlier than expected.

For me, the War on the War on the War on Christmas starts with this blog post written on my laptop at Starbucks…as I sip on a caramel brûlée latte…out of a godless red cup…A red cup that reminds me of the cup of God’s wrath that Jesus drank as He shed His own blood on the cross nearly 2,000 years ago…A red cup that reminds me that the red blood of Jesus was shed so that the lost could be found, the broken-hearted could be made whole, and ashes could be turned into something beautiful again.

Brothers and Sisters, we must not let the plain meaning of Jesus’ red blood be hidden by a misguided attack on a plain red cup.

So, to Christians and non-Christians, to liberals and conservatives, to Starbucks customers, employees, and owners, I say “A very merry Christmas to you and your families! I pray that the love of Jesus would be made known to you this holiday season!”

The Last Visit: A Loving Remembrance of Kenneth Byrum

You may not know Kenneth Byrum.

Kenneth Byrum was an ordained United Methodist minister and missionary for nearly 60 years. He served in Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. As a skilled brick mason, he did major renovations and new building projects at almost every appointment where he served. He was survived by his wife, Lois, 4 married daughters and 4 sons-in-law, 8 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren.

I am grandchild number three and on January 8th, I had the privilege of preaching at my Grandpa’s memorial service.

In this post, I want to share two remembrances that were shared at that memorial service: The Last Visit (written by my Mom), and This One Thing Remains (written by me).

What Are Your Disciple Making Goals for 2015?

Millions of people will soon be writing down their New Year Resolutions. We might decide to eat healthier and exercise more, but will disciple making be a goal in 2015?

disciple making goal

Making disciples is a spiritual exercise but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set goals and develop a strategy.

Satan has a strategy.

He has a disciple destroying strategy and it is extremely effective. He has a goal and that is to undermine the work of God.

Satan has been perfecting his strategy for millennia and he’s using it on you. Today.

NYC Mayor and Board of Education Want To Use Church Space For UPK Expansion

In recent months, Mayor Bill de Blasio has asked religious institutions to help with his expansion of prekindergarten in New York City. Who benefits the most from this arrangement? Should churches be serving the city in this way? Or are there better ways to help?


On September 4th, 53,000 four year olds in New York City walked into a classroom for the very first time. Some of those classrooms are in community-based or faith-based organizations, including churches. By next year the mayor has promised an additional 20,000 openings. In an effort to generalize the UPK experience across such a diverse array of facilities, the NYC Board of Education has published a set of guidelines that are to be used by religious schools and other faith-based organizations.

3 Reasons You Need To Know Jesus

What if Mark’s Gospel had been written as a series of blog posts? Here’s what he might have to say about Jesus based on Mark chapter one verse one.

gospel of mark

The Beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. – Mark 1:1

Everyone needs to know Jesus.

Why? Here are 3 reasons that come to mind:

1. Jesus is King

The word “gospel” means “good news”.

But not everyday good news. Like, “Gospel! My indigestion seems to be clearing up!”

More like, “Gospel! A king has been born.” Or, “Have you heard the gospel? Our king conquered the enemy army!”