Refocussing on the real Christmas|
Yes it is that time of year. I do struggle with
advertising that encourages people to spend
money they so often don’t have, and I find it
difficult enduring the commercialism that comes into
my life and home. In the light of this ever growing
pressure, it is all the more important to focus on the
real reason for the season. We need to look afresh at the
significance and meaning of Christmas.
We need to ask ourselves some important questions.
Why did Jesus come to Earth? Why did He come as
a babe in weakness, fragility and vulnerability? Why
didn’t He come as the Son of God in all His glory and
majesty, and just be done with it? Leviticus 1, verse 3 says
this: “If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let
him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his
own free will.” Jesus couldn’t come as God or as a mature
man because He wouldn’t have been able to fulfil the
requirements of the law, and thus provide salvation. So
Jesus came at Christmas in fulfilment of O.T. law, to
deliver us from the bondage of sin and death. Matt 1, verse 21 says “And she will bring forth a Son, and you
shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from
There has been a lot of talk about euthanasia in recent
years and behind euthanasia is a belief that after death
there is nothing to worry about, a belief which the
Bible clearly teaches is wrong. It concerns me that the
supporters of euthanasia are ignoring this very important
issue “what happens to us when we die?” Jesus’ coming
at Christmas highlights the fact that He is not only
concerned with death itself, but more importantly
what happens after death. It is highly significant that
during Jesus’ three and a half year ministry He made
far more reference to hell than heaven. This only served
to underline Jesus’ deep concern about the destiny of a
soul after death.
So the obvious motivation behind Christmas is the
destiny of a person’s soul. It is all about how Jesus made
provision for each human being to know and realize
their need of forgiveness for sin, as the result of His
birth, death and resurrection.
Intrinsic to knowing Jesus as one’s personal Lord and
Saviour is the responsibility to make known the good
news of salvation to others this Christmas. In the book
of Ezekiel twice the prophet challenges the nation of
Israel to be an effective watchman, and then states how
God views those who neglect such a responsibility.
Ezekiel 3, verse 18 says this: “When I say to the wicked,
‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor
speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his
life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but
his blood I will require at your hand.”
Jesus is the answer to our struggle with sin
and our fear of death. It seems that the majority
of the Christian church doesn’t consider the gift
of eternal life worth giving, or just can’t be bothered
proclaiming “Christ is the answer to our sin.”
The greatest gift we can give this Christmas
Jesus also came to give us strength to live in obedience
to Him which Luke 1, verse 79 says: “To give light to
those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide
our feet into the way of peace”.
Christmas is not only about the deliverance from the
penalty of sin, but from the power of sin. We in ourselves
have no means of redeeming our souls from the curse
of sin or the power of sin, it is only through the cross of
Jesus Christ. Jesus through the power of the indwelling
Holy Spirit enables us to walk in obedience to Him and
to guide us day by day in our decision making, just as
the star directed the wise men.
One last thing, Jesus came at Christmas to bring peace
into a world beset by conflicts of all descriptions. Jesus
was born to die and rise again, so that mankind may
have peace with God. As a result of this peace with God,
we can experience daily the peace of God in a fallen
world. Although we live in a world that is characterised
by stress and anxiety, we can experience the peace of
God which Philippians 4 verses 6 and 7, spells out for
us; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made
known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through
Maybe the best New Year resolution you can make is
to commit to pray about everything in your life and not
be anxious about anything. Now there is a challenge.
Please excuse the pun.
Have a wonderful Christmas. May you experience the
true meaning of Christmas this year, and may it be a
daily reality as you go through 2010.
Yours In Christ,
Carl Carmody and the Challenge Team
POINTS TO PONDER
||Will and Ale Herndon serving with Word of Life ministries in Buenos Aires,
Argentina, help prepare and print and distribute the Spanish Edition of El
Well what a year it has been. There is much to praise the
Lord for and also many areas needing much prayer and
direction from the Lord.
We praise the Lord for Tim Pearce and the work he is doing
for challenge as web master, please also pray for his expanding
role and additional work to supplement his income.
John Palandri has been appointed as Missions co-ordinator
and will commence full time work with Challenge from 1st
April 2010. The role will be to promote and expand the
mission trips to a total of 4 per year. Please pray for the
Palandris as they seek to raise personal support to come into
As the Lord has continued to expand the work globally,
please continue to pray for the finances of Challenge.
— Nigeria, producing the first paper in February 2010 in
partnership with Ireland Outreach International, the Initial
print run will be 30,000.
— Liberia, printing the first edition in 2010
— India currently have the paper printed in English only but
have requested a Hindi, and then a Tamil language edition.
New countries — Please pray specifically for finances,
suitable printers, distribution network, follow up for these
2010 world cup edition South Africa have requested
500,000 papers and South America have also requested 500,000
papers. Please pray for the finances to print these quantities
and also for the effectiveness of the paper, for the people
using and distributing the paper and for the follow up.
With the expansion of the work globally additional staff are
required to write/edit and to do desktop work with the design
and layout of the paper. Please pray that the Lord will bring
into Challenge the right people.
The opportunities to expand the work in South America
with Word of Life ministries. Currently there are 20+
countries waiting to receive the Challenge paper.
For the organisations that we partner with globally, who
follow up and disciple those who make a commitment to
Christ, through the paper.
Challenge board as they look to the future direction and
expansion of the work
The finances that have come in throughout the year
enabling the ministry of Challenge to not only continue but
to expand bringing the good news to many around the world.
India edition “Destiny” started well this year and the next
print will increase to 100,000 copies. We praise the Lord for
our partner AEF and the staff working in India.
Malawi 30,000 papers bi-monthly is being sponsored by
one faithful church.
Approximately 10,000 Bibles are being provided through
the generosity of the Bible Society for South Africa.
The 97,000 copies of the Christmas edition that will be
distributed in Australia.
Safety of the Challenge team throughout the year and for
the travel that Carl and others are involved with.
The positive feedback we are receiving both in the content
and look of the paper and also its effectiveness as Churches
seek to reach out into their community.
Challenge is producing 12 separate editions, reaching into
32 countries in various quantities and this is continuing to
expand. We praise the Lord not for the numbers of papers
going out but for the many souls coming into the Kingdom
as the Lord blesses the paper.
Appointment of USA director Eric and Caren Whitmer
and the personal support they have been able to raise. For the
opportunities that are presenting themselves in the US.
For the demand for the paper in South and Central
American countries and the appointment of Will and
Alejandra Herndon as the Challenge director for South
Challenge Literature Fellowship Bank Account direct deposit details|
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Address: PO Box 978, Cloverdale WA 6985,|
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