Sunday, November 25, 2018

I Love Pumpkin!

Almost everyone who knows me, knows this. Pumpkin spice flavor, pumpkin pie flavor... out of a gourd, out of a can... it matters not to me. I just love pumpkin. In fact, I have said in the past (admittedly rather crassly), "If dog-doo tasted like pumpkin, I'd eat it!" Thankfully, no one has taken me up on this yet.

Over the last couple months, I have consumed a plethora of pumpkin-flavored products... coffee creamer (almost daily), donuts, butter, soup, cereal, pancakes, almonds, granola, vegetable chips, ice cream, gelato, frozen Greek yogurt, pound cake, M&M's, sugar wafers, cream cheese roll, and kringle (if you're not familiar with this "ambrosia," check out the link... but be forewarned: I will not be held responsible for any future Trader Joe's road trips).

And of course, last week was the ultimate pumpkin-lovers holiday - Thanksgiving - featuring the greatest dessert known to man (at least this one), pumpkin pie.

Have I mentioned that I love pumpkin?

It is obvious that people know that I love pumpkin as well. Throughout this glorious time of year, I have received assorted gifts of pumpkin-flavored goodies (including the aforementioned kringle) from those who are willing to fuel my obsession.

So, my question to myself recently has been, "Do people know that I love Jesus as much as they know that I love pumpkin?"

No, really. Do they?

And not just because I'm a preacher, which means that I'm "supposed to," right? Do people really know?

John Bloom wrote, "God made us to wear our love on our sleeves." To be honest, my love for pumpkin has probably visibly stained my cuffs. How about my love for Jesus?

Confession time: Way too many times in my life, my faith has basically been academic. From a child, I've known all the right answers to the questions of, "Who is Jesus?" and "Why did He come to Earth?"

"He is God's one-and-only Son, Who came to die on the cross to save us from our sins."

Completely true, but also completely and utterly academic.

The times in my life, however, when that faith has actually made a difference, both in who I am and how I have interacted with my world, is when I have experienced Jesus in a fresh way... not just as a topic to be studied, but as a real Person.

That's why I am so excited about 2019 and our goal, "To know Jesus better than we know ourselves." I personally want that. I really do. I am praying that you feel the same.

Over the next year, our church families (GCC and RCC) are going on a journey through the Gospel of Matthew to allow God to make that a reality in our lives. There will be multiple opportunities and resources to help each of us know more about Who Jesus is, but none greater than the Story itself.

And that is where some of us will struggle.

I was recently reading "The First Days of Jesus" by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Alexander E. Stewart, when the following statement jumped off the page:

"People say that familiarity breeds contempt, but when it comes to Bible reading, I've found that familiarity is more likely to produce laziness. I tend to skim when I already know the story."

Most of us already know the Story, but that doesn't mean that we already know everything God wants to teach us through the Story.

So, read the Story. Read it quickly, read it slowly, read it daily, read it weekly... just read it.

Really read it.

Together, as we engage in Matthew's gospel over the coming year, may we slow down, take our time, and allow God, through its pages, to re-introduce us to His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I promise you: It will be worth your time. And it will be so much better than anything pumpkin.

By the way, I don't think that there is such thing as pumpkin spice Doritos, but if there were, I'd give 'em a try... because I love pumpkin.

But I love Jesus more.