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Why the Red Dragon of Christmas?

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

This year I set out on an ambitious task of creating a video and leader’s guide PDF to help some bold and daring churches teach something different this Christmas- the Red Dragon of Chirstmas. What?? That doesn’t sound like a very cozy message. The late Dr. Robert Lowery writes of the dragon that we see at the Nativity Scene in Revelation 12:

John’s rendition offers conflict not carols, war not worship. It is a PG-13, if not R-rated, rendering of the story. Some scenes are too intense for young audiences, indeed for audiences of all ages.  There is no sentimental Christmas story here: no cozy fireplace, only a fire-breathing dragon; no cookie-eating Santa dressed in red, only a red dragon ready to devour the baby Jesus; no cuddly animals lowing, only a cunning dragon sweeping his tail across the heavens.  Can you imagine a dragon becoming a regular in a Christmas story performed by little children? Who would  want the role? Can you picture a well-known company printing Christmas cards with a red dragon lurking behind the manger scene? Of course not! Someone else already lays claim to the color red this time of year, we would be told. Let’s not confuse the public.

In this very obscure passage, we see missing piece in our Nativity. We get a behind the scenes look at what was really happening at Christ’s birth, throughout his life, and even before. Down through history, Satan has constantly pursued the  destruction of Jesus. There is a thread found throughout the entire Bible– hostility between the seed of the woman and the dragon. Revelation 12 is simply the starting point. From there, you can trace the Dragon’s efforts to undo God’s promise from Genesis right on up until Bethlehem.

This video and PDF makes it easy to tell that story:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/26526/The-Red-Dragon-Of-Christmas

It outlines the many stories in the Bible where we can see the Dragon at work, like a puppet-master pulling strings. From Genesis, to David, to Esther, to Bethlehem, and many others. Not a cozy message. Or is it?

This is a reality in scripture and in our life too. Many church-going people are either skeptical of this truth or oblivious to it. We, as Christians, need to be aware of it, but also be confident that the ultimate victory is won already. Christ is the conqueror. He has vanquished the enemy.  The Dragon is defeated. The rest of Revelation 12 reminds us that since he was unsuccessful in destroying the Messiah, he has turned his fury against the rest of the woman’s seed…that’s us!  But here comes the COZY part. Rest assured that God’s purposes and His promises can never ever be frustrated. If a long history lesson can teach us anything, it is that God is infinitely more powerful than any seven headed, seven crowned, and ten horned dragon. Glory to God Most High. We too are on the  winning side. Paul sums it up beautifully in Romans 8:37-39:

 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Would your church benefit from such a Christmas message?

UHO – Unidentified Hovering Object

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Around 3 weeks ago, my wife was visiting family from Joplin, MO. Of course, you know that an EF-5 tornado ripped through the heart of that town on May 22. What you may not know is how many stories of divine intervention there are when you talk to people from there. This horrible tragedy claimed 160 lives. The city is rebuilding at an incredible pace, I believe, in part, to honor the memory of those people. As I saw the devastation, though (search “Joplin” on this blog to see videos) I wonder how that number is not higher. So many people are talking about God in the storm and even angels rescuing people from certain death. I don’t pretend to understand why some would die and others would survive the tornado’s path. It is a curious thing.

That brings me back to our item of interest. One day while my wife was with her parents in Mt. Vernon they noticed these lights in the sky, right over the direction of Joplin, 30 min. away. I’ll coin the phrase “Unidentified Hovering Object” because they say that they were not flying, they were stationary for about 15 to 20 min. No drifting or anything. My wife grabbed the 7D and a cheap telephoto lens and snapped some pics, like this one zoomed in below:

I will let her describe the scene here:

My parents and I were sitting in their driveway in the early evening watching the kids ride their bikes.  Mom said, “Look how blue the sky is!”  Dad and I looked up and noticed it was a beautiful shade of blue.  Maybe the bluest sky I’d ever seen.  All of the sudden dad pointed to the sky and said, “Look at that!  Do you see that?”  He was pointing at a bright object.  My first thought was a plane, but it wasn’t moving at all.  Can’t be a plane.   It was too early for stars.  We hadn’t even eaten dinner yet.  Then because I’m a conspiracy theorist I thought about aliens.  So I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures.  If this was a space ship I wanted pictures of it.  I don’t know who noticed the second object, but suddenly we were looking at two bright objects in the sky.  Neither were moving.  They were changing colors though.  The top one was brighter and changing from white to blue and back and forth.  The bottom one was white and orange.  We looked at it them for about 20 minutes before the clouds took over the sky and we could no longer see either object.  Later when I looked at the pictures on my computer I noticed something weird.   When I zoomed up on the picture it had a shape to it.  I couldn’t see the shape when I was looking at it in person earlier, but the pictures showed a definite shape.  The shape of an angel.

Again, I don’t really understand this stuff. I know what it looks like. Others look at it and say, “Looks like an angel”. The other pics look so similar too, with the same features. Well, it looks like the stereotypical image that we have of angels. How accurate is that? Well, how did that look come to be a stereotype? It has to be for a reason that everyone depicts angels this way. Sure, the Bible also says that we can entertain angels unaware. They, as God’s messengers could probably appear in many different ways. But then, we have the descriptions of angels in the Scripture. It describes a bright light, seen even in the brightest day. Hmm. Interesting.

Am I saying that this UHO, as I’ve come to call it, is in fact an angel? I’m saying that’s what it looks like. I wasn’t there, but I’ve see all the pictures and heard my wife’s testimony. I think that we who are sophisticated and educated have a much harder time accepting this Ephesians 6 type of truths. I grew up on the mission field, but in a sophisticated city. I have been to more remote places where people are more sensitive to the spiritual forces of both good and evil.

2 Kings 6 comes to mind. Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in this way:

15Early in the morning a servant of the Holy Man got up and went out. Surprise! Horses and chariots surrounding the city! The young man exclaimed, “Oh, master! What shall we do?”  16 He said, “Don’t worry about it—there are more on our side than on their side.”  17 Then Elisha prayed, “O God, open his eyes and let him see.”    The eyes of the young man were opened and he saw. A wonder! The whole mountainside full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha! (2 Kings 6:15-17 MSG)

Could it be that we too have our eyes closed to these spiritual realities?

What do you think this UHO is?

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