Welcome to 冉冉升起 RanRanShengQi

Lu Daoming welcomes you on a journey of friendship and hope. Together, let's learn new ideas: how to live with real meaning and joy.

CHRISTMAS HOPE (2015)

Most people that I know really like this time of year – even if they don’t believe in God. We like the holiday mood, the fun of spending relaxed time with people we know and care about – and even maybe make some new friends along the way, too. We like the giving and receiving of gifts, the warmth of shared meals, even the weather, if you’re lucky. The lights, the music – well, some of the music – the decorations, all remind us of something in the distant past that calls us to larger hopes and dreams for our lives – and for all human life. It’s not a surprise to see that many movies and stories and songs call us to “celebrate the Christmas spirit all year.”

Capture
This year’s Christmas season comes to us in a time of uncertainty, fear, confusion, anger – a time when people all over the world hear of tragic and terrible events, and participate in them by joining in mass-media discussion. When even though we ourselves aren’t necessarily directly involved in wars and attacks, we feel close to them – we feel close to injustice and fear and loss.

It may help you to know that the “original Christmas story” – the one about the birth of Jesus Christ – took place in similar times to ours in this way: it was a world where large nations swallowed up smaller ones, where superpower economies dominated the world, where social and economic injustices were rampant. It was a world – in ancient Judaea and Galilee, anyway – of instability and uncertainty.

baby-in-a-mangerMore than 2000 years ago, into that world, that time and place, a baby was born. One who was supposed to bring the end of wars, the great peace of God, the end of violence and oppression and injustice. One we sing songs about, “peace on earth, good will to men.”

So what’s happened since then? How’s that working for you?

babyinthemanger
In this short series we’ll explore a little of what it meant for the baby to be “born of a virgin” and “laid in a manger” – for foreign kings to give Him gifts. We’ll explore a very different viewpoint from what you might be accustomed to: so hold on to your Fedora and plunge in!

December 13: “Not just from on high: He’s from the future Instead of looking back on the “Christmas story” from our vantage point here and now, let’s look at it from the vantage point of the people of His day: what were they looking for? Why did they believe what they believed about Him? Some people were greatly disturbed and saw a threat – some people saw their wildest hopes begin to unfold into real life! In a world where global troubles and mass shootings come right into our cell phones, is it even possible for us to find hope in the baby in the manger, too? Hear the audio here and get the PDF of the PowerPoint here .

Modern BethlehemCapture (2)
December 20: “He was one of us: and that means something important! It’s a strange thing: the New Testament shows us more about how much Jesus is like us, than how different He is. Even then, later traditions try to make Him seem so different from us – so much more like Brad Pitt than your basic construction worker. The real Jesus was one of us: that means that what He did is OK for us to do! The real Jesus was one of us – and He looked up to His Father for strength: we can, too! The real Jesus was one of us – and He looked forward to the Destination, and blew a hole through the past, the present, through all powers, into the right path to the true future. He didn’t simply provide an acceptable way for us to apologize to God: He leads us through the hole He kicked in this world, into the new world. He was one of us – and it gets way better than even that! Enjoy! Hear the audio here and get the PDF of the PowerPoint here .

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