Posts by: scogee

By on 27/12/2017

28 December 2017

 

Dear Supporters,

I PRAY AS YOU READ THIS YOU WOULD EXPERIENCE JESUS

 

Twelve months ago, at this time, we were exploring taking our small television program to the world. It was not certain if we could, but I had been asked if I was interested.

Then in March of this year it happened and we began.

What a journey, but it did not actually start in March. It began over forty years ago. Fr Des Williamson, a Catholic priest, challenged me one night to give my life to Christ and in his words,

 

“make Jesus my personal Lord and Saviour.”

 

This has been the most important decision of my life. This decision has changed my entire life.

Not long after I remember being a youth in a Church group and this group was important to me. They loved me and I them. It was just a small group at the local Church. Over the years that group changed and got bigger.  They were my friends and the group was my whole world.

Some years later, when I was married and had four little children, our youngest was not born yet, I became the Director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the city and I was responsible for some 90,000 young people. The ministry I did got bigger. I loved them and they were my world.

Some years later, this became a community of people that led to being on television on a small channel. This led to traveling the country and proclaiming the Gospel in Churches and at events. Thousands of people came and the ministry got bigger. I loved the people that I met and ministered to from big cities to small country and rural towns. This was my world and it got bigger again.

There have been many intervening steps but God was bringing me to today.

 

In Proverbs 16:9 it says;

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps.

 

If we listen to God and yield our life to His will, He will do in us what we cannot imagine that will convert and transform our lives. We might think we are in charge but God is directing us.

In March this year our television program began on the biggest Christian television network in the world, and this would once again change my world, but it has also changed my heart in ways I could not have imagined.

In recent times, we have received daily mail from all over the United States and Australia but also from many other places some of which are;

  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Belfast, Ireland
  • East Great Demerara, Guyana
  • Whim Village, Tobago
  • Ontario, Canada
  • Newcastle, United Kingdom
  • St Catherine, Jamaica
  • Kampala, Uganda

Today, my world has become much, much bigger again.

I have spent nearly six months traveling this year and because of this I have become far more aware of the world than just my little youth group I use to be a part of all those years ago. What has surprised me is that I love the people that I have met from these places. They have faces, a story to tell and families.

ACTS OF NATURE

 

This year my heart has broken as world tragedies have happened in places such as;

  1. Hurricane Maria in the Domincan Republic in September
  2. Earthquake in Mexico also in September
  3. Monsoon flooding in Bangladesh
  4. Mudslides in April in Columbia
  5. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in August devastating parts of Texas.
  6. In August there was the flooding and landslides in Sierra Leone killing hundreds.
  7. Hurricane Irma in September that went through the Caribbean and the southern part of the US. It was the biggest category 5 storm in the Atlantic in a decade.

 

Thousands killed, maimed, left homeless and destitute.

TERRORIST ATTACKS

Then there was the terrorist attacks of which there are just too many to mention, from the religious to the single attacker who killed and destroyed.

 

 

PRISONERS & HUMAN TRAFFICING

What has moved me and taken me by surprise has been the number of prison inmates that write and ask for prayer.

The other day I saw a secret recording of a recent modern day slave auction. It was horrible. Slavery is rampant in surprisingly so many different places around the world.

 

 

WARS

Then there are the wars! Too many to mention!

 

 

What I have come to experience this year is that

these are my people now.

They are listening to me every week and even every day on television and on the internet.

I am no longer in my little youth group just worrying about me and a small group of people in front of me.

I used to think that I would ‘just’ reach people like me who live in homes in the suburbs and who were disconnected from God but God has widened my world to include even more people from the streets of middle America to around the world.

 

People are writing and calling. The phone calls in the past two months have been so great we have had to try and slow them down just to be able to manage the cost of answering them as we are growing as a ministry.

 

As a teenager I used to write in my prayer journal that one day I felt God would call me to proclaim the Gospel all over the world, but it never occurred to me that my heart would be so deeply touched.

 

Along with all the people we reach in our families and suburbs, these are my people now, and if you are called to this ministry by joining us and being one of our prayer partners, a donor or you serve on one of our teams, these are the people that we together are ministering to.

 

Let me say it again.

 

If YOU are called to this community of proclamation, these are YOUR people whether you pray for them, serve on a team, donate to make it possible for them to be served or go to them on mission.

 

For many of these people, we are Church to them. In addition to these people that we are called to there are those who have not experienced and do not face these kinds of hardships. For them it is discovering Christ through our words, programs and the witness of our lives.

 

Our Messages on television and through the internet brings them alive and gives them hope.

 

 

SO WHAT DID CHRISTMAS MEAN TO ME?

 

So, as we are in this time of Christmas celebration that goes on for days, what does a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes mean because it sure means a whole lot more to me than it ever has before because of the year we have had, because of the year that I have had?

 

If I am truthful, so often we can be caught up in our selfish world by;

 

  • The home we have
  • The car we drive
  • The job we do
  • The money we have in the bank
  • What people think of our children
  • The schools our children attend

 

And the list goes on and then we read this by the prophet Isaiah;

 

For a child has been born for us,

a son given to us;

authority rests upon his shoulders;

and he is named

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

                                                          Isaiah 9:6

 

What does Christmas mean to humanity?

 

It seems to get earlier and earlier, in October and November, the shops start putting out their Christmas decorations.

 

Everything builds to this crescendo on Christmas Day and then it is over.

 

The traditional Christian Christmas celebration is exactly the opposite to this however.

 

The Church starts the season of Advent four Sundays in advance of Christmas day. Advent is a time to prepare our heart for the coming of Jesus. In this spirit of expectation we wait for the coming of Jesus, singing songs of longing for his coming.

 

On Christmas Day, the REAL TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS begins and ends on January 6, which is called the Epiphany. This day celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the Magi, and in later years, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan and the turning of water into wine.

 

These are the real 12 Days of Christmas.

 

For most of us by the time we get to Christmas we are just too exhausted to do much celebrating.

 

These 12 days give us the chance to reflect on the real meaning of the Incarnation, that is Jesus giving up His place at the side of the Father, and becoming a human being and walking among us.

 

When we prematurely stop our celebration and reflecting at the end of Christmas Day, we fail to see what Jesus means to our world in the midst of our joy and gladness, pain and unspeakable suffering.

 

One of the prayers for Christmas Day in the Catholic liturgy encapsulates what Christmas means for all believers:

 

“O God, who marvelously created and yet more
marvelously restored the dignity of human nature,
grant that we may share the divinity of him who humbled himself
to share our humanity.”

 

In Christ, our human nature was united to God, and when Christ enters our hearts, he brings us into that union.

 

From the 5th Century, the three days after Christmas Day show us different ways that Jesus coming into world affects us. They have traditionally been called feast days as they are days of celebration.

 

 

December 26th – The Feast of St Stephen

 

In the book of Acts, Stephen was one of the seven chosen to serve food to the widows so that the Apostles could devote themselves to prayer and the Word.

It is a day that was traditionally a day for giving leftovers to the poor.

Stephen was the first martyr, who witnessed with His life to Jesus having lived among us and changing our world.

 

 

December 27th – The Feast of St John the Evangelist

 

John was the only Apostle that did not die as a martyr. John witnessed by his words to Jesus being alive in our world when he wrote;

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

 

 

December 28th –The Feast of the Holy Innocents

 

The Holy Innocents were the children murdered by King Herod when he was jealous that another King might rise up and take his throne after hearing from the three Magi that they had followed a star to see a new King.

These children were not martyrs like St Stephen who died in a heavenly vision, or were not inspired like St John to write the Gospel story.

These were innocent babes who died as the baby Christ was whisked away by Joseph and Mary to Egypt.

In them we see the long agony of those who suffer and die through human injustice, never knowing that they have been redeemed. In celebrating the Holy Innocents on December 28th, we remember the victims of abortion, of war, of abuse.

It is on this day, that like the murdered Innocents, we declare that we are saved by the sheer mercy of Christ and not by our own doing or knowing.

 

Christmas, when understood spiritually, is about a new Kingdom and therefore way of life that causes us to live in the assurance of eternal life and not mortal life.

 

Jesus’ coming has changed everything because it will turn our mourning into dancing. Our sadness to joy.

 

There is so much we do not understand with our human minds.

 

Why acts of nature occur that destroy, kill and maim?

I do not know.

Why humanity commits injustice and atrocities to each other?

I do not know.

Why some people never know Jesus?

I do not know.

 

What I do know is that when our eyes are opened to faith through surrendering and giving it to God, we see our life very differently. It as if we have different eyes enlightened by a knowledge that goes beyond reason that leads to peace.

 

This new life in us must be cultivated by actively transforming our mind and heart through prayer and earnestly seeking God.

 

Do not model your behaviour on the contemporary world, but let
the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may
discern for yourselves what is the will of God—what is good and
acceptable and mature.
                                                                           Romans 12:2

 

THIS IS MY CHRISTMAS FAMILY

 

I do not know the names of the people in the pictures above who are in such deep pain, but I find peace knowing that this valley of tears will pass into glory.

 

The doorway to this assurance is us surrendering our life to God.

 

When we surrender, our eyes see in ways that no human eye can see, where in the light of Christmas the Son of God Jesus, walks amongst us, illuminating our way

 

I have prayed the prayer below countless times surrendering my life to God and I invite you to do the same in this Christmas season.

 

I pray Jesus who is among us in the Infant Child, would during this Christmas season enlighten your hearts and minds as we enter into a new year together.

 

Whether you pray for us, serve on a team, donate to make it possible or travel to people to bring Christ to them, I want you to know that Rosemary and I are grateful but so are the people we reach and in particular God who sees your heart.

 

If you have a moment why not commit the year ahead to God in the comments below in prayer and please know I am praying for you and those you love in 2018.

PERSONAL COMMITMENT TO CHRIST

Lord Jesus, I want to belong to you from now on.
I want to give my whole self to you.
I ask you to come and be at the centre of my life.
With all my heart I ask your forgiveness for all the sins and failings in my life.
I need the strength of your love and grace.
I want to carry you in my heart everywhere I go.
Just as you hold me precious in your heart.
Lord, I give my life to you.

God Bless,

Bruce