Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored


Christmas Traditions: Part 1 – What do I celebrate?

Christmas is a worldwide holiday season and has been for 100's of years, and it has picked up and given birth to too many traditions to count or explain! Many times Christians get worried that they are bringing too much commercialism or even pagan religion into their homes, since there are not clear lines between Christian traditions and other parts of the season.

While I may carry on this theme for a bit and explain a few of my favorite traditions, I wanted to start with a bit of general advice related to this issue. So here are my top 3 encouragements to anyone evaluating Christmas traditions:

(1) Personally adopt or invent traditions that you enjoy and give them meaning that reflects Jesus, not simply Santa or giving gifts.
The reason we don't know the meaning of traditions is that people stopped explaining it. Take time to explain your traditions every year--make them meaningful! The point is not, "what traditions have non-Christian origins?", rather, the question is, why do you do these things? Christians have stolen tons of things from nonChristians and used them for a worthy cause. Martin Luther used to steal bar songs and rewrite the lyrics into worship hymns. what matters is whether you make each action spiritual.

(2) Don't be a hater.
Just because you don't like a tradition or don't think its a good one, doesn't mean you need to make others feel bad for doing it. We are trying to express Jesus love. When Christians go around bashing other people for not being "Christian enough" in their celebration of Christmas, all people hear is, "You suck. God is a hater who judges you for petty things like Christmas lights"

(3) The celebration of Christmas is about God giving us a gift we did not deserve.
If you want to celebrate Christmas to it's greatest emphasis, make sure you take time to serve people who need help--even if they don't deserve or ask for the help. Make traditions out of hosting people for dinner who aren't the kind of people you'd normally go out with, paying for someone's lunch behind you in line, or serving a soldier who's returning to Fort Campbell this Christmas without holiday plans. Basically, celebrate Christmas by going to an extreme to serve others with your time and money. That's the best Christmas tradition.

Remember, there's nothing in the Bible that tells us to celebrate Christmas. The church created this tradition and season because we wanted to focus on Jesus arrival and the kindness of God.

Also remember that the world celebrates Christmas entirely differently than we do. Ask someone from another country how they celebrate Christmas. It may just open your eyes and heart to something new!

10The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. 11Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. - Luke's Gospel, chapter 2


I Invite You to:

This past year I have had the unique privilege of following Jesus in a moment by moment ministry experience like no other. Three times daily, I get an update on His activity, as if He was really here on earth living out His final year of ministry on the earth. It is exciting to think of Him in this way, both according to the activities the Bible records and in terms of the lifestyle of a Jewish carpenter/Rabbi from Galilee.

If you need a unique experience to really make your Easter season intriguing, then I implore you to consider "Spending a Year with Jesus." I can ensure you that the experience will be eye opening. No lies, the only thing you'll have to consider is whether it is worth $36 for an entire year. Cash in a tiny part of that tax return you're itching to spend, and change your life!

Dan Pfeifer is a mobile messaging and email application built by the most diligent of people, my fellow student at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dan Pfeifer. He's worked hard to portray Jesus in a way that honors the Biblical text and inspires Jesus followers. He's a world-class web developer that truly respects your privacy.

The experience starts March 17th.


Taking Sin City for Christ

Living in an environment where a lot of people are preparing for a career in pastoral ministry, I hear a lot of ambitious plans for the church. I myself have a lot of ambitious ideas for the future of the church...but I have never considered the one I saw on the news recently.

Meet The Strip Church, one ambitious pastor's ministry to change the lives of visitors to Las Vegas. I personally like it. He has a clear and simple strategy, a proven record of ministry in this context, and a deep love for the lost in this regard.

I wouldn't recommend the ministry everyone, and I would not pursue it myself, but I recommend that you have a look at the ministry of:

ABC recently hosted them for an interview which can be viewed here.

You can also view the ministry plan here.


Can the President be a Servant Leader?

It is quite an extraordinary parallel to me to view the presidential news after the election. Outside of the hundreds of African's Americans who have been inspired by this historic occasion, the biggest news now centers around the appointment of Barak Obama's new staff.

The news is reminiscent to me of the New Testament occasion where Jesus' disciples began arguing over who would be the greatest in His kingdom. Jesus uses this setting to make His model of leadership clear by washing his student's feet in the role of the lowest servant in the home. The message: "leaders are servants."