As we approach and celebrate the birth of Christ and the beginning of this New Year 2018, I want to introduce you this Christmas season to an aspect of the birth and purpose of Jesus Christ that we may have neglected or perhaps been unable to see or comprehend. Without drama, it now appears that the biblical Christ is far more to us than exclusively a Savior. Our hearts rejoice that He is indeed our savior, but a biblical aspect of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ seems to be pushing, crowding, essentially forcing itself to the surface—embracing Jesus as the Pattern Son. Father expects us to see and receive Jesus as the Son of Man, i.e., the incarnational reality of a human being that would exhibit that which Father-God had intended for all humanity at Creation. He comes as the living pattern, demonstrating what humanity is destined to become, human as Father intended.
Please re-read the birth of Christ in a new and different translation this season. New American Standard’s version of Luke’s understanding of Christ’s birth seeks to present who this Jesus really is to all humanity: When we saw Him, we really did see the Father. We are increasingly impacted by the fact that we must understand Jesus as the Pattern Son. He is what we will look like when we have consciously and effectively embraced the biblical injunction given in Rom. 8:29: fore-ordained to be conformed to the Image of Jesus Christ.
Kingdom peace is essential for us to be progressively prepared to engage the events of this coming year. Luke 2:14 NASB and Greek original translate something urgent to be seen and understood. The multitude said, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth (that is where we are) peace among men with whom He is well-pleased (that is us).” Peace is a governmental word; peace comes with and as a fruit of the internalized Kingdom.
This central theme of an internalized Kingdom speaks of our learning to please God as a Father. Note Paul’s strong emphasis in Eph. 5:10: “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” When we pick up the theme of learning from the Pattern Son, we are immediately taken to Mt. 11:30: “Take my Yoke (His Kingdom) and learn from me….” We are receiving and embracing Christ as the Pattern Son and embracing the process of being conformed to Christ’s Image. This is not works, but an effective embrace of Kingdom purpose.
Jesus, as Son of Man, is speaking to us at this Christmas season. My sense is that He is seeking a particular people, identified as the “weary,” not sinful, rebellious, or seeking to go our own way. Simply those that know what it is like to be weary (tired, exhausted, fatigued, drained), even to the point of despair. Being conformed to the Image of the Pattern Son carries some weight and can cause us to become weary. Used 6x, listen to the way weary is used. Observe the reasons for our having become weary:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat 11:28 NASB).
“But, that I may not weary you any further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing” (Act 24:4 NASB).
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal 6:9 NASB).
“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good” (2Th 3:13 NASB).
“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:3 NASB).
“And you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary” (Rev 2:3 NASB).
YOUR CHRISTMAS GIFT IN TWO PACKAGES
Prepare now for me to impart to you the first part of your Christmas present: Quitting is not an option! Weariness takes its toll; swimming upstream is tiresome. You are not alone; we are in this journey together. Be encouraged: God does use “all things” for us to embrace the peace contained within the realm of an internalized Kingdom. Listen carefully: “The Kingdom of God is…righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Peace really is a governmental part of His Kingdom!
The second part of your Christmas present this year surrounds the idea of joy. Used 60 times in the New Testament, we do realize that joy is our strength. Knowing joy and embracing joy may seem like two different things. Here are my own instructions that I, who am now weary, was given by the Lord. In His love and care, I am eager for you to share them with me.
Joy is our most effective antidote to weariness.
Joy is evidence of an internal, incarnational kingdom.
Joy is providence as contrasted with sovereignty.
Joy is glory reveled as spiritual fruit.
Joy is existential reality demonstrated in time.
Joy is the secret ingredient of being unshakable.
Joy is transcendent, unable to be diminished by human suffering.
Christ was born in a stable so that the very least of us could experience full access to Him and His Person. He came as the Pattern Son and in that capacity, seeks to impart righteousness, peace, and joy that will enable us to deal with our weariness and follow Him to the fulfillment of His purpose.
He also came as Father’s Own Heart so that we would never assume or presume that we have arrived. There is so much more Life and that more abundant, which awaits all of us who persist on running and not becoming weary!
People who receive this letter may assume we as an organization are financially healthy due to the fact that we seldom ask our listeners for finances. This year we have been able to reach multiple thousands of people through our publications, on-line videos, free downloads on Lifechangers’ website, and our home in Uganda. May I personally on behalf of the Lifechangers staff, ask directly for your consideration of a healthy year-end gift? We are now literally pressed in the realm of finance to be able to continue to sort and present the reality and necessity of an internalized Kingdom. We need your involvement and participation in order to continue to produce this needed content. It seems time for all of us to consider some sacrificial response.
We offer to you our love in the Name of Jesus, our Christmas present, who is God’s Pattern Son,