“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Jesus, a first century rabbi, prophet, God made flesh, God’s promised Messiah, and Savior of the world.  One human being, accompanied by twelve somewhat dysfunctional disciples, turned the world upside down.  

As one human being Jesus redefined love, forgiveness, hope, kindness, justice, mercy, and neighbor.  As one human being he lifted up the lowly, despised, judged, excluded, and overlooked of his generation . . . and all generations to come. In this one human being the poor, hungry, thirsty, homeless, imprisoned, and ill have a friend, an advocate, and a defender.   

This single human being changed the world for all persons of every time and place, for believers and non-believers alike.  It is arguable that every charity, and every hospital owes its origins to the serving and healing ministry of Jesus.  Even modern colleges and universities have their origins in Christian cathedral and monastic schools, which have their roots in Jesus’ call to teach.  

Never underestimate the power of one! One to make a difference, one to change the world.  

The brokenness of the world in which we live is obvious to us all.  Often the brokenness can feel overwhelming; the divisions, the pain, the suffering, and the injustice too great to bear.  Our hearts cry out for shalom as we long for reconciliation, renewal, redemption in the midst of it all. 

Yet the truth is that the brokenness of today isn’t any more broken than in the day of Jesus; and the life of Jesus and his claim on us has real power for healing in the midst of it all.  

As one person, Jesus changes everything.  As Jesus people, those named, claimed, and redeemed we bear the power of Jesus.   

Imagine if each and every one of us, each and every one of Jesus’ people, pursued all that is truth, honor, justice, purity, pleasing, and commendable each and every day.  Imagine if more than 2,000,000,000 Jesus people made it their life’s work to grow grace, live hope, serve love with all their power and strength.  Imagine if every single moment of our lives we drew our energy from the Holy Spirit poured out on us. 

As Jesus people imagine us “one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6).”  

Soon it will be 2023.  In our one faith, our one baptism, our one God and Father of all we have the power of oneness to change the world. Shalom begins with Jesus and carries the power of healing and hope to and through us all as the one body of Christ. 

The Lord bless you with hope, courage, and strength as you live the power of our oneness in Jesus.  The Lord bless you as you share the grace, hope, and love of Jesus with each and every person you meet as you live the call of Jesus. The Lord hold you and keep you in the abundance of God’s grace and give you peace, now and forever as you live in covenant with Jesus. 

God’s Peace,