The “BABY-CAVE”

(Blog Post by Stan Kellner – www.stankellner.com)

Read Luke 2

I’m always fascinated by new words that are introduced into our vocabulary.  Recently, I’ve been hearing more often than ever the phrase “man-cave” or “chic-cave”. 

The basic idea is a place where there is total dedication (perhaps even bordering on obssession) with the person’s interests, like cars, surfboards, etc.

Some years ago I “toured” the man-cave of a neighbor.  As the garage door opened you could almost hear the angels sing.  As the door rose more and more of the garage was revealed.  I was actually stunned at first. 

Black and white checkered floor.  A real live (refurbished) juke-box.  A 57 Chevy in absolute mint condition.  Posters on the wall dating back to the 50’s in mint condition.  The list goes on.  (Never been in a chic-cave so I have no clue what I’d find there – don’t know, don’t wanna no).

I’ll bet you didn’t know that 2000 years ago there was a special, different cave that would change the hearts of mankind – A BABY-CAVE.  Yup!  A BABY-CAVE.

Stan, what in the world are you talking about?  Glad you asked. 

I love nativity scenes but the reality is they don’t do justice to what the place was like in which God chose to bring forth His Son through a young virgin named Mary.

Bethlehem, the place of Jesus’ birth, was a very desolate place.  I wish I could tell you that when Joseph and Mary were directed to a “stable” as we call it, that it was a nice, clean well-lit place – a place appropriate for the King of Kings to be born.

Not so much…

It was a cave…a cold stone cave…a dark and dingy cave…filled with animal smells and dirt…not quite like the peaceful, sterile birthing rooms of today.

(Sample of a feeding trough that would have been in the Manger.  This is where Jesus would have been placed after His birth)

It is just plain crazy that God would allow His Son to be born in such conditions.  But He did.  Maybe, just maybe there are a few practical lessons to learn from this part of the Christmas story.

  • Man-caves, chic-caves, even kid-caves aren’t inherently bad or wrong.  I’m not dissing their existence.
  • However, how about focusing more dedication – our thoughts, actions, how we spend our money – as we ponder the humiliating, down right nasty conditions of the “BABY-CAVE”.
  • As I’ve alluded to in past posts, do we have to sell everything and be humbled like Jesus was on that first night of His birth?  Not necessarily, unless that’s what God is calling you to do.
  • As we are in the aftermath of a Christmas Day celebration, let’s NOT dart off too fast to what the future holds.  The future will be there.
  • Ask God, through His Holy Spirit, to show you what lessons you should be learning from the humbling story of the place of our Savior’s birth – the “BABY-CAVE”.
  • How should we be affected in our own thoughts, actions, how we treat others, how we view the material gains God has granted us, how we accept that we can be content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves?

The “BABY-CAVE” – Do we dare to enter into that story one more time before we leave the Christmas season and allow ourselves to treasure up all these things (as Mary did)?  I hope so!

In the Fullness of Time

(Blog Post by Stan Kellner – www.stankellner.com)

Thought I’d add my two shekels of thought and insight regarding this awesome and glorious time of the year.  The outline below is from a sermon I gave at a church near Colorado Springs back in January 2009.  I kept this blog post simple.  Feel free to use these thoughts as a devotional around your tree, a basis for your personal meditations this week or as your sermon preparation for next weekend.

If you’d like to hear the sermon in its entirety, go to my website – www.stankellner.com – click on Teaching Samples page, pop some popcorn, fix a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate, sit back and enjoy! 

 

But when the time had fully come… God sent His Son, born of a woman…

to redeem those under the law…(Galatians 4:4-5)

Prophetic Timetable

Geographic Location

Spiritual Climate

Military Occupation

Economic Conditions

Prophetic Timetable  

Daniel 9:25-26

Isaiah 9:6-7

Micah 5:2

Isaiah 7:14

 

Geographic Location

Israel is a key crossroads by its very location, relating to trade routes, pilgrimages, etc.

 

Spiritual Climate

400 years of “silence” between Old and New Testaments

Greek and Roman influence oppressing Jewish faith expression and infiltrating Jewish life and beliefs

Darkness was on the increase (Is. 9:2)

 

Military Occupation

Israel became a Roman outpost (Pontius Pilate, a Roman, was governor of Israel – Matthew 27)

Herod was a puppet leader for Rome

 

Economic Conditions

Jewish Religious leaders were easily bribed by the Roman leadership.

Most everyone else was living a poor existence.

 

 

 

God’s Way versus Man’s Way

Herod’s Palace versus The Manger

Royal Robes versus Swaddling Clothes

Thousands of Lambs versus One Precious Lamb

 

Practical Applications

God’s timing is perfect – 1st Century

God’s way is perfect – Lowly Entrance

God’s packaging is perfect – Swaddling

God’s choice is perfect – Yeshua (Jesus)

 



Uncharted Territory

(Blog post by Stan Kellner – www.stankellner.com)

I crafted this blog at Starbuck’s in downtown Franklin, TN yesterday afternoon. Yup. You’re right.  We don’t live here.  What are you doing there Stan?

Good question.

We actually came down last week to attend a band friend’s wedding reception.  That was the only part that was planned.  Five days later we’re still here.

We had planned to leave by Sunday but we both felt we were supposed to stay here for a bit longer.  Why? – Uncharted Territory.

We went to an awesome church on Sunday and God spoke mightily through the pastor.  At the end of the service we were standing there and a very nice woman turned around to greet us.  As she mentioned her first name, we all simultaneously recognized each other. 

We had had dinner with her and her late husband and mother perhaps 8 years ago.  She asked if we had plans for lunch.  We said no.  As the conversation ensued, we agreed to have dinner together instead.

Then an unusually harsh snowstorm hit the Nashville area but we braved the storm to have dinner with our friend.  She asked if we wanted to stay overnight.  We decided to take her up on her offer and that is where we are presently staying for a few more days.  Again – Uncharted Territory.

Here’s a cool detail about this divine appointment.

What we didn’t know and what she didn’t know was this – I had thrown out a fleece Saturday night and basically asked if God wanted us to either leave after church on Sunday or stay overnight until Monday.  If a divine appointment happened at church that would involve lunch or dinner then we’d leave on Monday morning instead.

The other person, during the church service, felt a compulsion by God to invite someone to lunch, especially if this person was a visitor to the church.  So, she was our answer to prayer and we were her answer to prayer.  Too cool!

Consequently, we are here in the area longer than expected but, then again, nothing seems to be happening “as expected”, which is fine with us.  Uncharted Territory.

My point?

UNCHARTED TERRITORY is:

Scary – think of the explorers of old who had no clue what they would eventually discover.

Exciting – For almost a week every moment of everyday has been absolutely uplanned.  We’re going with the flow.

A God-Thing – Let’s face the wonderful reality – what is absolutely unknown to us is absolutely and fully known to God.  “He knows the way I take…” (Job 23:10)

So, as God has been working with me overtime regarding the Waiting Room concept, He now seems to be taking me a step deeper – my allowing Him to literally order each and every step I take.  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23)

After 37 years of walking with the Lord, you’d think I would already be an award-winning “Stepper with God”.  But I’m not.  So, sue me.  (Tee Hee)

Finally, do we all have to leave our employment in order to experience what I’m experiencing?  Well, that is certainly one way. 

How about this – in our daily lives, our daily grind – let’s be willing to hear God’s voice then obey what He says – no matter how small or large that step might be and no matter how uncharted the territory might be.

Who says Star Trek has to have all the fun.  Let’s plan on going where no believer has gone before – into Uncharted Territory with God as our guide!

God’s Waiting Room? (Part II)

(Blog by Stan Kellner – www.stankellner.com)

I fully intended to move on from last week’s blog post.  However, a number of things have challenged me to linger a bit longer on this concept of “God’s Waiting Room”.

First, shortly after I posted the entry last week I received a comment that struck me deeply.  The basic idea was that my blog post became a huge encouragement and lifeline to one of the readers.  The timing was unbelievable.

They had been deep in thought regarding their present and future and how they were to cope with the huge challenges in their lives.  They apparently felt what I had felt – where is God when we are waiting? Did He leave me on a shelf?  Has He forgotten me? Why is He so silent?

This tells me there are others who are in the very middle of this challenge and thought-process as well.  Of course, the Bible echoes that thought as well.

Our situation has continued to deteriorate in the financial realm.  We are contemplating a number of action steps in order to pave the way toward resolution while, at the same time, putting our lives in God’s capable hands every day.  No, make that every moment!

I’m not one for flinging Bible verses recklessly and giving advice that can sometimes comes across as insensitive or uncaring to those I’m attempting to encourage.

So, in the spirit of being a fellow-struggler (sometimes fellow-straggler) I’d like to share a few passages that I’m clinging to, sometimes with all the faith I can muster – even if it’s only the faith of a mustard seed!

“Faithful is He Who has called you and He will bring it to pass” (I Thessalonians 5:24)

“As for God His way is perfect…” (Psalm 18:30)

“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. (I Corinthians 10:13)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

“God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.  I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.” (I Peter 1:5-7)

In the midst of our present challgenges, I’m fascinated by the unexpected “border enlargements” God is giving me from time to time, especially as bill collectors call.  I’ve found that, for the most part, they are very nice people who are merely doing their job. 

Interestingly, there have been moments when one of the collectors would respond with – “I’m praying for you Mr. Kellner.” Or “Mr. Kellner, not long ago I was in your exact situation so I can empathize with you”.

One time our car loan collector called and asked if I could make some type of payment to stave off repossession proceedings.  I told her I wish I could but had no money.  I arrived home and found a check in the mail.  I called the car loan folks back and, believe it or not, got the same person on the line.  They were greatly impacted that an hour after the last call, I was able to call them back and make a payment.  I gave glory to God and she appreciated that!

What was even more astounding is that this company has phone banks in three states and yet I got right back to the exact person I had been dealing with an hour before.  THAT was a God thing!

So, as I’m on my “appointed journey” God is revealing Himself to me in ways that I either hadn’t seen before and hadn’t take time to observe before.  Even as Naomi didn’t know all the reasons why God took everything from her in Moab, only to provide Ruth who would be part of our Messiah’s lineage, so we have limited view as to what in the world God is up to.

Either way, I’m thankful for His love, mercy, lovingkindness and GRACE.

How are you faring during your appointed journey of challenge?