Thursday, December 31, 2009

Magi and Shepherds

Magi and Shepherds, originally uploaded by speartoons.
This is my sermon notes from December 27, 2009. Pastor Jim Lyon was talking about accepting all people, whether low-class shepherds or high-class Magi.

The sermon was taken from Luke 2:8-16 and Matthew 2:9-12. How different would the Christmas story be if Joseph and Mary didn't welcome the shepherds or the Magi. Yet they were two very different groups. God welcomes all groups regardless of social class.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Dark, Bethlehem Night


Cartoon of of poem about Christmas on a Bethlehem night.

On a night, so long ago,
Bethlehem began to glow.
Our hope to break free from sin,
was born beside a shabby inn.
Darkness feared this tiny child,
with rage it drove the Devil wild!
He would kill this little one,
and not rest ’til he was done.
Thirty three years he tried and failed,
’til on a cross, this child was nailed.
Satan thought he won the game,
but things would never be the same,
for that child became our light,
like on that dark, Bethlehem night.

I originally drew this comic in 2001

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cartoon: Frankenstein and Mirth

Spear-Cartoon_3575, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of a reading girl and boy. The boy says, "The gold part I understand. but why did the Magi bring Frankenstein and mirth?"

This cartoon is based on Matthew 2:1, 9-11
 1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod's kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, "Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We're on pilgrimage to worship him." (Matthew 2:1, The Message)
 9-10Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
 11They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. (Matthew 2:9-11, The Message)

Wise men and women are hard to come by. The Magi discovered a special secret. The Messiah was coming! Hardly anyone else, besides shepherds and the holy family knew this. Even King Herrod's scholars knew the prophecy but missed seeing the newborn king.

Sometimes, we will stand alone when God reveals something to us. We may have to stand for what's right while others don't understand or even mock us. We can rest assured, however, that if we stand on our convictions, we can discover something amazing.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cartoon: Santa naughty or nice?

Spear-Cartoon_3573, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of two boys in the cold. One says, “So Santa Claus only likes you if you are on his nice list? What a grump!”
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, King James Version)
Santa is a nice guy, but one thing I always had a problem with is I never knew if I was on his naughty or nice list. Is it possible I could be nice the whole year but end up on the naughty list because of that unfortunate incident I was in on March 26?

That's why I'm glad God doesn't play those games. He loved us so much that he sent Jesus to take the place for our sins. What an incredible gift! You and I didn't deserve any good treatment. But God loves us anyway. We can be on His list and that's a list I don't want to miss!

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cartoon: A Long Trip

Cartoon of two boys in car seats. The older boy says, "Brace yourself! This is at least a four dvd trip."

I based this cartoon on Luke 2:1-5
 1-5About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was pregnant. (Luke 2:1-5, The Message)
 There's nothing like a long trip, is there? It's nice we have modern luxuries like dvd players and video games these days, but when you have an eight hour trip ahead of you, you're still going to feel like it will take forever.

God had a plan for Joseph and Mary as they made the long trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It was seventy to ninety miles, depending on the route they took. It could have taken three to seven days, especially with an expectant mother. The couple may have been wondering what this was all about.

Yet it worked perfectly with prophecy. Micah 5:2 said the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. Yet, Isaiah 9:2 said he would come from Galilee. There was a plan all along.

May you have a merry Christmas this year, and find a way to enjoy your trip as you go over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cartoon: Home for Christmas

Spear-Cartoon_3571, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of two kids at a present. The boy says, "Of course I'll be home for Christmas! That's where the presents are!"

This comic is based on Luke 2:1-7

There are always reasons to get upset. The furnace may be acting up. The dog or cat decides to leave a "present" on the floor and illness can hit our families. Financial issues are plaguing everyone which just adds stress to schools and the workplace. Life can get pretty hairy at times.

Sometimes, I just want to be home for Christmas. The holy family didn't get that chance when Jesus was born. Joseph needed to find a place for them in a crowded city. Mary couldn't have been comfortable no matter how much Joseph tried. Difficult is an understatement. Yet, they did what they had to do.

This Christmas, I'm going to remember the sacrifice Jesus and His family made. For a brief moment, a stable was home to a new, exhausted family. And that was where the best present of all was.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cartoon: Technology for Angels

Spear-Cartoon_3570, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of two angels. One says, "It's easier to be God's messengers thanks to extended cell phone coverage."

This comic is based on Matthew 1:18-25

One of the things that's neat about the Nativity story is how angels are involved. There are other stories in the Bible with angels, But they show up prominently in all aspects of Jesus' birth.

Gabriel is there to tell Zechariah about John the Baptist. He also tells Mary what is about to happen. Who could forget the heavenly host singing to the shepherds? An angel warns Joseph to take the mother and child to Egypt. Angels are everywhere in this story!

Then there's today's story. Until the angels appears, all Joseph knows is his fiance is expecting a baby and he had nothing to do with it. Instead of making a scene and making sure she was severely punished, he had decided to divorce her quietly.

But an angel comes to Joseph in a dream and explains what is happening. I'm glad God knew how to set thing strait. I'm also glad we have a Christmas to celebrate. It's time to spread the good news, whether it's through a blog, cell phone or your friendly, neighborhood angel. There is good news! a savior is born.

I drew this in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cartoon: Thought That Counts

Cartoon: Thought That Counts, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of a boy giving a present to a girl. The boy says, “Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Because if you can’t think, you can’t count.”

This cartoon is based on Luke 1:29-31

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. Luke 1:29-31
It's great to know God has things all planned out. He knew who would be the right woman for a special task. He knew just what Mary needed to hear in an unusual circumstance. He knew what we needed if we were to have any hope of being with Him one day.

It's wonderful to know God had us in mind from the beginning. It was His thought that counts. The greatest gift of all has blessed us for two thousand years.

Merry Christmas, and enjoy the gift!

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cartoon: There is a way...

Cartoon of  a boy on a roof. He says, "Don't worry! I have it all figured out. I have this umbrella and that pile of leaves to break my fall."

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
As a kid and young adult, there were several things I tried that seemed like a good idea at the time. There was the rickety bike ramp that imploded the moment the front tire hit the plywood. There was the body slam on my buddy's car hood. And there was the time when I was eighteen I thought I could drive home after attending an all-night lock in at our church. Thank heavens I didn't hit anybody when I fell asleep at the wheel!

History is full of stories where people knew something didn't sound good but did it anyway because they thought they were the exception. Sometimes, that works out and it's called ingenuity. But if it's moral issues, if it goes against God's word, don't expect it to turn out so good.

I drew this in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cartoon: Home Among the Wise

Cartoon of Dad napping on a couch with the dog. A child is about to drop a cat onto Dad. He says, "I'd think twice before you do what you're about to do!"
If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31
My dad is a guy of few words. But he makes his words count. Whenever he's had some constructive criticism, I could usually count on it being solid advice. Many times, that sage advice came out about the time I was going to do something I'd later regret. 

You know, he was right. Dogs and cats don't make a good combination on a couch. In most cases, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth! 

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Friday, December 4, 2009

Criticism for Bullies

Cartoon of a bully threatening a boy. The boy says, "The problem with you bullies is you don't know how to take constructive criticism."

Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery Proverbs 29:1 (NLT)
It seems the more stubborn and inflexible someone is, the harder it is for them to take criticism. We need to be flexible and take the good along with the criticisms in life. 

God made trees to be flexible. When the wind blows, a tree sways in the wind. Dead branches on a tree don't have the same flexibility. They are the first to go in any strong wind storm. 

Engineers took a lesson from nature and learned long ago tall structures need to be flexible. A rigid skyscraper wouldn't stand the pressures of the wind anymore than a large tree. The best defense against the storms of life is flexibility.

When criticism comes our way, we need to be flexible as well. If the criticism has merit, let's learn from it. If the criticism is unfair, roll with it and wait until the wind dies down. 

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Super Help

Cartoon of a girl and boy. Boy wears a super hero costume. The girl says, "Do you have to wear that every time I ask you to kill a spider?"
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD,the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Everybody needs some help once in a while. Some of us have no problem admitting this, while others just as soon don a costume and pretend they are invincible.

If we are honest, we will admit we need help one in a while. There are some things we can't do alone. Fears get in the way. Bugs and spiders were never a problem for me. Rodents, however creep me out. Even squirrels look a little sinister. I think it's because they are small, fast and can go where we never could. Not only that, they are smart. The critters know how to get out of sticky situations. Mice and rats are even worse for me. 

I can rest at night knowing God is the source of all help. He can do for me what no one else can. It's comforting to know the same God who made it all knows exactly how to help me. I know I can do everything through him who give me strength. That includes walking by the trees of dive-bombing squirrels. Those critters can bean you with an acorn from ten yards above. They're that smart.

I drew this in Adobe Illustrator CS2