How many times have you read the Christmas story as recorded in Luke? If you are like us, probably more times than you can count.
I read the story again this morning and noticed something I have never noticed before.
Time is important to God.
I counted thirty-one references to time in the Christmas story, words and phrases like in the days of…while…before…until the day…sixth month…now…from generation to generation…the time came. But the reference to time that drew my attention above all the others was:
He (Jesus) will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end.
When I think of the forever of eternity, I cannot comprehend it, no matter how hard I try.
But this I know: What I do with the time given me while I am on this earth determines my eternity .
The defining question is: “Was I too busy spending my time on the wood, hay, and stubble of this world to take time to respond to Christ’s invitation to receive him as my Lord and Savior?”
Most of us take time for Christmas. We decorate, bake cookies, buy gifts, and sing carols. At the end of the day we are so exhausted that we barely have enough energy left in us to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie .
We take time for Christmas, but do we take time for Christ?
Two fairly recent conversations have me asking that question. One conversation I had with our Bethlehem guide on our trip to Israel last year.
Our knowledgeable Bethlehem guide lives his life centered around Christmas. He spends his days sharing the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. He is so well known in the tiny town of Bethlehem that all he has to do is slip a bit of money into an official’s hand and those he is guiding through Bethlehem are ushered through a back door, avoiding the slow-moving line of folks waiting to visit the place of Christ’s birth.
The heartbreaking part of this man’s story is he does not believe who Jesus is. He’s taken the test, knows enough facts to be a sought-after guide, but sadly has no interest in moving that knowledge from his head to his heart. When we talked to him about faith, he argued that peace will not come until we all understand that there are many ways to heaven and Jesus is just one of many ways.
Contrary to our guide’s belief, Jesus left no doubt when he said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
The second conversation took place just a couple weeks ago in Winter Haven at the Christmas Craft Fair.
The lovely downtown park had been transformed into a Christmas shoppers’ paradise with craft vendors of every skill selling their creations. Even with the passing rain and wind storms, it was a wonderful day. We gave out over 300 walking sticks. Twelve souls prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We were able to pray with many more for assurance of their salvation and encourage believers to use their walking sticks to share the Gospel with others.
I remember a conversation with one man in particular. His arms were so loaded with gift bags that he could barely grasp the free walking stick I had given him. As I told him the story of the beads, he followed carefully. He told me he wanted to go to heaven, but did not know if he was good enough. As we talked, I could tell that the Holy Spirit was speaking to him, drawing him to salvation. Sadly, when asked if he wanted to pray, he refused. “I don’t have time today,” he said. “I still have to pick up another gift.”
Sadly, this man, like so many others, has plenty of time for Christmas, but no time for Christ. He has plenty of room in his arms for gifts but, like Bethlehem’s innkeeper, no room for Jesus.
Since the day I spoke with that man, one verse has played over and over in my mind every day:
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2Corinthians 6:2b
Since joining the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers, I’ve found myself looking at people in a different way. Sure, I still see their hair and clothes, I still notice their tattoos and nose rings and wonder how in the world they can blow their noses with jewelry pieces hanging from their nostrils, but all that is not important. The inside is what really matters. I want to know if they have the peace and joy, the security that only comes with a saving relationship with Jesus. I not only want to know, I care if they have taken time to say yes to Jesus.
And I want to use my time in a way that will lead others to Jesus Christ, just like the little girl Pete met at our event in Winter Haven.
She was about twelve years old with a heart wide open to the gospel. After Pete spoke with her, she returned three times, each time bringing a different family member to hear the story of the beads. “Tell him the story too,” she said each time she brought a new family member. By the end of the day we were calling her “The Little Evangelist.”
Since our next event isn’t until after Christmas, last Saturday Pete and I followed up on a suggestion from a friend at church who recommended we check out the Farmers Market in Punta Gorda.
All we can say is WOW.
The market is held each and every Saturday, eight till noon, and features block after block of fresh produce, dining, all kinds of crafts, and live music. It looks like the perfect spot to set up our Fellowship of Christian Farmers tent on the weekends we have nothing else booked.
Would you be willing to pray for two things pertaining to this:
1. They will accept our vendor application. The person I spoke with seemed a little concerned when he asked me, “How religious are you?”
2. God will provide the funds to pay for an ongoing event like this.
We are immensely grateful for all your prayers.
Our prayer for you and your family this Christmas season is that in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, you will find time for Christ. It’s the best gift you can give yourself. Pete and I pray every night for all who support us with their prayers and financial gifts. We would not have made it through this difficult year without you. Your support makes you part of a ministry that reaches beyond time and into eternity. And we praise Jesus for each of you.
Please continue to keep us in prayer.
- Pray for those who received Jesus as their Lord and Savior at the Winter Haven event, that they will grow in Christ.
- This season’s upcoming events, that God will prepare our hearts for ministry and prepare the hearts of those we will speak with.
- Punta Gorda Farmers’ Market–God’s will and provision.
- More open doors for ministry.
- Our neighbors. We are building relationships with many and are praying for opportunities to witness.
- Continued financial provision for ministry.
- Relationships with Bible believing churches, churches who will love and disciple new believers.
- Pete’s health.
Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support throughout 2020. We are humbled by your friendship and support.
If the Lord is leading you to support this ministry, please click on the giving page. All gifts are tax-deductible. If you give by check, please note on the check’s memo that the gift of for Pete and Sandy Singer.
Many folks look for ministries to support with their end of the year gifts. We’d greatly appreciate if you would prayerfully consider a gift to The Fellowship of Christian Farmers. Please note Pete and Sandy Singer on all gifts. Thank you.
Ongoing throughout winter season: Shell Factory Flea Market, if God wills we will be at the Punta Gorda Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.
Manatee Festival Crystal River, Florida.
Swamp Cabbage Festival, LaBelle
Pioneer Days, Wauchula
Strawberry Festival, Floral City
Pioneer Days, Arcadia
Flowerton Festival, Summerville, South Carolina.
If you are in the area, please stop by to say hello.
Have a blessed Christmas. We Love YOU!
Pete and Sandy Singer