Gospel of GraceGuest Posts

Assurance in the Christmas Season – Guest Post by Alex Lomangino

I hope you enjoy today’s guest post by my nephew Alex Lomangino.

He will share his heart for the lost in Vancouver, British Columbia, his honest struggles about the Christmas season, and how God ministers to him in those struggles.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

My life changed radically ten years ago when I made Jesus the king of my life.

As I grew in my relationship with Jesus, every bit of long-term trajectory I had planned for myself flew out the window.

Honestly, I became less concerned with any dream of personal success or wealth and more concerned with what it means for me to serve Jesus.

Instead of doing a traditional degree track in University, I elected to enter a five-year B.A./M.Div. program at Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, MO.

During my time at Midwestern I learned of the massive amount of Gospel need our neighbors to the North have.

Particularly, in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Vancouver metro area is home to nearly 3.5 million people.

Close to fifty percent of these people claim no religious affiliation whatsoever.

Forty-seven percent hold to philosophies, perspectives, or faiths from around the world.

Sadly, only three percent would call themselves a Christian and have a life-giving relationship with Jesus.

God used the stats and two vision trips to break my heart for this city I now call home.

I moved to Vancouver in May of 2017 to work with the North American Mission Board as a missionary and church planter in training.

Currently, I work with the Transformation City Church Network.

Our vision is to make disciples of Jesus, and see churches planted in every neighborhood in the Vancouver Metro area.

ASSURANCE IN THE CHRISTMAS SEASON

Skepticism has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Anyone who knows me well has surely heard the unnecessary amount of questioning from me.

My skepticism is often exasperated by circumstances and stressors.

Unfortunately, the holiday season can be one of those stressors for me.

To be frank, the holiday season wears me out.

Here in the West, we repent of our day of Thanksgiving (please note my sarcasm) with a day of materialism and excessive spending.

After that, we start a month long sprint through the Christmas season.

Growing up, I was often told by various people that the Christmas season is supposed to be marked by thankfulness and celebration of God’s provision for sinful man in Jesus’ incarnation.

Instead, I saw what seemed to be a season in which people do the contrast: being stressed, selfish, or downcast in attempts to please others, make themselves happy, etc.

Naturally, this led me to question everything I heard people telling me about the Christmas season and its meaning.

More often than not, there seemed to be more conflict than synergy with these explanations.

Honestly, in the past, this led me to doubt the validity of Jesus’s coming.

The place God leads me to gain assurance in times of doubt is Luke 1:1-4:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (English Standard Version).

This is Luke’s short introduction to his full Gospel account.

We can see that he’s writing to a person named Theophilus, and his purpose is to help give Theophilus “certainty of the things {he had} been taught.”

From there Luke begins the extended narrative about the birth of Jesus (Luke 1-2:22).

Praise God that I can have the same certainty Luke intended for Theophilus to have.

In the midst of my doubt, I can have full assurance of the things I have been taught concerning Jesus.

By reading the Scriptures, God gives me assurance of the reality that Jesus took the initiative to come to earth, as a baby, in the mystery of the incarnation we celebrate at Christmas.

I can have full assurance of Jesus’ purpose for coming, which was to reconcile wayward and sinful people to Himself.

I can have full assurance of His resurrection and His desire for people to be in a relationship with Him. I can have the assurance that the Gospel message is indeed true.

Christian, if you find yourself struggling with doubt or stress this Christmas season, please take heart.

It does not matter if you’re experiencing stress while preparing to visit family, or if you find yourself in bouts of questioning motivation or truth, as I do.

We can have certainty and assurance that the Christmas story is true.

We can rest in the truth of Jesus taking the initiative to come to earth with the goal of reconciling sinful and wayward people to Himself.

We gain this certainty as we study and meditate on the truth of the Bible. It does not return void and by His Spirit, you will find certainty in His truth.

I pray that this season you find hope and peace in the unfailing Word of God.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV).

http://www.transformationcity.ca

https://www.namb.net/send-cities/vancouver

https://missionaries.namb.net/full/alexander-lomangino

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