EP 170 – CHRISTMAS IS RUINED (not really)
Merry Christmas Bootcampers! We know that this time of year can a huge challenge for Pastors/Planters/Replanters-and we want to encourage you, amidst all the hustle to connect with the truth behind our celebrations at Christmas time.
- Jesus’ birth reminds us of God’s great love
- The most simple story is also the most profound-Jesus came into the world to save sinners
- Don’t feel the pressure to be unique-just be clear, the biblical account stands on its own
In all seriousness, we pray you have an incredible Christmas. We’re thankful for you, Bootcamp listener.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp. Bob, I hope you’re ready for the next episode. Christmas is ruined. . , man. We’ve had a lot of fun. Hey Bob, this is actually episode 170. Really? Yeah. This is our, uh, which we had another episode before that, maybe some other bonuses, I think. So this is a, we’re over one 70 now, but this is episode number one 70 and you can go back and hear some.
Christmas stories, because we, unlike some other Slacker podcast, we don’t quit. No, we do every stinking week. no. I was talking about trying to record when we could find our time to record over the last week or so. We’ve had a hard time. We’ve both been real busy and, and my wife looked at me, she goes, You know, you don’t have to do every week
I said, look, the thousands of listeners Yes. That depend yes. On the wisdom that they get from the bootcamp. They need us every week. Everybody
Bob Bickford: needs a fresh bootcamp episode at, at, [00:01:00] at a
JimBo Stewart: week, right? Every week. Every week. No. So even Christmas week. So, I wanna talk a little bit. First we’re gonna get into how to use the advent season to set your mind right.
But I wanna talk about how it took me a while to realize that was a good thing. Okay. So early on as a pastor, I always wanted every sermon to be fresh. Like I just, I, I like a freshness and I’m not talking about cool, like, just fresh. Like there’s, it’s, it’s exciting. It’s new. It feels, you know, fun. Yeah. So even now that I’m a teaching pastor at the church that I go to, but I’m not every week there and I guess preach a lot of places, I still try, for the most part to write a new sermon every time I.
I’m not trying to just go back to the sugar stick and just, I like. And so, after the first couple of Christmases, it hit me, man. Like, do I have to come up with an advent series every year? ? I mean, at, at some point, Bob, I went full into the Christmas dragon and revelation just cuz I needed to, I needed to find another text.
Whoa. Are you familiar with the Christmas [00:02:00] dragon? No. No. There’s Christmas dragon. There’s a whole, there’s a whole thing in Revelation. At the incarnation, the enemy. It was a dragon and it was like a whole thing. I
Bob Bickford: was trying to get the baby and all that. Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. I know about that. I never could have called the Christmas
JimBo Stewart: dragon.
Oh, that’s what I call it, the Christmas dragon. So I did a Christmas dragon sermon. I don’t know that it was that great. What? Because? Because I wasn’t, I think my motivation was I just need to do a different text than Luke too, and. Let me, lemme give you another blunder that I made is, and this one, this one.
So I, we’ve talked about, I’m dyslexic audiovisual processing disorder. I written word is not something that comes natural to me, but, I’ve been, heavily influenced in that season. Still loving by HB Charles and HB Charles is adamant, every preacher ought to write a manuscript for every sermon. And I was like, okay, all right.
Am I just being lazy? I’m gonna write a ma. So for a Christmas Eve service, I mean, I tightly wordsmithed and wrote this manuscript and I labored and labored and labored over this manuscript. And when [00:03:00] I thought it was so good, Bob, but when I got done, a loving church member came to me and I mean as genuinely a loving kind.
And they did it in a very kind and gentle way. But they, and they said, Hey brother, I don’t know what you did different. , but don’t do it again. . .
Bob Bickford: Oh my gosh.
JimBo Stewart: It, it didn’t go over well. It was not a good delivery. Christmas was ruined. Christmas was ruined. Oh my and so, I love you. Merry Christmas. Even though I’m ashamed of you, , I’ll throwbacks to previous Christmas episodes.
You can go back and listen. but here’s, here’s what I think my problem was. I was struggling with the repetition. Of an advent series every year. And I eventually even struggled with this with like Easter, right? Mm-hmm. , man, how do you re-approach this every year? And a, a church member challenged me and said, why does it have to be fresh in a new approach?
It is the most beautiful and wonderful story of all of history. Like, just stand [00:04:00] on that. Stand on the beauty of what it. , but I made a lot of blunders along the way. Have you along the way, made some Christmas blunders Bob? Or is it just me?
Bob Bickford: Well, Jimbo, I think I made a, a very famous Christmas Eve service blunder in 2008.
Oh, okay. Where were you in 2008?
JimBo Stewart: How old? 2008 I had just in the process of moving to New Orleans. Okay. To start seminar. , I would’ve been almost 25. So you’re married? Married, yeah. About, so I would’ve, so yeah, Tripp was born in 2007. Okay. So yeah. Married one kid and either moved to New Orleans or on my
Bob Bickford: way there.
Yeah. Well, this, this was 2008 and I was, uh, the associate pastor.
JimBo Stewart: Christmas 2008. I was in New Orleans. I know that for a fact.
Bob Bickford: All right. All right. Yeah. So 2008 Christmas here I was, uh, an associate pastor at. A secret church and we [00:05:00] were doing the, uh, Christmas Eve service. incidentally, the reason that we were doing the Christmas Eve service or that I did the Christmas Eve service is our lead, pastor Hayden Christmas Eve Services , because he, he, at one time, the previous associate pastor, planned one and then got sick or couldn’t make it.
And, and he, the associate pastor was gonna serve communion to everybody. And so the, it fell to the senior pastor. And he probably had a serve communion, I don’t know, maybe 200 plus people. And he decided from that point on, he was never doing another Christmas Eve service. Okay. He’s a really loving guy.
Really Pastoral Shepherd guy. . I mean, he’s just like, I’m gonna do that again. So in 2008, fast forward, I have reinstituted the Christmas Eve service and it’s turned into this giant thing. It’s like a really big thing. People love it because you’re, cuz you’re Bobby b. Well, you know, we had, we were doing Christmas songs and kids were singing.
This is my secret church days. And so part of my secret church days, you always had to have a joke. You always had to have kind of a key, okay, lead in. Cause you want the people to laugh. You [00:06:00] wanted ’em to laugh, and then you want to, you wanted to start teaching the truth, right? So yeah, yeah, you gotta be funny, funny, funny laugh, blah blah, gut punch, and then, talk real quietly.
Talk real quietly and make the point, right? Yeah. So here
JimBo Stewart: we go. So here’s secret. We should have you do a masterclass on secret church, no preaching at
Bob Bickford: some point. No, I don’t want to do it. I want to be far away from it, right? . So, Anyway, here we go. So here’s, I’m gonna give you a little snippet from that Christmas Eve service in 2008, okay?
This is my most major Christmas. This
JimBo Stewart: is Seeker Church. Bob. Yes.
Bob Bickford: Want us a Christmas joke? All right. Big blunder here. 2008. Let’s hear it. One time at a preschool Christmas program. Just before the show, a young boy was going around the dressing room, repeating, I’m a sheep. What are you turning to? One little girl still struggling into her costume with her mother’s help.
He repeated the question to her. I’m a sheep. What are you? The little girl? Simply. I’m Mary realizing he was face-to-face with a lead character. [00:07:00] He felt he needed to justify his own role. It’s hard being a sheep, you know, he said, with all the seriousness of a five year old actor with a big part, the girl’s equally serious response was humorously profound.
Yeah, she said. But it’s also hard being emergent
JimBo Stewart: How? How did that go over?
Bob Bickford: Everybody laughed so hard. Jimbo . It was, it went over great. Except for the lady who sent an email to the lead pastor. Oh
JimBo Stewart: man. Oh, Seager Church, Bob . That’s so awesome. Hey, here’s one that’s not a blunder, but just a fun one. We’re gonna be a little more lighthearted on this episode cause we.
You’re getting your bootcamp fixed as you’re driving through the woods to grandmother’s house. You go, doing all your Christmas stuff this week. so 2008, moved to New Orleans by 2009. I’m part of a great church there in New Orleans, Calvary Baptist Church, on the West Bank, best bank. And, Christmas, [00:08:00] Christmas morning, like this year falls on a Sunday.
So lead pastor says, Hey, just to incorporate the families. Here’s, he just tells everybody ahead of. Have your kids bring their favorite Christmas gift and I want him to bring it on the stage. Right? And he, and he did a good job using that to point to Jesus is the greatest Christmas gift, you know, as you do yada, yada.
So out of my three kids, what does my son cash out of? Every gift, every, this was this, whatever year that would’ve been that Christmas found on Sunday, cuz he was probably two years old at that time. So he was probably nine. 11, even maybe 2011, whatever year that was, we had, he was in love with Cheeto puffs, little Cheeto rounds.
Okay? And so we had gone to a, a sporting good store and bought this like five gallon drum of Cheeto puffs.
Bob Bickford: I, I like
JimBo Stewart: those. Jimbo. So here’s the deal. Cash. You have to understand, he has always been [00:09:00] a, a. Big boned fellow like his daddy , and he is got this raspy, cutest, raspy little voice . And so this, this bucket of Cheetos is the same size as him.
Gosh. And so we’re asking the kids, what’s your favorite gift? What do you wanna bring And show Pastor Michael. And he goes, Cheetos, yo .
Bob Bickford: And he’s holding
JimBo Stewart: the Cheetos. And so we bring him to church. And so he wa. With this bucket. It’s the same size as him on the stage with cheetahs. I loved it. It’s one of my favorite Christmas Sunday morning meetings.
Well, hey look, this year Christmas falls on a Sunday morning. It does. So by the time you’re listening to this, you already almost threw your Advent series. You’re maybe coming up on Christmas Eve and then doing a Christmas morning service depending on how spiritual you are, according to Twitter. ,
Bob Bickford: yes.
Don’t cancel your service or their, the Twitter folks are gonna
JimBo Stewart: find you. and we will be ashamed of you. Yes, Merry Christmas, but I’m ashamed. Christmas is ruined. Christmas is ruined, and I’m ashamed of you. . here, here’s what I want to challenge and I just, I want to go back to [00:10:00] why I struggled early on, and I want to apply this not just to your sermon series, but just a great principle in ministry in general.
For whatever reason, maybe it was the influence of secret sensitive Bob, the Secret Church. Bob, maybe it was Secret Church, Jim. that I just felt like I had to take a fresh approach every year. Mm-hmm. and at the root of that was a dependence on my ability to make something fresh. Good point. Not on how beautiful and wonderful the story is.
In reality, we sometimes just need to be reminded. Chances are you already got your, your Sunday morning sermon and your Christmas Eve sermon planned by the time you listen to this and you may be like me discouraged and frustrated cause you’re trying to figure out how do I make this fresh and not just repetitive from the same things, look [00:11:00] repeating.
This stuff isn’t bad and it’s not, I’m not just talking about your sermon series. Like this is what matters and repeating is good for our. And it’s good for the souls of our people. And so, so pastor, don’t get too stressed out about how good your sermon delivery is going to be this Saturday night.
Bob Bickford: Sunday.
Yeah. I, I think so too because Jimbo, unless you worked like way far ahead on your messages and, you’ve got this, you know, you’re, you prepare like two, three weeks in advance, you’re probably gonna feel stressed. You know, at my house anyway, there’s a lot that has to be done before Christmas. Yeah, right.
I gotta to do all kind of cleaning. I’ve gotta go to the store, I’ve gotta get this stuff, I gotta set this up, I gotta do that. And then I gotta talk to people and you gotta go to Christmas parties and your smart group Christmas party and your deacons and your staff and your, you know, all this kind of stuff.
Or you gotta make at least appearance if it’s not your gig. And Yep. So you’ve got all of these things and then you [00:12:00] also have the pressure of, you know, . I did have a friend who would say this, like on Easter Sunday or Christmas. When they were bringing their relatives in here. Don’t mess this one up. Right.
you’re just like, oh my gosh. But I think you can talk about, think about their original Christmas story where Jesus comes in, where is he born? He’s born in a, in a major, right? So a place where there was, you know, this is not a, it’s not a luxurious mansion, it’s not a palace. It’s a place where livestock were, and it was a place that you wouldn’t expect to find a baby much.
The son of God, born as a baby. And there’s something very simple and yet profound about that. And so you don’t have to, you don’t have to dress that up, right? It’s not meant to be dressed up. No. It’s meant to just be communicated plainly. So take a simple approach, communicate plainly, but also com.
Communicate the profound, yeah, in the plain,
JimBo Stewart: in the symbol. Yeah. It’s be compelling. Do a good job of preparing a good sermon.[00:13:00] but remember, the power is not in your ability to. . Mm-hmm. , the power is in the word. Yeah. And that’s where I, so, so again, this is not just about your advent series. This is about your, what you’re gonna do in January.
This is about every time you stand in the pulpit to preach, the power is not in your cleverness or your creativity. Power is in the word. It is a living a active word. And here’s the deal. That’s also true for your life. Mm-hmm. , The powers, and the word for you like, Fall in love with the word, spend time in the Word and make the word the star this Christmas.
Hey, so as a Christmas present, we’re gonna make this a 15 minute episode. There you go. We love you guys. Hope you guys have a great Christmas and you don’t ruin it. And we’re not ashamed of you. Merry Christmas. Do not tell Bob’s joke, .