2013 In Review!

2013 was a great year here at evandolive.com and I want to personally thank you for all of your support!

Be sure to check out the Annual Report below; as you might have guessed my letter to Victoria’s Secret was the big hit of 2013 with nearly 4 million hits!

Here’s to 2014!

In Christ and Happy New Year!

Rev. Evan


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 1,000,000 people visit the Seattle Space Needle every year. This blog was viewed about 3,900,000 times in 2013. If it were the Space Needle, it would take about 4 years for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sermon: “Hope Realized: Jesus The Light of the World”

English: Orthodox Christmas decoration Српски ...

English: Orthodox Christmas decoration Српски / Srpski: Православнa Божићна декорација,Храм Васкрсења господњег у Ваљеву 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Below is a link to a sermon I preached on Christmas Eve entitled “Hope Realized: Jesus The Light of the World” based on Isaiah 9:2-7.

(Recorded by Voice Record Pro by Bej Bej Apps for iOS)

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Source Picture

The Light Has Come!

Published via Pressgram

Sermon: “Treasured Words”

Virgin Mary

Virgin Mary (Photo credit: MichaelHDJ)

Below is a link to a sermon I preached entitled “Treasured Words” based on Luke 2:1-20.

http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/5oalx1lf7f/20131215-112106.mp3
(Recorded by Voice Record Pro by Bej Bej Apps for iOS)

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Sermon: “The Kingdom of Heaven Has Come Near!”

 

Below is a link to a sermon I preached entitled “The Kingdom of Heaven Has Come Near!” based on Matthew 3:1-12 on December 8, 2013.

http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/s3evmwgbjh/20131208-112407.mp3
(Recorded by Voice Record Pro by Bej Bej Apps for iOS)

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

There’s a ‘War on Christmas’ — Just Not the One You Think

My latest for Sojourners


Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Black Friday has come and gone; amid the tales of super sales and throngs of people, stories were reported about injuries and fights. For me, saving a few bucks is not worth the lines, the waiting and the hustle. Whether we like it or not, the holiday season is upon us. In the Christian liturgical calendar (how the Church tells time) December 1 was the beginning of Advent. Advent is the season of waiting and expecting the coming of the Christ child on Christmas Day. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like every year Christmas decorations are being put up earlier and earlier thus losing the magic and the expectation that Advent has to bring.

Children hold on to the magic, wonder and awe that comes with the season of Christmas. We adults, on the other hand, we tend make it a chore. It doesn’t have to be this way. Some people however are not satisfied with the notion that not everyone in the country celebrates Christmas or even promotes Christmas.

The American Family Association has been tracking major companies to see how they promote Christmas. They came up with the “Naughty or Nice” list where they have examined different company’s websites, circulars, commercials and stores noting how many times they use the word “Christmas” if at all. According to their website, “If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word “Christmas,” then the company is considered as censoring ‘Christmas.’” Their research has uncovered that if you shop at Radio Shack, Barnes & Noble, Family Dollar and Foot Locker (just to name a few) then you are part of the problem and thus should be placed on the “naughty list.”

It’s an interesting note, however, that the phrase “naughty or nice list” is not technically Christian. Sure Saint Nicholas was a real person but the jolly bearded man in a red and white suit that “watches you when you are sleeping” and makes a “list and checks it twice” is a product of commercialism. The Santa we all know and love today is straight from the Coca Cola factory. But I digress…

The American Family Association believes that there is a full out “war on Christmas.” Well, I would have to say that they are correct but not for the reasons they postulate.

The real “war on Christmas” is not when cashier says “Happy Holidays.”

The real “war on Christmas” is not when people refer to a Christmas tree as a “Holiday Tree.”

The real “war on Christmas” is when Christians support the overspending and mass consumption propagated by our “spend, spend, spend” culture.

The real “war on Christmas” is when we reduce this holiday to a feeling or a moment.

The real “war on Christmas” is when we equate our love for someone by how big the price tag of the gift is.

The real “war on Christmas” is when Christians only think about doing charity work in December.

The real “war on Christmas” is teaching our children or grandchildren the “reason for the season” but make more about toys and gifts under the tree.

The real “war on Christmas” is when we are more worried about saving a buck than we are about the millions of people in this world without access to clean water or medicine or that there are 22,000 homeless children in New York City alone.

The real “war on Christmas” is when Americans spend $450 BILLION on Christmas; however it would only take $20 Billion to ensure that all people in the world could have access to clean water for a year.

The real “war on Christmas” is when Americans buy products because they are cheap without thinking twice about the person who made it, their working conditions, their pay or even their age. (Yes, that’s right their age. In some countries it is LEGAL to employ children.)

This so called “war” is something that Christians every year are participating in but point the judgmental fingers at others.

The real “war on Christmas” is something that can be stopped but it will not happen by making a “naughty or nice” list.

Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas and I love hearing the story of Christ coming to the world again. However the act of acquiring things should not be the central focus of Christmas. Neither is worrying about what catch phrase people say in a store.

It is not the cashier’s job to share the Church’s story of God coming to the world. This story of the incarnation of God is MY story to tell, the Church’s story to tell, all of Christ’s followers story to tell. Christmas has the power to make a difference in the world today. Imagine what we could do if we chose this Christmas to share our love in ways that cannot be wrapped and placed under a tree. What if we took some of the money that we would have spent on each other and gave it to people who were in need– then Christmas could change the world.

So let’s call a metaphoric “cease fire” and stop this so-called war on Christmas.

We have some work to do.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Advent In Two Minutes

For some, Advent may be a new concept.

Below is a good summation of Advent.

Enjoy!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Source

Conspiracy!

Advent Conspiracy

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone; whether we like it or not the “holiday season” is upon us.  For many of us the holidays are filled with shopping, lights, trees and parties.  It is a busy and often cheerful time of the year.  For others it is a stress inducing, budget stretching and even frantic time of the year. Why is it when we get through with Christmas we are more thankful that its over than it actually happened?  Have we replaced the notion of Christmas with another excuse to spend money to show our love to others? For the past few years my family and I have participated in a conspiracy. What if we looked at Christmas in a new way? What if we looked past the stores, the shopping, the mountains of gifts and looked at how Christmas can change the world?

Americans spend $450 Billion on Christmas EVERY YEAR… let that sink in for a minute.  $450 BILLION DOLLARS EVERY YEAR for Christmas.  Now, did you know it would only take $20 Billion to ensure that all people in the world could have access to clean drinking water?  Something seems a bit incongruent here. This is where the Conspiracy comes in. (Everyone loves a good conspiracy right?) The Advent Conspiracy is a different way of looking at Christmas and the in-breaking of God into the world. Advent Conspiracy (or AC) is based on four primary tenets:

Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All.

The focus of Advent Conspiracy is centered around the notion on how Christmas can change the world.  The very first Christmas 2000+ years ago was radical and counter-cultural   The idea of a God (of any religion) coming to earth to dwell, live, serve and teach was something that never entered into people’s minds.  However, because of this indwelling of God, we now put ourselves on trajectory to be in communion with God for all times. The creators of this movement sum it up well when they write:

“The time of year when worshiping Jesus should be the easiest is often the hardest.  The invitation to  join the Advent Conspiracy is a call to remain in the gospel of Jesus and worship him—no matter how strongly the cultural demands of Christ pull at us.  The transformation initiated by Jesus I no different today than it was the day he was born—the source of joy, peace, and hope hasn’t changed.” (Rick McKinley, Chris Seay, and Greg Holder, Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Change the World? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009), page 34.)

AC doesn’t advocate not giving gifts, but they do advocate giving meaningful and thoughtful gifts.  Does Uncle Steve really need another tie?  Instead of rushing through the aisles or online if we took some time and gave thoughtful gifts, then the gift would equated with love, not with the notion of “the heftier the price tag the more I love you.” Why go into debt to show that you love someone? One of the most memorable and meaningful gifts I was given was a group of 3 x 5 note cards held together by a simple ring.  My wife’s aunt, uncle, niece and nephews had all taken the time to write things that they loved about me.  It wasn’t the newest piece of technology, it wasn’t my favorite movie; it was a paper note cards and a metal ring.  It meant so much because they took the time to think about me instead of buying something just to buy something.  

That’s the power of the Advent Conspiracy.

AC gets back to the heart of the Christmas story, not the flashy gifts of the Magi but the humility of Christ and the love poured out by God to all of humanity. Imagine what we could do if we chose this Christmas to share our love in ways that can not be wrapped and placed under a tree.  What if we took some of the money that we would have spent on each other and gave it to people who were in need– then Christmas could change the world. Advent Conspiracy allows us to think about how we celebrate Christmas in a new and exciting way.

Below is a video from AC and some of the organizations that you could give gifts through this Christmas. Let’s make this Christmas one to remember!
Join the conspiracy!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


[vimeo 47546099] [vimeo 50320595] iPhone App Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBZIWZWomYc Organizations That You Can Support During The Conspiracy!

Sermon: “Remember Me In Your Kingdom”

Christ The King (All Rights Reserved)

Below is a link to a sermon I preached entitled “Remember Me In Your Kingdom” based on Luke 22:33-43 (Christ The King Sunday 2013)

http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/1cboi2mnhw/Remember_Me_In_Your_Kingdom.mp3
(Recorded by Voice Record Pro by Bej Bej Apps for iOS)

In Christ,

Rev. Evan