Today the creator of The Celebration of God, AMBrewster, unveils the Seasons of Mercy, Grace, Life, and Power and teaches us how to use them in our worship and discipleship.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a family resource from Truth.Love.Parent., a ministry dedicated to rooting families in God and maturing families for God so they can harvest blessings from God.
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Welcome back to our Preparation and Anticipation for The Celebration of God, a personal and corporate discipleship resource.
It’s perfect for families, churches, small groups, one-on-one, and even in your own personal walk with Christ.
And the best news yet is that the podcast and all the online resources are free. One day I plan to catalogue The Celebration of God into a curriculum or book, but that’s down the road, and I want you, your church, your family, and your friends to be able to benefit from this right now, today.
By the way, my name is Aaron, and if you’re just joining us because someone you know shared this episode on social media, I want to welcome you.
I’ve been a follower of Christ since I was 9, and the past 31 years have been a journey of human failure and divine grace. Just like all born again Christians, I’m not everything I should be, but I’m also not everything I used to be.
And that’s what discipleship is all about. It’s about us growing in our sanctification and being conformed into the image of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Then as we are being changed into His image, we’re introducing others to Him and helping them grow in Christlikeness as well.
The Celebration of God helps us in that process because it’s designed to use the Scriptures, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to facilitate that process in our homes and churches.
But if this is your first time with us, I invite you to start with Episode 1. We’re in the middle of our introductory material — laying the foundation of The Celebration of God so that we’ll understand what it is, what it’s not, and how to use it.
Today I want to unwrap two core elements of The Celebration of God, but I want to make sure you have the foundation ready.
But if you’re returning with us and are ready for the next episode, please remember that we have free PDF episode notes and full transcripts available at our website. You can reach it by typing in almost anything that is anywhere close to our name. You can enter TheCelebrationOfGod.com or .org. You can also just drop the “The” and type in CelebrationOfGod.com or .org. And you can also easily access the page from TruthLoveParent.com.
Alright, let’s get started.
I love decorating for Christmas! I put out our nativity scene and the snowman decor; we put up the tree and decorate it with unique ornaments that memorialize events in the life of our family — many of which are homemade. We use colored lights and defuse cinnamon oils. We even set up the model train my Father-in-Law gave us.
And my kids absolutely love helping me with the process.
My wife — on the other hand — can be a bit of a Grinch — a Scrooge, a Jacquelyn Frost — when it comes to the decorating part, but she definitely loves our joy in the process.
All of this to say, I’ve been baking cookies and trimming trees and decorating houses all to the din of happy Christmas music for as long as I can remember. And there’s great benefit to each of those things when they’re done the right way for the right reasons.
However, I can’t say I’ve always done those things in the right way and for the right reasons, and — in fact — The Celebration of God has grown out of my own personal failures in this area. As I had kids and came to realize that I was teaching them to love all the same things about Christmas that I loved . . . and when I realized that only a few of those things had anything to do with God, my own poor relationship with Christ was revealed.
I understood that I was discipling my kids, and they were happy to be discipled. My son loves to listen to Christmas music when he mows the lawn in the middle of summer. But I realized that — perhaps — I wasn’t discipling them the way Christ has called me to disciple them. And — more importantly — I wasn’t being the disciple God called me to be.
Now, human nature is — by default — extreme. That’s why we see the pendulum swing so often in our culture. “The last generation did it this way, so we need to do it the exact opposite way!”
But different isn’t always good, and being contrary for contrary’s sake doesn’t please the Lord either. We need to know why we’re doing what we’re doing and make sure our motivation is pleasing to God.
So, I’m not sitting here and telling you that you need to stop decorating for Christmas . . . or even that you need to start.
What I want to do is introduce you to a core component within The Celebration of God, and then describe for you how each of the Seasons help us use that core component. Why you do with these will be up to you and the Lord.
Now, let’s talk about . . .
1. The Importance of Visual Reminders in The Celebration of God.
Deuteronomy 6 contains one of the most famous parenting passages in the Bible. Verses 4-9 read, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
We referenced this passage earlier and spoke of the fact that — among other things — celebration is a commemoration that helps us remember God and what He’s done.
And all throughout the Bible we see examples of the fact that it’s really helpful to set up visual reminders.
On my other podcast, Truth.Love.Parent., I did a series called “How Do You Become.” It was all about the steps necessary to become an intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador Parent. And each of the steps included the advice “Make your commitment visible.” And we would talk about Bible passages and things that you could put up around the house and your office to remind yourself of the parent God had called and created you to be.
We even made a beautiful piece of wall art called “The TLP Family” which reads, “We are an intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador Family.” And it’s designed to remind us who God expects us to be.
Well, the same thing is true here.
If we’re going to biblically celebrate God, then Deuteronomy 6 has to apply to more than just our parenting.
I’m no Hebrew scholar, but — assuming the translators are utilizing the English language correctly — it can be understood that this passage is not just about parenting.
It says that we should “teach them diligently to your sons and talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” That’s obviously parenting, but the rest of the passage doesn’t grammatically require that the rest of this take place only within the context of being a mom or dad. Listen to the rest: “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
I can talk about God’s Truth when I sit in my home with a neighbor and when I walk by the way with a jogging partner. In fact, both the ancient and modern Jews would encounter many, many people over the course of their day that would see the Scriptures tied to the Jew’s hands and forehead. Anyone who approaches my home can see the Scripture on my doorposts and house and gates.
The point is, whether you’re married and have kids or not, God desires for us to set up visual memorials so that throughout the day we and those around us can be reminded of God’s amazing character and deeds.
Here’s one more beautiful example of that about which we’re talking. This morning my son and I were walking and we were talking about the glory of Christ-honoring sexuality and the dangers of sinful sexuality, and I mentioned to Him that marriages are supposed to be a walking illustration of the beauty of Christ’s love, sacrifice, and care for the church.
Each married couple, and — specifically — each Christian married couple is designed by God to be a reminder of His plan for a relationship with every human being.
God loves visuals. Humans benefit greatly from visuals.
So, one of the core components of The Celebration of God is a special place in key areas of your home, church, and office that’s dedicated to helping you and everyone else who sees it to celebrate God.
Now, I need to explain this carefully so that no one gets the wrong impression. This is not a scared space. This is not the only place where you can worship God. This is not demanded by God and required for a relationship with Him. There is nothing inherently holy or iconic or divine about any of the things we place in this area of our homes, churches, classrooms, and offices.
It’s just like painting a Bible verse on the wall. When you see it, your mind should be drawn to the God about which the verse is talking. But we don’t take our shoes off on the carpet near that wall because it’s somehow how holy ground. We don’t offer incense and pray to the verse on the wall. It’s there to remind us, to visually grab our attention and invite us to meditate on the God it represents.
So, one of the core components of The Celebration of God that helps it take root in our lives is what we call The Celebration Wall.
Now, we’re going to talk much more about this Wall in the future. For now, I just want us all to understand that it’s important for us to set up visual reminders — memorials as it were — to repeatedly draw our minds back to God and what He’s done for us.
One of the things that can be displayed on our Celebration Walls is a description of the Season in which we find ourselves.
Now, we’re going to dedicate a whole episode to each of the four seasons, but I want to introduce them here.
2. The Importance of Seasons in The Celebration of God.
I think you’re really going to enjoy how well the major holidays fit together in our year. I’m no sure if you ever noticed it or not, but it really is amazing how they flow from one to another.
Within The Celebration of God, we’ve taken the four meteorological seasons and given them a Godward focus.
The meteorological seasons are as follows: Autumn runs from September through November, Winter covers December through February, Spring lands in March, April, and May, and Summer runs through June, July, and August.
We respect the astrological seasons as well, but starting at the beginning of the month and ending them on the last day of the third month is far easier to calculate and remember.
So, the whole year is about worshipping God. What could these four three-month segments celebrate?
I chose what I believe to be four gifts of God under which everything He is and does can fall.
Autumn is the Season of Mercy. Mercy is colloquially defined as not receiving the consequences I deserve.
Winter is the Season of Grace. Grace is the counterpoint to Mercy — the other side of the coin — grace is receiving the good things I do not deserve.
Spring is the Season of Life. God not only gives us life, He also offers us eternal, spiritual life. Life is not just existence though, it also refers to the quality of that life.
And Summer is the Season of Power. The life to which God calls us is high and amazing and holy, and we get to spend the summer season focusing specifically on the power God provides and the many ways He provides is.
Now, like I said, we’re going to unpack each of the Seasons over the next four episodes, so, allow me to finish up today by showing just one way we can use our Celebration Walls to help ourselves, our church members, our students, and our families remember to celebrate God throughout that Season.
Let’s discuss the Season of Mercy that starts in September.
Let’s say that in Preparation for the Season of Mercy, you set aside a portion of wall in your home to decorate or — at least — display important elements.
At CelebrationOfGod.com we have an image you can print out that contains the following information: “During the months of September, October, and November we celebrate the Season of Mercy. God shows us Mercy when He doesn’t give us the consequences we deserve. The Lord mercifully provides a way to escape death, exhaustion, purposelessness, loneliness, consequences, fear, slavery, and discontentment.”
And then it lists the holidays that fall within the Season of Mercy and the one Solemnity we observe.
So, if I were to post this in my church or home or classroom, I would always take a moment — as part of the Preparation — to teach the people in my life about mercy, and whet their appetites for three months of glorying in the gift of mercy.
That image will also remind me throughout the Season of the things from which God mercifully shelters me. It provides me a fantastic reminder to thank the Lord every time I experience anything I don’t deserve . . . which is pretty much everything.
And then I should have at least one Bible verse or passage that focuses on God’s mercy. For example, Hebrews 4:16 reads, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
What about Ephesians 2:4-5, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” That one even encourages our Anticipation for the Season of Grace.
And Luke 6:36 is powerful: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” There are so many wonderful passages that could be displayed. In fact, if you used your Celebration Wall for nothing more than displaying portions of the Scriptures for contemplation, discussion, and memorization that space would be put to very good use.
And that’s only the beginning. Prayer requests could be listed there so that we’re reminded to request the Lord’s mercy. We could put up pictures of family — individuals who we don’t deserve to have in our lives. And the ideas are as numerous as the individuals who participate.
There is so much more that could be said, but that has to be said later. I hope you’re growing even more excited, and — perhaps — you’re even envisioning what your Celebration Wall at home or school or work or church could look like.
It may start as a post-it. It may be a Pinterested work of art, or it may be a technological marvel, but as long as we’re using it to draw our minds back to the celebration of God, it will be worth it, and I can’t wait to see pictures of your personal Celebration Wall.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets so more and more Christians can join us in our Year Long Celebration of God, and join us next time as we outline the Season of Mercy.
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The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.