Veteran’s Day is rich with opportunities to celebrate God. Today AMBrewster opens the Bible to help Christian leaders formulate a plan for growing in their love of God while helping those they lead to do the same.
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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I’m glad you joined me today as we consider a very important minor holiday in The Celebration of God.
The Celebration of God is a discipleship experience designed to help God’s people better know, love, and serve Him, and then teach others to do the same.
We seek to worship the Lord every waking moment of every day, and — honestly — that is a very hard, very massive job. We need help from our brothers and sisters in Christ, we need help from our families, and we need help from the Holy Spirit.
And The Celebration of God exists to provide some of that help. We use our podcast, website, and social media to draw our minds to God and encourage our celebration of Him.
We use our daily and holiday calendars to do the same, and today we’re taking about how God can be celebrated on Veteran’s Day.
If you’re knew to the show, thank you for joining us. I strongly recommend you check out CelebrationOfGod.com and listen to our 16 introductory episodes. Those shows are extremely important in that they lay the theological and practical foundation for The Celebration of God. Everyone should definitely start there, and then you can jump back into the newest episodes.
And, if you’re be interested in inviting me to speak to your community about celebration, worship, praise, discipleship, and any and all topics concerning our relationship with God, just head to AMBrewster.com to learn more.
Lastly, if you visit CelebrationOfGod.com you can find free episode notes and a transcript for today’s show.
Alright, so Veteran’s Day is one of those holidays that means a lot to people who have veterans in their family and people who lost loved ones during war time. Everyone else generally falls into two categories. One category has great respect for men and women who sacrificed so that the rest of us could live free, but the second category consists of people who basically only care about days like Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day because it’s a day off of work and generally — at least in America — involve grilling meat.
One group deeply invests in the holiday because there are individuals whose lives and memory are very important to them for personal reasons. Other’s appreciate the day because of the opportunity it affords them to be thankful for those who sacrificed. And others legitimately enjoy the rest such days afford.
But none of those motivations are complete in and of themselves.
As Christians we should have a higher calling for our lives. Even though each of those responses to Veteran’s Day have a level of value, Christians who desire to worship God can experience a Veteran’s Day like no other.
So, how do we Prepare for such an event?
As always, God and His Word must be the foundation stone for our preparation. We should reflect, meditate, study, pray through, and discuss God’s Truth as we tune our hearts to celebrate God on Veteran’s Day.
I’m going to discuss some Scripture passages during the next point, and — as always — we’ll post a reading list at CelebrationOfGod.com under the holiday’s tab.
But before we talk about how to Celebrate Veteran’s Day to God’s honor and glory, let’s talk a little more about Preparation.
The Jews prepared for the Sabbath so that they wouldn’t break any of the Sabbath Laws God set, but also so that they could devote themselves to truly experiencing the Sabbath without distraction.
The only Law we have to worry about breaking is God’s holy expectations for all of our life and godliness. And those are the same every day of the year, but taking time to prepare for our celebrations allows us to focus our minds on what it truly important and enter the event distraction free.
So Preparation involves not only preparing our minds and the minds of our disciplees by focusing on the Bible and prayer, but can also involve practical considerations like decorating our Celebration Walls, cleaning our homes, and coming up with a plan for our celebration.
If you are new to the show and haven’t yet listen to our introductory episodes, you really should because they will answer a lot of questions you undoubtedly have about Celebration Walls and Preparations, and why all of this is important.
But for those of us who are becoming more and more conformable using The Celebration of God, let’s talk about some schedule ideas for celebrating Veteran’s Day in a way to gives God the preeminence.
First, let’s remind ourselves that it is appropriate to give honor to people. However, we should’t do so to the exclusion of God.
Let me give you an example. Many Asian and Latino cultures put a huge emphasis on ancestor worship. That is a sinful extreme. But I would argue that those who celebrate a man or woman without acknowledging the Lord is in danger of doing the exact same thing.
Remember, we want to celebrate the people in our lives in lieu of our celebration of God. What do I mean?
Consider Leviticus 19:32, “You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.”
This verse perfectly illustrates my point. We should rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, but why should we do such a thing? Is it because they’re better than we are? More holy? They deserve it more than other humans?
Nope. Not really. I mean, sure, from a human perspective it may be easy to say that, but God doesn’t say we should honor our elders because they’re deserving, He says we should honor them because He is Who He is.
“You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.”
Like so many other commands in Scripture, God lays the foundation deep in His character. We love others because God loves us and commands us to love others. We honor our parents because God commands it. We should respect those who have sacrificed for our freedom because our Lord is a great and wonderful God.
So, yes, by all means plan to honor the veterans in your life. Take time to remember those we have lost, but do so in light of the fact that we must first and foremost revere our God because He is the Lord.
Second, we should all plan to honor a veteran by serving them in some way. That may involve sitting with them, talking with them, taking them out to eat, and doing chores for them.
But let me say that if the only day we honor our veterans and our elders is on Grandparent’s Day and Veteran’s Day, we’re missing the point.
These are good days to so something special for our military personnel, but it really should be above and beyond that which we’re already doing.
So, whether you’re making a plan for your family or your students or your congregation to be a blessing to a veteran, you should encourage them to bless these same people throughout the year as a we celebrate the goodness of God.
And we take the time to formulate these plans so we’re not throwing something together at the last minute and so that we can say we legitimately did our best all to the glory of God.
Therefore, we should carefully prepare our minds, our homes, our disciplees, and our schedules.
Now, let’s talk about . . .
We should take time on Veteran’s Day to read and discuss God’s Word.
For example, consider the implications of John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
Is it possible that veterans killed in the line of duty, in one way or another, are the best human example of love we have?
That’s something worth our reflection.
And then as you converse with your disciplees, draw out the comparisons our veterans have with the saving work of the Messiah. No, they are not messianic themselves, but they exhibited the same willingness to sacrifice for others.
Allow their sacrifice to draw your minds to Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice for us. Take time to pray together and praise the Lord for His saving sacrifice as well as the men and women He has used to give you and your community freedom.
But — in addition to Scripture meditation, discussion, and prayer — you can also consider the ramifications of two interesting passages in Proverbs.
Proverbs 6:10-11 says, “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest”— 11 Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.”
And Proverbs 24:33-34 is very similar: "A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” 34 Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.”
Back when those proverbs were written, it was the expectation that a man would go off to war and would often return home to nothing. Either because of the ravages of war or the fact that the man — while fighting for his country — could no longer pay for his land, everything he had was taken away from him.
Praise God that civilized societies have plans to care for their military personnel as they are away protecting the country. That’s how it should be. They shouldn’t be penalized for risking their lives for us.
But in the ancient world that was not always the case, and — I would suggest that among our older veterans — it is still very possible that some of them have felt the bitter sting of loss. Perhaps they came back injured and incapable of regular work. Maybe an illness ravaged their bodies. Perhaps their families left them while they were deployed.
For these reasons and many more, I do believe it’s the church’s responsibility to care for its own -- especially those who have lost so much trying to protect us.
It’s easy to forget their sacrifice, but they live with it every day.
I think the Lord would be very pleased if you and your community celebrate Veteran’s Day with more than just a show and speeches. How about taking that plan you made and doing your part to invest in the life of a veteran — especially an elderly veteran who — I believe — is worthy of double honor.
Now, normally I separate episodes like this into Preparation, Celebration, and Discipleship, but we must never forget that discipleship is a way to actively worship God.
So, yes, we may discuss it like it’s a third step, but — in reality — proper Preparation and Discipleship are both facets of truly worshipping God.
I love the book of Nehemiah. I’ve studied it in great detail many times in my life, and my pastor is currently preaching through the book.
And I think there’s a great passage that has fantastic discipleship value for Veteran’s Day.
Nehemiah 4:16-21 reads, “From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me. 19 I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another. 20 At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us. 21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared.”
The Season of Mercy which runs from September through the end of November is a time to reflect on how needy we are. The Season of Grace focuses on Glorification, the Season of Life on Justification, and the Season of Power on Sanctification, but the Season of Mercy focuses on our Desperation.
We need saving. We need others to sacrifice for us. We can’t do it on our own. We are desperately in need of a Savior.
But — as we saw in Nehemiah and are reminded of during Veteran’s Day — God is glorified by allowing us to represent Him by sacrificing ourselves for others.
Your students and congregations and family members are desperate too. They need saving. They need others to serve them. They need people willing to sacrifice for them. Yes, that can include the practical things of life, but — much more importantly — it must always include the Gospel. We need to be willing to sacrifice everything to shine the light of God’s Truth in this dark and dying world.
We should be willing to join together with our friends and families and local bodies of believers to stand shoulder to shoulder and risk everything to lead the world to Christ.
As we seek to disciple our loved ones, we can focus on the importance of loving others so much that are willing sacrifice all for them.
I’ve often said on my other podcast, Truth.Love.Parent., that husbands will proclaim that they will take a bullet for their wives, but they have a hard time taking a dirty diaper or dish for their wives.
If we truly love the people God has put into our lives, then we should be willing to sacrifice ourselves as the veterans have. We should be willing to die — if necessary — to save others from spiritual death.
Imagine a child in the public school taking this lesson to heart. This child loves her Lord. She is thankful for her salvation and the freedoms the Lord has provided her. So instead of being afraid of the unkind children at school, she’s willing to sacrifice to be a witness and testimony for them.
Sure, she’s not risking her life in a physical war, but she’s fighting hard in the spiritual war we all wage on a daily basis.
I encourage you to check our the Veteran’s Day page at CelebrationOfGod.com so you can see the list of Anticipations I’ve included.
Anticipation is another exciting element to our celebration of God. Each moment has the potential of pointing forward to the glorious promises God is going to unleash in our lives.
One easy example is that Veteran’s Day should have us longing to celebrate Easter as we laud and honor and praise the ultimate act of love that Jesus poured on us when He died on the cross.
Jesus is the perfect picture of a glorious veteran. He went to war in spiritual combat, sacrificed everything He had, and yet — unlike our fallen heroes — conquered death and gained the eternal victory!!
Veteran’s Day, like every other major and minor holiday in The Celebration of God is the perfect time to get excited about celebrating other aspects of God’s character as well as His miraculous deeds.
And I think our next major holiday is the grandest day for Anticipation in the entire year of Anticipations.
Next time we’re going to discuss preparing for your first Thanksgiving.
I know, I know, you’ve celebrated Thanksgiving before, but hopefully we can celebrate God this Thanksgiving in a deeper and more significant way that we ever have before.
So, join us next time and the week after to talk about a Thanksgiving feast for the spirit, and then we’ll quickly transition into Advent, the Season of Grace, and starting our Preparations for Christmas!
We’re entering an exciting time of year, not just because of vacations and tasty food; we’re entering an exciting time of year where our focus turns to God’s first and second comings — the miracles, the promises, and the glorious implications of God’s redemptive plan for mankind.
This is a wonderful time to be celebrating God, so I hope you’ll share this episode on your favorite social media outlets — and share every other episode while you’re at it so more and more Christians can join the celebration!
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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.