Click the link below to download the PDF.
Welcome back. If you’re enjoying The Celebration of God, then I want to share with you that the COG is a resource of TLP.
Truth.Love.Parent. is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to glorifying God in the world by equipping dads and moms to be the disciple-making parents God called and created them to be.
As you can obviously see, The Celebration of God is a massive part of being a full-time disciple-maker.
If you have kids, you should definitely check out TruthLoveParent.com and our award-winning podcast.
Recently Shannon Popkin posted this on her socials: “I've said to so many friends, lately, who are facing parenting challenges: ‘Hey, there's this podcast…' I so appreciate the way [Truth.Love.Parent.] balances hard-to-swallow truths with a tone of love, concern and ‘yeah, me too…' empathy. I've been binge-listening the past month or so, and I find the truths shared on Truth.Love.Parent to be both intuitive and greatly clarifying. I'm feeling more equipped to parent even my young adult children--not with ease, but with peaceful confidence.”
We have over 400 episodes that are evergreen. That means that you can search our collection and find God’s answers to your parenting questions. You don’t have to just listen to the newest episodes.
So, if you have kids or work with parents and/or children, please check out Truth.Love.Parent.
And if you check out our free episode notes and transcripts at CelebrationOfGod.com, you’re actually already on the TLP website, so try a few more clicks to look around a bit.
Alright, let’s talk about Ascension.
I found this great article recently. I can’t really endorse the entire site because I don’t know anything about them beyond this article, but I wanted to read a few paragraphs for you from “The Descent of Ascension” from Robert De Moor.
In the article he’s explaining the absurd reality that the celebration of Ascension has been falling out of style for over a thousand years.
Concerning protestants, De Moor writes, “The Protestant churches had mixed emotions about the practice. Reformers like Calvin wanted to banish all such feast-day observances, arguing that we should be celebrating the birth, resurrection, and ascension of Christ every day of our lives, and in worship every Sunday of the year. However, as a concession to the governing authorities who wanted to keep those occasions as civic holidays, the Reformers relented and allowed the practice to continue. But Ascension Day, along with all the other Christian festive days, was swept out of Britain by the austerity of Cromwell's Puritanism. While a large number of Presybterians have long since reintroduced many of these holy days, Ascension Day is usually not among them.”
Later on the author points out, “In the last few decades, however, Reformed Christians have retained the practice in theory, but in reality have voted it out with their feet. Why this decline of Ascension? Maybe because it comes so soon after Lent and Easter that we're celebrated out. Maybe because the church season is over by then. But I suspect the major reason is that we're being pulled along by our culture. . . . . Santas, and Easter bunnies provide endearing amusements that our culture advertises to a fault. So the media hype makes us see Christmas and Easter as important events. But there's not much of a market for a risen Lord or for a heavenly kingdom that will give this tired, over-commercialized planet of ours a healthy heavenly shake.
“Instead of setting the agenda for our culture, Christians yield to this secular calendar by default—much as the Reformers did, but now in reverse. Our society (still) gladly rings our wake-up bell for Christmas and Easter, as long as it can unload some children's toys and Easter eggs on us. In lockstep we're all too happy to stuff Jesus back into the manger, drag him through Jerusalem's streets, and nail him back on the cross. But without a whimper we give up on celebrating what should be the highlight of those yearly remembering exercises: the reality that Jesus no longer fits in any of those places here below. He's grown too big for them now! Even heaven cannot hold our Lord's majesty, splendor, and empowering love. Because our Brother-in-the-flesh ascended, his leadership, gifts, and Spirit flood our lives as well. So where's the feast?”
And I want to echo that question . . . where’s the feast?
If you joined us two episodes ago I took some time to introduce us to Ascension and Pentecost, two woefully neglected holidays.
And, yes, though I believe we should be celebrating all that God is every day of the year — hence, the Year Long Celebration of God — we see from the Scriptures how feast days and memorials should be part of our healthy worship.
Now, Mr. De Moor’s article provides some ways he believes the church can re-spark Ascension celebrations, but — though I love his passion — I can’t personally get on board with all of his suggestions.
Still . . . I do want to share with you some ways that you and your family, students, friends, and church members can make a big deal of God on Ascension Day.
1. Study it from the Scripture.
Go to CelebrationOfGod.com and download our Ascension Bible Reading. Yes, there will be more that you can read, but God’s Word should always be our first stop on the road to learning.
Work through the passages thematically, grammatically, historically — whatever it takes to better understand what God accomplished in history the day Jesus Ascended.
After you’ve worked through the Biblical data, I recommend reading trusted commentaries and finding valuable resources online.
Now, I need to stress that the resources be trustworthy. There are a lot of people saying a lot of wrong things on the interweb, and we don’t want to be lead astray.
As The Celebration of God grows, you will find more and more holiday resources on our website. We want to become your one-stop-shop for all things worshipping God. We know we have a long way to go, but we are actively working to curate quality, biblical, trustworthy resources.
Now, even if you didn’t study the Ascension, even if you only read the passages, I believe born again believers will find the next step very easy . . .
2. Thank God for what the Ascension accomplished.
The more you understand the Ascension and what God was doing through it, the more for which you’ll have to praise Him, but even if you only read the passages and understand it on the most superficial level, the mere reality that Jesus bodily left this earth leading captivity captive and ascended into the Shekinah Glory is awesome enough!
So, thank God for this important facet of His redemptive plan.
You can also ask the Lord to help you live in the light of Christ’s Kingdom. The fact that He ascended to glory and is seated at the right hand of the Father definitely has daily impact on our feelings, thoughts, words, and behavior.
Then, as you study and praise God . . .
3. Talk about what you’re learning with the people in your life.
It’s quite possible that you had never thought about the Ascension until I said something about it.
My family and I have been celebrating the whole 50 days of Eastertide, and it’s been fun to explain to our friends what we’re doing. And all of them — believers for the majority of their lives — say things like, “Wow, we didn’t know that was a thing.”
No doubt there are bunch of people in your life who didn’t realize that the Ascension was such a big deal and that there was a full day set aside for celebrating God in light of it.
Guess what! You can be used of the Lord to help them grow in their worship of God — their discipleship.
And of course . . .
4. Do something special on Ascension Day.
Take some time to read the passages from the Ascension Bible Reading, thank the Lord for His love and power and wisdom.
Now, I know there aren’t a lot of Ascension decorations and playlists and movies and such, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some of the ideas we’ve discussed for previous holidays and use them here.
Bake some cookies and share them with your neighbors.
Hand out “Happy Ascension Day” cards to your classmates.
Teach your kids about the Ascension and set off a Chinese Lantern as a tiny object lesson.
And definitely have a special meal in commemoration of the event!
Whatever you do, have fun, and share your ideas with us on social media so that we can learn from your creativity.
The point is, God is worthy to be worshipped for all that He is and all that He’s done, and the Ascension provides a phenomenal way to give God the attention in our lives that He deserves.
I hope this year you will do something to acknowledge the awesomeness of God in the Ascension. And hope that Christians all over the world will be known in their communities for taking every opportunity they can to make a big deal out of their Lord.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets and join us next time as we discuss how to prepare for, celebrate, and disciple during Pentecost.
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.