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Comfort & Cameron on Christmas

Comfort & Cameron On Christmas

SYNOPSIS

Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron share their own testimonies and experiences with Christmas, explaining the true meaning of the holiday.

Kirk Cameron:

Hi, I’m Ray Comfort.

Ray Comfort:

Hang on a minute. I’m Ray Comfort. You’re Kirk Cameron. Kirk, tell me a little bit about yourself. Give us your background for those who may not know.

Kirk Cameron:

Most people will remember me from Growing Pains. I played Mike Seaver. Some of you might know me as Buck Williams from a movie called Left Behind, based on a best-selling novel by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Growing Pains was on the air for about seven years. It’s been on for about 18 years in repeats, so most of you will probably remember me as Mike Seaver.

Ray Comfort:

18 years? How old are you?

Kirk Cameron:

That makes me sound very old, doesn’t it? I’m actually 31 now. I’m an old married man, Ray. I’ve been married for 12 years and I have five kids.

Ray Comfort:

Wow, that’s incredible. I’ve been married for 31 years and have three kids. Three, one of each. Tell me a little bit about what it was like to grow up in Hollywood.

Kirk Cameron:

Before I tell you about Hollywood, tell me a little bit about that funny accent that you have. Where are you from? Is that English? Scottish? What is it?

Ray Comfort:

It’s Russian. I’m originally from New Zealand, which is down by Australia. I’ve been living in Southern California for 14 years. A lot of people think New Zealanders and Australians speak the same. Their accent is a little bit coarse for want of a better word. The New Zealand accent is more English. It’s a nation of 3 million people, 70 million sheep, but they’re not sure of the exact amount of sheep because the guy that counts them keeps falling asleep, but there are a lot of sheep in New Zealand. It’s a very unique country. It’s about the same size as California, but not so many people. Very rich in natural resources and a great place for tourists to go because when it’s winter in the US it’s summer in New Zealand, and when it’s summer in New Zealand it’s winter in the US., so it’s a good place to go.

I love the States. I’ve been an American citizen for many years and I really appreciate this country we live in. Let’s go back to Hollywood and some of your experiences there.

Kirk Cameron:

It was pretty exciting. I didn’t have a normal, everyday childhood. I grew up in a normal house but by the time I was 14 years old I was working on Growing Pains and I was traveling around the world being part of one of the most successful television shows in history. I was hanging out with all the actors, and actresses that I’d always looked up to, the musicians, and I got to do things I never dreamed of doing. I even had Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous call up and wanted to do a special on me. I don’t think he was New Zealand. I think it was English. I was living a dream at 17 years old. It was very, very exciting.

Ray Comfort:

Who did you meet? Did you know any celebrities?

Kirk Cameron:

It’s not quite as exciting for me. Leonardo DiCaprio was on Growing Pains before he ever did Titanic and Brad Pitt and Matthew Perry and quite a few other people that you’d know on TV shows now were actually on Growing Pains. We like to say that we gave them their start.

Ray Comfort:

This conversation is about Christmas and let’s talk for a few moments about Christmas and what our own experiences are. What are your memories of Christmas, or what do you remember as a child when it comes to Christmas?

Kirk Cameron:

I think for me Christmas is just one of those exciting times of year that you just can’t wait for. You wish every day was Christmas. I mean, I would remember getting ready for Christmas and counting the days off on the calendar. I loved it because we got out of school for a couple of weeks and would make up the list of what we wanted for Christmas and I would love to listen to my mom read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas before we went to sleep. On Christmas Eve, I was always sure that this was going to be the year that I would stay up and see Santa Claus land on the roof, or if there was no Santa Claus, I would catch my parents red-handed dressed up in a red suit with a sack of toys on their back. I never did. I could never find the presents hidden in any closets or under any beds. I was just stumped. I thought Santa Claus must be true.

Ray Comfort:

Is this when you were about 18 or 19?

Kirk Cameron:

Actually, this was just a couple of years ago. You know, one of the things I also remember now about Christmas is that some families used to play some beautiful music in their houses that had something to do with Christmas, songs like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Away in a Manger. They were songs about a little baby in a manger and a star leading some wise men to Bethlehem. I hadn’t a clue what that was about because we didn’t have a manger in our house. We never talked about Christmas on that level. It was just about opening presents. I think now of how much significance there is to Christmas that I just never knew about.

Ray Comfort:

Remember Hark the Herald Angels Sing?

Kirk Cameron:

Yes.

Ray Comfort:

Do you remember the verse where it says, “Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth. Born that man no more may die?” I never understood what that meant. I became a Christian when I was 22, but for those 22 years Christmas to me was just presents. In New Zealand, we have six weeks’ holiday around Christmas and it’s mid-summer and it’s just the beginning of the holidays. It was a good time. I remember getting up and opening presents as a little kid, filled with excitement, but most people celebrate Christmas and don’t even realize what it’s about, that it’s the birth of Christ. Santa Claus seems to have invaded the whole thing and we’ve lost sight of what it’s about. As we know, Jesus, from the hymn, was born that man no more may die.

I remember years ago when super glue wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. Some friends of mine worked in a jewelry store down in New Zealand, and they got a coin, I think it was a 50-cent coin and super glued it to a sidewalk. They watched through a window how people reacted when they saw the coin. Some people would come along and kick it and see that it wouldn’t move. On one occasion, they watched a lady come along and she took off her shoe and began to hit the coin with it because of how badly she wanted it. That’s amazing a lady would go to so much trouble just to get a coin off a sidewalk. She disappeared, and then a few minutes later, came back with a hammer and a chisel. She chiseled up that coin and went off with half the sidewalk and the coin, well-earned.

It’s amazing what people will do for money, but in Christ, the Bible says God offers us everlasting life. Born that man no more may die, so where are the queues? Where are the waves of people lining up to find out how they can find everlasting life? That’s what we want to talk about for just a few moments, what Christmas is really about. Is it more than presents? Why did Jesus come to this earth? Kirk, do you have any thoughts on that?

Kirk Cameron:

Well, I do. I never understood any of that up until I was about 18 years old, when a friend had finally invited me to go to church with them. It wasn’t around Christmas time. I think it was in the middle of the summer. It was probably Christmas time in New Zealand. Is that how it works? I think I’ve got it confused.

Ray Comfort:

We walk upside down too.

Kirk Cameron:

You have dinner in the morning and breakfast at night. I was the last person in the world you ever thought would have stepped into a church. I didn’t believe in God. I couldn’t stand the thought of being religious. A friend invited me to go to church and I went there and heard something that I’d never heard before, and that was that the Bible was the word of God, not just a thick, dusty book full of rules designed to suck the fun out of your life, but actually God’s word to us to describe to us who He is and what His purpose is in creating us. That’s when I first heard about how awesome and powerful and holy and magnificent God is and how He created us to love Him with all our heart and to obey Him. That all of us have in our own selfish ways turned away from God and followed our own set of rules and ignored the things that God has commanded for us to do.

That kind of an attitude is called sin, and sin separates us from God. Sin is something so serious in God’s eyes that it separates us from Him for all of eternity. In fact, because God is so good, He’ll punish sinners. And then I heard the most beautiful thing and realized that this is what Christmas was really all about: that God is so loving and compassionate that He doesn’t want us to suffer the consequences of sin and of disobeying God. He wants to forgive us, and so He provided a way for us to be forgiven. He did that by sending Christ to suffer and die on a cross, to take our punishment for us. Then Jesus rose from the grave. Now we can be forgiven of our sins if we would repent, which means to turn away from our sin, and put our faith in Jesus as our Lord and as our Savior.

That really is the essence of what Christmas is. It was the moment when this wonderful God sent His Son to be born so that He could grow up ultimately to save us and to rescue us from the sin that was going to cause our death for all of eternity.

Ray Comfort:

That’s one thing that really bothered me before I was a Christian, is the fact that I was part of the old statistic that 10 out of 10 people die. It used to bother me that everything I held dear to me, my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister, my friends, my wife, was all going to be ripped from my hands by death. That was my big annoyance about life. I was like a kid skipping through a field and there were flowers everywhere, and I was just so excited, life was so amazing, and then suddenly, splat, I hit this big black wall. I’m like, “What is this?” I look at the wall and I step back and I see the word “death” written in blood on the wall and think, “There’s got to be a way past this.” So I looked to the medical profession. There’s a big pile of dead doctors. So I looked to the scientific world and I see a big pile of dead scientists, so I see that everyone’s dying. There’s no way past this great black wall called death.

I remember one night, my wife had gone to sleep and she was soundly asleep, and I sat on the bed and I wept. I thought, “She’s going to die. She could die tomorrow. I could die and we’re gone. It’s all over.” From that moment, life became quite futile in the sense, happy though I was. However, about six months later I was on a surfing trip down in New Zealand and a young guy explained to me that we die because we have sinned against God. He talked about sin and explained it more. I thought, “Well, I’m basically a good person.” I was, until I looked at the Ten Commandments. When I looked at those commandments, I thought, “Man.” I thought I was okay until number seven. This hit me. Jesus said, “You’ve heard it said by them of old, you shall not commit adultery.” I thought, “Yep, I’m fine.” Then I heard his words, “But I say to you, whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

I thought, “Man, if God sees my thought life, I’m in big trouble.” I hid what I thought about from everybody. Nobody really knew what I was like.

Kirk Cameron:

The commandment that really convicted me was when I began to think of the First Commandment and the Second Commandment when God said, “You shall always put Me first in your life. You shall have no other gods before Me.” For most of my life, I had ignored God. I had made everything else in my life more important than God: my career, my friends, my reputation, even my dirty, smelly socks were more important to me than God. I thought, “Man, if there is a god, that’s got to be pretty offensive to him.”

Ray Comfort:

You were an atheist?

Kirk Cameron:

I was a pretty devout atheist. I would laugh at people who believed in God simply because they couldn’t prove Him to me, but deep in my heart I guess I didn’t know for sure that there was no God. I just didn’t want to deal with it because I was having fun in my life, and the truth is, if there is a god, then ultimately we’re accountable to him, and it matters how we live our life and what he thinks of it. I think I just pushed it out of my mind and comforted myself with the thought that it could never be proven.

Ray Comfort:

Yeah, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t believe in God when we look at creation. To be a creation, there must be a Creator. For things to be made, there must be a Maker, but it seems that God has hidden himself from humanity. The Bible tells us in Him we live and move and have our being. If we’re looking for God, we’re like a fish in the ocean saying, “Where is the ocean?” We’re in God’s presence, every single one of us, but when we’re reconciled to Him, when we turn from our sins and trust Him as Savior, then the ocean comes into us in that respect, and makes its dwelling in us. Tell me what you understood about the cross. Did the cross make any sense to you, Jesus dying on the cross, before you were a Christian?

Kirk Cameron:

You know, people had come up to me years earlier trying to talk to me about God, and they had mentioned Jesus, and the cross never made sense to me. I didn’t understand. The cross, as far as I was concerned, was just religious jewelry. What made the cross make sense was the Ten Commandments. When I realized that God saw my thoughts and had seen everything that I had ever done in secret, regardless of the fact that I never believed in Him, every time I had lied I was proving that I was a liar. Every time that I had stolen something, even though I didn’t think of it as anything serious (I had taken things as a kid), things I knew didn’t belong to me, but God sees petty theft as theft. Adultery of the heart is something that I think every teenage boy has committed. Dishonoring my mother and father, making other things more important than God. Jesus even said that he who hates his brother is a murderer. When I began to look at that, I saw my need for God’s forgiveness. I saw that I was in trouble with God.

Then when I heard about the cross, that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins, it was like I had broken the law and then someone else stepped in and paid my fine. That’s the way the Bible says it. It says it like this: “He was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed.” It also says that “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Now the cross makes sense.

Ray Comfort:

I had a similar experience. I remember looking at my sins and realizing that boy, if there was going to be a day of judgment as the Bible says there’s going to be, I would be condemned and end up in Hell. Judgment Day makes sense when you think of it logically. For instance, in one 10-year period in the US, from 1990 to the year 2000, there were 200,000 people murdered in the US. 100,000 weren’t brought to justice. It should grieve us that anyone can get away with murder and not be brought to justice. How much more does it grieve God when injustice is done? The Bible says God will punish those murderers, which makes sense. He’s also going to punish rapists and thieves and liars and fornicators and blasphemers, and those who have lived contrary to the inner light, the conscience that God has given every one of us.

If you’re a human being, if the blood of Adam dwells in your veins and you’ve sinned against God, His wrath abides upon you, and you need to repent and trust in the Savior before the Day of Judgment. The way to trust in the Savior is to confess and forsake your sins. Come before God and say, “God, I’ve sinned against you. I’ve broken your commandments. I need your forgiveness.” God has made provision for us, so He’s a God of justice and righteousness and truth. The Bible says He is rich in mercy and He loves you and has commanded His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

As Kirk was saying, Jesus died on the cross for us and the Bible says He rose again on the third day and defeated death, and now that great wall, that big black wall that all humanity came up against, has a door, a way through. Jesus said, “I am the door. If any man enter by me he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find green pasture.” The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King. Peace on earth. That means peace with God, not just peace within your own heart, but peace with your Creator. You and I can have that. Once we’re born again, once we receive that second birth, we receive God’s gift of everlasting life and we understand what the Bible means when it says that Jesus was born that man no more may die. Kirk, do you have anything to say just as we close?

Kirk Cameron:

I think that Christmas is such an incredible opportunity to think about our own hearts before God and to think about what He did for us. I know that there was a time when I would have considered myself to be a very good person too, but I think what I was doing was making the mistake of comparing myself to other people. Compared to other people I was pretty good. I was a pretty nice guy, a pretty good guy. I did a lot of good things, but the problem is I didn’t think about the fact that I wasn’t going to be judged by other people when I die. When I die, I’ll stand face to face with God and I’ll be judged according to His perfect standard. That’s really where it’s at. That’s what it’s all about. The Ten Commandments is God’s standard and the mirror that shows us the quality of our heart the way that God sees it.

It’s so critical to look into that mirror so that we can examine our hearts, and if it’s filthy, dirty with sin, we have the opportunity to go and ask for God’s forgiveness and turn away from those sins and be washed through faith in Jesus Christ and be forgiven and cleansed.

Ray Comfort:

Kirk, there are probably people who are listening today who won’t be here tomorrow because death may seize upon them. Maybe that’s going to happen to you and this is God speaking to you through us to get right with Him before it’s too late. Every one of us has this silly attitude of, “It will never happen to me.” Death is going to happen to every one of us, so don’t just think any longer about this issue. Just bow your head and say, “God, please forgive me. I’ve sinned against you.” This is the type of prayer you can pray to get right with God. “God, I’ve sinned against you. I’ve broken your commandments. Please forgive me. Wash me. Make me a new person in Christ. Create in me a clean heart, oh God. Thank you, Jesus, I believe you died for me and rose again on the third day.”

Just say to him, “I yield my life to you. I give you my heart.” God’s not interested in your words. It’s just your heart attitude. Then once you’ve done that, pick up a Bible and read it. Read the Gospel of John, read the Epistles, and obey what God says to do. Jesus said these incredible words: “He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me, and he that loves Me will be loved by my father. I too will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” As you obey God, He will reveal Himself to you, not in flashes of lightening or thunderous voices, but in an intimate way where He will transform you on the inside and make you a brand-new person, and you’ll have the absolute assurance that you have the gift of everlasting life.

Do you want to say anything or perhaps close in prayer Kirk?

Kirk Cameron:

For so many years I was such a skeptic and wanting everything to be proven, and wanting to be sure of everything. If you’re feeling that way reading this article, not sure about this, I encourage you to go pick up a Bible. The Bible is not a difficult book to read. It’s written in every-day English and you can understand what it means simply by picking it up and having a heart that is willing to be open to the truth of God. Say, “God, help me to understand the truth. Show me the truth. Show me who You are. I don’t want to believe a lie or some kind of fairytale. I want to know the truth.”

Be willing to make a U-turn in your life. Turn away from your sin and turn toward God. He will show Himself to you because He loves you and because if you’re seeking Him, it’s because He’s been seeking you. Lord, thank you for Christmas, not just for the fun of getting together with friends and family and all the presents but thank you most of all for sending Jesus for each one of us as a Savior to save us from our sin, to make us right with You, and to give us the gift of everlasting life. Please give every man and woman and boy and girl a grateful heart at Christmas time and the courage to admit their sin, to admit their need for Jesus, that little baby in the manger, and give them the strength to turn from their sin and trust Jesus with all their heart so that they would experience the joy of Your forgiveness and live a life obeying You. Thank you for saving me. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Ray Comfort:

Amen. Kirk, we’ve got a website where people can go to so that they can be helped. Is it called Ten Principles for Spiritual Growth? Is that what it’s called? We used to call it Save Yourself Some Pain. Can you tell them the name of the website?

Kirk Cameron:

It’s called the Way of the Master. The website address is www.wayofthemaster.com, and it’s a site where you can learn about God, you can grow in your faith, and even learn how to share your faith in Christ with other people effectively but inoffensively.

Ray Comfort:

There are free tapes there that you can listen to so you can grow as a Christian, but if you’ve made a commitment to Christ today, go to that. Go to that site, www.wayofthemaster.com, and click on the Ten Principles or something for Christian Growth, and you’ll find that those principles will help you immensely. Both Kirk and I want to thank you sincerely for taking the time to listen to read this.

Kirk Cameron:

God bless you.

Kirk Cameron

Kirk is an actor noted for his work in the inspirational film Fireproof, as well as his memorable roles in Growing Pains and the Left Behind movies. Kirk is actively involved in creating family entertainment and travels throughout the country speaking at his marriage and parenting conference, Living Room Reset, promoting a return to biblical values. Kirk and his wife, Chelsea, have six children and live in Southern California

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