Remembering Thanksgiving!

12 11 2009

Hey guys,

So I was doing a little shopping last night while I was killing time waiting for a meeting to start…not the most economic way to waste time but effective none the less.  In the midst of my shopping I was shocked by the explosion of Christmas already in all the stores.  Every single store I went into had Christmas music blasting and red and green sparkles everywhere, like the Christmas elves had gotten a little too excited.

What in the world?  How is it time for Christmas already?   What happened to Thanksgiving?   It feels as if we’ve gone straight from Halloween into Christmas.  When did that happen?

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and the wonderful celebrations that accompany it but we’ve become such a consumerist culture that we no longer even pause to give thanks for the things we have…we just move right into the sales and money that can be spent on the season of spending.  Wow, what a statement!?

I urge you to rebel against it!  Take time for thanksgiving…not just the holiday and the food and the family time but the concept of thanking God for all He has given you.  Christmas is a wonderful time of the year but let’s not forget to thank God in preparation for what He did for us during Christmas, for loving us so much that He sent His one and only Son to earth as a sacrifice for our sins.  That’s something to be thankful for!

Thank God because he’s good, because his love never quits.
   Tell the world, Israel,
      “His love never quits.”
   And you, clan of Aaron, tell the world,
      “His love never quits.”
   And you who fear God, join in,
      “His love never quits.”

Pushed to the wall, I called to God;
      from the wide open spaces, he answered.
   God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid;
      who would dare lay a hand on me?
   God’s my strong champion;
      I flick off my enemies like flies.
   Far better to take refuge in God
      than trust in people;
   Far better to take refuge in God
      than trust in celebrities.
   Hemmed in by barbarians,
      in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
   Hemmed in and with no way out,
      in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
   Like swarming bees, like wild prairie fire, they hemmed me in;
      in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt.
   I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
      when God grabbed and held me.
   God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
      and now he’s my salvation.
   Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs
      in the camp of the saved?
         “The hand of God has turned the tide!
         The hand of God is raised in victory!
         The hand of God has turned the tide!”

I didn’t die. I lived!
      And now I’m telling the world what God did.
   God tested me, he pushed me hard,
      but he didn’t hand me over to Death.
   Swing wide the city gates—the righteous gates!
      I’ll walk right through and thank God!
   This Temple Gate belongs to God,
      so the victors can enter and praise.

Thank you for responding to me;
      you’ve truly become my salvation!
   The stone the masons discarded as flawed
      is now the capstone!
   This is God’s work.
      We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
   This is the very day God acted—
      let’s celebrate and be festive!
   Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
      Oh yes, God—a free and full life!

Blessed are you who enter in God’s name—
      from God’s house we bless you!
   God is God,
      he has bathed us in light.
   Festoon the shrine with garlands,
      hang colored banners above the altar!
   You’re my God, and I thank you.
      O my God, I lift high your praise.
   Thank God—he’s so good.
      His love never quits!

                         Psalm 118 (MSG)

To the King!



The Big Story

6 11 2009

Hey guys,

Hope you are having a wonderful day.  I’m starting to get around to visit campuses and check in with people.  Its one of my favorite parts of my job, because not only do I get to eat a lot of meals out on WYM, but it also gives me a chance to step into your lives and see and hear about your struggles and joys.  So if you haven’t gotten an email from me about a free meal on WYM, you probably will soon.

I was at a conference this last week and I purchased a children’s picture bible because I had heard that it was really good.  It’s called The Jesus Storybook Bible; Every Story Whispers His Name.  Ok, so I realize this may sound a little odd but…I’ve been reading this little storybook bible before I go to bed each night.  Yes, cheesy…I’m aware of this, but it is such a precious reminder of what God’s word, God’s story, is all about.  In the first chapter it gives a wonderful intro into the bible and I wanted to share it with you.

Bear with me and become a little child-like for a moment…remember what it’s all about?

The Story and The Song

God wrote, “I love” – he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea.  He wrote his message everywhere!  Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror – to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing.

The way a kitten chases her tail.  The way red poppies grow wild.  The way a dolphin swims.

And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called “the Bible.”

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do.  The Bible certainly does have some rules in it.  They show you how life works best.  But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing.  It’s about God and what he has done.

Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy.  The Bible does have some heroes in it, but most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all.  They make big mistakes (sometimes on purpose).  They get afraid and run away.  At times they are downright mean.

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes.  The Bible is most of all a Story.  It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure.  It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves.  It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true.

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling the one Big Story.  The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story.  And at the center of the Story, there is a baby.  Every Story in the Bible whispers his name.  He is like the missing piece in a puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

And this is no ordinary baby.  This is the Child upon whom everything would depend.  This is the Child who would one day – but wait.  Our Story starts where all good stories start.  Right at the very beginning…

Remember that Story?

Spend time reading the Story.  See how much God loves you.  See the impact of His love.  See the grace and love and redemption He sent in His Son.  Like a young Hero who has come from a far country to win back his lost treasure, He has written a great Story which you are a part of.  A real-life fairy tale.  There’s conflict and pain in every story, that’s what makes a story compelling, that’s what makes a character change.  And because God loves His creation so much, He gave us a way to be rescued from that conflict and pain in our story, a way to finally be in His presence for eternity without pain…His only Son.  That’s the Big Story.

Remember that Story?

Praying for you!

To the King!


Plan on coming to Alabama with us this January!  Don’t forget!