Monthly Archives: December 2011

Vacation

I’m vacationing with my family in Florida right now.  I’ll get back to blogging after returning to the office.

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12 Days of Christmas: ‘Days 1-7’

Well, here it is….the remaining seven Days of Christmas in this blog series. Below are listed the odd items in this well-known song and the symbolism affiliated with each.  Merry Christmas…Happy New Year…and God Bless!

Seven Swans A-Swiming:  This points to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit  (Romans 12:6-8)

These are ‘gifts’…and as believers, we should what gifts we have and exercise them often.

 

Six Geese A-Laying:  The six days of Creation

A constant reminder, through our surroundings in nature, that we have a Creator among us.

 

Five Gold Rings:  The first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch)

 

Four Calling Birds:  The four Gospels

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  These are the Good News…the story of Jesus…the story of Gods love for you and I.

 

Three French Hens:  The three theological virtues  (1 Cor. 13:13)

Faith, Hope, and Love.

 

Two Turtle Doves:  The Old and New Testaments

 

A Partridge in a Pear Tree:  Jesus…the Son of God!

His humble, yet powerful, birth…offering God’s grace & salvation to all of mankind.

 

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12 Days of Christmas: ‘Day 8’

Eight Maids A-Milking:

This points to the Beatitudes.  They can be found in Matthew 5:3-10.  We remember these as the opening promises of Jesus in his well-known Sermon on the Mount.  But then Jesus closes that portion of his sermon with these words of encouragement for those of us who follow him.

“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.  Be happy about it! Be very glad!  For a great reward awaits you in heaven.  And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.    Matthew 5:11-12 (NLT)

So, have you been teased or treated poorly for your faith in God?  Maybe at work or school?  Maybe even by your own family?  Well, God has a very personal promise for you.  He says not to be concerned about how you’re received by others.  Just smile……God is going to bless you for your faithfulness.  Nothing on Earth can compare to God’s gifts!

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Church Leadership

Recently, I was listening to a leadership podcast by Perry Noble.  Something he said really stuck with me and I thought I’d share it with you.  With regards to church leadership, specifically support staff and volunteers, he requires these three things:

In this order, they must love…

Jesus

…their church

…their Lead Pastor

I totally agree!  And this holds true for any church, any area of ministry, any circumstance.  This level of profession clarifies their individual salvation and walk with Christ.  It also determines their commitment of service and loyalty to their church.  Lastly, it says this… “I care for my Pastor, and I fully support his calling and vision for this church.”

Now, this doesn’t mean that everyone should simply agree with their pastor on everything.  All leadership, especially pastors, need accountability.  But Biblical accountability needs to come from those who can honestly say that they love Jesus, their church, and the Pastor.  Anyone who cannot make these three basic statements should not be in key leadership in the Church…period.

I am happy to say that I am currently serving on staff at a church where it is very easy to make these statements.  In my 24 years of being a Christian and serving in various churches, I’m sad to say that this hasn’t always been the case.

What are your thoughts and experiences on this topic?  Do you agree or disagree?  Post your comments below.

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12 Days of Christmas: ‘Day 9’

Nine Ladies Dancing:

This points to the 9 Fruits of the Spirit.  They can be found at Galatians 5:22-23.  But here they are listed below for you.

 

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Kindness

Goodness

Faithfulness

Gentleness

Self-control

 

Wow, when I take a close look at each of those items and ask myself (honestly) if I’m exhibiting ALL of them on an average day…disappointment usually surfaces.  Why?  Not because I’m a horrible person.  Not because I’m not really a believer.  And not because this is impossible to achieve.  It’s when I am not making a mindful effort to order my day by the guidance of the Holy Spirit that results in these nine characteristics not showing in me.

This Christmas season may you invite God’s Spirit to dwell in you and guide you…so that others might see these fruits in your life.  As a result, may those around you be exposed to God’s character, love, and grace.

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12 Days of Christmas: ‘Day 10’

Ten Lords A-Leaping:

This points to the Ten Commandments.  They are listed in Exodus 20.

These Commandments were given to Israel by God as a law to live by.  Their purpose is similar to what we have as Americans in our Constitution.  God’s intent, however, was not to simply to mandate restrictions over us.  His Commands are much more than written laws to be obeyed.  Because of His immeasurable love for you and I, He gave us His Law as a healthy standard of living to guide us.  Honoring these laws greatly aid in keeping our relationship with both God & each other healthy.

These Ten Commandments didn’t come from the hand of a god on a power-trip!  They were gifted to us as guardrails for life…to keep us from driving off the cliff.  May you take time today to thank Him for caring enough about us to encourage us to stay safe in His arms.

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12 Days of Christmas: ‘Day 11’

Eleven Pipers Piping:

This points to the 11 faithful Apostles.  They are listed in Luke 6:14-16, including Judas Iscariot (#12) who betrayed Jesus.

The meaning of Apostle is literally to be a messenger or ambassador of the Gospel for Jesus.  You and I (as believers) are also Apostles.  Jesus has chosen us to partner with Him to communicate God’s love and grace to the world.  In this season of Christmas, what might you say we could be thankful of these Apostles for?  In other words, what do you think we could learn from them?  I would encourage you to read up on these 11 chosen few, and look for things that you might have in common with any of them.  Remember, you are chosen…by God!  Similar to these first Apostles, Jesus wants us to come to Him walking on water…feed 5,000 people with almost nothing…and meet the needs of others purely out of compassion and love!

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