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A Quote for Friday

"When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flock, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among others, to make music in the heart."

Howard Thurman

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What's It All About?

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A Quick Jog Down Memory Lane

I was thinking back on past Christmases and memories I've held onto over the years. Here are a few:

  • The year my parents video taped Santa delivering our gifts. The camera flashed out of focus and the living room reappeared with all our gifts in place. I was amazed. (I later figured out how Auto-focus works when you flash a cloth over the camera lens.)
  • When I was in elementary school and sang a solo of Silent Night for our children's Christmas musical. I sang the first verse, but never memorized the second verse because everybody else sang that part while I was walking back to my place on the risers. I memorized it the next year during the Sunday mornings leading up to Christmas just because I felt like I'd gotten left out.
  • The year my brother and I thought we'd opened all the gifts, then noticed the last two boxes: Red Ryders. It was just like the movie. My parents swore we peeked.
  • A few years after my parents' divorce, mom let dad come over and sleep on the couch so he could be there as we opened gifts Christmas morning, which felt both odd and comforting at the same time.
  • The year my uncle Walter died the week before Christmas.
  • The first year my dad didn't get me a gift.
  • When I was chosen as a reader for our church's Christmas Eve service. It was my freshman year in college and I got to share the opportunity with two close friends I'd graduated with the year before. It felt pretty special.
  • Mine and Shannon's first Christmas together.
  • Our first year with Noah and looking forward to this year, our first with Ansley.
Anybody out there have a Christmas memory or two you'd like to share?

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A Comment About Comments

I've got a little sad news to share. It's just a little news and just a little sad.

For the past several years, I've used HaloScan to host the comments on this page. They've recently changed their service and introduced what they call Echo. They also introduced a price tag. Albeit a somewhat small price tag, I'm not real sure I want to jump onboard with the Echo comment service. And HaloScan is discontinuing any other comment hosting. So, I'm switching comments back over to the Blogger. Now, two things about this...

One, HaloScan has provided a way to export all the old comments and I'll have those in my very own .xml file. And that's nice enough of them to offer it, really, but it's sort of like giving a two year old keys to a car. I can't really use it for much right now, but maybe someday.

Two, the down side is that Blogger doesn't have a way to import comments, which means the old comments won't show up here. Thus, the little bit sad part.

All that to say, the option to comment on here may seem a little fuzzy for a bit. During the next few days while this is being switched over, if I miss your comment or you can't get it to work or your RSS feed to the comments is messed up... well, there you go. And, if for some reason you're hoping to go back and read old comments, they'll probably be gone until Blogger kindly offers a way to import comments. Thanks guys!

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A Quote for Friday

"In the spiritual life, the word discipline means ‘the effort to create some space in which God can act.’ Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you're not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn't planned or counted on."

Henri Nouwen

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He'll Be Home for Christmas

My brother at the airport

Truly excited to have my brother home for the next couple of weeks. Just met at the airport in ATL and he actually arrived early!

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First Tooth

Ms. Bright-Eyes had her first tooth show up recently, right there on the bottom. And she's mobile! Crawling and rolling pretty much anywhere she's wanting to now.

First Tooth

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A Quote for Friday

"If you're scared, you're going to find every reason to not do what you know you need to do. With faith, you just do it."

Bono (via Twitter, June25, 2009)

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Christmas Gift Suggestion

If you're one who exchanges gifts at Christmas, maybe these shoes would make a nice gift for somebody you know... even your crazy uncle Frank.

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Craft & Reading Night at PreK

Making a Candy Cane Ornament

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Results and Identity

How do you define success in ministry? In business, it's profits. In education, it's students who pass tests. In comedy, it's getting a laugh. But in ministry?

Wanting to be "successful," this is a question I've wrestled with over and over. This video (from an event called The Nines) didn't settle the issue for me, but it did help add to the debate in my brain.

Bottom line: Legitimacy in ministry isn't rooted in outcomes, but rather in one's identity in Christ.

Skye Jethani wrote a book called The Divine Commodity which I haven't read, yet, but do have a copy of (Thanks Bloggers' Meetup!). I would, however, recommend his list of Church Leader Look Alikes.

HT: Carlos Whittaker

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Decking the Halls

Xmas Decorating
Xmas Decorating
Xmas Decorating
He was so excited to put the star on top!

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Staff Xmas Party

Carolers came by to sing. They came in because it was raining outside, and we're generous like that.

We enjoyed supper together and a fun little gift exchange. Pastor Jimmy's face lit up when Robin opened the Lady's Anti-Monkey Butt Powder.
Staff Xmas Party

A Quote for Friday

"A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself."

A.W. Tozer

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i hope everybody had a happy thanksgiving last week. i know we celebrated with my family. we went to see my mom's family and ate with them. then we went to see shannon's family and ate with them. then we went to see my dad's family and ate with them. (yeah... lots of eating.)

three cities in three days for three different thanksgivings. it felt like a lot of traveling and honestly by saturday night i was happy to be home again and in my own bed. and as i saw people the past couple days i would comment about the traveling and all...

now, that's truly how i felt and i WAS happy to be home again, but it had almost become like a complaint for me say that.

think about that! complaining about thanksgiving... sadly ironic.

paul wrote in his letter to the philippians, "do everything without complaining or arguing."

it's amazing how easy it is to slip into being critical or negative. and really without even trying to be. our focus just shifts a little and our perspective about life can get so skewed and turned sideways. when we focus on what's going on around us, it's hard to see what God's doing right in front of us.

a friend recently wrote a song, and the main idea is this: she saw one of those starving-kid commercials on tv and thought, "that could be me." also, a well known pastor just found out he has a tumor in his brain. and our district superintendent was tragically killed in a car accident last week. there seems to be plenty to get down about.

it's easy to let painful events or tragedy steal our focus. and it doesn't have to be just "big" things like that. in fact, i think it's the "smaller" everyday kind of things that steal our joy sometimes without us noticing. when things don't happen like we hope for or don't go the way we think they should... it's easy to let our circumstances determine our happiness but our joy isn't found in circumstances. our joy is found in Christ.

paul, who wrote philippians, knew his joy was in Christ. he was writing from prison and in his letter wrote: "i have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. i know what it is to be in need and i know what it is to have plenty."

it says in the bible in the book of hebrews, "let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross"

God wants walk with you through whatever circumstances you face. because Jesus' focus was on God, He endured the suffering of the cross. take a few moments to take your focus off your circumstances, off just what's going on around you and fix your eyes on Jesus, who is a work in your life right in front of you.

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Sweet Tweets!

Some favorite Tweets from November:

  • jasonyounglive The capacity to generate & sustain trust is the central ingredient in leadership.
  • stevenfurtick If the enemy is reminding you that you're unworthy today-agree w him. Then remind him of your affiliation w Jesus...
  • mandythompson We forget that not everyone is like us.
  • hotdogsladies At any given time, someone thinks you're wrong, useless, and unlovable. Once you accept this, food tastes better and you sleep like a baby.
  • perrynoble We need to focus on HIS faithfulness rather than our fears! He is greater than anything that comes against us!
  • RickWarren Love isnt letting people do whatever they want. That's often cowardice or apathy. Love cares enough to tell the truth.
  • RickWarren You have just enough time to do God's will.If u cant get it all done, you're doing the wrong thing or doing it the wrong way
  • jasonyounglive Accountability closes the gap between intentions and actions.
  • stevenfurtick Lessons on joy from a glo-stick: often God has to break u & turn out the lights for His joy to shine thru your life.
Find me @joshburnham.

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