Saturday, November 29, 2008

What? No Paper Plates?

This is the first year we had Thanksgiving at our house. It was a big feat to do the turkey and a couple of sides. I am not just saying this, my wife made one of the most tender, juicest turkeys I have ever eaten. Her green bean casserole gets a blue ribbon in my book too!

We learned how hard it is to host a Thanksgiving dinner. Several piles of pots, pans, plates, cups, forks, knives, and spoons. Then, there are more plates and silverware from the desserts afterwards. Yes, I am having flash backs from the Big Event!

Maybe it's the 'man' or ol' bachelor in me. Looking at the process, (yes, losing focus of being thankful), I thought to myself, "Why couldn't we just use paper plates?"

Do you know how easy it would be to use paper plates-- or how about plasticware? Now, I don't want any blog comments from the "green" activists. P.S. They make plastic cups too! It would be so cool to have a paper and plastic Thanksgiving! (Now my wife would argue this point).

Paper plates are under-estimated. They aren't like they used to be 10-15 years ago. They aren't like the old, white, flimsy paper plates with ribbed rims- they are much more durable. They even have fancy floral patterns, which would match the thanksgiving motif. They even have faux silver or gold lining around the rim of the paper plates for the more "upscaley" gatherings.

You don't have to scrape off your leftover scraps. You don't have to wash them. When you are done eating; all you do is toss it in the trash. Same thing after dessert is served- just grab another paper plate, eat, and toss.

Paper plates are cheap and are easily disposed of. Nice porcelain plates or fine china are not so easily thrown into the trash.

How do you think people in our country feel today?

Do they feel like paper plates or fine china?
Do they feel valued, taken good care of, with their attributes being shown off to family and guests?

Or, do they feel cheapened, used, and tossed away?

There are so many people who feel like paper plates. They've been called names. They've been betrayed. Devalued. Maybe they feel cheapened because of their own poor choices of abusing their bodies with promiscuous sex, alcohol, or drugs. They want to give up on life. Maybe they feel so worthless inwardly and by those around them; they feel suicidal. There is hope for them!

Ask yourself this question: "Are you a paper plate or fine china?"

Let me answer that question for you. You are priceless, fine china. God doesn't make paper plates; He only makes masterpieces! You may not feel like it inside and when you look in the mirror, you may not see it. Allow God's words to convince you today!

You are special on the deepest molecular level.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

God thought you up. He dreamed about you. What you would look like- How beautiful your smile would be. He instilled in you gifts to glorify Him and to inspire those around you. God gave you a sense of humor and has filled your very being with love.

Verse 16 goes on to say, "your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

The Bible says God planned out a fulfilling life for you before you were ever born! God, the Creator, thought you were so important that He breathed life into you- He brought you into existance.

Verse 17 and 18, "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you."

He knows every inch of you- inside and out. He is wooed by you. God is happy with the way you are made. It is up to us to use the gifts He has given us and to find the purpose He has for our lives.

Like the Mastercard commercial:
Facelift: $10,000
Tummy tuck: $15,000
Realizing you are wonderfully and beautifully made: PRICELESS!

I Corinthians 6 says, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

Somewhere along the way you lost focus. You started believing the lies. You began to lower your standards to match what you were feeling inside.

You feel worthless because you have separated yourself from God. You have allowed the negative comments from those around you to control the lies in your mind. Jesus gave up everything, because He finds you priceless.

Honor God today! Tell Him, as hard as it may be, how thankful you are for all the great, silly and unique attributes He has formed in you - inwardly and outwardly.


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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

Big, juicy turkey. Mashed potatoes with lots of butter. Green bean casserole; crispy and runny. Hot sweet potatoes and the cranberry that plops out exactly like the shape of the can that it was stored in. Oh, and don't forget the hot apple pie and tender pumpkin pie. What a feast!

I am thankful for this great tradition and scrumptious food, but there is more to Thanksgiving than tradition and great food. . . much more!

Did you know the word "thanksgiving" is written 29 times in the scriptures? (According to the KJV version.)

The words "give thanks" is written 48 times in the scriptures? (According to the KJV version.)

I was always told if God repeats His words 2 or more times, then He is really trying to tell me something important. Having "thanksgiving" and "give thanks" saturate the scriptures, God is telling us something very important and we need to listen.

A.) We first need to exalt God; giving Him thanks for who He is and how He cares for our needs.
"You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 118:28-29 (NIV)

It's easy to complain. It's easy to whine about the things we don't have. I guarantee if you sat down and made a list of all the things you can be thankful about, you could easily list 50 things to be thankful about. (That's filling the front and back of a notebook paper).

List the small things that you look passed because you are too busy or too selfish. Things you take for granted, like: a working car, a warm home, indoor plumbing, furniture to sit on, love, health, a job, your spouse, your kids-- God's creation: flowers, trees, your dog or cat, the cool breeze, snow, sunshine and puffy clouds. Whatever it may be, you have so much to be thankful for.

You are forgiven. You are saved by grace. God has put a joy in your heart.

B.) We need to show thanksgiving towards our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Encouraging them. Upholding them in prayer. Realizing together we are one body in Christ Jesus.

Paul wrote this heart-felt letter to the leaders and deacons of the church in Philippi:
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)

Share the attitude of thanksgiving with those around you and you will become contagious. Let people be jealous about this wonderfully authentic joy you have in your life; drawing people to the realization that Jesus has transformed your heart and mind.

As verse 6 says, Jesus has started a new work in your heart and life. He is going to use you in great ways for His purpose. He is growing you. He is making you more and more like Him each day. That's something to be excited and thankful about!

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.

Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world." Isaiah 12:4-5 (NIV)

May today be a wonderful day of celebration with family and friends. Give thanks to the Lord today and forever more.



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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving - Fun Facts

Thanksgiving - Fun Facts

"In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. Congress finally made Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday in 1941."

"The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys—one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States in 2007—were eaten at Thanksgiving."

"The cranberry is one of only three fruits—the others are the blueberry and the Concord grape—that are entirely native to North American soil, according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association."

"More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving."

"Here's one of those funny Thanksgiving facts: Turkeys have heart attacks. When the Air Force was conducting test runs and breaking the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead."

"According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long. It was baked on October 8, 2005 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio, and included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, 2 pounds of pumpkin spice and 250 pounds of crust."

"Turkeys are known to spend the night in trees! (Maybe to escape the Thanksgiving table?)"

"The average person consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. (Now that's a lot of turkey!)"

Courtesy of : "History Made Every Day" "Coolest Thanksgiving Facts, Traditions and History" "Fun Thanksgiving Facts"


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Monday, November 24, 2008

The Bible - The Supporting Actor?

"Are God's consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you?" Job 15:11 (NIV)

There are many great Christian books out there. Everything from Christian growth - to uplifting compilations - to Christian-themed romance novels. Books on Jesus, books on God, books on marriage. . . you get the picture.

Paul shared his concerns to the believers of Corinth:"Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God." 2 Corinthians 2:17 (NIV)

Paul was speaking about preaching. Don't water down the words of God for personal and financial gain. I do believe, in this age, we are watering down the words of God through fancy words and simplified translations. . . all for money.

Wow, when was the last time you stepped in to a Christian bookstore? You will find 20 - 30 translations of the scriptures(at least!) It has become a commercialized industry. Fancy covers. Thousands of additional footnotes. More modern, simplified translations. There are literally millions of Christ-based books out there today.

I am not saying all translations are bad and all Christ-based, self help- spiritual growth books are unuseful. There are many great resources out there for us to use in order to improve our walk and life with Jesus.

A fellow Christian said to me, "I love to read! I read at least a (Christ-based) book every 2 weeks!"
His wife and friend boasts about how he is a 'reading machine' and can take in a lot of literature without much effort.

My question is, "How much of what you are reading are the actual words of God?"
It's good to read. It's good to read books that challenge you to have a deeper purpose with God, but are you getting actual meat directly from the word of God?

It's sad, but more and more I hear people share about things authors are saying instead of what God has been sharing with them. I remember the ol' days when there was excitement in a fellow believers voice, saying, "Wow, God shared with me in His word about this... or that."

Now it goes more like this, "I was reading a book by Lucado or Warren or Eldredge and they said this... or that." See the crucial difference? We are living our lives not through the Living Word, but through the words of those who have done all the research and discovering for us.

The Church has fallen more and more into the trap of publicity, marketing, and main-stream materials. How often the church spends thousands of dollars on bible studies based on the newest book. Buying into the dvd's, workbooks, study guides, and such; when a Pastor or a church leader could invest bible-time with God and put together a study course for FREE(minus printing cost on the copier). The word of God is relevant - it's alive - it's God Breathed! The Bible alone has the answer to every life's tough questions!

1 Corinthians 9:14 says, "In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel." (NIV)

The point here is, don't let your Bible be the supplement... the supporting actor... second string towards the reading of other authors. Alone time with God isn't reading someone else's words or discoveries about scripture. God never intended His Words to become secondary. God intentioned from the beginning to speak to you DIRECTLY; to have a one-on-one relationship with you.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ: To live it, you must know it!

Many believers today would much rather read more "exciting" - more "watered-down" illustrations of the scriptures than the real meat of it all. Don't take spiritual instructions solely from Christian authors, but by the One who is the Author and Creator of our lives.

The Bible must be your primary source of instruction and spiritual growth.

God wants to talk to you directly. The only way to do that is to turn up your Bible and see what He has to say to you. Don't let the Word of God be supplementary, it needs to be primary in your life if you want to succeed and have a fulfilling life with Him.

Don't settle for leftovers!

Read more about "Are You Eating Leftovers" at:


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Friday, November 21, 2008

"Family Movie Night"

One of the fun events we like to do in our home is "Family Movie Night". We either pick a Friday or Saturday night and tell our kids we will be watching a fun kid's movie. It's a big hit in our home!

Here are some ideas to make this an exciting time for you and your kids:
* Make popcorn (it can be microwave popcorn- just add extra melted butter).
* Theature candy (snow caps, twizzlers, good-n-plenty).
* Lay out blankets and pillows (Kids love sitting on the floor and snuggling up in a blanket).

Make it extra special and have your child choose the movie. Multiple kids? Each time you do this event, have your next child choose the movie.

"Family Movie Night" doesn't have to be every weekend, but make it a priority to do this event at least once a month. It's a great way for your whole family to be together. Your kids will love you for it!

Another option:
"Movie Date Night". If you are low on cash and can't afford a baby-sitter, then have a date night with your spouse.
* Put the kids to bed!
* Cuddle up on the couch with blankets.
* Make some hot chocolate
* Rent a fun romance/comedy or a really cool thriller.

Try it this weekend! Share in the experience and enjoy each other's company.

P.S. The worship song choice for the weekend is Chris Rice's "What If Cartoons Got Saved". A great song to get you excited about spending time with your kids! This song is unique and will definitely make you smile!


Listen to "What If Cartoons Got Saved" here:

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Hands Tell a Story

What do your hands look like?

If you work in the office all day, typing away at the keyboard- you probably have nice fingers with calluses on the tips and carpal-tunnel of the wrists.

If you are a laborer by trade- construction, mechanic, carpenter. Your hands are rough, full of cuts with dirt under the nails.

If you are a surgeon, your hands are kept clean and free from risky sports that could injure those million dollar hands.

A mom's hands are articulate, strong and gentle. Mom can unclog a toilet, hem a shirt and mend your hurts all at the same time! The Bible says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 (NIV). Jesus not only listens to our troubles, but if we give Him our hurts... our pains... then He will heal our brokenness.

If you were to look at Christ's hands, you would see strong, rugged hands from being a carpenter by trade. You would see hands that are gentle- reaching out to little children and the disabled. Loving hands that served those around Him. Powerful hands that healed the sick and raised the dead. You would see hands that are pierced from being nailed to the cross. He sacrificed His body and life for us- giving up everything so we can be free from hell.

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;" Isaiah 49:15-16 (NIV)

Jesus is saying, "I love you! You will not be forgotten. You have asked Me into your heart and now you are a permanent tattoo on my hands. Nothing you do will change my mind. You are with me and I am with you eternally." That is great news!

Let the hands of God, who created the universe- who created me and you- heal us and save us from a life full of grief and pain. If you give all your burdens to Him, He will "heal your broken heart and bind up your wounds".

Don't miss out on a life of joy because you didn't let Jesus' hands heal you today!

"I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." Martin Luther


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Friday, November 14, 2008

Funny Humor for Friday III


A young married couple got up early one morning. The husband asked his wife to make some coffee. Reluctant and tired, she said "Sure".

When the coffee was ready, she poured her husband a nice cup of joe. The husband said, "Wow, I could really get used to you making me coffee every morning."

Irritated, his wife said, "I would like to, but the Bible specifically says YOU are to make the coffee for ME every morning. It's a rule and it's good to follow God's commands."

Her husband laughed and challenged her biblical insight, saying, "If you can open the Bible and show me where it says the MAN needs to make the coffee, I will make coffee every morning for you for the next 40 years of marriage."

With a big, peculiar smile on her face, she opened the Bible to the New Testament, "See, it says in big, bold letters 'HE- BREWS' !"


In kindergarten, two boys were sitting outside eating their lunch.

The one boy bites into his apple, stares at it for a moment, then says to his friend,
"Do you know what's worse than finding a worm in your apple?"

The friend replies, "No, what?"

Answering, "Finding HALF a worm in your apple!"


A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. They were always getting into trouble and their parents knew that, if any mischief occurred in their town, their sons were probably involved.

The boys' mother heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The clergyman agreed, but asked to see them individually. So the mother sent her 8-year-old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the clergyman in the afternoon.

The clergyman, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, "Where is God?”

The boy's mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there with his mouth hanging open, wide-eyed. So the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, "Where is God!!?"

Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face and bellowed, "WHERE IS GOD!?"

The boy screamed and bolted from the room, ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him.

When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, "What happened?"

The youngest brother gasped for breath and replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time dude. God is missing and they think WE did it!"

Nothing like good laughter for the belly =)


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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Looking Backwards

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

Yes, you've messed up, but your different now. You've asked for forgiveness, you've stopped doing what has harmed yourself and others. It's time to stop looking backwards!

It's time to stop looking back at your pain- your failure- your betrayal- your old life. God is wanting to give you something better; something new.

There is a new beginning waiting for you if you are willing to grab hold of it.
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

To amplify what God is saying to you in more modern words, read it from The Message: "Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history.

Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.

It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is!
I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands."

God's saying "I want to do a new thing- I want to start a new chapter in your life." In order to start a new chapter you must "forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." If you want a fresh beginning and start a new chapter, you must stop looking backwards.

God is speaking to you, "Let it go, give it over to me. Hurry, because what I have for you is springing up, it's bursting out! I will cleanse you of all the bad things you have done in your life. Bring me with you and I will give you springs of blessings."

God forgives you. . . it's time for you to forgive yourself.


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Friday, November 7, 2008

Your Hurts for Their Healing

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

Have you found victory in Jesus? Did you push through your season of hardship and pain?

Maybe you've conquered alcoholism for 9 months- Maybe you are finally healing and moving forward from the loss of a loved one- Maybe you are recovering from abuse... physical... sexual abuse.

Through the help of Jesus you can say that you've defeated depression, suicide, anger, resentment. . .


Your hurts can heal those around you. God can take your bad experiences and use them for His good. If you stop to think for a moment of someone who is facing similar struggles. . . at church. . . at home. . . at work- you can be a true inspiration to them!

There is nothing like learning from someone who has been there before. Someone who pushed through the trenches of hardship and despair. Your life experiences can mean the world for someone who is giving up on life. Ask God to show you someone you can touch- and share with them your victory through Jesus!

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16 (NIV)


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Sunday, November 2, 2008

"If We Are The Body" - Casting Crowns

"If We Are The Body" - Casting Crown

There are people who show up to church and feel disconnected by the clicks that are formed by our own self indulgences. We tend to ostracize those who are socially or personally different than us. Fellowship is not about status, race or popularity. Fellowship is about glorifying God and edifying one another. It is very easy to socialize with the same people every Sunday. How about reaching out to those that are standing alone, those that are a bit awkward socially. They are just as important as the rest of you. Fellowship with them. Let them know you care about what they have to say. Love them as Christ loves you!

The Bible says, " On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment.

But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:22-27 (NIV)

Take a moment to really see & hear this message. . .

We go to church every Sunday to learn about God. We read the bible to gain knowledge and wisdom. We invest time with other Christians. . . but what about the lost souls outside the church doors? God calls us to "Go! and make disciples of all nations." Jesus wants us to reach out, to provide comfort, and to give hope to the lost.

It is good to have a relationship with God- it is good to have great bible knowledge- but what about expressing it? What about sharing it to those who need it most?

Listen to what Jesus is saying to you. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’" Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)

Here is a challenge for you:
Stop sitting in the same assigned seat or pew. Stop gathering with the same people. Search out someone new. Sit next to someone who is sitting alone. Search out someone after church who is lost in the crowd. Invest time with them- show them they are special and that you care about them!

"Love the unlovely. Care for the unfortunate. Yes, you may say, "They don't live up to my standards." Without God's grace, we don't live up to His standards. Through Jesus Christ, only because of Him, can we have complete fellowship with God." ~HLJ