missing you...at Christmas

The holidays are hard. So many emotions. So many memories. Each year they all come flooding back...and for those who find themselves alone at Christmas it becomes particularly difficult.

I miss my Mom. I miss my Dad. I miss the friends that are no more - whether it be my fault or theirs. Some nights I sit and watch the lights on my little Christmas tree, and pray to my Savior and ask Him to help me to remember, to reflect, and to rejoice knowing that no matter what has happened or will happen, He's ever with me.

I pray the Lord will inspire you to grow closer to Him this Christmas season, and help you hold on to Him today, tomorrow, and always.

Merry Christmas my friends.


SING!

Quiet1I am convinced that the best measure of a church’s music is not what takes place on the stage, but what takes place in the pews. It is not so much the sounds and sights of a band leading, but the sounds and sights of a congregation worshiping. A church with a truly great music program is the one that could worship just as well on the day the power goes out and the instruments won’t play. A church with a truly great music program is the one that generates far more sound from its raw voices than its amplified instruments. A church with a truly great music program is the one where the people sing—they really sing.

Tim Challies, "A Church with Great Music" (@Challies, December 19, 2017)

I have long thought that the quality of a church's worship demonstrates the quality of a church. It's one of the main reasons I tend to avoid modern church services which are led by a praise band. The rise of this "entertain-ship" style of worship just doesn't seem to fulfill what I think should be a dynamic and engaging form of worship. As Challies points out, it's too easy for people to watch, to be entertained, rather than to be involved and inspirational to others.

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posted!

FbI got posted online!  NOTE: This is a follow-up to my blog post of December 9, 2017.

While scrolling my Facebook timeline, an article link caught my eye from one of the groups I follow. It was an article about single women and how they could enjoy the Christmas holiday. It was a good article with some great suggestions, but the nagging question I had after reading it was, "What about single men?"

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single at Christmas

Man2A Facebook group I follow had an article about the stresses and troubles single women face during the holidays. It was a good article, but after reading it, I was thinking, "OK, but what about single men?"

So I wrote an article and submitted it to the group's editor. No idea when it'll appear on their website, but I'll put it on mine...

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cravings

Cravings — we all have them. There’s the classic appetite dualism of “Sweet vs. Savory” ― the yearning for sugar or salt. Then there is my crucial morning quest for caffeine disguised in a hot and oh, so delightful cup of coffee.

CoffeeCravings can go much deeper. Deep desires compel us to search for something or someone to quench the unyielding thirsts of our souls. The elusive quest has many labels. Acceptance, love, respect. High on the list, for nations and individuals, is peace. Civil war, ethnic conflicts, domestic violence, and divorce all create a growing hunger for peace. A famous entertainer quipped, “I would give my fortune for a moment of peace.”

Is it possible that God placed these universal desires in us to compel us to seek Him? Saint Augustine seemed to be convinced when he prayed, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

Think of it for a moment: Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He told His followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). We can seek peace from other sources ― a walk in the woods, through strong friendships, and in the places we live — but the ultimate lasting peace does not come through circumstances. God’s peace is rooted in His unchanging character. Develop a craving for it, and He will satisfy you.

Jesus, thank you that you came to give the gift of peace to me and each person everywhere. You are truly the Prince of Peace. I invite you to transform my heart, soul, and mind with your peace. Amen.

By Mike Woodard


the pale blue dot

DotFrom this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

-Carl Sagan

 

 Note: The Pale Blue Dot: Captured from 3.7 billion miles away, Earth appears as a tiny dot halfway down the orange stripe on the right.  Image: NASA / JPL

On February 14, 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft — which carried The Golden Record turned its revolutionary camera around and took the iconic “Pale Blue Dot” photograph that later inspired the famous Sagan monologue of this blog entry. The image, composed of 640,000 individual pixels, depicts Earth, a mere 12% of a single pixel, at the center of a scattered ray of light resulting from taking an image this close to the Sun. It endures, even in an age when the future of space exploration hangs in precarious balance, as a timeless Valentine to the cosmos.

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saddle up

TBTI have always enjoyed the musical ministry of Steven Curtis Chapman. But it has been 25 years since that amazing introduction was first heard - and the world was reminded that the life God gives us in an adventure "...like no other..."

This is the 25th anniversary rendition of "The Great Adventure"...