Using What's Available to Make 2010 a 'Masterpiece'  

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Many areas in life are made up of people using creativity to make something out of very little.  We tend to be a "meat and potato" country.  You can go to restaurant after restaurant and see some variation of the "meat and potato".  These variations make it seem like there are much more options, but you narrow it down to about 3-4 meats and one potato, just with different variances between each one.  

You are just you.  What you do with that you is up to you.  You can say "I'm bored" or you can say, "What can I use today for to make a difference in someone's life?"  Both are really a choice based on the state of mind you are in at the time. How you use the things we have brings us to this week's quote...

There are only 3 colors, 10 digits, and 7 notes; its what we do with them that's important.  ~Jim Rohn
Three colors that make up everything you see in color form.  As a husband who has a wife that likes OPI Nail Polish, have you ever noticed how many colors there are in nail polish?  There isn't just one red...probably hundreds of them!  Ten digits that compose numbers that are infinite, literally.  Seven notes that have helped compose songs that draw people close, pump people up, or even bring people down.  Notes have an unlimited amount of places and arrangements throughout a song.

In the coming year, how will you use colors, digits, and notes to make 2010 a fun year for you? What will you "paint" in 2010?  What "song" will you compose in 2010?

May God bless the upcoming year!

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Biggest Loser: Losing "Weight" for a Better Life  

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It is the end of 2009 and even if you haven't thought about a "resolution", per se, you have probably thought about things you'd like to do differently or goals you'd like to accomplish.  You may be one of millions that is going to work on your diet.  Another season of "The Biggest Loser" is coming out very soon.  It has transformed many lives, even if some have reverted back to their old way of life.  One thing that is vital in weight loss is to create a different lifestyle.  Enjoy some of the same foods, just in moderation.  Depending on the calorie content, it may be a once-a-week moderation.  Those that are trying to survive on carrots, who used to have a Value Meal are not going to be able to keep the weight off.  Plus, if you reduce your caloric intake too much you will reduce your metabolism so much that as soon as you eat items high in calories, you won't burn it off very quickly, thus resulting in added adipose tissue (fat).

In the religious world we are oftentimes lugging around a lot of weight that we don't need.  We lug around weight of the past, weight of fear, weight of legalism, weight of family issues, etc.  The more weight you carry around, the slower you are.  You cannot make the advancements if you are so loaded down with "weight".

As we begin 2010, I began a sermon series based off the TV show, The Biggest Loser.  However, in the series, we are going to focus on spiritual "weight" we may need to lose to make us a better, lighter person.  Here are some applications to choose from to use this week...
  1. Make a List ~ Ponder what things in your life are weighing you down, then prioritize them from greatest weight to least weight.
  2. Pray about the List ~ After you have made the list, then offer it to God to help you to see how you can start losing that weight.  Then, adjust the list accordingly.
  3. Trim Down on "World" Things ~ Taking the "L" out of world creates WORD.  Taking yourself out of a few "world" things can help you get into the "word" more (God's Word).
  4. Be Honest With Yourself ~ As you go through this process, be honest to see what areas you need to eliminate in your life that is weighing you down.
  5. Get a Partner ~ As the process is not easy, and there will be some challenging times, get someone who you can lean on during those tough times so that you will not quit or give up.
At the end of the season of The Biggest Loser there are some amazing changes that take place.  Over the course of the next several weeks, we'll see if you are able to have any of these amazing changes that take place in your life as you seek to eliminate a few things in your life that are weighing you down.

No pain, no gain!

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A Hero Found in a Baby  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

Whenever I look at babies, especially after becoming a father, I think about how our Savior came into this world as a baby. The preciousness. The innocence. The fragileness. The vulnerability. All these describe any and every baby that is born. It doesn’t matter if they were planned or not. They are all just waiting to be nurtured.

Jesus came in the form of a human, starting out as a baby. He came from a heavenly palace to an earthly sin-sick shack. God may have asked Jesus, “Hey, I need for You to leave here, go down to earth, experience pain, temptations, trials, and heart-ache for people who won’t appreciate it and who will abandon you. Are you up for it?” You and I would probably never agree to that kind of a deal. Humans have a hard time giving up their parking space for someone else, let alone giving up their life. However, thankfully, He did.

He came down to earth and He was found in an unexpected place – a manger. Our King, in a manger? Our hero, wrapped in His blanket? No paparazzi was covering this event, snapping pictures at each available opportunity. This was a quiet setting. This was God, the Son, coming down from His throne, abandoning His home. This was Him who was great becoming the least, coming to a world that needed a fix. Why did he do it, it was all for you and me.

Have you ever looked at a baby and wondered how God could have allowed His only Son to leave Him to die? What about thinking how Mary must have felt knowing that when she kissed Jesus, she was kissing the “face of God”? It seems so surreal to think about how Jesus came to be our hero. It seems difficult to comprehend how one could die to take the place of every single person who is born. It is unfathomable that the worst of criminals and the most respected citizen “all sin” and are doomed to suffer eternal torment if that unlikely hero, found in the baby, doesn’t grow up, remain innocent and die for the sins of others.

How many people would do that? Maybe a few would consider it, but how many would follow through with it? Only one needed to and He did it for you and me. May the hope that comes through the hero, found in a baby, make your Christmas a little merrier this year!

(article inspired by the song “How Many Kings” by Downhere)

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Don't Take Down the Christmas Spirit  

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When I was in high school psychology my teacher said a comment about the psychological side of Christmas that I will never forget.  He commented that studies had been done to ask kids to draw Santa Claus before and after Christmas.  The pictures before Christmas were depicting Santas that filled up the page; whereas the Santas drawn after Christmas tended to be much smaller.

The Christmas "spirit" tends to die about the 27th of December.  This is a shame, even though I am as guilty as anyone.  It seems the more work you put into the more you dread taking it all down and putting it away.  Your house may look more bare than before, as the Christmas decorations were really filling up your house.  Though the tree may have to be put away, may spirit of kindness continue on...which brings us to this week's quote...
Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
 like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...
~ Norman Wesley Brooks - "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976
This year, though the presents will be unwrapped, the stockings will get emptied, may the spirit that goes along with Christmas be something that continues well into the 2010 year!

Let's not put away the spirit of loving, sharing, giving and kindness!

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How Many Would Do That, For Me? - II Corinthians 8:9  

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It is very difficult to imagine that someone would be willing to take a position that is less desired over a preferred one.  Or go to a less desirable place over a preferred one.  Could you imagine if you were traveling to an all-inclusive resort on a beautiful island and the pilot comes on the loud speaker and says, "Folks, we're not going to be stopping at Everything's Glorious Isle, instead, we're going to go to an island that hasn't been built on.  You will have to come up with your own food and shelter.  We'll be departing in 4 days, like you were planning."  Your jaw drops.  This isn't what you signed up for, nor did you pay to go to this type of an island.  You're getting ripped off! You look down as you fly near the island, and you are not planning on having a good time.

I doubt going to a different place, that is less desirable would ever sell you on this company's offers!  We, simply, wouldn't like that.  We want a better life, not a lesser life.  We want...!  Simply put.

Our Savior was able to look down at us and tell us that He would be willing to leave a place that was "all-inclusive", the greatest paradise we could ever think of, to come to this place...Earth.  He was able to put His desires aside for our sake!  Yesterday, we looked at Jesus being willing to take the less desired position.  Here are some applications to choose from to use this week...
  1. When given the opportunity to help out, when the task is "beneath" you, take the opportunity to participate.  There may be a learning opportunity hidden in the task.
  2. When someone meets you at a crossroads and it is not known who will go first or get the "spot", take the second chair.
  3. When someone asks you to go with them one mile, be willing to go with them two miles.
  4. When someone's getting irate or irritated in public, take the position to try to calm the situation.
  5. When wondering why Jesus did what He did by coming to this earth for you, offer a praise that He was willing to come to this sin-filled earth for you and me.
I can only imagine what it was like for Jesus to come to this earth, start out as a baby, born to sinful parents, born into a sinful world, rejected, and beaten, and to still being willing to die for you and me.  It was not for His pride, but for you and me.  That is something we need to digest once in awhile.

Kings won't step down from a throne.  Lords won't abandon their home.  Greats won't give up their position for the least.  Fathers do not give up their sons for others.  However, only one did that.  All for you.  All for me.  Jesus did that for us!  (this paragraph paraphrased from "How Many Kings" by Downhere)

How many of you would take the less desired position?  May the example of Jesus give us a reason to do so and a reason to praise Him!

Have a Merry Christmas!

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