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Friday, December 17, 2010

4 New Christmas Posts

Read and Enjoy the 4 Christmas Posts below
1. Framing the Christmas Story
2. Eyes on the Manger
3. Forty Cents
4. Christmas Makes It Easy

Framing the Christmas Story

So, you’ve got this amazing picture. And your job is to find the perfect frame to go with it.

Framing the picture. That was the challenge both Matthew and Luke had. They had this amazing picture of Mary and Joseph with Jesus in the manger.

You start asking yourself questions. Why do I like it? And why do I want it, like, permanently hanging there? What room will I put it in, and where? Who else will see it? And what do I hope to convey to those who do?

Matthew chose a kingly frame [the royal line of David, the Magi, and King Herod], a frame rich and royal. Luke chose a family, pastoral frame [cousin Elizabeth, hometown Bethlehem and local shepherds], a frame common and caring.

But they both had the same picture, the one and only Christmas picture, the picture of salvation, the picture of God’s ultimate love, the picture of Mary and Joseph with Jesus in the manger.

Matthew put that amazing picture in a frame showing the infant King Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promise, the completion of God’s plan of salvation through the people Israel.
Luke put that amazing picture in a frame showing the loving Lord Jesus as the source of all fairness, the perfect justice of God.

But it is the same picture, of Mary and Joseph with Jesus in the manger.

In Matthew, the rulers political and religious see it and shudder. In Matthew, the faithful rejoice. In Luke, the proud, sly and self-serving get their due. In Luke the lowly, honest and true are blessed.

Taken together these two framers of this beautiful picture of the Holy Family tell us that in the Birth of Jesus the good rich, the good commoners and the good poor are blessed, and that the bad rich, the bad commoners and the bad poor are judged.

Our questions this Christmas are 1) What do you see in this amazing picture, Mary and Joseph with Jesus in the manger? 2) Where will you display it in your life and what frame will you use?

It really is a beautiful picture, Mary and Joseph with Jesus in the manger. Is there any better?

Eyes on the Manger

Angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold?
Peace on the earth, good will to all, from Heaven’s all gracious King?

Nice words, but do they describe the real world. I don’t think so. Life seems more of an uphill climb and a burdened journey than the sweet words of this carol suggest. It’s tough out there in the world. Everybody wants something from everybody else. Compassion and fair play are rarely seen. It’s a hard-knock life. You have to grab for everything or else you’ll get crushed. In this, as in every, Christmas season so many people have to fight really hard to avoid dissolving into tears. Where is the sweetness of Christmas and the comfort of God in that?

The answer is in Jesus, the innocence of the baby Jesus, and his innocent death for the sins of the world. His beauty shines through the sorrow; his light overcomes the dark.

The Baby in the Manger is God’s sign that in the midst of difficulties, trials and tribulations, God is with us. God is with us sometimes lifting us, sometimes carrying us, sometimes lighting the way. God is with us. That’s the promise of Christmas. That’s the miracle of Christmas. And that’s the message of Christmas. God is with us.

Do you get it? You! you! are beloved and important to God. Jesus was born for you: to touch your life, to touch it with heavenly peace and Godly good will. Jesus was born for you, so don’t be overwhelmed by the world. Rather, let your eyes see and your heart believe the goodness of God. Let Heaven’s all gracious King change you. Be at peace and celebrate Christmas with your Eyes on the Manger.

This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.
Haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe, the son of Mary.

Thanks to for these ideas.

Forty Cents

My checkbook balanced perfectly with the bank. But I have another book and in it I divide my checkbook balance into several sub-totals, one for housing expenses, one for auto expenses, others for food, charity, medical, etc.

Last week I added up the sub-totals and, “Oh no,” I was missing forty cents. I re-checked the housing expenses. I re-checked the auto expenses. I re-checked everything. Still I was missing forty cents. I went back to the previous month and checked every entry, every calculation. Forty cents? No luck. I went back two months, then three months. Still I could not find the forty cents. This took like 3 hours.

Finally I gave in and added forty cents to the housing expenses. When I could not fix it I just made it right. I overruled the numbers and changed the books. I justified my totals. I reconciled my accounts.

We are like the forty cents. We are out of balance with God. Our lives don’t quite add up. No matter how hard we work or how much time we spend we can’t overcome the imbalance. We need someone to just arbitrarily decide to make it right, to make us right, to get us into balance with God again, to justify and reconcile us.

God did that. God loves you that much. God loves the whole world so much that he gave the world his own son, Jesus, to pay whatever to restore us in balance with God.

Christmas is God’s picture of everything in balance.

Christmas signals 1) God’s devotion to innocence and perfection, 2) God’s faithfulness and power over all creation and 3) God’s unwillingness to give up on us.

Christmas is God’s passionate promise to make it right for us, to cover our debt, to overcome the imbalance, to justify and reconcile us to the Glory of God. No wonder that Christmas is such a Merry Holiday!

Merry Christmas to you.

Christmas Makes It Easy

Christmas makes it easy for parents to teach their children how to be Christian – how to read the Bible, to pray, and to care. Christmas makes it easy for parents to be the spiritual leaders of the family.

Christmas is a totally Biblical time. It’s an easy time to pull out a Bible and read together. Or to grab a children’s nativity story book to read at family time or bed time. The Christmas story is on TV and DVD. Watch it together. Or, stream it online at Faith Comes By Hearing or download the kidz version' Christmas is a great time to let your children see your devotion to Jesus and share your love of his birth.

Christmas is an easy time to Pray. Everywhere are images of people getting together – families, shoppers, bell-ringers, marching bands, church goers, and holiday travelers. And, at Christmas, many are the images of desperate need and the stories of heroic compassion. Our hearts are moved. We can’t help but be reminded of others and to pray. Prayer is such a natural Christmas response. So pray with your children. In communion with the Lord (maybe even kneeling) pray the real cares of your heart, the real needs of the world, and invite your children to do the same.

Christmas is the season of Caring. Christmas makes it easy for parents to teach their children the difference between giving and caring. Giving is something you do and are done with. And it’s opposite is getting. Giving is about stuff. Caring, on the other hand, is about relationships; it’s about people and what happens to them through the exchange of feelings, words and actions. Giving costs money and maybe time. Caring costs more. It costs a little bit of self, some heart, maybe even some burden-bearing. At Christmas parents can show their children the difference, lead them to build their spiritual characters, and encourage them to join Jesus in bringing the pain of the world to our Father in heaven.

Christmas makes it easy for parents to teach their children how to be Christian. Have fun! and Glorify God, as a family.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hello Mr. Dale

That's how Kelly Lee James started this happy message {testimony}. He writes:

Whoo what a year. God has so blessed us. I want to start by saying thank you so much for blessing us at your Watermelon Day festival. They're still talking about it and it was the coolest road show we played all year, people were great and we loved the atmosphere, it was charged with a little American Town feel and reminded me of what we {America} really stands for. Thanks again my friend.

Not only has God blessed us with Kellys Kountry Junction {BUT} we also have other shows that have opened up for us. Here in Joplin I just did my first Cooking show called {Country Cooking With Music}. These shows will be picked up later by channels in Oklahoma, Ark and Kansas. Kathy is also producing a new show which I will be hosting as well called Spotlite On The Ozarks.

If you have good talent there tell them to get ahold of me or Miss Kathy and send us some music or a video. We will send alot of them to Branson as well to appear on Branson Radio Live.

I am also talking with channel 13 here in town about doing a cowboy version of homecoming music, we will sing gospel music and give testimonies in the show. Be in prayer with me for that please. Let me take a breath. haha. And also our Cowboy Church may be on local tv, and a radio station in Kansas City may start playing us to. And we {Kellys Kountry Junction} have been asked to do a radio version of the show on Branson radio so I have to write those shows and one more, we may be talking about doing some live stage shows in Branson before long. God has brought us so far in such a short time.

But know this: I talked to the gang here and they all said if you ever want us for anything there you just call or text and we'll make a way to do it. Even if it's just a small church service. Don’t hesitate to ask us cause my friend we will do what you need done. After all this whole thing is about clean family TV and shows that help others in some way. No job to big or to small. We will be sending you copies of all 13 shows when they are done.

Mr. Dale, God bless you my friend and Merry Christmas from all of us here at Kellys Kountry Junction. PS. Tell Miss Linda hey.

Everyone who had a hand in bringing Cowboy Church to town, and everyone who attended the alumni dance, the Saturday stage show, and Cowboy Church this summer should feel pleased to have been used by God to bless this ministry. Let's keep praying for Kelly Lee James, his tv and radio shows, and his Cowboy Church ministry.

Cowboy Church - The Rest of the Story

Do you remember Cowboy Church?

Kelly Lee James, country singer and composer from Joplin Missouri, together with some of the cast members from the Kellys Kountry Junction TV Show entertained us during the 2010 Watermelon Day celebration in Humeston and led us in worship at Cowboy Church in the Park the next morning. What fun.

From the first time I met Kelly I sensed that God would use our friendship in some remarkable ways. And God has. Kelly came to Humeston and while here not only encouraged our ministry but also touched a few lives. And we touched his life, encouraging him when he really needed it to continue in his calling to produce a “clean country comedy” show for public television.

Well now!

Since Watermelon Day the Lord has been busy in Kelly’s life. Via Facebook on Dec 1 Kelly proudly announced: Kellys Kountry Junction TV Show has been picked up by the Springfield Ozarks PBS Channel 26 for the Spring season 2011. Should start sometime in April. Saturday evenings. Time will come later. Thanks friends.

When Linda and I sent our congratulatory reply Kelly Lee James said more. He said:
I can't make any promises but we're coming soon to Iowa and talk to your PBS there as well. If they pick us up well be state wide. Pray God's favor over us and we sure appreciate it. Thank you my dear friends. Merry Christmas to you and hope it's a great Holiday Season for you.