Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Only one Resolution this year!

Happy New Year fellow bloggers, family and friends, I hope 2009 will bring you many blessings and victories over life’s trials and tribulations. As we approach the New Year I have been thinking of what kind of resolutions I will be making. Since I seldom keep my resolutions, this year I thought I would come up with one that would be easy to keep and something that is very important to keep as a Follower of Christ . Actually it's something so simple that I am really surprised I didn’t think of it before. It came to me while Joseph (my Sunday school teacher) was preaching about loving one another and trying to show what being a Christian looks like. That’s it! I got it. Now I don’t need to come up with a bunch of resolutions that I know I probably won’t keep. I just need to follow the greatest Commandment that Jesus gave to us “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” he also says “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Matthew 22:37, 39 (ESV) That’s it, this is what I will be focusing on this year. Of course I will set some personal goals for myself but I think I will have a great year if I just follow these simple yet powerful Commandments Jesus has given us. Again friends I wish you and your families a very Happy New Year. Peace and Grace be with you all…Chris

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ready to Serve!


Every unit it the Army has a unit saying or catch phrase used to identify that unit or group. Our Moto happens to be “Ready to Serve”. I think we got that name because we serve and support the Soldiers who are on the battlefield. As Christians we are also taught to serve one another. I think Jesus gave us the best example of that. In the past I have always wanted to Serve and do something for others but must most of the time I would wait to the last minute and then not do it at all. Procrastination is definitely one of my biggest weaknesses. But this past month I have really been blessed to be able to help others and Serve my community. In November I was given the opportunity to volunteer for a swim meet for special needs children and this past week I had the privilege to participate in our local Christmas parade and play the role of a Sheppard in our Church Christmas program. The cool thing was that I had been feeling down about not being able to participate in these activities. You see the procrastination monkey had jumped on my back and I didn’t even sign up to be a part in these events. But that’s when I received my blessing. Within a couple of days the guys who were organizing these activities called on me for a favor. And I have to say it was them who did me a favor and gave me a chance to help serve others. Thanks guys. So my question is, are you ready to serve? Will you be ready when you get the call? I hope I will. My goal for 2009 is to be more proactive and seek opportunities to serve other instead of waiting for the opportunities to come to me.
Take care friends…Chris

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Being a great witness!


It’s that time of year again when we get to put on our best behavior and go visit family for the holidays. Well this year will be different for me because this year I feel I am really living for Christ and not just going through the motions. But the question I have to ask myself is; am I really being a good witness for our Lord and Savior! How will my actions and the way I treat my wife and children show my dedication to walking with Jesus? I know how poor of a witness I have been in the past, but this year I really want to try to reach some of my family who may not know Jesus. I want to let them see first hand how Jesus has saved me and try to share that with them. I also want to try to witness to my Step Father and some cousins on his side of the family that I have never met. We touched on this a little bit in Church this morning. The title of the Sermon this morning was “Real Righteousness” and Brother Steve was talking about some of the choices that Joseph had to make to reveal what was needed to share God’s gift. I will be borrowing some notes from the handout, so for my Westwood family you might recognize some of these statements.

1. We must use compassion instead of condemnation.

How many times have we condemned someone after seeing or hearing of them doing something wrong? A lot of times we do this to our own family members. I know I have done this on many occasions. Someone will ask how my son is doing in school and I will take that opportunity to let them know how bad he is doing. Then afterward I really feel bad and wish I would of told them how wonderful I think he is and how blessed I feel to have him as my son. It seems like when ever we get together with family and friends we seem to complain more than we give praise for what’s going on in our life. Paul wrote to Titus and said “speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle and show perfect courtesy toward all people. 4 For ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” Titus 3:2-3 ESV

2. We must have faith instead of fear.

Where do you need to choose faith over fear in your live? Family, Friends, on the Job?
Do you have a family member or co-worker who you know is not saved and are afraid to share the Gospel with them? I have, I have always tried to be a cool dad to my grown daughters and when I recently got back on the right path with Jesus I was hesitant about sharing the Gospel with them. Then one day while talking to my youngest daughter, I told her I made some big mistakes in my life and decided to give my life to the Lord. I told her to check out my MySpace and blog. The whole time I was afraid of what she might think about me but then I realized that her opinion or anyone else’s for that matter wasn’t important when it came to my salvation. Romans 1:16 says “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” The same goes for my friends and co-workers. I know who I am in Christ and really that’s all that matters.

3. We must be willing to sacrifice instead of seeking satisfaction

Friends do you ever get tired of sacrificing yourself all the time and being a servant to everyone? I know I do. But then I think of all the people who have sacrificed and been a servant for me and it makes me feel blessed to be able to do something for someone else. In Mark 5:28 Peter tells Jesus “We have left everything to follow you!” and Jesus replies “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mothers or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age and in the age to come, eternal life” But friends I think not only will we be rewarded in this life and in heaven we will also be a great witness to the non-believers. I feel it is so important that we set a good example for everyone so others might know Christ.

I will close with a phrase I got from the service this morning “we need to make the gospel attractive to others” Friends I hope I can follow this advice this week while spending time with my extended family. Please pray for me as I will be keeeping you all in my prayers. Grace be with you…Chris

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Free Book give away!

Trevin Wax over at Kindom People has an awesome opertunity to win some free books. It looks like a pretty cool deal and he also has a great site so check him out when you get a chance.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

" I do not even judge myself "

Friends while watching TV today I came across a preacher who was teaching from 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 ESV

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

Friends how many times have we let guilt and condemnation keep us from feeling worthy of Gods grace and love? How many times have we judged ourselves and let the guilt keep us from our relationship with our Father. I have on many occasions. It seems like when I am really on fire for Jesus and want to do all these things I start feeling guilty and unworthy of Gods grace and mercy. I know this is not the case and that Gods grace is new everyday but sometimes I can’t shake the feeling of being unworthy. Talking to my Brother Tony helps out a lot. He often has to remind me of Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Reading this does give me a lot of comfort but I would love to be able to put up a firewall or minefield and keep these thoughts out. How do you all deal with these feelings? I think from now on when I start feeling this way I will get even deeper in the word and reach out even more to my Brother and Sisters in Christ for guidance. How do you guys feel about this? Take care…Chris

Monday, December 1, 2008

From “Black Friday” to “Advent”

Friends for the past couple of years I have been practicing a new American tradition called “Black Friday”, which of course is the big shopping day after Thanksgiving. Legend has it that the name derives from “Black” being the day stores are finally out of the red and “Friday” being the day it falls on. This year was no different, except for the fact that I took my Brother and the kids along for the adventure. But somehow this year I wasn’t really satisfied with my experience. Don’t get me wrong I had a great time with my Bro and the kids; it was a time to bond and do something crazy! But there was something missing and I couldn’t figure it out.

But then it hit me. The following Sunday evening we had a group from Nashville performing a Christmas musical at our Church and telling stories of the excitement leading up to the birth of Jesus. That’s it! Jesus was missing. We stayed up for 36 hours, went to over 20 stores and didn’t see Jesus anywhere! Well maybe at the Life Way store, but you get my drift here. After all he is the reason for the season. But somehow he got put on the back burner. Somehow he didn’t get put out with all the Christmas displays and sale posters. But, he was in his house on Sunday night. And that’s when I realized that I had fallen for the pagan aspect of Christmas. The Santa and the toys part of the story.

So the question for me was how do I celebrate the birth of our Lord and play down the rest of the Christmas hype? And then while reading a blog from the Internet Monk I got my answer “Advent”. Now I am sure a lot of people haven’t heard of this tradition so I will post a couple of links and give a brief description at the end of the blog. The funny thing is my wife who happens to be German and had been raised in the Lutheran Church had practiced this tradition for years. I just thought it was a German thing and didn’t really understand what it was all about. But now that I have learned more about it I am ready to bring back this old tradition and celebrate the birth of our King in a new way. How will you celebrate the birth of Jesus this year? Do you feel like slowly but surely “Christ” is being taken out of Christmas? I do….take care my friends…Chris

Advent (from Latin, adventus, meaning “coming towards”) is a four-week season of preparation for Christmas. The First Sunday of Advent (November 30) marks the beginning of the church’s year.

Advent and Christmas focus both on the past—the coming of Jesus as an infant born into poverty in Bethlehem, and the future—the coming of Christ in glory to fulfill God’s loving purposes for humanity. This past and future orientation is reflected in the readings appointed in the church for each Sunday of Advent.

Advent this year comes at a time of anxiety and hope. Many of us are struggling and are afraid for our future. It's not easy to hope when times are bad. Mary, as she waited for the birth of her child into an uncertain world, knew how to live with hope—to believe the promises of God. So Advent is a time when we wait, with Mary, for the birth of new life into a world living in shadows.