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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ten Ways I Plan to Stay Inspired in 2016 - Pt. 1

1.  Stay crystal clear about my calling from God.   
As a 17-year-old, I heard the voice of God affirming my call into the ministry.  Now, 47 years later, there is still a certainty in my spirit that I am doing what God called me to do.  Furthermore, I have a peace that I am serving in the place where He wants me.  No doubts and no questions help me stay inspired.

2.  Make sure that I am leveraging the spiritual gifts that God has given me.

Time has proven that God has equipped me to lead, usually in places that need to be revitalized.  He also has gifted me as a motivational speaker and as an evangelist.  Regularly using these gifts helps me stay inspired.
3     3.  Make sure that the players on my team are inspiring people.

        I look for teammates who bring a positive emotional jolt every time that they walk into a room.    Their energy and enthusiasm encourages me.

4.  Make sure I read inspirational books.

Biographies of people who have overcome adversity and persevered are especially helpful.  The most recent biography I read was Rebel Yell.  It tells the story of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.  Through reading, it was almost as if I were there.

5.  Make it a point to rub shoulders with exceptional, inspirational people.

We have all heard of VIPs--Very Important People
                                      VNPs--Very Nice People
                                       VDPs--Very Draining People
I look for EIPs--Exceptionally Inspiring People.  And I can rub shoulders in person through a CD or DVD or through a book!

To be continued...

Friday, December 18, 2015

What I Want My Grandchildren to Know About Christmas

I want my grandchildren to know that 2,000 years ago Jesus, God's Son, came to earth.

Colossians 1:15-16 (ESV) And He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities.  All things have been created by Him and for Him.

I want my grandchildren to know that Jesus was more than a man; He was more than a good teacher, He was, in fact, God in the flesh.

I want my grandchildren to know that Christmas is a big deal; that it is the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ.  In a world where political correctness and assaults on Christianity are trying to drown out the Christmas story, the truth remains.  Jesus is a historical person and all of history is divided by the coming of Christ--B.C. - Before Christ, A. D. - 'After Death' (Anno Domini 'the year of our Lord').

I want my grandchildren to know that the gifts we give are symbols of the gifts the wisemen brought--gold, frankincense and myrrh--and that the ultimate gift is giving ourselves to Christ.

I want my grandchildren to know that the lights that shine everywhere at Christmas are symbols that remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.

I want my grandchildren to know that God took on the form of man.

He became one of us!
He came as a baby, born into the home of peasants.
He came to seek and save lost and hurting mankind.
He came to live among us and to develop a relationship with us.
He came to model how to love and how to live!

I want my grandchildren to know that God knows all about them.
He saw them before they were born.
He was there at their conception
And He has seen all that has happened to them.
He has answers to their questions,
and watches over them in the night.
He knows their futures and has a unique purpose and plan for them.

I want my grandchildren to know that God had a communication problem.  Sin had caused a great distance between God and man.  Jesus became one of us so that He could show us the way back to God--to restore our broken relationship.

I want my grandchildren to know that Jesus suffered as we suffer and experienced pain as we experience pain.

And He was lonely
                        under pressure

I want my grandchildren to know that Jesus often sided with the underdog.
And looked after the oppressed.
He cared about their hurts, habits and hang-ups
and He loved the unlovable.

I want my grandchildren to know that He grew just as they are growing--

He was tempted as they are tempted.
He had the same needs, drives, problems and pressures.

And the reason that Jesus did all of this was so that He could relate to boys and girls, men and women.

I want my grandchildren to know that Jesus has answers to the questions...
          Why am I here?
             Where did I come from?
                Is there any purpose in life?
                  Where am I going?

I want my grandchildren to know that they were created to be loved by God and that He wants a personal relationship with them--that He can forgive their sins and remove their guilt.

I want my grandchildren to know that Jesus came to ordinary people--
People of all nations, races, tribes and languages--

That He is not the God of a select few.
He isn't the God of the privileged class.
No, He came to all of us, including the lowly shepherds.

I want my grandchildren to know that Jesus was not born in a palace; He did not aspire to the lifestyle of the rich and famous.  He didn't want to be a billionaire and drive a Cadillac.  He wasn't born in a hospital.  His mother had no epidural.

I want my grandchildren to know that Jesus was born in a stable and then placed in a manger in the middle of dirt, feed, saliva and manure.

I want my grandchildren to know that angels were present on the night that Jesus was born and that the angelic choir sang heavenly songs telling of His birth.

I want my grandchildren to know that shortly after His birth a star hovered over Him and that wisemen--kings from the east--made a long trip to bring Him gifts and to worship Him.

I want my grandchildren to know that from the highest in society to the lowest, all were invited to bow and worship Him.  He wasn't born in a gated community but out in the open so that all could come, bow at His feet, worship Him and have a personal friendship with Him.

I want my grandchildren to understand that there is no greater calling than to find a place to share this message of Jesus with others, to be the hands of Jesus and the feet of Jesus in serving a world spinning madly out of control.

And I want my grandchildren to know that in the next world, a place of no sorrow, no sadness, no sin, no sickness, no problems and no tears--we, as a family, will be able to spend precious time with each other and the thousands of others that the James Gang has influenced for Christ.