Lessons from the Manger

It never gets old!  I was listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley and he was talking about the difference Christmas is compared to a child and an adult.  To the children, it never gets here quick enough and Christmas Eve is the longest evening of the year as you wait for the BIG day!  To the adult, there is never enough time.  “How did it get to be here so quickly this year?”  “I was going to be more prepared this year!” Do you remember the anticipation as a child?  The waiting. The counting down of the days. Growing up we had an Advent calendar in which we kept little candy canes.  I remember wanting to cheat and sneak an extra one out at different times, but not for the candy.  But this would not make time go faster.  It is interesting as a child; I had difficulty waiting even though I knew when Christmas was coming.  Compare this with the Biblical characters that were waiting on the Messiah to come, yet they had no idea when it was.  They seemed more patient than I was and still am.  The temptation as adults is to treat Christmas as just another holiday and make do big deal about it.  But those in the Bible who were waiting did make a big deal about it.  So shouldn’t we?  This December we will look at
“Lessons from the Manger.”  We will learn from those of the past.  We will seek to grow in our appreciation of what the Manger means to us still today.  Just because it happened several thousands of years ago, does not mean it has gotten old – It never gets old!

A Matter of the Heart!

This morning I had a strange request.  I was leaving the Hickory House Restaurant where we had just had our M3 (Monday Morning Men Breakfast and Bible Study) when I saw a friend who needs Jesus.  My friend said to me, “Hey I need you to pray for me.”  I said, “About what?”  (I know genuine, right?)  He said, “Pray that winter gets over real fast!”  Which prompted me to ask, “Why is that?”  He said, “Cause I don’t like winter that’s why I moved down here from up north!”  I told him, “I won’t pray that because I am praying for lots and lots of snow!!! J Truth is I don’t want to pray for winter to go by too quickly!  I like the winter months for a few different reasons:  First, I like the holiday times (don’t jump on me for not saying Merry Christmas!  There is more than one holiday in the winter months.)  I like Thanksgiving.  I have great memories from my whole childhood from the Thanksgiving holiday.  (I love the Christmas season best, but this is the November newsletter. J  Obviously, we have set aside this time of year to be thankful.  Often during this time of year we talk about the need to be thankful all year long, but we don’t remember until the following November.  I am convinced (it didn’t take much persuasion to get me there) that thankfulness is a major problem within the body of Christ.  You know those people who should have nothing to complain about, but plenty to be thankful about, Christians?  Why are we the least thankful people around?  Should we lead the way in Thanksgiving?  This month we will look closely at the Word to see what God wants to teach us about being thankful!  Do you have something to be thankful about?  Why not comment on my blog for what it is you are thankful? 

 

A recovering thankless addict,

A promise is a promise!

Twenty FC3 men went to Tulsa to a Promise Keepers Conference this past weekend (September 20-21.)  We were challenged and encouraged to be the men that God has called us to be!  Here we were in a half-full room with 3000 other men from around the area.  [Tulsa was not represented among the Tulsa “Christian” churches 😦 ]  I know that this coming weekend (September 27-28) Beth Moore will be in town at the BOK center and it will be full.  Our men have been absent and lacking in their leadership roles.  But for the 20 of us that will not be the case anymore!  And we are calling other men to join us in the quest to rise up and live out our roles as leaders in the home, church and workplace.  This is not some woman-hating jargon.  This is an obedience to God and HIS Word.  So my word to you is not “watch out here we come”, but rather, “lift us up in prayer as we seek to honor God!” 

On my wedding day, I said vows to my wife to love, honor and cherish her, but some things that I did not say in the vow, I took on as a man gaining a bride.  I promised to lead my wife spiritually.  I promised to lead my family for the glory of God.  I promised to be the man of God I was created to be.  I WANT TO KEEP MY PROMISE!  In order to do this with greater strength, I need other men doing life together with me to encourage me on and help this brother out.

So some of the things we are going to do as men is spend time together through bible study and also times just to be together to encourage and grow for HIM.  So each Monday morning, men are encouraged to join us at Hickory House at 6:00 a.m.  It is a time to eat, hear the Word and/or listen to life stories and spend time praying together.  The understand the purpose behind our time together, I want to echo Paul’s words from the first book of Corinthians:  1 Corinthians 14:3 “Everyone…speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort…” Of course, this verse is talking about those that prophesy versus speaking in tongues.  But we want to strengthen one another, encourage each other on this journey and comfort each other in the struggles.  Men, come join us.  Don’t shy away, come grow with us and journey with us to live as men who keep their promise. 

 

Living life with real people

connectMy mother recently had surgery on her leg. A year ago she broke her leg and the break has never healed due to her bones not growing back together at the point of break in her femur. To shorten the story, she had the surgery on the 12th of August and went home (to be by herself) on the 15th of August! Since she lives alone and 45 minutes away from Cleveland, I am not there the very much. But recently I have been going there more than usually to check on her and make sure things are going – well, better. What is amazing is that her small group leader has called me twice – once checking on her and her progress from surgery and healing in the hospital and the second call (after a visit a the hospital) he was looking after my mom’s healing process. The small group took it upon themselves to make sure my mother is fed. As of this writing, they are bringing her meals every other evening. Since she lives alone, there is plenty for her to eat two days in a row and have left overs. The group had made sure her lawn is mowed, her belly is full and her heart is loved on. I believe most of us long for such a group to belong. I know I do. I believe the church should (and does at times) out shine the world in caring for one another. This is what FC3 connect groups are all about! FC3 is re-launching our Connect Groups. Each group will meet in a home and will begin on September 15th. In the next few weeks, we will have groups listed at the Welcome Center. Your job is to join a group. You never know when you will long to have a group to love, feed and nurture you. Better yet, join a Connect Group so that you can love, feed and nurture someone in need from you Connect Group!