Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Carol...

Click Here for the Best Christmas Carol of the season! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Little Christmas Story...

Little Carol came into the kitchen where her mother was making dinner. Christmas was coming up and she thought this was a good time to tell her mother what she wanted. "Mom, I want a bike for Christmas."

Now, Little Carol was a bit of a troublemaker. She had gotten into trouble at school and at home. Carol's mother asked her if she thought she deserved to get a bike for Christmas. Little Carol, of course, thought she did.

Carol's mother, being a Christian woman, wanted her to reflect on her behavior over the last year, and write a letter to God and tell him why she deserved a bike for Christmas. Little Carol stomped up the steps to her room and sat down to write God a letter.

Dear God: I have been a very good girl this year and I would like a bike for Christmas. I want a red one.
Your friend,

Carol knew this wasn't true. She had not been a very good girl this year, so she tore up the letter and started over.

Dear God: This is your friend Carol. I have been a pretty good girl this year, and I would like a red bike for Christmas.
Thank you,

Carol knew this wasn't true either. She tore up the letter and started again.

Dear God: I know I haven't been a good girl this year. I am very sorry. I will be a good girl if you just send me a red bike for Christmas.
Thank you,

Carol knew, even if it was true, this letter was not going to get her a bike. By now, she was very upset. She went downstairs and told her mother she wanted to go to church. Carol's mother thought her plan had worked because Carol looked very sad.

"Just be home in time for dinner," her mother said.

Carol walked down the street to the church and up to the altar. She looked around to see if anyone was there. She picked up a statue of the Virgin Mary, slipped it under her jacket and ran out of the church, down the street, into her house, and up to her room. She shut the door and sat down and wrote her letter to God.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hell Has Frozen Over...The Finale

Mark 11:25 & 26, tells us about what forgiveness must be. More than a snapshot, this Scripture is the original portrait of the essence of forgiveness. I had read it many, many times…I had heard that specific Scripture used in uncountable sermons. I’ve even preached on it myself. But not until the middle of June this past summer did I ever see it literally come alive.

Jesus make forgiveness very simple, (my paraphrase), “when you are standing before Me, pouring out your heart to me, if you have ANYTHING against ANYONE, FORGIVE HIM, so that I may also forgive you. But if you don’t, neither will I forgive you.”

So with that said, how in the world can we allow anything to remain in us, where it can grow and manifest itself into a bitter beast and keep us from forgiving? When in reality, it has successfully built a wall around us that is keeping God from forgiving us? Talk about a gulf that spans the East from the West!

I actually thought I was enjoying life to the fullest, yet my spirit was being destroyed by an invisible beast within…

It was a typical Friday in the Delta. All effort was being made just to stay cool. The summer’s heat had been overwhelming. At Dad’s Place, we were getting ready for our Friday night Live Music venue. We had a special treat that week. An up-and-coming new Christian artist was performing that night, and was using DP as the location for his CD Release Party. We had expected a good crowd all along, but never did I suspect who would actually show up.

In the hustle and bustle of the crowd…the music and the mayhem, we were covered up making drinks…and in walked some of those same people from our last church that had given us so much grief and pain! It was at that point that all of my emotions, my anger and bitterness that I thought were long gone, came rushing out over me. I felt myself being transformed into something…someone I never knew existed. It was at that moment that I actually realized what had been going on inside of me for all of those years. It was all very vivid now. I remember telling Denise that I just can’t do this anymore…I know now THIS is what has been holding me back for so long. I could tell there was some sort of a barrier between God & me, yet I still didn’t understand it. For as much as I tried to break down the barrier, it kept growing stronger. I knew then, that all of the Bible reading, praying, Scripture studying and worshipping in the world wouldn’t help me grow in my spiritual walk UNTIL I was able to actually forgive everything and everyone that had been harboring inside my heart.

I made my way to our back office where I honestly think I had a nuclear meltdown. Our coffee shop was full of people, but it was just God and me in that back room. That little office space and storage area became Holy Ground that night. And when that encounter was over, I walked out a changed man. You see, I was the one that had to do the work…I had to be the one to realize, recognize and release. God had always been there for me and with me…waiting, but until I was willing to let go of the hurt, He couldn’t help me.

My life’s journey took on a brand new perspective that night. And in looking back, it was oh so needed for the path that He has taken our family on. We’ve climbed mountains and crawled into valleys that you cannot imagine since that night. But with each step I now take, I wrap myself in the blanket of peace of knowing that I have been forgiven, and, to help keep the chill out, for I’ll never forget the night that hell had snow drifts…