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How are you holding up with all the Christmas stuff? Got all your presents bought, wrapped and under the tree. Or do you even have a tree? I’m all done. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for things for my wife, but I think I’ve gotten her everything I can.
I bought myself a last minute prezzie tonight. My smartphone died today, so I ordered a new one. Not a fancy one. Its last year’s model. I can’t possibly justify the price of a brand new phone. Holy Cow, they’ve gotten pricey. I’ve bought cars for less than some of these things cost. Yikes. But, I digress….
I want to say hello to everybody listening in in the USA. Thanks for dropping by. I hope you’re staying warm this winter. Boy howdy, some of you are getting snow. Fix yourself a warm cup of tea and stay a while.
For you all here in the Buckie region, I want to invite you to our Christmas programs at the Church of Christ on West Church Street. No pressure, but you are welcome. We’ll have a candlelight service on Sunday night the 23rd of December at 6:30. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ll be singing some familiar Christmas songs and blending them with some readings and testimonies from people in our Church family. And tossing in some great videos. It’s absolutely free. And its open to everyone, regardless of your Church background or none at all.
Then on Christmas Day, we’re going to have a short, special Carol and Communion service at 11:00 a.m. This one will be only 30 minutes and will feature music from Raemond and Ronald Jappy. Both well known popular and skilled musicians. And they are from right here in Buckie. We’re the home of the best. Right?
Are you thinking about 2019 yet. It’s just about 3 weeks away you know. Holy Cow. We all like the new year. Besides the parties and such, I mean. It’s a new beginning. A fresh start. A brand new year. Have you set your goals yet? I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions. I mean things you really want to accomplish. Do you really want to lose weight? Start a new business. Get a job. Get your family finances in order? Repair your marriage or relationship with your children? Go back to school? I don’t know, there are thousands of things. I could keep going, but I’m not you. I know that when I actually set goals, with dates attached to them and with end results, and write them down where I can see them, I have success. When I don’t, I end up floundering and discouraged.
If you are a goal setter and an achiever, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, you think I’m nuts. But basically, you have two choices. You can let life happen to you, or, you can make life happen for you. That’s it. That’s the list.
I want you to make life happen for you. I want you to be more successful than you ever dreamed. I want you to be happier than you ever imagined.
Here’s a simple plan for you to get started. No need to make it complicated. If you do, you’ll fail and think the whole thing is stupid. First, grab something to write with and something to write on. Got them? Hit pause and go get them if you need to. I don’t mind.
Now, write down a few things you really want to accomplish in 2019. No one’s watching. It’s ok. Now in my case, I start with categories: Physical, Spiritual, Financial, Educational, Family. That’s me. You may have different categories. In your first year, you may have none. You may only have one thing you want to accomplish. It may be a test to see if this stuff works.
Then just scribble down the things you really want to accomplish. Now, find the one’s that are most important to you. Let’s say it’s losing 50 pounds or getting out of debt. First note that losing 50 lbs by next Christmas is a goal, losing weight is a dream. Ending your debt and having a savings account of 1000 pounds is a goal, getting ahold of your finances is a desire.
See make your goals specific, make them measurable, make them realistic, write them down. When I say, make them realistic, losing 50 lbs, or 25, lbs is realistic. Don’t say, I want to lose 100 lbs by Easter. That’s just silly. Saying, I want to win the British fitness championship will probably take you a bit longer, especially if, like me, you’re totally fat and out of shape. That might be a realistic long range goal you should write down. If you write to me, I’ll tell you what I’m doing. It’s simple, and the cost is pretty cheap. Yay.
If you want to get out of debt and get on the road to success. There is a way to get started. It’s not a pipe dream. The first thing I will recommend is that you read my e-book, “IOU No More” It’s available on Amazon for a couple pounds or less. I noticed they had it on sale last week. I only make it available these days as an e-book to save you money. Why sell a high priced book to help people eliminate debt? It just seemed wrong to me. If you get it, you’ll notice that many of the references are American. I wrote it in America. But the principles are still the same. And the budget plans are worth the price of the book. Now, here’s my Christmas present offer to you. First, I’m not trying to get you to buy my book. If financial goals are not on your agenda, I get it. But, if you do decide to get the book, if you’ll write to me after you’ve read it, I will send you copies of the forms so you can make as many copies of them as you like. You’ll understand after you’ve read the book. If you don’t want to read mine, I get it. I totally understand. It’s weird to me anyway. I feel like a salesman. Yuck. You can get anything by Dave Ramsey. He’s also American, but his best seller, The Total Money Makeover is a huge help.
Anyway, you get my point. You’ve got to make your goals specific, make them measurable and make them realistic. So, go ahead. Make your list. Try just one. Maybe you want to quit smoking by June. Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to go back to school, or develop a skill, or chase your dream of painting. Maybe you want to start going to church or reading the Bible. The sky’s the limit. Turn your wishful thinking into achievable goals. But do it now. Don’t wait for new year. Get them written down and fleshed out. Put them where you will see them. Maybe on a sticky note on your fridge. Or in a journal. But review them regularly. I want 2019 to be your best year ever. If you have any questions about how to accomplish this, or you want some help. Write me and I’ll assist you any way I can. I’ll be discreet. I promise
Hey, let me come out and ask you if you think much about Jesus during the Christmas rush? I’m asking because I don’t see much around town that suggests He has anything to do with the season. And, ironically, it’s when we celebrate his birthday. Probably he wasn’t born in December, that’s just when the Church long ago decided we would celebrate it. Besides, there were lots of other mid winter Holidays, so it would be a natural fit. Oddly, as time has passed, we’ve forgotten to celebrate Jesus Birthday, and just reverted to a midwinter Holiday.
So I want to take a minute, and talk about Jesus. I know you’ve probably seen a Christmas Nativity play. And you know the story of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus born in a stable. It’s such a great story. But the thing is, it’s true. Most of us think its just a fable put on in mid winter by children in bathrobes with towels on their heads. We laugh at their foibles, and clap and cheer at the end of the story. And we take photos of the cast and especially our own children and grandchildren because they’re so darned cute. But do we ever think beyond the childrens play?
The Gospel of John is the fourth book in the New Testament. John was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. And perhaps his best friend. So John’s memories of Jesus are very unique. He wrote about 30 years after Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so his stories are almost all fresh and different. You can feel it as you read through the pages. John doesn’t start with the Christmas story. In fact he ignores it altogether. That’s all been done. Matthew tells it from Joseph’s perspective and Luke tells the story from Mary’s perspective. No John starts like this: In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God. And the Word was God.
That’s completely different. He leaves the Nativity details to Matthew and Luke, and zooms right in on the actual identity of Jesus. He is not just the son of God. He is God. That’s incredible. That’s amazing. To think that God cared enough for humanity that he became human for us. Contrast the story of Jesus with Greek and Roman theology for a minute. It those stories, the God’s appeared as humans to fight monsters, have love lives with humans and play games with human hearts.
But Jesus is different. He doesn’t just appear human. He is human. He comes into life as a helpless baby. He can’t feed himself, change his own nappy, or even walk. He is raised like the rest of us. Dependent on others to meet his every need. That’s why we read in the Book of Hebrews, also in the New Testament of the Bible, that Jesus is a Great High priest who understands everything we go through. Because he was tempted in every way just like the rest of us, yet He was without sin.
John says in verse 14 of chapter 1, that the Word became human and lived for a while among us. That’s a short Christmas play. Very short. But he says so much there. Jesus didn’t just look like us, he was one of us. Whatever you’re going through, He gets it. He’s experienced joy, laughter, as well as heartache and pain. Remember, He was accused of Blasphemy against God. Which obviously he didn’t do. He was God. He was beaten to a pulp by the Roman soldiers and nailed to a cross. Crucifixion was a horrible death. And the Romans were very good at it.
But why did He do it? Why did he become a human at all? Why did he go through potty training and Primary 1. Why did he preach and heal. Especially why did he let himself be murdered?
I don’t want to spoil the story, but he went through every minute of it because he knew how your life was going to get so messed up and he loved you, thousands of years before you were born, enough to die for you.
So, I think its only right that we take some time and think about Him during the Christmas season. What a hero. Jesus is God. He’s not just a made up cartoon for entertainment. He was actually born during the days of Augustus Caesar and King Herod. He was more real than the lights in the square, than the turkey and stuffing you’ll have for dinner. Jesus is the best man, with the best plan you can ever imagine.
I sure hope you’ll think about all that this week. And I sure hope you’ll stick around while we look through the Gospel of John and discover some of the secrets about Jesus true identity. It’ll be fun.
If you have any questions, write them down and send them to me at, firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can use the comments section of the website or the Facebook page. It’s that easy. Please remember our Christmas services at Church. Be safe out there. That’s all I got. So talk to you next week. I’m out.