Archive for December, 2010

Bethlehem Star

Posted on 23. Dec, 2010 by .

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The other night, my father-in-law introduced me to the most amazing video. It’s called the Star of Bethlehem. WOW! He meant to bring his copy of the DVD, but amazingly we found it on Amazon and watch the entire video there. I intend to purchase a DVD of my own. Since watching this video, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about the amazingness of our God and what he did.

Psalm 19:1-4

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

The Star of Bethlehem is the personal research project of attorney Frederick Larson. He had always been fascinated by the star the kings from the East followed to find the Messiah. Scholars often debated whether the star was an actual star or the object of legend and lore. Is it even possible to stars to move? Is it possible for them to stop as this one did over the place Jesus lived? How did these “wise men” know that a king had been born based on a star they had seen? Frederick’s years of research answers all of these questions. Yes, there was a star of Bethlehem and it did actually do all those things. So, how can we be sure? Larson actually shows you the star of Bethlehem in this amazing video. Since the movement of celestial bodies is like clockwork and completely precise, astronomers can actually illustrate what the starry night would have look like at any time in history from any location on earth.… Read the rest

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Join Gateway for Imagine Christmas this year!

Posted on 23. Dec, 2010 by .

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Last night we began our series of nine Christmas Eve services. Oh my, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more amazing Christmas production. Absolutely incredible. I actually didn’t realized until a few weeks ago that Imagine Christmas was a program that churches could purchase from Willow Creek and produce for their own Christmas services. I knew that it was originally written and produced by Willow Creek, but I thought we had a special deal because our Arts Director at Gateway was the guy who actually created Imagine Christmas when he was on staff at Willow. Very cool. I’ve been watching You Tube Videos where you can see various scenes of the production from churches all around the country from years past. Simply amazing.

Well, I did want to invite anyone out there to join Gateway for any of our Christmas Eve services. Perhaps your church doesn’t have a Christmas Eve service or your Christmas Eve services are only on the actual Christmas Eve. We are live streaming two services tonight and three services tomorrow.

Thursday:
5:30 & 7:30 CST

Friday:
2:00, 4:00 & 6:00 CST

So, plug the computer into your TV or something like that and enjoy Imagine Christmas. Go to www.gatewaychurch.com/live to view the show!… Read the rest

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Christmas thoughts about the naughty list

Posted on 22. Dec, 2010 by .

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A few weeks ago, Sara and I watched the Polar Express. It was my first time to watch it and it was pretty good. It wasn’t spectacular by any means. I can’t remember the specific part of the movie, but there was a place where the elves were trying to determine whether a child was going to get a gift because he had been on the naughty list. I remember my wife and I having a short conversation about that part. It’s one of the elements of the entire Santa myth that is most troublesome to me.

Sara and I haven’t exactly sat down to discuss how we’re going to handle Santa with Titus. He’s three this year and he still really doesn’t know anything about Santa. He knows who he is, we just haven’t talked about him. I don’t have anything against Santa, but I do kind of have a thing against his naughty list. In many ways, it’s completely opposite to the Christian Christmas message. The naughty list feeds an incorrect view of right and wrong. Most people’s worldview states that if they might just get to go to heaven if they’ve been good more than they’ve been bad. I’m not saying that the two are related, but if the loudest message a child hears growing up that they better be good, then they’re probably going to grow up with that bent in life.

The truth is that we’re all on the naughty list. God gave all of us a gift bigger than Santa could ever deliver. God gave us this gift BECAUSE we were on the naughty list. Grace is God’s unmerited favor and that’s what we have through Jesus.… Read the rest

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Christmas thoughts of the nativity

Posted on 21. Dec, 2010 by .

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Many ideas have invaded my thoughts this Christmas season concerning the significance of the holiday and what he’s done for us. If my son was a little older, they’d be things that I’d like to pass along to him. So for now, I’ll just write them here and in a few years, Titus and I can have this conversation.

It’s funny how we idealize the Christmas story and focus on specific parts. Watching the video story by James reminded me of this truth. In our mind we see a beautiful scene of Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloth in that little manger… asleep in the hay. It’s a perfect scene we recreate in all of our homes with our little nativity sets and teach our kids. But I think we glaze over the disgusting factor.

Here’s what I mean about the disgusting factor. I really don’t enjoy being dirty. I’ve rarely ever gone camping for more than two days because the buildup of grime on my body kind of bothers me. I spent two months in India when I was 17 and it really stretched me. On a village trip, I went 7 days without a shower and I remember waking up one morning with my sleeping pad all wet from some liquid that had starting flowing through the space where we were all sleeping on the floor. God gave me grace to survive that week… and an nearly endless supply of baby wipes.

When you sit an think about the nature of Christ’s birth, disgusting is probably a little tame. Now, I’m sure that the people of the time were used to an less-hygienic friendly environment than we are today, but I’m sure Mary and Joseph were a little grossed out too. If the Inn was full, it’s likely that the stable they were staying in was pretty full too.… Read the rest

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Birmingham Kidmin Meetup

Posted on 20. Dec, 2010 by .

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Do you live in Birmingham? Do you live close to Birmingham? On January 5th, Sam Luce and I are flying into Birmingham on our way up to Nashville, TN for a retreat with Jim Wideman. While there, we are trying to connect with local kidmin peeps. So, if you’re nearby and available, we’d love to have lunch! Here are the details:

Kidmin Meetup Lunch at Firebirds
Wednesday, January 5th at 12:00 Noon
Firebirds of Birmingham
Patton Creek Shopping Center, 191 Main St
Hoover Alabama

To keep track of who all is coming, I’ve set up an event at Anyvite. Click here to let us know if you’re going to be able to come.

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Question for the CMO tribe

Posted on 20. Dec, 2010 by .

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Late last week I got an email from Skip Coulter. He said he had a question for the CMO tribe. I liked that. I know there’s a decent little crowd of regular readers and the “CMO tribe” has really helped me out in the past when I’ve had questions on illustrations, ideas or other things I was working on. So, here’s Skip’s question:

I really believe that the integrity of a children’s program is in the quality of its material.What recommendations (brand name) would you make as excellent sources of material for pre-school and grade school materials?  I’m a lay worker in a small church in Alabama, but we have a wonderful children’s minister and kids that we just enjoy and want to invest their lives glorifying God.  Can you give me some advice?

So, could some of you pipe in and give Skip your thoughts. I’ll wait until later to give my thoughts.… Read the rest

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Two days with an iPad

Posted on 19. Dec, 2010 by .

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On Friday morning I woke up and realized that something was wrong with my laptop (MacBook Pro). It wouldn’t boot up at all. Crud! It was Friday morning and the absolute soonest I could get someone to look at it would be Sunday. So, I decided I would see how well the Ipad was going to work for me.

Several months ago, someone gave me an iPad and up until this time, it’s been more of a recreational device. When needing to get any serious work done, I’d just default to the laptop as it’s easier to use and I’m more familiar with it. So, this was a great chance to really test it out.

Well, all I can say is that my experience was pretty good. I’m not at all ready to give up the laptop for the iPad, but I was surprised at what I could get done. Sitting on the couch and doing a lot to typing is not really that easy. I’d have to prop my legs up on the ottoman and hold the iPad in place with my legs while I typed. I was impressed by how fast I could actually type. At times, I was typing on it as fast as I do on the laptop.

I’d say the things that were a little frustrating were the websites that I do work in that are based in flash and the multi-tasking. I’m constantly jumping back and forth between programs, tabs and windows all the time and although you can do this with the iPad, it’s just not nearly as seamless.

So, I’ve got a loaner laptop until my computer is fixed… but I’m curious to see if my usage on the iPad for work related tasks are going to go up now that I’ve learned that it can be fairly productive without having to lug a computer around the house or to a meeting.… Read the rest

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Social Media enters the Christmas Story

Posted on 19. Dec, 2010 by .

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In the last three days I came across two fun but touching videos about the birth of Christ as told through social media. What if Joseph was on facebook? What if the shepherds were twitter addicts? Enjoy!

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Growing in prayer

Posted on 17. Dec, 2010 by .

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This is absolutely ridiculous… but I loved it. You can purchase this video here.

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Where do you get your best work done?

Posted on 16. Dec, 2010 by .

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For me it’s the library… or sometimes at the McDonalds near my house. Never the office.

Yesterday I came across this very interesting TED talk. Good food for thought about why we can’t really get much work done at work.

Where do you go when you really need to get something done?… Read the rest

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