Merry Christmas

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“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:23 NLT)

That last phrase – “God is with us” – has been both comforting and empowering on our journey through 2013. I’ll give you a brief update on what that looked like.

Tim Tebow’s not the savior, but he sure does act like one

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I’ve been a Bronco fan for a long time. I remember striped socks, the South Stands, Steve Tensi, Cookie Gilcrest, Lyle Alzado, The Orange Crush, and the days when two words were enough to describe Mile High Stadium. We loved our Broncos. We filled the stadium. We cheered them on, even though they didn’t win much. We learned to endure. “Maybe next year we’ll beat the Raiders”, was our rallying cry.

Then along came a savior.

Not THE savior. There’s only been one of those. He was born in a manger in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. His name was Jesus. He came to save the world. And he did.

Our savior was born in a hospital in Port Angeles, Washington in 1960. His name was Elway. He came to save our Broncos. And he did.

And then he left us, and we’ve been looking for another ever since.

Maybe, just maybe we’ve found him. He was born in the Philippines, and like THE savior, his birth was a bit of a miracle. He came to us by way of Florida and we hope he has come to save our Broncos.

Or maybe it’s not just our Broncos he came to save. In a time when our innocence has been shattered by revelations of the sexual abuse of our children by those we’ve cheered as role models, maybe he has come to restore faith in our heroes. We want to believe. We need to believe. But, in the dark recesses of our psyche, we wonder if he’ll disappoint us like so many have. Or worse, turn out to be something entirely different than the public package.

We want to believe in the underdog. The kid that the pundants say will never make it.

We want to believe in the gifted young man who says “No sir” and “Yes sir” in response to questions at the press conferences.

We want to believe in the humble leader who “thanks my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”, gives credit to his coaches and team mates and pledges to do his best to improve everyday.

We want to believe. We want to hope. But the cynical pessimist inside of us is waiting for the other shoe to drop. We’re afraid he will disappoint us.

The truth is, he probably will. Hopefully not in scandalous ways. He’s human. Although they run quite well, his feet are made of clay. He’s just a wealthier, better looking, more athletic version of me. And I don’t always get it right, neither do you, and nor will he. He’s going to make mistakes, throw to the wrong jersey from time to time, say stuff he shouldn’t, and be severely tested when wins become losses and the temptations of fame are thrown his way.

If you want a Savior that won’t disappoint, you’d be better served trusting the one from Bethlehem. He proved himself divine.

Tim Tebow’s not THE savior, but he sure acts a lot like one.

I’m pulling for him. We need him to win. Not just for the Broncos, but for our hopes and dreams that the good guys really do exist and that they do well. I know he’s just beginning, but we need him to finish strong.

Honestly, I think he will. The fourth quarter at Mile High is becoming known as Tebow time.

One more thing…I just wish Tim Tebow could play for the Cubs.

If you like stories about unlikely heroes, you’ll love Ir-rev-rend: Christianity without the pretense, faith without the facade. You can read more about it and order your copies as Christmas gifts HERE

And the winner is…

In a previous post I announced that I was going to giveaway 3 sets of TRUTHCARDS. There were so many great responses that I hated to pick just three! But, with the help of a site called Random.org, we did it.

And the winners are:

Christy Burden
Yasmeena Sullivan
Jayn

Congratulations! We’ll be in contact with you by email soon.

If you didn’t win and would like to order TRUTHCARDS you can do that HERE.

Growing perspective in your kids at Christmas


I asked Dr. Tim Elmore to be a guest blogger today. I think you will enjoy his take on broadening your kids perspective at Christmas. There are some great practical tips.

“Our kids are experiencing something unique today. Adolescence is expanding on both sides. Young kids are hungering to enter adolescence early, wearing suggestive clothing, pierced ears, wanting cell phones, and even tattoos. At the same time, young adults are taking longer to grow up and be ready for adult responsibility. Several college deans have told me: 26 is the new 18.

One of the marks of maturity is perspective. A mature kid sees the big picture; certainly he or she can see beyond his/her own selfish needs. So how do we build perspective in our children?

Try this.

If you have a globe in your house, gather your kids around it and play “Spin the Globe.” Have them spin your globe and point their finger on a spot. When the globe stops spinning, notice what nation they are pointing to and talk about it. Maybe Google some facts on that country and talk about what some of their greatest needs are socially, materially, economically, and spiritually. Then pray for that nation.

But don’t stop with this. Next, talk about your children’s school campus. What’s happening on their campus? After some conversation, ask them to name one problem at their school that really needs to be solved. Get as specific as possible.

Challenge them to “adopt” that problem as their own. Have them list the steps that could be taken to solve the problem. (These may be imaginary steps depending on the size of the problem they’ve chosen.) Get them thinking about their vision to make the school better instead of complaining about how bad it is.

Finally, have them write about it, draw a picture or clip out photos from magazines that depict the vision they have for their school. Have them create a mural if they wish. Then, post these pictures in their room as a reminder to both pray and act on their vision. This kind of activity cultivates both vision and a big picture perspective in kids.

“Where there is not vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29:18)

Join us tomorrow at Daniel Decker’s blog (http://www.danieldecker.net/) as we discuss ways to develop kindness in your kids (and maybe yourself!) during the holidays.”

Tim Elmore

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You can follow Tim Elmore’s personal blog at http://blog.growingleaders.com, and learn more about developing the next generation in his latest book: Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. (http://www.SaveTheirFutureNow.com)

When a great idea becomes more than a business



Last Christmas, my daughter-in-law Jenna came up with a gift that actually lasted longer than the wrapping paper it came in. You know the routine: the kids are super excited about the shiny new toy until its newness wears off about the time the New Year rolls around.

Well, last year was different.

Jenna had been using flashcards to teach her toddlers sign language and to recognize objects, but she couldn’t find anything similar to teach them scriptures. So she decided to make her own. She found some card stock and wrote scriptures on one side and pasted corresponding pictures on the other.

One card had a picture of a rock and Matthew 7:24 on the other side – “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock”.

Another card had my picture on one side (Papa) and the scripture I use for the benediction every week at Seacoast, Eph 3:20-21, on the other. She then hand made enough cards to give about 40 each to her nieces and nephews and a few friends.

And then an amazing thing happened. My son and daughter-in-law, Josh and Lisa, began using the cards to teach my then two year old grandson Miles a new scripture almost every week. Now, nearly a year later, he has an arsenal of nearly 30 scriptures he can quote. Not bad for an ho-nary little crumb cruncher!

Several of us encouraged Jenna to make the cards available to more families and just like that, TRUTHCARDS were born.

She enlisted me to take the pictures (I work for free for the mothers of my grandkids), and she printed up sets of 52, one for each week. In just a couple of weeks she has sold a few hundred to her friends and extended family. We are becoming raving fans.

Some parents have commented that the unexpected benefit of using the cards for their kids was the fact that they are learning the scriptures themselves.

The most moving testimonials have come from the parents of special needs children. One mother says that she is showing the pictures to her daughter as she prays the scriptures over her, praying for her healing and comfort. She says, “She may not be able to pray them for herself, but she is still a child of God and that is how I plan on incorporating them in her life.”

Another mother of a 5 year old with Down’s Syndrome writes: “Although she is pretty high functioning, she is not very verbal. She can say the picture and then I can read her the verse. I know that even though she can’t repeat it yet, it is getting into her spirit. ‘Thy word have I hid in my heart’ takes on a new meaning when you have a special needs child. So much of our focus is on physical development for our ‘special’ kids, we sometimes neglect their spiritual development. Your cards really fill a need.”

My mind raced with possibilities. Besides just making great Christmas gifts for our kids this year, what if people gifted TRUTHCARDS to special needs classes and families? Or to families who wouldn’t normally be able to get them?

A great idea just became a ministry opportunity.

If you’d like to order TRUTHCARDS for your kids or see a blog about them you can go HERE. You can see the TRUTHCARDS Facebook page HERE. Or, if you just want to see some great looking kids using them, you can go HERE.

Do me a favor, if you like what I’m saying, give this post some Facebook and Twitter love (Share it, like it, and retweet it).

(Disclaimer: I don’t receive a penny from the sale of TRUTHCARDS. Just the joy of knowing that my pictures are helping kids to learn God’s word.)