Monthly Archives: December 2015

The ADVENTure of Christmas 12/8/15

Have you ever been to one of “those neighborhoods”? You know the one . . . where every house on the block is lit up with all manner of Christmas lights and decorations? Even though I can walk away feeling like I have sensory overload, I love neighborhoods that “light up” for Jesus’ birth.

Dec 8

What if you drove down one of those streets and got a glimpse inside a house or two. Wouldn’t you be shocked if there wasn’t one single Christmas decoration put up on the inside of the house? I sure would! In fact, I would feel compelled to ask, “Why do you put such effort on decorating the outside of your home and no effort on the inside of your home?” A logical response would probably be something like, “I used all my time, energy, and resources on the outside and had nothing left for the inside.”

By now, you may be able to tell where I am going with this . . .

How many times do you and I use up all of our energy on the “outsides” of our lives – putting lights up, decorating our houses, sending Christmas cards, shopping for presents, having a packed schedule full of festivities and yet, our insides are completely empty!

We have not spent any of our time, energy or resources preparing our hearts and because our hearts aren’t ready, our thoughts, attitudes, and actions reflect our unprepared heart.

Our prayer this “preparation” week is, “Help me be ready to welcome you, O God.” But how do we practically do that?

Let me offer two suggestions as a starting point:

  1. First thing in the morning – As you open your eyes each morning make a conscious effort to commit your day to Jesus. Ask Him to help you prepare your heart for the day ahead and to give you the desire to obey the Holy Spirit’s promptings to forgive, pray, serve, encourage and show love to whomever (and however) He leads.
  2. Last thing at night – As you lay your head on the pillow each night, reflect upon your day, asking God to give you feedback on how you did. In what instances did you obey? In what instances could you have done better?

I encourage you to spend some time each morning and each night preparing your heart. It is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Today’s Family ADVENTure!

Family Activity: Light the hope and preparation candles of your Advent wreath. Ask the Lord to help your family be ready to welcome Him and pray over your hopes

Dinner Discussion: What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do to prepare of Jesus’ coming?

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

 

The ADVENTure of Christmas 12/7/15

Our prayer this “preparation” week is, “Help me be ready to welcome you, O God”. What better way to do that than to make your own personal Advent/Christmas mission statement?[1] Now before you discount this as a cheesy idea, stay with me a minute. Whereas normally we think about only large organizations having mission statements that members of the organization rally around, anyone can have a personal mission statement that allows you to have a well-thought through purpose and focus, that will remain unchanged no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.

Dec 7

A personal mission statement can be especially helpful this time of year to ensure that you don’t just make it through the ADVENTure of Christmas, with all its twists and turns, but that you connect with God and others in meaningful ways.

So how do you go about making your own Advent/Christmas Mission Statement? Begin by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to experience spiritually?
  • What do I want to feel emotionally?
  • Who do I want to connect with relationally?
  • What do I want to be able to look back and say about this season after it’s over?

As an example, let me share my Christmas mission statement for this year: To fully enjoy myself in each and every activity I plan for others – my family, friends, and church.   

Now that I have a mission statement, I plan to put it into practice in the following ways:

  • Plan the details before each occasion, but then be present in the moment as the occasion arrives
  • Be realistic in my expectations/let go of unmet expectations
  • Don’t take things personally when things go wrong
  • Find something to laugh about or enjoy no matter what happens

As I purpose to enjoy myself in each Christmas activity, I plan to change the focus from hard work and stress to one of enjoying the opportunities God gives me to celebrate Jesus with others.

What’s your mission statement? Why not take a few moments to write it down?

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

Today’s Family ADVENTure!

Family Activity: Make a mission statement for yourself or together as a family.

Dinner Discussion: Share your mission statements.

[1] Get Yourself Organized for Christmas by Kathi Lipp

The ADVENTure of Christmas 12/6/16

Although the word “adventure” conjures up images of a spur of the moment escapade with little or no advanced preparation, in order for an adventure to be truly successful, there needs to be some planning and preparation involved. For example, if you choose to take a cross country road trip, you will plan your course and make sure that your vehicle is in good working order. You will also prepare how far you will travel each day, ensuring that there is a place for you to rest your road-weary head at the end of each day’s travel. You will pack your duffel bag with appropriate shoes and clothing, and you will make sure that the responsibilities you are leaving behind are cared for well.

Dec 6

You don’t get very far on an adventure without adequate preparation and planning.

I find it interesting that the second candle of advent is the “Candle of Preparation,” signifying the importance of preparing for Christ’s coming. The definition of prepare is “to get ready, to put things or oneself in readiness.”[1] This week we will focus on putting ourselves in readiness by preparing our hearts and attitudes for the ADVENTure of Christmas. We will do this by reading various Scriptures and exploring some practical thoughts about quieting our souls and preparing for this special time of year.

We prepare so we can be ready.

Just like you prepare your home for the arrival of special guests, we prepare our hearts for the arrival of Jesus.

Do you want to be ready for the ADVENTure of Christmas? Then join me in making this your prayer each day this week, “Help me be ready to welcome you, O God.”

Today’s Family ADVENTure!

Family Activity: Take your own adventure – but don’t forget to prepare! Grab some bottled water, granola bars, and your winter coat and head out to Turnbull Wildlife Refuge. Keep your eye out for animal tracks and an ear out for songbirds as you stroll through God’s beautiful creation.

Dinner Discussion: Set an extra place setting for Jesus at dinner tonight. Discuss what it would be like to have dinner with Jesus. What would you say to Him if he were sitting with you tonight?

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

 

[1] Dictionary.com