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Did You Check Behind The Tree?

 So you are cleaning up after Christmas morning, wrapping paper is everywhere, and the kids have run off to play with their toys. And then, “uh oh!” As you take a look around the tree, you see it…that one unopened present! Whose is it? Who didn’t get their gift?

Well, hopefully this didn’t happen at your house! I would hate for someone to miss the joy of getting all their gifts. But did you know that there is an unopened gift sitting in houses all over the world?

And it  has an urgent message on it – “open immediately!” You see, this one is from Jesus; and it is called grace.

Did you notice? Did you receive the gift from Christ this year? Jesus freely gave, but you have to “open” your present! Grace is one gift you don’t want to lose. Don’t let it get pushed to the side in your busy life! No other gift is so important.

If you aren’t a Christian, receive Christ today and accept His free gift of grace – it will be the best gift you ever opened! Be forgiven of your sins by trusting in His gospel of salvation.

If you are a Christian, it may be that this Christmas, you got so hectic that you put Jesus second in your life, even if just for a moment. Let’s get back on track quickly. Live for Him and for His Kingdom, remembering the wonderful gift of grace.

So, check behind your tree for lost presents, but check your heart and God’s Word for the grace of Christ.


Failure to Supervise

911 recordings have been released this week regarding a male driver who ran a jeep into a house, abandoned the vehicle, went home and watched TV until the police arrived. While this may sound like just another call at the 911 office, amazingly, the 911 operator sounded very confused and unsure how to handle the problem at first. To make things even stranger, the male driver wasn’t even cited!

You see, the boy was a 3-year-old toddler. So when the call came from a man who witnessed the whole thing, it sounded something like this:

911 emergency? Uh yes, ma’am. I just seen a little kid in a diaper. He just rolled a Jeep across the street and into a house.

A little kid in a diaper? Like a real Jeep? A full size Jeep?

Yeah, it’s a Jeep. It’s sitting here in the side of a house right now.

So here are the facts: a police officer noticed a toddler playing in a Jeep and warned the adult inside who was apparently a relative watching the boy for his parents. Later that day, the toddler was at it again, and while the relative was doing something else, he slipped back out to the car. He then accidentally knocked the manual shift out of gear, and rode the car down the street, through an intersection, over a curb, and into a house.

Once his joy ride was over, the boy, wearing only a diaper, ran back to his house, got on the couch, and watched cartoons like nothing had happened. The police knocked on the door later, and to the babysitter’s surprise, he found out what happened and was cited with “failure to supervise.”

Failure to supervise. I like that. You should have been watching, training, instructing, or otherwise being “in charge” of a young person who is not held responsible for their actions. You are the adult.

Now, what if we apply this idea in the church? Will God cite some with a failure to supervise? Whether as parents, teachers, preachers, babysitters, or caregivers, God has given us an important supervisory role…watch over and train up the next generation. But many of us choose the spiritual equivalent of “driving toddlers,” when we allow the spiritually immature to guide themselves and play with spiritually dangerous things.

The truth is, you never know when a toddler might accidentally knock into something that causes the vehicle to run away, out of control.

So don’t let your little ones hang out in cars unattended…and watch how you leave the next generation.  “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Pay that Dreamer!

Dreaming lottery winning waiter splits £1m with boss

Fatih Ozcan, a waiter at a Turkish restaurant in York, had a dream. In his dream, he was showing a bunch of cash to his manager, Hayati Kucukkoylu. Fatih believed in his dream “interpretation” so much that the next day, he bought a lottery ticket. He then went to work and pestered his boss for three hours until he agreed to buy some tickets too. And guess what? Amazingly, the manager won $1.7 million!

That is when the trouble began. Kucukkoylu didn’t want to share his winnings with Ozcan. So Ozcan sued. And, believe it or not, a Judge in London actually agreed with Ozcan that he was entitled to half. The manager was ordered to split the winnings with his “psychic waiter.”

In his ruling the Judge said that Ozcan was entitled to half the winnings, because the Plaintiff was a “strong believer in the power of dreams.” Wow. The waiter gets half because he really, really believes his dreams? What if he had interpreted the dream to mean he had to rob the restaurant?

Obviously, this coincidence, while fascinating, doesn’t prove any psychic ability in the waiter. But did you know that it wasn’t that long ago, that God gave real dreams, visions, and interpretations to people in the Bible? Here is the difference – the real prophets always confirmed the glory of God and revealed truth about God, giving proof of His Word through signs and wonders.

Perhaps the best known of the dreamers was a man named Joseph. Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, and he saved Egypt from a great famine. His reward was great – he was made 2nd in command in Egypt, behind Pharaoh himself. But Joseph knew that the power wasn’t his. He offered glory to God, and he said, “Interpretations belong to God” (Genesis 40:8).

These words would be echoed by another dream interpreter several hundred years later. The prophet, Daniel, was asked to interpret a dream, and he said, “neither wise men, conjurers, magicians, nor diviners are able…However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (Daniel 2:27-28).

Daniel interpreted that king’s dream, and told him about a Kingdom that would “never be destroyed,” but would “endure forever.” That Kingdom was the Church that Christ built. So don’t put your faith in “psychics” and dreams…no matter how much your waiter believes them. Put your faith in the revealed Word of God and the fulfillment of all the prophecies, His Son, Jesus the Christ.


Now That Is Inflation!

inflationSomeone in the congregation sent me a picture the other day with the title, “Inflation at Wal-Mart.” How long did you have to look at the  picture before you figured out why?

Most of us have to take a double take just to make sure. We would never expect a vegetable to cost $68 a piece! A decimal point sure makes a difference, doesn’t it?

Inflation is when the cost of goods rises and each unit of money purchases fewer goods. Or, to put it simply, stuff costs more but you don’t have more money to pay for it. We see the effects of inflation all the time: soft drinks, movies, gas, etc. Even the $.99 menu items are $1.49 now, and the dollar theater costs $3!

Marketing people (especially Wal-Mart employees) spend a lot of time and effort trying to make sure that we are happy with the price we are paying for something. It is called “value-based pricing.” But when we see a price that is far too expensive such as the sign above, we are shocked by the discrepancy between the actual value and the advertised price.

Have you ever gotten something that you thought was a bargain? What about a deal that was too good to be true? One you almost felt guilty about? Well that is exactly what God did for us in the price that was paid for our salvation. What price would you put on your soul? How would you compare that value to God’s Son’s life? What would you be willing to pay for eternal salvation and life in Heaven with God?

Clearly, we don’t have that kind of money. And nothing we can do would ever be enough to buy a spot in heaven. The cost is too great and the purchasing power we have is far too low. But God gave us grace. He spent the precious blood of His Son on our behalf.

I wouldn’t pay $68 for a vegetable, but I would gladly spend my days being thankful to a God who loves me enough to send His Son to die for me. How will you spend your days? Thanking Him with obedient faith is a great way to budget!