Oh, my Father, I enter into Your presence in the name of Jesus to express my eternal gratitude to you.

Thank You for ACCESS – the unfathomable privilege of entering directly into Your presence.

Thank You for BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE – those wonderful growth experiences that look at first like obstacles or curses.

Thank You for CHILDREN – for the ways they remind us that You are big, life is good, and pleasing You isn’t all that complicated.

Thank You for DREAMERS – those who saw the possibilities when no one else did, and who risked failure to make their dreams come true.

Thank You for EXAMPLES – for people who are just as willing to practice as they are to preach. [click to continue…]

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Ten Ideas for “Giving Up” Your Holidays

by Andy Wood on November 18, 2008

in Life Currency

We’re giving up Christmas this year.  Thanksgiving, too.  And if I have my way, New Year’s day will follow suit.

It all started with a meeting by our Creative Team at the church.  The conversation was about what to do this holiday season.  What’s on people’s minds?  What are they thinking/planning for the holidays, especially Christmas?

As the conversation flowed, it followed themes such as people who were giving in to discouragement, fear, and despair because of the e-word.  Also, one couple talked about giving out to charity instead of buying family a bunch of stuff they didn’t particularly want or need.

We talked about how Christmas has become jacked up because of the demands and expectations we place on it – how it’s supposed to magically solve all our problems or bring some sort of enchantment to our otherwise unhappy lives.

We talked about the pressure to make Christmas tricked up – raising the materialistic bar year in and year out.  We’ve been keeping up with the Joneses, only to discover that we are the Joneses.

We talked about how, biblically, God one-upped Zecharias, the father of John the Baptist.  God always seems to be able to out-give, out-serve, out-surprise the greatest acts of our service or obedience.

And we talked about the ultimate Gift – offered up by God to a world too busy to care.

So, our theme for Christmas is, Give It Up!  Before you give in or give out, give up!  That’s exactly what God did with His Son.  Now He awaits your response.

But why wait for Christmas Day?  Why not start now, in the Thanksgiving season, to offer up our lives, first to God, then to others?  For many of us, this will be an opportunity, albeit unwelcome, to really discover that it’s not about the toys and trinkets as much as it is about the love, the joy, the life, and the service we offer up.  So in that spirit, I thought I’d share ten ways you can give to others in life-affirming ways for little or no money.  I would encourage you to do some or all of these things, regardless of your financial status. [click to continue…]