“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree”

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Have you ever noticed that the Christmas Tree is much different than the Easter “Tree”?  One is an evergreen, symbolizing Life, the other an instrument of torture, symbolizing death. And yet the one leads to the other. Two trees, two symbols, but One Lord and One Life—Life eternal and abundant because of what was done on the one Tree that gives us gifts under the other tree.

As you take time this season to ponder these two trees, perhaps the one will be a pleasant reminder of the other, and the gifts that are exchange from under the one will remind you of the Gift that was exchanged for you on the other?

Join me this December in being truly Merry People who sincerely wish others a Merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year.

13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:13–15 NIV2011)

A Blessed and Merry Christmas & a Peace-filled New Year,

Coach Mike

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“Joy & Solemnity Side by Side”

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Date: 04-17-15

The Big Idea: But what if, lifestyle worshiper, both of these can be seen and experience together, in one service, in one ceremony, in one setting?

My Thoughts: Can both joy and solemnity both be found in a ceremony that honors the Lord? Many struggle with striking this balance. Some believe you need to be very, very somber & serious—especially when you attended a ‘worship service’. These are they who require quiet to enter His presence. But there are others who believe these gatherings can be filled with effusive joy. These feel the liberty to jump and rejoice, hug each other and express a variety of emotions. Sadly, often each of these two expressions sits in judgment of the other.

But what if, lifestyle worshiper, both of these can be seen and experience together, in one service, in one ceremony, in one setting? Would not this be the “best” of both worlds?

I believe this is more than possible. Consider this: If joy is an element of the Fruit of the Spirit and if the Holy Spirit dwells in us to both convict us of sin and to seal us in salvation, then is it not possible that He is more than capable of allowing us the awesome privilege of  bowing before the Holy One in reverential fear and perhaps at the very same time rising to explode with Joy and thanksgiving? What do you think? Your thoughts….

Main Text: — Nehemiah 12:27 — At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. [NIV84]

Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

     Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. — Hebrews 4:16 (NIV84)

    Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.   —Hebrews 10:19-22 (NKJV)

 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.   — Romans 5:1-2 (NIV84)

 Lord Jesus Christ, give me a proper perspective of the place ceremonies have in Your Kingdom. In Your Name, Amen. 

Coach Mike

Missing a Great Prayer Warrior

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An Ode to My Mother-in-Law: A Brief Tribute to a Quiet Woman of God

(Notice that this was Originally written on the 15th of January)

January 15, 2015

Heaven rejoiced yesterday evening as the angels ushered my mother-in-law, Fern, into the presence of Jesus. I will miss her dearly. Though not one for many words, she was one for many prayers. She was one of my major prayer warriors, constantly covering my wife, our daughters, their husbands & children and me in prayer.  When she asked, “What can I pray for you,” I knew she would. …

As only a faithful prayer would say, some of her last words were, “I pray for you everyday.” And nearer the end she deeply apologized for not having the energy to pray as she once had….

I know with her passing there has been a great disturbance in the prayer “Force“. Nonetheless I am most grateful to our Loving Lord, in Whose arms she is now being tightly hugged. In His Grace and Mercy, He provided almost 40 years of prayer cover through my mother-in-law. Mom, I will miss you.

Coach Mike