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Re-Gifting the Beautiful Gift of the Gospel

The Gift of the Gospel
No greater gift exists than the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the very definition of Christmas.

As mentioned in last week’s post, there seems to be a softness to one’s soul this time of year. Songs, the scent of certain foods, hymns, readings, and traditions take many of us back to simpler days. But this divinely placed soft spot also gives us unique opportunities to invite others into our story, into the story of the gospel.

I couldn’t close this Christmas mini-series without focusing on the greatest Gift ever, so here are five ways we can share the gift of knowing the one true living God (not to be confused with knowing about God). Thank You, Jesus.

5 Ways We Can Share the Gospel This Christmas

Add an extra gift to your list. Do you have those on your Christmas list who do not have a relationship with Christ? Consider purchasing a small gift that could be given in addition to a gift of their choice. This way, they might be more open to enjoying the extra gift rather than resenting it. Some ideas might be a book, bookmark, or a candle with John 8:12 written on an attached note.

Invite that person God has been laying on your heart to join you for coffee. Pray for ways to share your gospel story. It’s one story that can never be disputed! {If this person is not the same sex as you, invite your wife/husband/friend to join you. It’s just a wise thing to do.}

Give purpose to your Christmas light expeditions around local neighborhoods. This year will be the first in over twenty years that our family hasn’t driven around our local neighborhoods that we love so much. We’ve all moved to different areas but putting the kids (or grandkids!) in pj’s and riding around on holiday nights leaves lasting memories. I wish I’d thought of this particular idea I’m sharing today before our boys grew up. {We always judged the lights – how’s that for sharing the love?) Here goes: Before you go, share different ways you can pray for people you don’t know. Write them down and take them with you. Before you pull out of the driveway, pray that the Holy Spirit will make each person sensitive to His leading in praying for complete strangers on your route. Take turns praying for whatever houses you feel led to pray for. If you’re in a neighborhood and it’s safe, pull over and pray in front of the home. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer. Something as simple as “Lord, please give this family peace” is a sweet fragrance to God.

Pray before our feet hit the floor. Opportunities, especially during this season, are ripening Cookies with purposeall around us. Pray that the Holy Spirit would make you sensitive to His leading as you go through your day. Purposeful prayer is a potent weapon!

Bake cookies. But don’t stop there! Choose cookie cutters that hold a symbol of the gospel story: a star, cross, heart, cradle, etc. Be creative! Write out a corresponding verse (Google “scripture” and then a particular shape or object and see what happens!). Attach your verse and note to the cookies. Or use Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good”. Deliver the cookies with a warm smile and release the results to God.

I pray that you and your family will have a
beautiful,
blessed,
grace-filled,
forgiven and Gospel-driven Christmas.

{And a Happy New Year! See you in January!}

This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ. – Frank McKibben

You might like:
The Meaning of the Gospel – Tim Keller

3 More Ways to Fill A Mug with Encouragement

A Cup of Encouragement
The sooner we stop believing the lie that we must offer some grand gesture to make a difference, the sooner more souls will find rest⎯the kind of rest a good, good Father desires for His children.

Maybe you remember the above quote from last month’s post? It was there I first mentioned the idea of sharing a small {but meaningful} gift with someone in need⎯be it spiritually, emotionally, or physically.

So let’s look at three more ways we can fill a simple mug to the glory of God!


3 Ways to Fill A Mug With Encouragement

 

Be still and know that I am God __ Psalm 46_10

My love of mugs began way back when in a yellow-clad kitchen where my grandmother savored her morning cups of Yuban coffee served up in a thick-rimmed Homer Laughlin coffee cup. You might remember those cups from roadside diners or Howard Johnson motels back in the 60’s. These coffee cups with heft can still be spotted in local antique shops and estate sales. If this isn’t an option any thicker mug will do.

Here’s the question: Who are you praying for on a regular basis these days? Consider inserting a note inside a mug that says something like…Every time you sip from this gift, remember that just as this mug surrounds your coffee, my prayers surround you. You are loved, never forgotten. {Psalm 125:2}

 

Be still and know that I am God __ Psalm 46_10-1

Got a new neighbor? Go ahead and bake up those chocolate chip cookies but this time, stack them and place in a mug of your choosing, along with a simple note welcoming them to your neighborhood. Awhile back, I shared in this post how a friend of mine, Kim Rhodes, displays Christ in such an organic, authentic way by loving her neighbors well. Because summertime isn’t a friend to chocolate, you’ll want to drop this off when your neighbor is at home. It will also give you a chance to personally welcome them!

 

Be still and know that I am God __ Psalm 46_10-2

Who couldn’t use a God-kiss from time-to-time? Okay, God didn’t manufacture them but Hershey’s did, and we know all good things come from Him. {Pardon the stretch.} Nevertheless, we all know someone who could use an edible tangible reminder that God is with them right there, in the thick of their problem. Fill up a mug with Hershey’s chocolate kisses along with this note:

God Kisses
Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

Each time you take a kiss be reminded of God’s goodness… and name each one aloud.

For all of the above mug ideas, remember to encourage the recipient to pass it on. But most importantly, stay sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. He may want to change it up…and if so, to God be the glory!

Is there one of the three above ideas that resonates with you today? Or do you have additional ideas to share? If so, please share in the comment section. Thank you!

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Cultivating Creativity // Reflecting His Image

canstockphoto5408658Notice anything different? Hope so! I’ve made some changes to this place I’ve called home since 2008.

Back then, I began blogging at the prompting of Rich Butler, a friend, and fellow co-staffer at the time. Each week as a church staff we came together to design, if you will, our weekly services. It was my favorite hour of the week. To experience God bringing to life those creative ideas for His glory felt much like Eric Liddell must have felt when he said:

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.

Bringing creative elements into the telling of the Gospel has always felt natural to me. After all, the Bible is crammed full of examples of how God uses our senses to reveal more of Himself to us.

  • Psalm 34:8 – Taste and see that the LORD is good!
  • Proverbs 20:12 – The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, God has made them both.
  • Matthew 8:3 – And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
  • Genesis 8:21 – And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

There are numerous accounts in the Gospel of Jesus using tangible “takeaways” when He taught. He was the Master of metaphors and multi-sensory teaching. The Tabernacle, Passover, The Lord’s Supper…the list goes on. Jesus knew the power of our senses {as our Creator} and He harnessed them all for the Father’s glory. And this is my desire as well.

You see, earlier this year, I sensed God nudging me to become more intentional with this little corner of mine. I prayed, I watched, and I expected. I soon realized that since becoming a student of the Word years ago, I’ve gravitated towards adding a creative element to the studies I lead, to the gifts I give, and often to the gatherings I create. That was it!

I could learn and share how to cultivate creativity in every day life, reflecting more and more of His image in the process.

From there, Fistbump Media {Dan King and Susan Stilwell} hopped on board, using their own creative gifts and talents to make this site feel more like home — a place where we can come together as a community of believers, bloggers, and whomever else God decides to bring.

My hope is that you will find this to be a place of encouragement and inspiration as we seek to cultivate creativity through our home and families, writing, meaningful gatherings, and our stories of faith…all to the glory of our Creator and King.

For a more detailed look at the “why” behind this intentional move towards creativity, visit my About Page here, or click the tab at the top of the page.

Beginning next week, I’ll post once a week and believe me when I say…you don’t want to miss next week. God revealed Himself in a subtle but meaningful way a few weeks ago. I can’t wait to share. Until then, thank you for stopping by today. I don’t take you or your time for granted. You are a blessing!

If you like what you’re reading, you can subscribe today in the right-hand margin. My weekly posts will be delivered to your inbox. Also, feel free to share with a friend! Thank you. 🙂

Suggested Reading:
Desiring God {John Piper’s site}, Make God Look Great. Create.
Stephen Altrogge’s e-book, Create. Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Stuff

Sharing Life Together: Retire Your Regrets

 
Welcome!
Can you believe we’re almost in August? 
I heard my entire life, and perhaps you did too, that the older you get the quicker time seems to pass.
A recent run-in with one of Brian’s past co-workers who retired several years ago painted the picture of time in a whole new light for us. Brian commented that he still had fifteen years to go before retirement. Without hesitation, the man solemnly looked at Brian and said, “I’d rather be fifteen years younger and working.” 
One, looking forward to not having to work 40+ hours a week, and the other, ready to trade that benefit in an instant to be Brian’s age again. It was obvious the retiree had given much thought to his declaration.
I don’t know about you, but too often I find myself waiting for that next benchmark in life to do, feel, or say something but none of us are promised that next reference point.  

Today is the day to do, feel, and say.

 
 

Heavenly Father,
Your Word tells us to number our days,
for when we do, we grow in wisdom.
Thank You for those who unexpectedly cross our path,
reminding us to take hold of life where we are today—
to enjoy it, and to thank You for it. 
Amen.

 

Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul?

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14 
 

Yet
you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a
vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. – See more
at:
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Life,-Brevity-Of#sthash.0hz3HHro.dpuf

 

 

Is there one particular word from the above scripture you feel 

led to “sip” on, meditate on, throughout this week?


   

———————————–
I choose the word appears. It reminds me that I’m simply a sojourner, a mere dot on the line of eternity. Life is like a blink of the eye regardless of the years lived.

 

Before
we bring our time to a close, you may want to consider one tangible way to “pour”
out His truth in response to the word(s) chosen above.
 

Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time. Would
you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your “word” in the comment box? Blessings!
He
does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take
pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those
who wait for His lovingkindness. – See more at:
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf

So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

(A special thanks to Lori Roeleveld for her help on today’s title.  Visit her insightful blog @ Lori Roeleveld.)

Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time

 

Welcome, friend!


Please, pull up a chair and make yourself comfy while I pour us a cuppa tea.
So, how was your weekend? 

I have to say, our Saturday was downright delightful. An entire day with two grands! We played in puddles, gobbled down princess-inspired Goldfish, and discovered new toys to enjoy. (We missed you Liv and Judah, our “soon” to be adopted grand.)  

I looked forward to having grandchildren long before they arrived, but my appreciation for this role grew by depths after leading a writing workshop for a local group of mom’s who’ve lost children of any age. One mom eloquently summed up the experience by saying that when a person loses their parents, they lose a part of their past but when a child is lost, they lose a part of their future—including grandchildren. Talk about putting things into perspective.  

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the blessing of children and grandchildren. 
Thank You for every child who skips across our path.
Our calling to be a godly influence is not limited to a particular role 
but rather, it is boundless with opportunity to bring You glory. 
Help us not to take this calling for granted. 
Amen.
 

 Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul?
Only be careful,
and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your
eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.
Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9 NIV  
Is there one particular word from the above scripture you feel 

led to “sip” on, meditate on, throughout this week?


   

———————————–

I choose the word “teach.” Teach by living out, speaking about, and praying, especially for our children, grandchildren, and all children under our influence. What a blessing!
Before
we bring our time to a close, you may want to consider one tangible way to “pour”
out His truth in response to the word(s) chosen above. 

Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time. Would
you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your “word” in the comment box? Blessings!
He
does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take
pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those
who wait for His lovingkindness. – See more at:
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it
would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his
neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

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