Putting CHRIST In Christmas

Does it seem like many people substitute “Happy holidays” for “Merry Christmas”? Or that more and more people prefer spelling it “X-mas” instead of Christmas? 

This isn’t something new in our culture. Francis of Assisi dealt with this same situation in the 12th century. 

“Many people spell Christmas without Christ, the glory of a Holy Day being supplanted by the glitz of a holiday—a problem that reaches back to the days of St. Francis of Assisi. 

“Francis was born in 1182 in central Italy, son of a rich merchant. After a scanty education, he joined the army and was captured in war. He came to Christ shortly after his release, and soon he began traveling around the countryside, preaching the gospel. At a February 1209 Mass, Francis was gripped by words being read from Matthew 10: As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff … (NIV). 

“Francis felt that Christ Himself was speaking directly to him. He decided to obey those words as literally as possible, preaching the kingdom and possessing nothing. It is as though a 1,200-year bridge were crossed, putting Francis in the shoes of the original wayfaring apostles themselves. 

“He spent his remaining days making Christ real to everyone he met—a passion leading to history’s first living nativity scene. On December 24, 1223, Francis found a cave near Greccio, Italy, and brought in animals traditionally associated with the birth of Christ. (Francis loved animals and sometimes even preached to them.) He built the crib, arranged the hay, and finished the scene. Crowds gathered full of curiosity and wonder; and there on Christmas Eve Francis preached the wonder of God made man, born a naked infant and laid in the manger. ‘Behold your God,’ he said, ‘a poor and helpless Child, the ox and donkey beside Him. Your God is of your flesh.’ 

“Glitz gave way to glory that evening as the people of Greccio learned afresh how to spell the word Christmas.” —From On This Day 

This Advent season, let us remember that there is no Christmas without Christ! 

Links & Quotes

link quote

“‘God works for those who wait for Him’ (Isaiah 64:4). The proper connotation of saying God works for me is that I am bankrupt and need a bailout. I am weak and need someone strong. I am endangered and need a protector. I am foolish and need someone wise. I am lost and need a Rescuer. ‘God works for me’ means I can’t do the work.” —John Piper

“Pure holy simplicity confounds all the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of the flesh.” —Francis of Assisi

The Cedar Springs Post has a nice article about our residents which are featured in the Heart of West Michigan’s ArtPrize. Glad our town is so well represented!

This is pretty amazing: why the information in our DNA points to a Creator.

Eric Metaxas explains how the heroin epidemic in our country is a great opportunity for the church.

5 lies that lead to burnout.

[VIDEO] Cecile Richards admits under oath that Planned Parenthood has lied about providing mammograms—

And here is a list of how beyond lying to the public, Planned Parenthood continues to break the law!

6 More Quotes From “Teamwork 101”

Teamwork 101As always, John Maxwell includes a whole bunch of great quotes from other sources to make his case. In Teamwork 101, here are a few of the quotes I enjoyed.

“Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” —Albert Einstein

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” —Niccolo Machiavelli

“In order to have a winner, the team must have a feeling of unity. Every player must put the team first ahead of personal glory.” —Paul Bear Bryant

“The freedom to do your own thing ends when you have obligations and responsibilities. If you want to fail yourself—you can—but you cannot do your own thing if you have responsibilities to team members.” —Lou Holtz

“All getting separates you from others; all giving unites to others.” —Francis of Assisi

“No man can live happily who regards himself alone, who turns everything to his own advantage. You must live for others if you wish to live for yourself.” —Seneca

If you would like to read some of the original John Maxwell quotes from Teamwork 101, please click here.

15 More Quotes From “Success 101”

Susscess 101One of the things I enjoy about John Maxwell’s books is the number of other resources he employs to make his point: motivational sources, historical sources, quotes, stories, personal examples, and more. Here are some of the quotes Dr. Maxwell shared in his Success 101 book.

“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life. Everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus everyone’s task is as unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.” —Viktor Frankl

“There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.” —Henry Ford

“A blind man’s world is bounded by the limits of his touch; an ignorant man’s world by the limits of his knowledge; a great man’s world by the limits of his vision.” —E. Paul Hovey

“Failure is really a matter of conceit. People don’t work hard because, in their conceit, they imagine they’ll succeed without ever making an effort. Most people believe that they’ll wake up someday and find themselves rich. Actually, they’ve got it half right, because eventually they do wake up.” —Thomas Edison

“Sir, I salute you not only as a great leader of men, but as an indomitable Christian gentleman who wouldn’t give up.” —General Charles Cornwallis, when he surrendered to George Washington

“I start where the last man left off.” —Thomas Edison

“Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired—you quit when the gorilla is tired.” —Robert Strauss

“Every successful person finds that great success lies just beyond the point when they’re convinced their idea is not going to work.” —Napoleon Hill

“The greatest mistake one can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” —Elbert Hubbard

“He who makes no mistakes, makes no progress.” —Theodore Roosevelt

“Nobody whoever gave their best ever regretted it.” —George Halas

“If you do what you can, with what you have, where you are, then God won’t leave you where you are, and He will increase what you have.” —Bill Purvis

“Each time you decide to grow again, you realize you are starting at the bottom of another ladder.” —Ken Rosenthals

“Start doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” —Francis of Assisi

“The only conquests which are permanent and leave no regrets are our conquests over ourselves.” —Napoleon Bonaparte

I also shared some quotes from John Maxwell himself in Success 101. You can read those by clicking here.

Thursdays With Oswald—Christ Exhibited In Me

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Christ Exhibited In Me 

     The inspiration of God does not patch up my natural virtues; He re-makes the whole of my being until we find that every virtue we possess is His alone. God does not come in and patch up our good works, He puts in the Spirit that was characteristic of Jesus; it is His patience, His love, and His tenderness and gentleness that are exhibited through us. …When God alters a man’s heart and plants His Spirit within, his actions have the inspiration of God behind them; if they have not, they may have the inspiration of satan. 

From Biblical Psychology

This passage reminds me of a story told about Francis of Assisi. While he was hoeing his garden, someone asked him, “What would you do if you knew you would die at the end of the day today?” Francis thoughtfully replied, “I’d finish hoeing this garden.”

Francis’ view should be ours as well: Every thought, every word, every action is directed by the Spirit of Christ in me. What I am doing now, I’m doing because the Holy Spirit inspired me to do it.

It’s encouraging to know that Christ can be exhibited in everything I think, say, and do. But it’s also very sobering to realize that I need to be constantly tuned-in to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I never want to be out-of-step with the Spirit, but I want all my thoughts, words, and actions to be Christ exhibited in me.

Bringin’ It!

Everywhere you go today, you are bringing something. What is it?

Compassion … Empathy … Servanthood … Encouragement … A smile?

…or…

Disinterest … Apathy … Selfishness … Discouragement … A frown?

Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace, that
where there is hatred, I may bring love;
where there is wrong, I may bring forgiveness;
where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
where there is error, I may bring truth;
where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
where there is despair, I may bring hope;
where there are shadows, I may bring light;
where there is sadness, I may bring joy. —Francis of Assisi

So what are you going to bring today?

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