Sunday, December 23, 2007

NORAD tracks Santa with Google

This was so important, I felt I had to post just as a public service announcement. dg

12/23/2007 05:55:00 PM

Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!

We're counting down the hours until Santa's flight around the world. On Monday, December 24th, starting at 1 am PST, visit noradsanta.org to track Santa with NORAD on his annual trip.

NORAD will use Google Maps to track several hundred of Santa's stops in over 200 countries and territories, and will embed videos of Santa's stops captured on their Santa Cams on the Google Map and post the videos on the NORAD Tracks Santa YouTube channel.

Want to see more of Santa? NORAD will also provide a downloadable Santa Tracker file to track several thousand of Santa's stops in Google Earth. Santa's visits are only a few seconds long, and then -- poof, he's off to the next location. Click on the gift icons in Google Maps or Google Earth to learn more about the cities that Santa visits.

Happy holidays from all of us at Google!

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:10-11 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
[NIV at IBS] [International Bible Society] [NIV at Zondervan] [Zondervan]

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord.


1. Luke 2:11 Or Messiah. "The Christ" (Greek) and "the Messiah" (Hebrew) both mean "the Anointed One"; also in verse 26.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Joy is being free!

Joy is being free. That's why Jesus came--to set us free from sin and death. Jesus means "The Lord saves."

This video clip sums it up pretty well. Amazing how well kids can say things. It's more than worth the 2 min. to listen.

Merry Christmas. dg

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Joy is being transformed

God's word transforms those who trust His word and act on it.

Joseph heard God's word 3 different times through angels in the Matthew account of the Christmas story. Each time he heard God's word and acted on it in faith. He couldn't see or hear God but he did hear God's messenger and acted on it. That transformed Joseph further preparing him to become the earthly father of Jesus.

Are you being transformed by God's word? Are you even listening? If so, when you listen, are you obeying it promptly and completely as Joseph did.

Here are some practical steps you can take to live joyful transformation:

Pick a
place. Early while it was still dark Jesus got up and went off to a solitary place where He prayed. Mark 1:35 Find a place where you can get away from everyone and read and pray undisturbed. This is your "Prayer closet."

Pick a
period of time. Start with as little as necessary to establish a daily habit. It takes about 30 days to establish a habit. Just resolve to do that. 3 minutes a day for 30 days.

Now that said, to truly be transformed by God will take more time. Just like you can't expect a close relationship to grow without spending time together, it's unrealistic to think that God will transform you significantly in so little time. Love takes time. Make time. Pick a period of time where you consistently and effectively meet with God. He's waiting.

Pick a
plan. What do you do once you get in there? Here are some suggestions. But the main thing is to pick a plan and then work it.

-Read a chapter a day in the New Testament (begin with Matthew) and read the NT in a year.

-Read 3 chapters a day. If you want to read the whole Bible in a year, read 3 chapters a day. Start in 3 place for variety. I suggest beginning in Genesis, Job and Matthew. Using 3 bookmarks, you can work the whole Bible in a year.

-Read through the Psalms and Proverbs regularly. Tie your reading to the calendar. Ex. on Jan. 1 read Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91, 121 & Proverbs 1. Jan. 2 read Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92, 122, Proverbs 2. And so on. You'll end up reading all of Psalms and Proverbs in a month. That is worth repeating too.

Pick a
partner. Not somebody to pray with but somebody who wants to meet with God daily as well but has trouble staying consistent. Decide to hold each other accountable by calling each other at least once a week. Check in to see how they're doing. Don't stop with did you meet with God today but ask, "What is God teaching you? How are you growing? Are you sensing any changes in your life?" It's about more than being able to say you did it (although that's important early on).

Purpose to do it. Remember, the purpose in doing this isn't to be able to say you did it. That will only build pride and we're not about that. It's to see God transform us. We want God to change us to become more like Jesus Christ. That happens as we get to know God better. Purpose for transformation.

Practice. Practice. Practice. It won't happen unless you do it. "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only."

Joy is being transformed in the image of Christ. Purpose to begin doing that today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Joy is being secure

I shared Sunday 3 things joy is in Christ. The first is...

Joy is being secure.

Tsunamis, Corporate scandal, terrorism, war...secure in what? Secure in the sovereignty of God. In the Christmas story found in Matthew 1:18-2 we see God is sovereign over creation and the nations.

He's sovereign over creation as seen in his manipulation of the stars drawing the Magi to Jesus. Only God could do that. It doesn't matter whether he used 3 planets or just put his own supernatural maglite in the sky--he did it. He's sovereign over creation.

He's sovereign over the nations too. He used the wicked king Herod to help the Magi along. He wasn't limited to a good king being in power.

God's not limited today either. I don't have to be afraid of typhoons or terrorists. Even the angels remind us over and over, "Do not be afraid."

Joy is being secure. Rest in that today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Jesus!

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Congress gets it right!

"Congress Says “Merry Christmas”

Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted 372-to-9 in support of a resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith in the founding of the United States and formation of Western Civilization. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a great conservative champion. (This political action committee played a key role in helping Steve King win his primary election in 2002. Just one more way we are helping to defend your values!)

Earlier this year, the House passed measures honoring Ramadan and Diwali, a Hindu holiday. But Rep. King noted, “Watching Congress honor Islam during Ramadan, and also Diwali … brought it home to me that we were doing that and not honoring Christianity. …This nation has about 225 million Christians out of 300 million… And the foundations of this nation are a
Christian foundation [and] our founders were Christian. So for us to move forward towards Christmas without honoring Christ is, I think a great omission, especially if we’re going to honor other religions."

Thanks to Gary Bauer for sharing this. See his site at www.cwfpac.com

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Advent Conspiracy

What’s [AC] Advent Conspiracy?
Christmas was meant to change the world. It still can. Worship more. Spend less. Give more. Love all.

I recently re-listened to a message by Rick McKinley on the Advent Conspiracy. It really challenged me to look at how I celebrate Christmas. This blogger summarizes it well:

Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by worshipping Jesus through compassion, not consumption." The conspirators behind this include my friends Chris Seay and Rick McKinley. Rick says "A lot of churches are participating in taking back Christmas by telling a better story with our Worship." Check it out and get involved.

Thanks to the Tall Skinny Kiwi for posting this.

Friday, December 07, 2007

ReThinking Church

I recently read the book, Reveal, that came out of the humble admission by Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church (Possibly the largest church in America), "We made a mistake." It does a great job of explaining the mistake, diagnosing the problem and recommending some real solutions.

After reading Hybels book on leadership (Courageous Leadership) and then attending his simulcast leadership event last year (The Summit), I feel I also have a better feel for where they are coming from. Coming out of a culture (seminary) that frowned on Willow, I was naturally skeptical of them. I am not so much anymore.

Chuck Colson shares his wise perspective on this important issue of transforming lives (the mission of the church) in his article. (Listen to instead of read) This admission by Hybels is huge in and of itself. But to me what is most impressive is their willingness to roll up their sleeves and do something about it. And to do something about it in a way that benefits other churches too.

I am determined to learn from their mistakes instead of repeating them. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.

I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts.

Thanks for taking the time to read this short article.