Monthly Archives: December 2010

Becky Kelley – Where’s the Line to See Jesus – OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO

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Celtic Thunder Christmas – Christmas 1915

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Wrong Motives, Right Attitude

Yesterday was the day that a devotional I wrote for the Western PA-Germany United Methodist Partnership’s Advent Devotional Book was featured. I wrote the English version and one of our German UM’s translated it into German.
Wednesday 15th December

Numbers 24: 2 – 7, 15 – 17

Today’s passage records the last of the prophet Balaam’s attempts to earn respect and rewards from the king of the land. All he has to do is pronounce a curse against the children of Israel as they finish their journey towards the promised land. Twice now, Balaam sought an omen that he might use as a curse, but both times Scripture states that “God met with Balaam.” (Num 23:4,16). Each of those encounters results not in a curse, but in a blessing. The king is angry and Balaam agrees to try again.

So King Balak waits while Balaam prays, again looking for something he might say to bring a curse on the Israelites and bless King Balak’s forces. But this time, we read in Numbers 24:2, the spirit of God literally comes upon Balaam. What proceeds from the resulting pronouncement is even more than a blessing, it includes a prophetic picture of how God would one day bring the blessing of the coming Messiah upon the earth through these Israelites. Balaam sees the Messiah as the “Star” and a “Scepter” who will ultimately reign over all … even King Balak’s lands and peoples.

In spite of his wrong motives, Balaam was aware that it was a path to utter failure if he misrepresented his God. How about us? In our lives, how well do we represent our God? We claim we know the Messiah and he’s coming again soon. Do people around us see that in our lives, or do we merely represent ourselves and our own ways? This Advent, as we prepare ourslves anew for Christ’s Second Coming, let’s make sure our lives, our actions, and even our words, are such that those around us can see his “Star” rising in our lives.


Dayton D Mix

Pastor First United Methodist Church in Reynoldsville, PA, (USA)

 
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Mittwoch 15. Dezember

4. Mose 24, 2 – 7 + 15 – 17

Die heutige Bibelstelle handelt vom letzten Versuch des Propheten Bileam, Respekt und Belohnung vom König des Landes zu bekommen. Er braucht nur einen Fluch gegen die Kinder Israels am Ende ihrer Reise ins gelobte Land auszusprechen. Zweimal schon hat Bileam einen Spruch gesucht, der ihm als Fluch dienen könnte, aber beides Mal heiβt es in der Schrift, „Und Gott begegnete Bileam.“ (4. Mose 23, 4,16). Jede dieser Begegnungen führt nicht zu einem Fluch, sondern zu einem Segen. Der König ärgert sich und Bileam ist bereit, es aufs Neue zu versuchen.

Deshalb wartet König Balak, während Bileam betet und wiederum nach etwas sucht, was er als Fluch auf die Israeliten und Segen auf König Balaks Truppen aussprechen könnte. Aber dieses Mal heiβt es in 4. Mose 24,2 dass der Geist Gottes auf ihn zukam. Die daraus entstehende Verkündigung ist mehr als ein Segen, denn sie enthält die prophetische Verheiβung, dass Gott eines Tages durch das Volk Israel den Segen des kommenden Messias aller Welt schenken wird. Als „Stern“ und „Zepter“ sieht Bileam den Messias, der schlieβlich über alles herrschen wird — selbst über König Balaks Länder und Untertanen.

Trotz seiner falschen Beweggründe war sich Bileam bewuβt, dass er den Weg des völligen Versagens einschlagen wird, falls er eine falsche Vorstellung von seinem Gott gäbe. Und wie steht es mit uns? Wie gut stellen wir in unserem Leben unseren Gott dar? Wir behaupten, wir kennen den Messias und seine baldige Wiederkunft. Erkennen unsere Mitmenschen das in unserem Leben, oder stellen wir uns lediglich selbst und unsere eigenen Wege dar? Wenn wir uns in dieser Adventszeit erneut auf die zweite Wiederkunft Christi vorbereiten, dann sorgen wir doch dafür, dass unser Leben, unsere Handlungen und selbst unsere Worte so sind, dass unsere Mitmenschen Seinen „Stern“ in unserem Leben aufgehen sehen.

Dayton D Mix
Pastor First United Methodist Church in Reynoldsville, PA (USA)

Here’s the full devotional book. [click here]

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SCROOGED!

Some lessons and reminders for Christians in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

PASTOR’S ANNUAL CHRISTMAS LETTER 2010

As we have approached our annual celebration of Christmas, I’ve been preaching a different kind of sermon series: following the themes and storyline of Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic, A Christmas Carol.

We see ourselves in Ebenezer Scrooge, for we are all sinners like him. In the book of Romans we read “There is none righteous, no, not one… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom.3:10,23)

In chapter one, we see Scrooge in his counting house with his miserly, mean, grumpy, “HUMBUG” attitude. Once home, he has a vision of his long dead partner, Jacob Marley, who had mastered the miserly, mean, grumpy, “HUMBUG” attitude long before Scrooge made an art of it. Marley, it seems, is there to warn Scrooge that the eternal punishment he’s getting for his sins, is also Scrooge’s fate unless he changes.

Scrooge gets to see Christmases long ago when the Ghost of Christmas Past comes to visit. The joy and love of Christmas rushes back to his mind and his heart. He also gets to see how little choices back then, one at a time, have set up his lot in life in the present. By the end of the second chapter, Scrooge begs the spirit to stop revealing these heartbreaking memories. His regret is overwhelming. He has learned repentance.

Chapter three is where he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows him how Christmas is celebrated by others. He sees them simply enjoying one another and thanking God for His blessings. Scrooge then realizes that even the most destitute who celebrate the birth of Christ are far richer and more blessed than he is. And, while seeing Christmas in the home of his underpaid clerk, his heart is broken by the plight of little, crippled Tiny Tim. Scrooge, who had just learned the cost in relationships of his past choices, has now opened up his heart to this precious needy child. He has learned to love.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, in chapter four, silently points towards Scrooge’s own future. Scrooge learns that Tiny Tim has died because of the lack of money needed to provide the medical care. Scrooge realizes that his lack of compassion even to the one worker he has, has indeed been a major factor in the boy’s death. He is heartbroken. Then Scrooge eventually ends up in the cemetery looking in horror at his own headstone. Again he pleads that he might be given a chance to change things and make different decisions. He has learned of his need for a new start and the need to show compassion whenever you can.

The final chapter of this short little book shows Scrooge as one who has been forgiven and granted a chance to make different choices. He is literally a changed man. He starts Christmas by buying gifts to give and then going to church to worship the Christ of Christmas. He continues to live for many more years. Through his financial support, Tiny Tim does get the care he needs and he does NOT die. In fact, Dickens lets us know that Scrooge becomes like a second father to the boy.

What will it take for us to come to an awareness of our own sin, a desire for repentance, and the opening of our hearts even more in love for those around us? We all need to realize our sin, repent, and show compassion. He confessed his sin & was forgiven.

First John 1:9 reads: “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…”

This Christmas, I pray that each one reading these words will willingly reexamine our lives & hearts, so that we may be like the changed & forgiven Scrooge.

I also want to invite you and your family to join us on Christmas Eve as we, like the altered Scrooge, worship Christ together as we celebrate his birth.

Pastor Dayton


Christmas Eve service starts at 7:00 on Dec. 24th… Come & Worship With Us!

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Marriage Skit By Chonda Pierce And Ken Davis

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