Texan in London

The story is told of the Texan who visited the Summer Olympics in London. He was taking a taxi tour of London as he was in a hurry to see as many sites as he could in a short amount of time. As they passed the Tower of London, the cabbie explained what it was and that construction started in 1346 and continued until its completion in 1412.

The Texan replied, “Shoot, a little ‘ol tower like that? In Houston, we’d have that thing up in two weeks!”

A few minutes later, they passed the House of Parliament. The driver explained that it was built from 1544 until 1618.

The Texan replied, “We built a bigger one than that in Dallas in less than a year!”

As they passed Westminster Abbey the cabbie was silent. The Texan asked, “Whoah! What’s that over there?”

The cabbie scratched his head and said, “Now that, I don’t know! It wasn’t there yesterday!”

The Bible says that Jesus has been building a mansion for you ever since he returned to heaven. That is 2,000 years of construction. Even for a Texan, that will be an unbelievable place. I hope to see you there some day!

Little Jack Horner

Do you remember this old nursery rhyme? It goes like this. “Little Jack Horner sat in the corner eating a Christmas pie; he put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum, and said, ‘What a good boy am I!'”

Now, I never met Jack Horner personally, but I grew up with a lot of boys that were like him. You see, we have no evidence that Jack Horner planted the plum or pruned it on a regular basis. There is no evidence that he picked the plums when they were ripe. Nor is there evidence that he cooked or even served the pie. All Jack Horner did was eat it and take credit for it. He stuck his thumb in the pie, pulled out a plum, and pronounced, “What a good boy am I!”

There is a little Jack Horner in all of us. We are good at receiving the blessings of God. We enjoy his benefits. But we fall short in the area of giving credit.

God blesses us bountifully in so many ways. Then we pull out a plum, lick our thumb, and tell everyone how great we are.

Read your Bible. It was God who gave the Promised Land, his only son, and the gift of life. Remember that the next time you are tempted to say, “What a good boy am I.”

The Rushmore Report – The Commercialization of Christmas

Every year around October, I begin preparing myself for the onslaught. The increase in number of emails I receive from businesses, the increase in mail, the increase in money slipping away from my bank account. I’m guessing that I throw away twice as much mail and send two to three times as many emails to the trash before opening in the October to December rush than the rest of the year.

And I don’t really blame the people and businesses sending all of this stuff to me. As the Director of Communications for international non-profit LiveBeyond, I fully realize that this is the time of year when nonprofits like ours meet budgets, businesses meet quotas, and people reach out to each other in ways like never before. It’s a time of sharing and community and…meeting the bottom line.

On days like today, I like to think back to when I was living in Haiti, working in Thomazeau for LiveBeyond. Sure, I still got emails, but my everyday life wasn’t so crowded with advertisements and marketing ploys. Christmas time was just…well Christmas time – a time of year when people made a point to get together. I got to help distribute stockings with toys to local children, hand out gifts to the LiveBeyond Haitian staff, and laugh gleefully at the Haitian v. American Christmas song competitions (The Haitians always won, by the way).

Christmas isn’t so over commercialized in Haiti. In a country where most of the people live on less than a couple bucks a day, who can afford to buy mountains of presents for each other? No new email or billboard was going to encourage one of my friends to make an impulse buy of this year’s big present. So, few companies even bother advertising there.

The holiday in Haiti always gets me thinking about the true reason for our celebration. Mary gave birth in conditions similar to how the women give birth in Haiti. Jesus spent his life in a level of poverty that wasn’t far from what I see in the villages in Haiti. But the Lord chose to use circumstances like these to bring us the absolute Joy of the world! And the advertisements for Jesus’ birth were positively heavenly.

This Christmas season, I encourage you to remember why we are celebrating. Jesus came to this earth to save us all and to show us the true joy we can experience when we are in a loving relationship with the Lord. He spread that to us. Now it’s our job to spread it to the rest of the world. If that means purchasing special gifts or making donations to your favorite nonprofits in honor of our loved ones or buying items on a list for a child in need, then we should absolutely do it. Because that means that one more person is being reached by the Light of the world.

May the Lord bless you this holiday season.

About the Author

Devin Vanderpool is the Director of Communications for LiveBeyond, a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to providing clean water, medical care, adequate nutrition and the hope of Christ to the poorest of the poor in Thomazeau, Haiti.

Hair

Here are some things you may not know about hair. If you are blonde (coloring doesn’t count), you were given about 150,000 hairs to work with. Brunettes must get by with 100,000 and redheads with just 60,000. So, if you’re a frustrated redhead, it’s okay to express your frustration in many ways, but don’t pull your hair out; you can’t afford to.

The average eyebrow has 550 hairs. (As an aside to all men, feel free to trim your eyebrows before you look like a poodle.)

Ten percent of men shave only with an electric razor, while 30 percent of women do. The average beard has 15,500 hairs. Half of Caucasian men go bald, compared to 18 percent of African Americans and almost no American Indians.

Fifty percent have gray hair by age 50 (more if you have more than two kids). Cutting your hair does not make it grow. The life span of one hair is five years.

And here’s one more truth. God has your hairs numbered. While that isn’t hard for the follicly challenged, it says something about how intimately you are known by your God. So get to know him. Life is short.

You’re hair today, gone tomorrow.

Huddles

I was insecure as a child. I think it goes back to my infant years. When Mom used to rock me, she used those big rocks. My insecurities carried over to my teen years. When I watched football games on television and the teams went into their huddles, I thought they were talking about me.

Actually, there was a day when they didn’t huddle up at all. The quarterback would tell each player what to do. Then it all changed at the powerhouse of college football: Gallaudet University. Located in Washington, D.C., Gallaudet is a school for the deaf. The quarterback calls the plays by sign language.

In the old days, one of their quarterbacks noticed that the defense was watching him call the plays. So he asked the players to “huddle up,” so he could call the plays without being seen by the opposition.

The custom continues today, on the football field and in the church. Yes, in the church! In most churches, we are more concerned with “holy huddles” (meetings, gatherings in our buildings) than we are with putting points on the board (ministry, service).

Church, it’s time to break the huddle and run some plays!

Birthdays

Today – December 12 – is a big day for birthdays! This is especially true for the entertainment industry, and for those who are, let’s say, among the older among us.

Born on December 12, 1893 – Edward G. Robinson

Born on December 12, 1900 – Sammy Davis

Born on December 12, 1915 – Frank Sinatra

That’s not a bad roster of births. But there’s another big day coming, just over a week away. We call it Christmas. On that day, December 25, we celebrate the birth of our Lord. And Jesus has something very different from the men mentioned above. Let me explain.

Died in 1973 – Edward G. Robinson

Died in 1988 – Sammy Davis

Died in 1998 – Frank Sinatra

See the difference? While Robinson, Davis, and Sinatra are no longer with us, Christ is. The one who was raised on the third day is with us today. So as you play your old Frank Sinatra Christmas album, rejoice that, while ol’ blue eyes is no longer with us, the One he is singing about is.

First Football Game

A man took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game. After the game, he asked her how she liked it.

“I loved the game,” she said. “But I can’t understand why everyone was killing each other over 25 cents.”

“Over 25 cents?” asked her boyfriend. “What do you mean – 25 cents?”

She explained, “All the fans kept screaming, every time they hiked the ball, ‘Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back!'”

That is what is known as a simple misunderstanding. Unfortunately, life is also full of huge misunderstandings. Such as good works get us into heaven. Or God only loves us when we “live right.” Or there are many roads to heaven.

Clear communication doesn’t matter so much when you are watching a football game. But when playing the game of life, it means everything.

The Rushmore Report – Ten Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas

The number one way to keep Jesus Christ in your Christmas celebrations is to have him present in your daily life. If you’re not sure what it means to become a believer in Christ, check out this article on “How to Become a Christian.”

If you’ve already accepted Jesus as your Savior and made him the center of your life, keeping Christ in Christmas is more about the way you live your life than the things you say—such as “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays.”

Keeping Christ in Christmas means daily revealing the character, love and spirit of Christ that dwells in you, by allowing these traits to shine through your actions. Here are simple ways to keep Christ the central focus of your life this Christmas season.

1) Give God one very special gift just from you to him.

2) Set aside a special time to read the Christmas story in Luke 1:5-56 through 2:1-20.

3) Set up a Nativity scene in your home.

4) Plan a project of good will this Christmas.

5) Take a group Christmas caroling in a nursing home or a children’s hospital.

6) Give a surprise gift of service to each member of your family.

7) Set aside a time of family devotions on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

8) Attend a Christmas church service together with your family.
If you are alone this Christmas or don’t have family living near you, invite a friend or a neighbor to join you.

9) Send Christmas cards that convey a spiritual message.

10) Write a Christmas letter to a missionary.

About the Author

Mary Fairchild is a Christian writer, editor, and full-time minister. She writes on Christian issues for an organization called ThoughtCo.

The Remedy

A  man went to his doctor, who told him he had a bad illness, and had just one year to live. So the man decided to talk to his pastor. After he explained the situation, he asked what he should do.

His pastor had an answer. “What you need to do is to go out and buy a Dodge pick-up truck from the late 1970s. Then go marry the ugliest woman you can find and buy an old trailer house and put it halfway up a mountain.”

The man asked his pastor, “But I have a terminal illness. Will this help me live longer?”

His pastor replied, “No, but if you do the things I just said, it will be the longest year of your life?”

Life is about quality, not quantity. For some of us, this next year will actually be our last. Let’s treasure every moment, capture every memory, and take in every sunrise. In the process, may we lean on God more than ever; this is the great remedy for life.

Obvious Questions

A young family was touring the FBI Headquarters. They were shown pictures on the wall of the ten most wanted men. The family’s young lad asked, “Why don’t you just keep them when you take their pictures?”

Here’s another great question, asked by a little girl of her dad, who was a pastor. “What do John the Baptist and Kermit the Frog have in common?” Her dad was clueless. “I have no idea, honey. What do John the Baptist and Kermit the Frog have in common?”

“They have the same middle name!” she said.

Kids indeed ask some wonderful questions. That’s how they learn.

Questions must be a good thing, because there are a lot of them in the Bible. “What is your life?” “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” “If a man dies, shall he live again?” “What think ye of Jesus?” “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?”

Kids are full of questions. The Bible is full of questions. Life is full of questions. But there is good news. For every problem there is a solution, and for every question there is a God.

The best way to get in trouble is to turn somewhere else for the answers to life’s most important questions.