28 December 2009

The Worst Best Gift Ever

Now that Christmas is gone many of us look through our stack of gifts and can't help but have a favorite. I received some cool stuff this year, including an electric coffee cup, which is pretty cool considering how much time I spend on the road drinking cold coffee. Those days are over forever. Another great gift...cash money. I love cash money. It has a way of just making me feel all happy inside. The best gift this year, however, had to be the Itunes gift cards. These puppies are invaluable to me. I can't put into words what it's like to open an envelope and see the glorious, bold Itunes logo on a gift card. Over the past couple years I have become quite a fan of buying movies, music, and TV shows through Itunes. I spend more time than I'd like to admit shopping through the Itunes online store picking out my next big purchase knowing Christmas was coming and there was a good chance I would get another batch of these little chunks of plastic heaven. I already had my next big purchase planned. It was Chuck season two, arguably the best show on TV. So the first thing I did when I saw my gift cards was to unpack my not-so-portable computer, hook it up to the internet, and start down loading. I downloaded most of the night away, spending the gift cards in a matter of a few minutes. As soon as an episode was complete I started watching...and watching...and watching...and watching. I watched every episode in three days time. Three days! How insane! Sitting on the tale end of a TV show marathon binge and feeling the withdrawal affects I can safely say that was the worst way to spend three days. Now my mind can't get focused. I can't think in reality, only in fiction. My mind is so overwhelmed with thoughts of 22 episodes of pure entertainment bliss. My productivity is non existent. I sit in my world of withdrawal now knowing that the best Christmas gift made for the worst productive three days of my life. Although I am grateful for the gift, I think I could use a good class/seminar/rehab on moderation and self control. Just when I think I have it all together worst best gift ever!

What was your best gift? Have you ever received a gift that has completely kept you preoccupied for hours, days, or even weeks?

27 December 2009

Looking for Input

Recently I have been looking into how to blog better. There seem to be many schools of thought on this topic and I'm not quite sure which approach to follow. I would like to solicit your help. Let me know what you think about the blog. Don't be shy, tell me your thoughts, tell me what you like or dislike (be honest, I can take it) and tell me what you think would help improve Finding God In America. Is there something specific anything that you've seen or know works well? I will also be making some changes soon to the Right Side Up Ministries site. I know the importance the internet plays in our lives today and I am looking to use this medium to spread the message of Gods love. I look forward to hearing from you.

22 December 2009

Christmas, Xmas, Happy Holidays?

MERRY CHRISTMAS! After all, it is that time of year. It's that time of year when children can't sleep in anticipation, when eggnog actually has sales revenues, and when the church and the world battle over who owns the rights to Christmas. Should it be Christmas, Xmas, Happy Holidays, or some other classy spin on words. With this argument at it's peek over the last couple weeks I couldn't help but put together my own opinion about all this banter. I sat around attempting to put my thoughts down when another "Radical Realization" hit me, I have no idea what I think!

I have no idea what I think about this topic. In one sense I VERY much know it is about Christ, but in another I don't really know what I should hold a non-believing world accountable to. Should I expect someone who has not experienced Christ in the same way I have to walk out their beliefs the same way I do? In all reality, can I even expect another person who has experienced Christ like I have to walk their life out the same way I do? I think the answer is no. I do see a huge importance on Christ followers to emphasize Christ in their Christmas, but can I judge someone else for not doing it? Let's not forget that Christmas is about giving. It's about the greatest Gift that God ever gave, Jesus! And in this giving, we were taught to give things to others, specifically love. So in the season of giving love let's not forget that love is not only given in a wrapped up gift under a tree. It is also given in a kind act to others, or in a warm smile, or in a hug, or in a simple hello. It is also given in accepting others where they are. Not everyone knows Jesus, so not everyone can be expected to have Christmas be about Jesus.

I don't think anything has irritated me more this Christmas season than the idea of listing stores Christians should shop at by how CHRISTmas they are. Judging on such standards as to whether or not the cashier says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays", whether there are nativity scenes or Santa with his reindeer, whether the Christmas music is a hymn or a catchy Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer rendition. I once owned a business and I chose to have an emphasis on Christ in my business, but not all companies do, and not all companies are owned by Christians. To be honest I would be disturbed if I walked into a Family Christian Store and was told "Happy Holidays" while surrounded by a jolly fat St. Nick and his reindeer, but not if I'm at Sears or Old Navy. So our loving Christian way is to boycott these pagan establishments at all cost? I don't think that I can do that and I don't think you should either. The Bible tells us to let our light shine in this world, so let it shine right in the middle of a shrine to Santa. Let your love for Christ shine by being a blessing to these establishments. Stop giving the non-Christian world a reason to hate Christians. Love people where they are. Support the unloved this Christmas holiday, and by all means boldy reply to "Happy Holidays" with "Merry Chrismas". Let the light of Christ into the darkness of the world around us. Support our economy and buy where the experts are, not necessarily where the Christians are.

Shouldn't we hold people accountable to what they profess in THEIR lives, not what we profess in OUR lives? Shouldn't we take Christ to the lost world and not just cuddle our beliefs amoungst other believers? What are your thoughts on Christmas and where to shop? Is it Christ like to shop at a non-Christian business? Why or why not?

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