Christmas at the Movies – that was tonight’s theme for our Jingle Jazz presentation. All but one of our guests came. I was a bit discouraged at the one that did not attend because she was the wife of Jon’s co-worker who got fired. She very adamently didn’t want to come, and something came up at work that prevented her from coming. They are kind people, but she lives a different lifestyle than us, and I truly hoped she could make it. FOR THE GOOD NEWS. God answers prayer!!!! My boss and her boyfriend were able to come. My boss and I have never had any “spiritual” discussions. She knows my beliefs, and I do my best to have my life support what I believe. We really enjoy their company, and Jon and I try to play cards with them and go to dinner frequently. Lexi also loves their dog Ginger, so it works out well. I was rather nervous about inviting her to Jingle Jazz because I didn’t want to overstep the boundaries that are enforced by the staff/partner stigma at work, but Jon and I thought they would enjoy the evening.
I got an e-mail this morning from her that her boyfriend’s grandmother was admitted to the hospital and they were going to be with her. Ann (my boss) said she hoped to make it but that she would call me this afternoon. I had NOTHING to do at work today, so I prayed periodically that the Lord would allow them to get back in time. She called me at 5pm to tell me that they would be there. Answer to prayer #1. Then I started praying that they would enjoy the presentation as I imagined it was probably their first time in a church in a very long time if at all.
The auditorium was set up with seats groupings of four seats. We had purchased three sets in one row for all of our guests. Jon and I decided we would sit in the middle section with Myles and Ann to make them more comfortable. Let me set the stage for you as you came into our church tonight. When you walked up to the church, Darth Vadar met us (remember, Christmas at the movies). When you walked in the first set of doors, there was one of those big movie posters like you might see on the side of a bus stop shelter or subway wall. Then when you walked in there were lots of brightlights. There was a will call booth which looked like the old movie theatre ticket offices, you know the one that’s round with the glass around it. Then there was the concession stands where we got free popcorn, soda, and candy. All members of the youth group who were the theatre employees were dressed in white shirts and red vests.
So, anyway, we arrive, get our concessions and sit down. Ann leans over and tells me that this is a great way to introduce people to the church (EXACTLY what I was hoping for). As the program started, we walked through all traditional music with music and funny skits. Ann and her boyfriend laughed the entire time and were extremely impressed by the talent of our music team. I was so encouraged as I saw God answering my prayers all night.
Our other friends that came to the event also had a wonderful time, and we got to stay after and chat with them which was very nice and long overdue with all of them. We praise the Lord for answering our prayers regarding our guests. May He continue to tug at them until they visit with us again. God is answering prayers in all ways. For example, after 60 days or so of trying to sell my Buick, we have multiple people willing to look at it this weekend. We also are praising God for Becca’s progress this week. Jon and I are going to spend what’s left of this evening relaxing and preparing for our long drives tomorrow at the wedding.
So, I haven’t been too successful with the “gift” giving, but what I have noticed in the past two weeks is that I have become more aware of opportunities to “serve rather than be served.” I believe this was the true purpose of the exercise, and it’s been unique changing my responses to things or my willingness to do tasks based on the purpose that I am here to serve and not be served.
Jon and I are very excited about something, and we would like you to partner in prayer with us. This Friday, our church is having their annual Christmas program which they affectionately call Jingle Jazz. It’s a time to invite guests to come to a “safe” Christian environment for a time of fun. Our music staff at our church is by far the most talented music staff I have sat under anywhere. We are truly blessed. What we would like you to pray about is that we have invited 10 people to go with us. I have invited my boss, her boyfriend, one of Jon’s former co-workers (got fired a few weeks back) and his wife, two couples that profess to be Christians, and then my mom and sister. Just join us in prayer that each couple will be spiritually uplifted by our time together and that a couple of the couples would see the need to be involved in a church family.
Time is flying fast in SC. I have 4 Saturdays left before official start of busy season. Sad to say, but most of those Saturdays are already booked. ha ha. We are still waiting back on my last CPA exam…we hope it’s my last at least. 😉 I will keep you posted on the results.
Jon is doing well, and work has lightened up a bit for him. We are still tentative about the rapid improvements that have been implemented, but we are praying that the changes are permament and praying that the Lord would continue to disclose His will to us. Will write again soon….until then. Have fun, and keep checking back for pictures from Deb. K. Sutter’s wedding this weekend.
Our local radio station is taking applications for $100 prizes that a person will win TO GIVE AWAY. Right up my alley. So, I registerred and nominated a friend of mine who is truly following after God and who could really use the money to help with the added expenses of this time of year. Winners are randomly selected, so we’ll see.
Well, I took my sister’s idea of using her for Day 4. She was having an interview in Virginia to advance within the company that she works for. While I can’t decide if I think her moving is a good idea or not, I did want to help her any way I could. At 6ish in the morning, I was reading and revising her resume and sales presentation before I left for work. I enjoy helping people, so as crazy as this sound, I haven’t necessarily been doing “new” things, but I am praying more often to ask God to prompt me to do something.
Day 5’s gift isn’t necessarily a gift, and I don’t really even know the recipient will be. Tonight at my mock trial meeting, I was asking my kids how the tournament went because I didn’t get to go to it, and I haven’t seen them since before it which was two weeks ago. I began talking with one of my students who was sharing that his early resolution for the year is to stay in contact with his friends better. He started telling me that this older woman from his church in North Carolina has been calling him to talk with him, and he keeps ignoring her because he just doesn’t want to talk to him. I encouraged him to remember what the verse says in Mark 10:45 that I mentioned yesterday. To be like Christ, we must serve rather than look for ways to be served. I explained to him that our human nature wants to be gratified. He gave the examples of friendships that he feels like it’s one sided and that he doesn’t feel appreciated. While it sounds pious, did Jesus feel appreciated when He was on the cross for us? Anyway, even getting to share the passage we learned in church was a gift for someone, maybe even the little old lady my student will call sometime this week.
How have you served someone today? Are you too exhausted to serve others? Put yourself in Christ’s spot on the cross. The true ultimate expression of exhaustion and service.
On Sunday, our pastor encouraged us to give 30 gifts in 30 days because in Mark 10:45 we are reminded that Jesus came to earth not to be served but to serve. We, as Christians, who strive to be like Christ, should want to serve without looking for something in return. He said these gifts do not have to be gifts that cost money, but we must pray to ask God to prompt us to give a gift. The only requirement is that we do not expect anything in return. So, I’m going to re-cap the first few days. I am NOT writing this to “toot my own horn.” If anything, it’s to encourage you to “Give 30 gifts in 30 days.” Let’s take Christmas back to what it’s supposed to be.
Day 1 – I sent an e-mail to someone who is busy serving others and told him/her how much I appreciated the selflessness on a daily basis.
Day 2 – I bought my co-worker lunch, and I watched my niece and nephew while my brother-in-law and sister went to their bowling league.
Day 3 – I prayed for the Lord to prompt me, but I was getting discouraged because I wasn’t really prompted to do anything until 8 at night. Sounds like a stupid gift, but I bought my brother-in-law some contact solution. He’s a person who works so hard to pay his school bill, keep his grades up, etc, and the least I can do for him is to buy some simple contact solution. I’m blessed to be in his family. Stay tuned for the next 27 days!!!!