Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmas & New Year Words of Encouragement

Christmas time is indeed a time for celebration. It is true that a lot of people do celebrate this day without really knowing what this day is about. There are so many theories and presumptions about Christmas. These theories matter very little as long as the true spirit of this occasion can be captured.

People celebrate this occasion if different ways. Mostly however it is through the use of large Christmas trees and lights. These do look quite spectacular and are always quite a sight to see. It is not all of us that can afford to have these beautiful decorations and gifts in abundance during this time. If you are one of those people you need not let that dampen your mood. You can still celebrate and have a good time without all these things.

As the year comes to an end you have a lot of things to be thankful for. The fact that you have managed to live to celebrate another festive season is reason enough. Many people will face the Christmas and New Year holidays with sadness. Often times because the focus is not where it should be. I want to challenge you as you celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord, and as you look toward the New Year, that you do it with great hope and focus on God’s fresh opportunities in our lives.

Have you lost hope and confidence in yourself and feeling tired of planning year after year but never coming nearer to your dream. Here are some words of encouragement. As you go through this Pastor’s Pen, which I hope will be brief and helpful, you will soon be glad you read it.

It’s never too late

You are not the only one who makes plans year after year and at the end of the day you realize you did not come close to your dreams and feel disappointed. The next year the same thing happens on and on. How can we change that? Well, read on…

Set new goals

First be glad that you did see the New Year. With the help of your PC and notepad jot down everything you would need to achieve in life. Don’t make the mistake of planning what you know you will never be able to achieve because you’ll be disappointed if you don’t reach your goal. Even if you have failed before, consider these New Year words of encouragement once more.

Adopt new lifestyles and principles stick to them

It is very important that when you are trying to make new changes in your life. Adopt new lifestyles make and stick to your new principles. This will ensure your success. I wish to assure you that there is nothing impossible. Remember, one of the messages of Christmas, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Tell yourself it’s either now or never

Avoid postponing if you are to achieve your goals. Just tell yourself that it’s either now or never. After all you are a human like any other person. And there is no spell or a secret formula you can use to make your plans a success except planning your work and working your plan with God’s help.

As we move into 2012, I want to share with you what God has laid on my heart as our guiding theme.

HCBC People of Vision

2012

Our Savior, Our Mission, Our Future!

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Pastor Rick

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A Christmas Devotion

Based on the Book: Christmas Reboot by Alan Danielson

THE INFANT WARRIOR

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God… –Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

Each of the four Gospels has a slightly different telling of the Christmas story, but did you know that Paul also told the Christmas story in Romans? The following passage from Romans 8 is not traditionally thought of as a “Christmas passage”, but the Message translation certainly opens our eyes to a new way of looking at Christmas.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem [of sin] as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. —Romans 8:3-4 (MSG)

With nativity sets, ornaments, paintings and carols we typically picture Christmas as an innocently sweet scene. Yet from sin’s perspective, Christmas was the first blow of God’s redemptive war hammer1 When Satan peered into the stable, he didn’t see sweet little angels, sheep and swaddling clothes. He saw a mighty warrior waiting to burst forth from the manger and free humanity from sin’s slavery. He saw the first battle in a war that he would eventually lose.

The next time you look at that little nativity set or sing carols about the birth of Christ remember that God indeed went for sin’s jugular. He personally put on an earth suit, came onto the scene and made war against sin and death. Christmas was the bugle call informing the forces of Hell that they would soon be defeated!

Activity:

Look at nativity set or a picture and imagine Satan’s perspective of this scene. How does it make you feel to know that this precious baby would ultimately become the most powerful warrior of all time?

Prayer:

Lord, let us see Christmas in a new light. This year let us not only see Your love and beauty. Let us also see Your power!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Pastor Rick

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OWE, OWE, OWE! Budgeting For A Merry Christmas

 We’re right in the middle of arguably the most expensive time of the year. Christmas is great for spending time with friends and family, as well as giving gifts. Too many times, though, people don’t properly plan for it and end up making a list of money blunders.

With the festive season of Christmas almost upon us, many people will be considering spreading out the cost of Christmas by paying for things on their credit card, overdraft or a personal loan.

And with the base rate at an all-time low for well over two years now, the cost of borrowing seems to be getting ever lower. This could make borrowing money an increasingly attractive option – but an expert at Think Money warns would-be borrowers to think carefully before they take on any debt.

“Financial planning is as important as it’s ever been – especially when it comes to borrowing money.” Those of us who are managing well financially may be thinking about making a big purchase on credit – whether that’s home improvements, a new car or a vacation for the holiday. That’s fine, just as long as you have planned out a budget and are sure you can afford the repayments.

Similarly, some people might be making a New Year’s resolution to get their finances in order. For some, that might involve taking out a debt consolidation loan to simplify their finances and set out a clear plan for repaying their debts. This can be a good way of managing debt, but borrowers still need to make sure their repayments fit in with the rest of their budget.

“On the other end of the scale, there will be some people thinking about borrowing money because they can’t keep up with their living costs. I strongly advise anyone with financial problems to avoid borrowing more money and seek expert advice instead.”

Dave Ramsey, financial planner and guru, gives some good advice on budgeting for Christmas so it stays merry. Dave says, “The keys to not busting the budget are having a plan and knowing exactly what to spend. The less confused you are, the less money you’ll waste.” Here are his tips:

  1. Make      your Christmas budget as early as possible. It’s      never too late. Keep it separate from your regular budget. Don’t put a      separate Christmas category into your regular budget; give the Christmas      budget its own sheet. List everyone you want to buy for, how much you can      spend on them (remember, cash only), what they would like and where you      can find it at a reasonable price.
  2. When      you do the actual shopping, have a plan. Know      which store you’re going to, how much you’re spending, and then stick to      it. Get in, get it and get out. Don’t let yourself wander, because you’ll      impulse-buy something and bust the budget.
  3. Get      creative with your giving. How would it feel to budget      $50 for someone’s gift, and then find an imaginative way to give them a      nice $20 gift? Think of a gift that isn’t expected, maybe cooking someone      their favorite dinner or volunteering to help someone with a project they      are working on. Get ideas here
  4. Consider      drawing names if you have a large family or a lot of people      at the office to buy for. Don’t worry about someone being mad at you for      not receiving a gift; don’t even be worried about not getting enough gifts      from co-workers. You’d be surprised at how pleasant Christmas can be when      you don’t spend tons of money or stress yourself out with trying to find      many gifts for many people.
  5. Last but not least, don’t think the spirit of Christmas is about “stuff.” You can have a giving spirit without having a negative checking account. Don’t forget the reason for the season.

God Bless and Merry Christmas!

Pastor Rick

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