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Christmas War Over 
Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 07:00 AM - Extra Christy, Christmas
Posted by Administrator
Mission Accomplished

A new study by LifeWay Research reveals that nine in 10 Americans (91%) personally celebrate Christmas, which is impressive because the percentage of folks claiming to be Christians has dropped from 86% in 1990 to 76% of America in 2008 (according to a Trinity college survey).

Even the UAE, a Muslim nation, goes for Christmas in a big way. A hotel in Abu Dhabi put up an 11 million dollar Christmas tree this year.

The same Lifeway Research says that even though, at 89%, gift giving is the most popular Christmas observance, the number of households that encourage a belief in Santa is only 38%.

Not a $11 Million Tree
So stand down, Christmas soldiers, the holiday celebrating the gift to the world of the Prince of Peace is doing just fine. More than fine. Christians and their allies have been more successful converting December to Christmas than converting the world to Christ. (We are doing better than Santa though, I've been told that I worry too much about the competition.)

Maybe there should be a Christmas Church. Where giving to others was the most important belief and practice. Already got almost 90% of America with us. (However, that percentage is those giving to family.) Would be a good way to follow Christ, the one who gave his life to the world. Who knows, we might even move that Christian percentage back up!


The Church that Gave All

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. - Acts 4:32-37

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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Revealing God 
Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 07:00 AM - Extra Christy, Radio
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I Didn't See You There!

Picasa is a photo album application by Google. It has a special feature, name tags, that uses face matching technology to organize photos by the people in them!

It starts by finding a face in a picture and asking who it is. So far, it is just the same as tediously labeling pictures one at a time. But then, as soon as you identify one photo, it finds other photos that look like the person you tagged. When you then tag the ones it guessed correctly, and it reveals even more!

I was swept away as pictures of my family and friends were harvested from acres of photos. The more I picked, the more the computer found! Different years, weights!?, glasses, hairstyles,(even the bald months!) were named and claimed as my loved ones.

by Pietro Bellini on Flickr

Now I can find my loved ones in the sea of photos spanning years. It all started by picking a loved one out of one photo scene.

I believe this works in discerning the face of God in real life. Once you start identifying God in your life, God sightings increase. You learn the various ways that God is active, bringing his face out of the background into awareness.

Hope you have a picture perfect day, and find the face of God ever increasingly in it.

Stop. Look. God!

Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. - Psalm 139:7-12

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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Getting Some Balance 
Wednesday, September 15, 2010, 07:00 AM - Extra Christy, Radio
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Why Can't Everything Be Easy?

Years before it was a video game controller, my wife wanted to use a balance board in her work as a physical therapist. Standing on a board supported only in the center would require the clients to practice and improve their balancing skills.

She asked the hospital maintenance workers to make her one. When they asked for a drawing of what she wanted, she sketched a wide flat board with narrow thick board attached under it along the center. The workers objected to the design. They patiently explained to her that it would wobble when someone stood on it. It was all she could do to stop the woodworkers from adding supports on either end. They were very dubious when she told them it was designed to wobble and be tough to stand on.

from rosefirerising on Flickr

When I'm wondering why my life is wobbling, I remember the balance board that "needed" extra legs for stability. Instead of cursing the lack of supports, maybe I need to learn to balance better.

Boasting When Knocked Off Balance

...but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.- Romans 5:3b-5

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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Most Popular Bible 
Wednesday, September 8, 2010, 06:09 PM - Extra Christy, Radio
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Do You Have a MacGuffin?

The TV show, Burn Notice has a Bible everyone is trying to get for the last three episodes.

This common dramatic theme is called using a MacGuffin. A MacGuffin is an object that everyone is trying to steal, buy, hold, or hide. What the object actually is or does is unimportant. It is the focus of the plots and pursuits of the characters in the story but is never used or changed by all the commotion concerning it.

So no matter what version of the Bible on Burn Notice is on the inside, it has become the MacGuffin version. A Bible that is an object of much concern, a prop to stage a drama, but not read, studied or followed. (Some Sundays I'm tempted to take the large beautiful Bible off the communion table and read aloud from it.)

from tomatoproductions.com
People have their favorite version of the Bible. I like the Jerusalem Bible (original) for reading, The Message for meditation and the New Revised Standard Version for study. Many prefer the New International Version or the King James Version. The only one I reject is the MacGuffin version, one that is the object of fuss and feuds, instead of the Word of God written, witnessing to God's self-revelation through which the Holy Spirit speaks to bear witness to Jesus Christ and to give authoritative direction for the life of faith.

The Purpose of the Book

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. - John 20:30-31

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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Author! Author! 
Wednesday, September 1, 2010, 07:00 AM - Extra Christy, Radio
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The Manual Says...

My uncle was once assigned to go out into the field and "fix" problems at another factory. He decided to take the designer of the machine with him.

As he expected, the local workers did not welcome the suggestions given by the out of towner from HQ on how they should change their ways. The objections began with "But the manual says..."

My uncle appreciated their devotion to the manual. He then introduced his associate: "Here is the man who wrote the manual, let's see how he suggests we solve our problems." Things went much smoother working with the author rather than the text.

from alistairmcmillan on flickr.com
Even after a month, I'm sure my kind and gentle readers suspect where I am headed. Christians and others will go further overcoming challenges if they seek together the author of the sacred text rather than arguing over their interpretations of how they RTFM ("read the fine manual" ).

I hope Christians not only quote their operating manual but introduce people to their friend and traveling companion, the author.
The Word That Lives

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.- John 1:1-4, 14

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Creative Commons License
This work by J. Christy Ramsey is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


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