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From Emil Turner

This is simple advice. And you know what? It will work. Will you try it? If you're not a Sunday School teacher, offer to help your teacher with these things!

| Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Sunday School and Reaching Lost People



“Hey, Emil. How’s it going this week? Anything I can pray for you about? Great! I’ll see y’all Sunday.”



Every week my Sunday School teacher called every couple in his class. If I missed a Sunday, he’d come see me. Our class started a new class about every 18 months. And we reached lost people.



Pastor, you may want to share this with your Sunday School teachers. You don’t have to change the music to grow. You don’t have to spend a lot of money (although you will need to spend some). You don’t need to paint murals in the children’s department.



If 75% of your Sunday School teachers to do a good job your church will grow. What should they do?



1. Invite everyone (age appropriate) they encounter to attend their Sunday School class.



2. Call every member…

Continuing Advent devotionals

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

DEC. 29 - I WILL TURN THEIR MOURNING INTO JOY


By Jodi Beyeler, news bureau director/writer



THIS WEEK'S THEME: I will turn their mourning into joy

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DEVOTIONAL:
Elkhart County, where I live in Indiana, is experiencing some very hard economic times recently. To be sure, this is true for much of the country and the world right now, but with unemployment having suddenly jumped from under 5 percent to over 10 percent in a very short time here (making us the state leaders in this unwanted category), this is a new situation we find ourselves in.

We are used to high school educated workers being able to make more in a factory than if they got a college degree. We are used to non-profit organizations flourishing financially. We are used to the food pantries having fully stocked shelves for the relatively few people who needed that service. Many of us are used to not knowing people who are really struggling financially.

None of those rea…

God's Guidance

This, from the evening side of Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, I will comment on:

How often do I try to be guided by other things? By the feeling of the moment? By the circumstances of life? By the will of others? By my own good sense? And yet, God has promised the He, Himself will guide my continually. That sounds so much better. My prayer is to learn to heed that guidance, and to follow Him.

Doug

Evening Verse
"And the LORD shall guide thee continually." Isaiah 58:11

"The Lord shall guide thee." Not an angel, but JEHOVAH shall guide thee. He said He would not go through the wilderness before His people, an angel should go before them to lead them in the way; but Moses said, "If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." Christian, God has not left you in your earthly pilgrimage to an angel's guidance: He Himself leads the van. You may not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will never forsake you. Notice the word shall--"…

Challenged by Spurgeon

I read this this morning in Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotional. There's nothing really for me to add:


"Can the rush grow up without mire?" Job 8:11


The rush is spongy and hollow, and even so is a hypocrite; there is no substance or stability in him. It is shaken to and fro in every wind just as formalists yield to every influence; for this reason the rush is not broken by the tempest, neither are hypocrites troubled with persecution. I would not willingly be a deceiver or be deceived; perhaps the text for this day may help me to try myself whether I be a hypocrite or no. The rush by nature lives in water, and owes its very existence to the mire and moisture wherein it has taken root; let the mire become dry, and the rush withers very quickly. Its greenness is absolutely dependent upon circumstances, a present abundance of water makes it flourish, and a drought destroys it at once. Is this my case? Do I only serve God when I am in good company, or when religion i…

Advent Devotionals #24 & 25

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

DEC. 26 - WORTH THE WAIT


By Jeff Hochstetler, admission counselor



SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:22-40 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

----------

DEVOTIONAL:
Most people hate waiting. Perhaps even worse than merely
waiting is waiting for something promised to you. Your
stomach churns, nerves tingle and heart jumps at the thought
of its arrival. As a child, I remember waking my parents up
at 6:30 in the morning to open Christmas presents. Living
away from them now, I feel the same excitement about
returning back to my childhood home to see close friends and
family.

Waiting on God's promises feels no different. As if God
should answer to us, we often lament when things don't
happen when we expect them to. Now imagine, Simeon and Ana,
both righteous and upright, waiting many years for God's
promised Messiah. After many years, there was probably a
temptation to overlook the joy of God's coming promise with
their daily routines.

Waiting requires per…

The First Day of Christmas

Today is the First Day of Christmas!

Now, in the song, on the first day, you get a bird. In a tree. A bird you can't eat, and a tree that produces fruit later.

That makes me think of how one of our greatest hopes from Christmas is that we have a delayed gift, a gift that we long to see realized, our hope of heaven. Jesus came to this earth to live a perfect life as an example, then to die for the sins of mankind. So that we don't have to be eternally separated from God. This is glorious news, and in it is found our hope of heaven.

It's like the pear tree in winter. A hope of the future!

As far as the bird, it doesn't make me think at all...

From Spurgeon's Evening Devotion

Evening Verse"The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." Isaiah 40:5We anticipate the happy day when the whole world shall be converted to Christ; when the gods of the heathen shall be cast to the moles and the bats; when Romanism shall be exploded, and the crescent of Mohammed shall wane, never again to cast its baleful rays upon the nations; when kings shall bow down before the Prince of Peace, and all nations shall call their Redeemer blessed. Some despair of this. They look upon the world as a vessel breaking up and going to pieces, never to float again. We know that the world and all that is therein is one day to be burnt up, and afterwards we look for new heavens and for a new earth; but we cannot read our Bibles without the conviction that—
"Jesus shall reign where'er the sunDoes his successive journeys run."
We are not discouraged by the length of His delays; we are not disheartened by the long period which He allots to…

Can we swap Governors?

With all of the bad things I've ever said about Louisiana, and I still would rather live in Arkansas, I want to make a Christmas wish:

Can we swap Governors?

Want to know why I want to swap? Read these links and see:

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe:
http://governor.arkansas.gov/newsroom/index.php?do:newsDetail=1&news_id=1363

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:
http://blog.bobbyjindal.com/2008/from-our-family-to-yours/


Because if our Governor can't handle the historical truth of Christmas, what else will we lose here? Arkansas is, in my opinion, one of the best places in America to live. You get a great climate (every day is different!), mountains and lakes, and the best people you will ever find. I think we deserve leadership that will stand up and be offensive when it's right to do so.

So, Louisiana, can we swap? Or, maybe the winner of the Battle of the Boot can get the good governor? If so, Gov. Jindal, pack your bags! You're ours until Thanksgiving!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to one and all from the Doug for President Campaign. All of us here hope that you are able to celebrate with those you love.

To those of you who are celebrating without your loved ones we say this:

If you are serving our country overseas: Thank you. Our earthly peace is bought with your sacrifice. May the Prince of Peace reign over all of us, that you may have safety.

If you are protecting our safety here: Thank you, too. Without you, all of the travelers would be at much greater risk. Thank you for your service.

If you are grieving: the Baby born in Bethlehem wept with His friends, and He weeps with you as well. May His peace strengthen your hearts.

If you are separated by the miles, by walls, borders, or bars: Unto us a Son is given, and He is: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. He is Immanuel, God with us. I hope that brings you a measure of peace even with the distances between you.

If you are separated from family by y…

Yep, at Christmas, some people are nuts.

Ananova - Greedy workers take the cake
Ananova:
Greedy workers take the cake

Two postal workers sparked a worldwide data theft alert after stealing a Christmas cake and replacing it with another package.

The courier workers gobbled the cake and simply put its address label on a parcel that was supposed to be going to Germany's LBB bank in Frankfurt.

The bank package contained the personal details of thousands of customers around the world who were warned their accounts might have been compromised.

But the mystery was solved when the computer discs finally turned up at the home of the family who's been expecting a Christmas cake.

"What a pair of idiots. They caused an international police operation and terrified a lot of customers just because they felt a bit peckish," said one police source

From Spurgeon's Morning Devotion

I'm revving up to be back in full swing next Monday, but I thought these were challenging thoughts:

December 24Morning Verse"For your sakes he became poor." 2Corinthians 8:9The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but "though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor." As the rich saint cannot be true in his communion with his poor brethren unless of his substance he ministers to their necessities, so (the same rule holding with the head as between the members), it is impossible that our Divine Lord could have had fellowship with us unless He had imparted to us of His own abounding wealth, and had become poor to make us rich. Had He remained upon His throne of glory, and had we continued in the ruins of the fall without receiving His salvation, communion would have been impossible on both sides. Our position by the fall, apart from the covenant of grace, made it as impossible for fallen man to communicate with God as it is for Belial…

Advent Devotional #23

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

DEC. 24 - SO MANY VOICES OF PRAISE


By Ben Bouwman, a junior social work major from Woodridge, Ill.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 148 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

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DEVOTIONAL:
This Psalm speaks for itself; only having read the first four verses, the message is very clear: Praise the Lord! The Psalmist goes on to explain everything that praises God, from the people to animals to the snow to the trees.
Everything that God has created praises God.

Working at a summer camp for the past two summers has helped me listen and appreciate God's creation and the song it sings. One specific activity that we do with the campers is "Deer’s Ears." While sitting in nature, everybody cups their hands around their ears and in the minute of silence, we listen to anything we can hear. It is amazing all of the noises and sounds that are happening without us even realizing it. And once we actually stop and listen, there are so many voices …

Advent Devotional #21

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

DEC. 22 - A LIGHT FOR REVELATION


By Michael Sherer, director of Information Technology Services

THIS WEEK’S THEME: A light for revelation

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DEVOTIONAL:
There is a mystical quality in language, particularly metaphorical language. We know what light is in concrete terms, but when John says that Jesus is the light, his purpose in choosing those words was not so much for them to be understood as to be pondered.

Jesus is the light. Light illuminates; light reveals; light purifies; light contrasts with darkness; it symbolizes truth and knowledge and wisdom; it is associated with happiness and optimism. And so if Jesus is the light, then we can ponder all the layers of meaning of light and what it means for Jesus to be our light. We can ponder them for hours or even a lifetime and still discover new insights that enrich our spiritual lives.

This week's theme, "A Light for Revelation," is more specific but still leaves plent…

Advent Devotional #20

Calvary Baptist Church Mail - [devAdvent08] DEC. 19 - WHEN GOD MAKES A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT - brodoug@calvarymonticello.com
Today's devotion from Goshen College:

DEC. 19 - WHEN GOD MAKES A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT


By Tina Peters, a junior physics major from Yellow Springs,
Ohio

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:26-38 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

----------

DEVOTIONAL:
The main character in the annunciation to Mary is of
course Mary, but she is not who the story is about. This is
the story of the identity of Jesus. The Angel Gabriel says
to Mary, "And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a
son, and you will name him Jesus."

In Hebrew, the name Jesus means "God saves." From the very
beginning, with the naming of the child, we learn that Jesus
will save those who depend upon God. This is the plan that
will unfold throughout the Gospels, but it begins here with
a name, Jesus.

With this name comes the titles proclaimed by the angel,
an identity in two parts, the Messiah descended fro…

Advent Devotional #19

We continue today reposting devotionals on the coming of Christ from Goshen College.

Some of you may be wondering why I chose a Mennonite School in Indiana as the source for this. I admit, it seems a little odd that a strongly conservative Southern Baptist would reach that far to get something. Well, that was actually part of the point. We Baptists, while I believe we have the best handle on understanding the Bible, don't have the only handle. Goshen's devotionals this year were written by a spectrum of people from campus life, students, faculty, theology teachers, administrators. This accomplishes one of my goals, that I want us to learn to see the world through different eyes. The world is not just what we see from here in Monticello, but there are lots of things going on out there. I wanted us to see some of those differences.

And then, I wanted us to see that Christmas is still the same: The celebration of the Incarnate Word of God, of the coming of the Lord Jesus Ch…

Christmas Song Test

Answers are below. No cheating!

The following words are alternate titles for several well-known Christmas
carols:

Bleached Yule:

Castaneous-colored Seed Vesicated in a Conflagration:

Singular Yearning for the Twin Anterior Incisors:

Righteous Darkness:

Arrival Time - 2400 hrs - Weather - Cloudless:

Loyal Followers Advance:

Far Off in a Feeder:

Array the Corridor:

Bantam Male Percussionist:

Nocturnal Noiselessness:

Jehovah Deactivate Blithe Chevaliers:

Red Man En Route to Borough:

Frozen Precipitation Commence:

Proceed and Enlighten on the Pinnacle:

The Quadruped with the Vermilion Proboscis:

Query Regarding Identity of Descendant:

Delight for this Planet:

Give Attention to the Melodious Celestial Beings:

The Dozen Festive 24 Hour Intervals:

ANSWERS:

Bleached Yule: White Christmas

Castaneous-colored Seed Vesicated in a conflagration: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Singular Yearning for the Twin Anterior Incisors: All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

Righteous Darkness: O Holy Night

Arri…

Build-up makes it harder

I have a friend who posted on her twitter feed about going to the dentist, and it being less than pleasant, since she hadn't been in a year.

I haven't been in 14 years. The buildup of stuff that needs corrected is going to be enormous when I go next year. I just don't look forward to it. But I am going to go, anyway. Why? Because I have realized that I can't keep my teeth on my own. I need help from someone more knowledgeable, more skillful.

So are we all, spiritually. If you haven't found someone to help you with your journey with Christ, someone to help you understand and grow in your knowledge of God's word, find someone. Find a church, find a Sunday School class, find a local preacher. Finding a good tv/radio/podcast preacher is ok, but not the same thing as being in church. Find someone to help you grow. We all need it.
Moving toward the Horizon,
Doug

Blog Drought

I've been in a blog drought lately. Just haven't had much to say. Now, I'm realizing that it was because I wasn't really taking on anything new. My feed unit was basically stuck.

So, I've moved past that, and am now happy and glowing again, right? Not quite. I've just realized that I have to commit myself to moving forward, whether it's comfortable or not, whether I feel like it or not.

So my thoughts for the day are:
1. Keep up whatever it is you are doing, if what you are doing isn't morally reprehensible.
2. Don't wait for feelings.
3. Bottling things up just makes for bigger explosions later. Don't blow it.

Have a good one!

Christmas funnies are due to post in a day or two!

Taxation!

Doug for President would prefer to run the government without taxation, but that seems a little impractical. It would take too much government wind-down too fast to get it done. Is it possible? Absolutely! Why? Because America's abundant natural resources, the ones on public lands, the ones under the sea in our waters, our rivers, these belong to all of the people. As do the airwaves through which your wireless phones, TV signals, and satellite signals come through. It might be possible to run a minimal function (defense, little else) government on the royalties and proceeds of selling/accessing these resources. You could then utilize only federal fuel taxes to pay for national highways (which is a reasonable plan. Fuel taxes charge people to use roads, then you use the fuel taxes to pay for roads. Not unreasonable. The people that drive the most pay the most.)

However, if you want a revenue neutral idea that would work, look here: http://www.fairtax.org. It replaces a…