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            Have you finished your Christmas shopping??  Do you have any idea how much money people spend at Christmas?  I don't know if you have the same practice, but every year our family gets together for Christmas morning to open the gifts; and every year the room seems so crowded with gifts there is hardly room for the family.  And, every year we say, “Next year we're cutting back on the number of gifts” ~ but we never do. 

            I realize I'm old, but things have changed considerably from when I was a child. Perhaps some of you “seniors” can relate.  My father was a mail-carrier and we (my mother, father, three older sisters, and myself) lived in a two-bedroom ~ one bath, bungalow in central Illinois.  Christmas meant that I would receive one or possibly two Christmas presents.  Our first activity on Christmas morning was to go to church – regardless of the day of the week.  We would have a “Christmas Service” and all the kids would receive an apple or an orange, and a small box of hard Christmas candy.  Afterward, we would come home and open our present, or presents. At the time, I didn't realize that we were “poor” as no one had explained that to me.  I had great gratitude and appreciation for the gift received; and would protect it and care for it as a “prized possession.”  At 83, I still have an electric train and part of an “erector set” I received way back then!  All of that was great, but the thing I enjoyed most was giving a gift to my Mother.  Like so many other boys, I had a paper route, and mowed lawns, earning a little money during the year.  In December, I would empty my bank and go to what we considered an “elite” store to buy my Mother a gift.  It was always a fancy dish or piece of crystal, and I couldn't wait for my Mother to open the package and see the joy in her face.  It taught me a valuable lesson that is pointed out in: 

Acts_20:35:  “and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

Luke_6:38:   Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 

            I believe “giving” is the secret behind living an “abundant Life”!  It pleases God, it pleases the recipient, and it pleases you!  

Luke_11:11:  If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 

Luke_11:13:  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? 

John 15:13:  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 

John 3:16:  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

Matthew_20:28:  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. 

Luke_22:19:  And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 

John_13:34:  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 

John_14:27:  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

Acts_2:38:  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

As you can see, giving is emphasized in the Bible.  It should be a prominent characteristic of every Christian.  When you think of what our Lord and Savior has given to us, it boggles the mind.  Jesus, the creator of all things agreed to leave the splendor of heaven (a place so wonderful, we can’t even imagine it), and come to earth (a tiny speck in the universe) as a servant.  He lived a perfect, sinless life and at the very prime of that life, He was rejected, beaten, spit upon, mocked and crucified.  He didn’t have to accept that kind of treatment—He was God.  He willingly allowed it to happen, laying down his body as a sacrifice for our sin.  He was selfless, always giving of Himself--teaching, healing, loving, feeding, rescuing, showing the right way to live.  We know that on the third day, He rose from the dead and forty days later ascended back to heaven, sitting at the right hand of God the Father.  He will return one day to take us with Him to that wonderful place.  This is the “Gift” Christmas is all about. 

Most of us spend quite a bit of money at Christmas time to give gifts to family and friends.  We mean it as a symbol of our love and appreciation for them, but the real truth is the gift doesn’t last that long.  A few months or years and it is forgotten, obsolete, lost, or thrown away.  The most precious gift you could give anyone is the Gift of Christmas ~ Jesus!  Tell them the good news; that He became a baby in Bethlehem, just so He could become the perfect, Holy sacrifice for our sins.  He loves them, and if they accept and believe in Him, He will give them Joy, Peace, Hope, and Life—all that this world and any amount of money can never offer.  This gift is eternal ~ it will last forever and will always satisfy. 

If you haven’t accepted this most precious Gift, I pray you will right now.  This Gift is always available.  All you have to do is accept it and believe!   Have a Blessed Christmas! 

Posted by Dan Hubbell with
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Take this opportunity to find out more about the artists that are coming to FBCW this Sunday, December 15, for the Very Merry Christmas Tour!  NewSong, Mac Powell & the Family Reunion, and Citizen Way will be bringing the holiday cheer and not only that...they'll be bringing a strong message of the gospel for your friends and neighbors this Christmas season!  If you have someone you'd like to invite, make sure to share this with them via email or on your social media profiles!  Tickets are available here: www.itickets.com/events/439677.html

Here’s some more information about the artists:

NewSong

With a career spanning more than 30 years, 19 albums, 20 #1 Christian radio singles, a GRAMMY® Award-nomination and induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, among numerous other achievements, NewSong is among the most respected artists and mentors in Christian music today.

Billy Goodwin explains the group's faith journey, "The commitment that we made was, 'God, we'll do this as long as Your hand is on it, as long as we see You working.'" He went on to say "God is faithful even when things look impossible."

Their unparalleled ministry has been highlighted by such defining songs as “Arise, My Love,” “The Christmas Shoes” and “Rescue,” among numerous others. Founders and hosts of the blockbuster Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, which annually ranks among the top first-quarter tours in the world, NewSong has helped provide a powerful platform for the Gospel in major arenas around the country since 1995.

Carswell concludes, "God's the one orchestrating this whole thing, and He's blessed us more and more as the years have gone by. It's a remarkable thing to see how it all works out, and we'll just keep riding the waves to see what God wants to do next.” (http://goamusic.com/newsong)

Mac Powell & the Family Reunion

Mac Powell grew up in a small town in Alabama. His love for music began at an early age as both of his parents would sing and play guitar around the house. Mac soon began to sing in the local country church by day, and listen to his Dad's record collection by night.

When Mac was a sophomore in high school, he moved to Atlanta, GA where his passion for music and faith found an outlet in the band THIRD DAY. Over the past 25 years THIRD DAY has helped transform Christian music and built a devoted fan base while traveling the world many times over, selling 10 million albums, earning 4 Grammy awards, 1 American Music Award, 24 Dove Awards, and by being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Along the way, Mac has been honored to perform in front of millions of fans around the world and play music with some of the best musicians in the industry. Many of these acquaintances both onstage and in the crowd have turned from friends into true family members, and now it’s time for a good old fashioned Family Reunion!

MAC POWELL and the FAMILY REUNION officially started in early 2018 as the next chapter of Mac's musical journey. The Family Reunion is a band that has developed over the past several years from the musical “brothers" that have been recording and playing live with Mac in support of his first 2 independent solo projects.

The Southern roots - American rock collections are foot-stompin', hand clappin' tunes that clearly pay tribute to the early musical inspirations from his childhood. The live show is a blend of classic and sing along Gospel, Country, and American Rock songs, combined with some Mac's favorite THIRD DAY numbers that he has written, and his latest original tunes. (https://www.macpowellandthefamilyreunion.com/about)

Citizen Way

From starting CITIZEN WAY at Judson University in Chicago in 2004 to becoming a voice of hope heard throughout the world, the mission of CITIZEN WAY - lead singer/guitarist Ben Calhoun, drummer David Blascoe and guitarist/background vocalist Daniel Olsson – has never wavered. 

“We want to be like Billy Graham with a guitar, sharing the good news of Jesus, as we turn our amps to 11,” Ben says. The members of CITIZEN WAY consider themselves “musicianaries,” or musicians with a missionary-like calling. “It’s not just music for music’s sake; it’s music with a message,” David says. “We write and sing about the things that we do because of the impact they’ve had on our lives, and we want to share that.

While Ben is the primary songwriter, each member of the trio offers a unique contribution to the final sound. “Since we’re all so different with different musical tastes, we’ve learned how to incorporate those into our music,” Daniel says. David’s hip hop background is evident in the music’s beats, while Daniel brings his impressive guitar/songwriting skills to the band’s music. Ben taught Daniel how to write songs and play guitar when he was just 11. The group often jokes that Daniel has since surpassed him. “He’s truly one of the best and the brightest, and such an incredible performer,” Ben says.

With so much history together, it’s no surprise that the trio gels well together both on and off the stage. They’re great friends whose chemistry between them – both musically and personally – is impossible to miss. “Since we’re all buddies, we find each other’s strengths and how it all works together during a show,” Daniel says. Having friends as bandmates makes what can often be a tough job rewarding. “This is a really awesome way to live out the calling on our lives,” Ben says. “As hard as it is to be away from our families, we've found that walking with Jesus and inviting people into the family of God through our strengths makes it worth it".  (https://www.citizen-way.com/about)

Posted by Jeremy Shirley with

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