Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jesus is the Reason!

Jesus Is The Reason

In Bethlehem, God gave to us
The source of Christmas joy;
A star shown on a miracle:
The virgin birth of a boy.

He was born both God and man,
A Savior for us all,
The way to get to our heavenly home,
If we just heed His call.

So as we shop and spend and wrap
And enjoy the Christmas season,
Let's keep in mind the sacred truth:
Jesus is the reason.

By Joanna Fuchs

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas-- A Truer Meaning

A Partridge in a pear tree
Jesus Christ, the Son of God
Two turtle dovesThe Old and New Testaments
Three french hensFaith, Hope and Charity,
The Christian Virtues
Four calling birdsThe four Gospels
Five golden ringsThe first five books of
the Old Testament
The Pentateuch
Six geese a-layingSix days of creation
Seven swans a swimmingThe seven gifts of
the Holy Spirit
Eight maids a-milkingThe eight Beatitudes
Nine ladies dancingThe nine Fruit of
the Holy Spirit
Ten lords a-leapingThe Ten Commandments
Eleven pipers piperingThe eleven faithful apostles
Twelve drummers drummingThe twelve points of doctrine
in the Apostle's Creed
~ Author Unknown ~

Thursday, December 9, 2010

VeggieTales' It's A Meaningful Life --New Release!

**Today I'm offering a FREE combo DVD set to one lucky reader, just in time for Christmas!!  It will have VeggieTales' St. Nicholas AND It's a Meaningful Life!  To enter to win this set, simply comment after this post and tell me what you love about VeggieTales'! (Winner will be chosen randomly).**

What if my life had taken a different direction? What if I had made different choices? Where would I be, today? Happier? More fulfilled? Would my life have had a clearer meaning or more purpose? 

I admit this is a strange way to begin a movie review. Especially since I’m reviewing the newest VeggieTales’ episode, IT’S A MEANINGFUL LIFE. But when you sit with your kids and watch this particular Christmas-themed episode, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a pre-school show that just might get the moms and dads thinking along the lines of, What if?... And then, using God’s Word, perhaps answer those very soul-searching questions.

Now, on with the show!

It’s a Meaningful Life, starts sometime in the past. Stewart (Larry the Cucumber) aka: The Green Machine, was playing the biggest football game of his life! His whole future was riding on his performance in last the few seconds of this game! But, instead of leaving the field as a hero, he left the field injured. Someone else, by pure coincidence, became the hero that day. That one moment in time changed Stewart’s life-plan, forever! 

Move ahead to present day; Stewart is married to the lovely Donna (Petunia Rhubarb). They have been blessed with a beautiful family and live in a modest home located in the same town in which they grew up, Rockwell. Stewart, who once dreamed of leaving Rockwell, for his own fame and fortune, has instead settled into this life and taken over his father’s toy train manufacturing business. 

While Stewart’s life seems happy enough, there is a piece of his heart that lacks true contentment. One of the most poignant moments in the movie, is the prayer that Stewart prays, as he feels his life no longer has meaning. “God, why did I end up like this...I was going to do something... special...instead I’ve ruined everything...” 

He literally embarks on an incredible journey, hopping on the “What If Express”, which enables him to see a glimpse of what his life would be like IF that football game had ended the way he had always hoped. 

Stewart learns that his life is part of God’s plan, and his life has greatly impacted the lives of so many others!Especially his own wife and children! He learns that God’s plan for our lives is truly the perfect plan...and that our lives are, indeed, meaningful when we follow that plan. 

Finally, he learns contentment. 

“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for good and not disaster; plans to give you a future filled with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Maybe it’s my age. Hmmm...where DID my 30’s go, anyway? Maybe it’s the fact that I have asked those very same “What if”questions a lot more frequently over the last few years. Whatever it is, I highly recommend this episode for the entire family!! This is one DVD that you’re definitely going to want to enjoy with the kids! 

VeggieTales', It’s a Meaningful Life is such a well made, well written and beautifully produced show. Yeah, I’m a fan, and you probably wouldn’t expect me to say anything too negative-- but I was truly blessed by the theme in this particular story! Director, Brian Roberts, did a fab job in the driver's seat of this episode! 

The music in this show is great! Kudos once again to Kurt Heineke for the score, and Mike Nawrocki and Mark Steele who once again knocked it out of the park with their great lyrics! Oh, and Moms, you’re going to crack up at the Silly Song, Goodnight Junior.  Although, my personal favorite is the song, Precious Girl.  Losing my dad last year, this song brought me back to the times when I was a little girl and relied on my own dad to make whatever problem I was dealing with, go away.  There's just a special bond between little girls and their daddy's.  Great song!

Once again, the people at Big Idea have joined forces with one of Christian entertainment’s top names! This time, Steven Curtis Chapman. His beautifully written song, Meant To Be, which plays over the credits, will have you tearing up as you think about how very special to God your own precious children are, and how He has a master plan already in place for each of their lives! 

This Christmas season, Big Idea has also partnered with the Steven Curtis Chapman Foundation, Show Hope. This organization has a heart and a mission to care for orphans around the world. They help fund adoptions and even provide life-saving medical care when needed. A truly amazing organization, which YOU can help over this Christmas season! For more information, go here.

It's a Meaningful Life can be purchased at all Christian retailers and many general retailers.Here's a $3 OFF coupon that can be applied to your order! You can also just stay at your computer and simply order this episode at the Big Idea website, here 

Be sure to add your comment below as to why you love VeggieTales, and you'll be automatically entered to win a DVD set containing BOTH St. Nicholas AND It's a Meaningful Life!!

Full disclosure: I received my copy of VeggieTales' It's a Meaningful Life from Big Idea Productions, Inc. and receive no monetary compensation for reviewing this product.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Best Shopping Sites and Apps for 2010

No time to go to the mall and shop 'til you drop?-- You just need to have a reliable source to help you decide what to buy and where to get it, right?

I wanted to share this article and the links with my readers.  An absolute wealth of good information, which I have been personally using.

Enjoy the link!-- And Happy Shopping!!

Search Engine for Marketers / Best Shopping Sites for Christmas 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beware the Wolves...

This post might best be described as one of my very few rants.

Biblical integrity.  What does that even mean?  If someone were to throw that question at me, as I walked down the street, I would say that it means, having a life standard based on God's word, and trying (even though I fail a lot) to be righteous in His eyes.  Now, if I had a few more seconds to think about the word, "integrity", I might also say that it's important to have the same set of standards in every aspect of my life. Even my business life.  Because, for some weird reason a lot of us Christians think that our business lives and those which we choose to associate with can be neatly cut away from our personal lives, where a Biblical standard is usually present.

But is that possible?  Sure.  Is it righteous?  I don't believe it is.

"But Lisa, doesn't the Bible speak of forgiveness?--And by my loving association, my prayers and my general goodness might rub off on this person, and make him see the error of his ways!"-- Yes and No.  I wish we were that awesome, but unfortunately our mere presence is not going to change a person who is choosing to live in a sinful lifestyle, while rationalizing to the world that it is "of God".  Should we pray for them?  YES!  Of Course!!  Should we forgive them, even though they have not repented?--- OOOH good question!--Glad you asked!

The Bible says that we are to forgive as God forgave us (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13). God forgives us when we repent (Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3,5, Acts 3:19). He does not grant forgiveness to those of us who are stiff-necked and refuse to repent. We must recognize our sin and repent to receive and enjoy God's merciful forgiveness. God requires repentance and so must we.

In every aspect of life there are three elements we deal with:  The spiritual, the biological and the psychological.  This is how God created us.  When we deal with humans, there is always going to be these elements present.  We must use prayerful discernment, and maybe look back at the person's history to glean a little information about what makes them tick before we enter into a business or personal relationship with them.

Many times we want to see all things in life as spiritual.  And, yes, there is always that  element.  We are spiritual beings.  But God also created us to be physical beings.  Sometimes the character traits present in a person are less spiritual in nature and a little more biological or psychological.  Example:  If a friend has diabetes and forgets to eat after he takes his insulin, he might get shaky and sweaty and start to feel very ill.  This is not a spiritual--pray it away--scenario.  As much as I would like to lay hands on my friend and pray that these symptoms go away, using intellect I would instead recognize this as a biological event, and give my friend a glass of juice or a candy bar to even out his blood sugar.

Biological and spiritual are a bit easier to decipher.  But what about psychological?  Some Christians want to continuously morph our God-given psyche with the spiritual.  But, again, this is how God created us.  Sometimes we have psychological events or psychoses that need to be dealt with on that level.  

Example: I would advise any friends who come upon a business associate who projects so much charisma that he is almost the equivalent of a human "Pied Piper".  Look up narcissism, and see how these people tick.  There are quite a few of these types running businesses.  Be cautious in your dealings with people who have this type of psychosis.  They are easily believed, and make people WANT to be a part of their world.  Use prayerful discernment in these relationships, because they will make you think that you are their best buddy until they get tired of you OR you question their actions.  At that point get ready to be dumped!  A narcissist must only surround himself with others who think he's as awesome as he believes he is.  The relationship is never about you, or even God-- it is always about them.  How great they are and how they can make your life, business, etc. better by using their Midas Touch.  

Might I add that I fully believe it is OK to not befriend everyone.  It is OK to be selective and use wisdom to choose who we associate with.  Jesus was not buddies with everyone.  He selectively choose the men (and women) who He wanted on his team.  We must also follow His example, and choose wisely.

Jesus was not a pushover.  If we are to use Him as a life example, then we must first agree on that.  Don't be a pushover, either.  Pray for a measure of wisdom.  


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Relocating and Trusting...Mostly

As many of you already know, my family is in the middle of planning a relocation from California to Tennessee.  It’s a huge undertaking.  I’m completely unfamiliar with moving much less moving across the country!  But this is a God driven thing, I’m sure of it!  I have no idea, through rational thought, why we are ending up in Nashville!  Why two California “kids”, who have lived their whole lives no further than a 45 minute drive to the Pacific Ocean, are contemplating living in not just the Bible Belt-- but the Buckle of the Bible Belt!
This journey started months back, when I felt an urging to look at moving somewhere outside of California.  The reasons were many, but to list a few, they would be: high state income tax (almost 9%), ridiculously high cost of living compared to most other places in the country, crowding in schools (even costly-private institutions), lack of state funding to receive any sort of therapeutic services for our special needs son, and a state government that is way out of alignment with the direction in which my husband and I feel is correct.  Add that to the apparent public disdain of anyone upholding a Christian worldview in an attempt to be inclusive, at whatever cost, to the New Age movement.  
But even given all of that, California is our home.  It is familiar and in all it’s wackiness it is a place that we’ve learned to live in.  Until now.  For some reason God has put this sense of urgency in my husband and I.  And uncharacteristically, we are moving a pace that is uncomfortably fast.  

We did a lot of research.  Coming up with a laundry list of needs for each member of our family, we came up with four possible cities / suburbs.  We were down to Denver (Colorado Springs area) and Nashville (Franklin / Brentwood).  I was sure that Denver would be the winner.  It was out West--more of a comfort thing.  The weather was a little severe for us wimpy Californians, but the culture was more like what we were used to.  I love Denver!  It's clean and big and the blue skies go on forever.  Nashville is home to many of my friends as well as Christian media, which is the area I'm working in.  But Nashville?  The South?  Could we ever assimilate?  Dave would never like it!

As in many life altering decisions that have God at the helm, the outcome is one that only makes sense when looking through eyes of faith and trusting in Him.  In the weeks that have followed this decision, Dave has met with his new office manager, gone out and surveyed the area, and fallen in love with the pace and people of Nashville.  Something I never expected to happen!
Even knowing that God is in control, which is a statement that can seem quite trite when  one is not truly walking down a path with an unknown destination.  It can be pretty scary!  Then add to that fear the sense of rationalization.  We’ve had many early mornings over the past month where we look at each other and simply say, “What the heck are we doing?”  But in most of those instances we are able to take it back to God and are then met with a reassuring feeling that we are where He wants us to be. Which, for right now, is in a state of physical upheaval;  A season of change.  

They say change is good.  They also say building character hurts! Who are THEY, anyway??!!
Interestingly, my life verse, which I wrote about on my What’s in the Bible blog a few weeks ago, is Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amplified Bible)
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
This journey is both exciting and yeah, a little frightening.  But knowing that Jesus is the lead project manager for this move, gives me peace!