Thursday, December 23, 2010


While I didn't talk about an actual throw down between Santa and Jesus, I did share about how I felt that the spirit of Christmas was truly lacking and that we've become too distracted. Now, I want to turn the page...I want to turn the focus to a challenge for next year.
I've become saddened by my own lack of Christmas awareness and loss. I have found msyelf guilty of over indulging in Christmas for way too many years. I have been wanting the past churches I've worked for and Grace UMC-the church I currently work for, to get involved in the 'Advent Conspiracy'. However, I've decided to stop wishing and finally doing!
This year marked a change for Holly and I...on more levels than one, but one of the things we've recommitted ourselves to is the 'envelope system' that Dave Ramsey. Yeah, we depleted our funds for the big move from Lincoln, NE to N. Sioux City, SD, and  to cover bills while Holly searched for a job...but we've decided that next year we won't be buying lots of gifts for our friends and family members. Instead of multiple gifts for everyone on our lists...they get one and it might be a gift card from one of their favorite stores-which takes the stress out of guessing whether or not they might like something I pick. *Everyone knows I have poor taste and no fashion sense.
Anyway, it's amazing how much money you actually save in a month and throughout a year when you prioritize and only spend money in the areas that you really need-not want. Again, we live in a consumeristic culture, but that doesn't mean I have to keep buying things that don't bring me or anyone else any true happiness. Enter 'Challenge 2011' a conspiracy against consumerism and thoughts of just 'me, me, me'. Holly and I, in addition to sponoring a child through Compassion and tithing to the church, will begin saving up money and donating to Yellow Ribbon and Advent Conspiracy-which is about providing clean drinking water to areas that need it.
I would like to challenge you to do the same. Take a step back and evaluate the year gone by and think of the day to day things you do that could benefit what areas can you give up some spending?
Now, you don't have to give to Yellow Ribbon or Advent Conspiracy, but I would encourage you to trim up your finances-stop going out to eat as often or pass on that morning cup of joe at Starbucks. You'd be amazed at how much money you could be saving by passing on the little things you don't need. When you sacrifice the things you don't need in order to meet the needs of're not only investing in the future of others, but yours as well-treasure in heaven.
*Yellow Ribbon is about teen suicide awareness, education and training-something that goes overlooked all over the United States and in our local communities...Advent Conspiracy is about providing a basic need to those who don't have clean drinking water-something we take for granted everyday.
Below is a video I wanted to share with you-it was simple and profound at the same time. It made me stop and think. It eventually convicted me to make a change concerning how I prepare and treat Christmas-along with the rest of the year too. Again, the challenge is to challenge yourself. Move beyond self and see if you can't find it in your heart to sacrifice a little more for someone else this upcoming year.
Blessings to you all as you take on this challenge...a journey to search inward in order to reach outward. That is truly what it means to be a Christian.

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