Procrastination

Don’t put this off to read later… It may never happen.

Why? Because if you’re like me, you’re all too familiar with what Rick Warren called the eight phases of procrastination…

Phase 1: “I’ll start early this time” (hopeful)
Phase 2: “I’ve got to start soon” (a little tension)
Phase 3: “I should have started sooner” (creeping guilt)
Phase 4: “There is still time to do it” (false reassurance)
Phase 5: “What’s wrong with me?” (getting desperate)
Phase 6: “I can’t wait any longer!” (intense pain)
Phase 7: “Just get it done!” (get it over with!)
Phase 8: “Next time, I’ll start earlier.” (the cycle repeats)

This makes sense, so why not embrace this and make changes earlier?

Facebook and Churches

King’s Grant has a Facebook page, but I often wonder how we can best utilize social media. Here are a few tips that will help us maximize Facebook to engage a wider audience than we ever dreamed possible:

  1. Be Consistent. The biggest mistake we make is creating a page and rarely posting to it. Set a schedule and stick to it, posting at least once a day. It would be nice to have several administrators who are updating the page.
  2. Inspire our Audience. Inspiring our congregation doesn’t have to just happen in your church building. It can happen online as well!
  3. Ask Questions. Remember that social media is social and asking questions is the best way to start a conversation.
  4. Tell Stories. There’s nothing more powerful than sharing a story of how God has moved in the life of someone in our congregation or sharing a highlight from a recent event in our church.
  5. Share Information. While this is last on the list, it’s still important to let our congregation know what’s going on. CONFESSION, this is often the only content that gets posted, so sorry about that. The danger is the page becomes irrelevant and ignored.

It’s important to remember that social media is social, and listening is a big part of social interaction. Beyond our posting strategy, the most valuable tip is to make sure we listen to our people. These posts create a conversation and the comments that follow are often far more valuable than the original post can ever be. I’ve seen it in personal Facebook pages, it can happen for the church as well.

[print_link] [email_link] [ Adapted from Church Volunteer Daily ]

The Origin of Santa Claus

The model for Santa Claus was a fourth-century Christian bishop named Saint Nicholas. Little is known about the real Nicholas, except that he was probably the bishop of Lycia. In the Middle Ages, when it became popular to venerate saints, legends about Nicholas began to flourish. One said he had given three bags of gold to the daughters of a poor man so that the girls would not have to earn their dowries through prostitution. Another claimed he had miraculously restored three little boys to life after they had been cut up for bacon. Thus Nicholas became known as a giver of gifts and the patron saint of children. His day is December 6.

 

Nicholas was particularly popular in Holland. It is there that the customs linking Nicholas to Christmas seem to have first begun. Dutch children expected the friendly saint to visit them during the night on December 5, and they developed the custom of placing their wooden shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts. Santa Claus is the Americanization of his Dutch name, Sinterklaas.

 

Of course, by the time Santa Claus became a part of American lore, children had discovered that you can get a lot more gifts in a sock than you can in a wooden shoe, so that adjustment to the custom was made in the mid-nineteenth century.

 

Clement Moore, an American poet, may be more responsible than any other person for popularizing the myth of Santa Claus. He wrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas” in 1822 which begins with the famous line, “‘Twas the night before Christmas,” and it was published in the Troy New York Sentinel. It was immediately popular and has endured ever since.

 

** Adapted from John MacArthur, in God With Us, the Miracle of Christmas, 1989. More information may be found here.

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Did the Christmas Angels Sing?

One of the most popular Christmas carols of all time is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Did you know Scripture does not say the angels sang? When they appeared to the shepherds, they were speaking, not singing.

In fact, there are only two times in Scripture where the angels are found singing. One is in Job 38:7. Here the message is a bit cryptic: “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” “Morning stars” refers to the angels; the archangel Lucifer, before he fell and became Satan, was called “star of the morning, son of the dawn” (Isaiah 14:12). Job 38:7 describes the angels’ singing at creation. That took place before Adam sinned—perhaps even before Lucifer fell.

Revelation 5:8-10 describes another incident when angels sing. Four living creatures—these are angels—join with twenty-four elders in singing a new song to Christ: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

So angels sang before the Fall of man, and after the curse is removed, they will sing again. In the meantime, they apparently minister without singing. It is as if they cannot sing while the earth is under God’s curse.

** Adapted from John MacArthur, in God With Us, the Miracle of Christmas, 1989.

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The Turning Point in History

The birth of Jesus Christ, next to His crucifixion, was the most momentous event in the history of the world. It became the focal point of all history. Everything before Christ looked forward to His birth, and everything since then looks back at Him. It was such a crucial event that now all the world numbers years according to it. B.C. means “before Christ,” and A.D. means “anno domini,” “in the year of our Lord.” Today, in order to minimize Christianity, the phrase has changed to CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before Common Era)…but who are they kidding?

 

Jesus made an impact on the world that has never been, and never will be, equaled by any mere man. In all the annals of the human race, no one is like Him. He never wrote a book. He never held political power. He was not wealthy or particularly influential in His lifetime. Yet He altered the world completely; in fact, no other human being has affected history remotely like He has.

 

He has been opposed, hated, fought, censored, banned, and criticized in every generation since His birth. Yet His influence continues. After two thousand years, the impact of His life goes on so powerfully that it is safe to say not a day passes but that lives are revolutionized by His teaching.

 

** Adapted from John MacArthur, in God With Us, the Miracle of Christmas, 1989.