Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Dear Jesus!

Birthdays were always special in our household. Alhough the gifts were usually inexpensive, there was always a gift, a homemade birthday cake with candles and always singing! The honoree was awakened with the family singing, Happy Birthday to you."

One Christmas, four year old David asked, "Are we going to sing Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus."

Happy Birthday, dear Jesus,
Today with festive fare,
We celebrate Your birthday,
With music in the air!

Cakes are baked and waiting,
Candles light the tree.
Gifts are wrapped and ribboned
Is there no gift for Thee?

Jesus on Your birthday morning,
I kneel beside Your creche and see
Love incarnate - God's gift
And bring myself to Thee!

by Ruth Baird Shaw

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas! We are hearing a great deal of talk this year about the reason for the season of Christmas!

Christmas is a time of many meanings to many people. To some of us, Christmas is a season of frantic hurry, crowds and confusion. To others it is a time for partying and making merry. To others Christmas is just a welcome break in routines.

Even for Christian people, Christmas is a season of many meanings. The Christmas message of God’s great Gift of love for us in taking on human flesh is so profound that perhaps none of us can grasp it's full dimensions.
Augustine reminds us that both sexes are honored and blessed in the incarnation. The one giving birth must be female, since only females give birth. So the one receiving birth is male if both sexes are to be involved in the nativity event.
Augustine wrote; “God was not ashamed of the male nature for he took it upon himself. Nor was God ashamed of the female nature, for he was born of a woman. Thus God ennobled both male and female in the incarnation.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas At Trinity

At Trinity Church in Georgia's Rome, a live Nativity Scene has been a Christmas tradition since 1957 when Mary Craven , a Children's Sunday School Teacher, suggested the project to make Christmas a more Christian event for children.

Paul Carven, a Trinity member and Rome contractor built the first set. After two successful years, in 1959 Mr. Craven added 4’ by 20’ wings to the set.

When Paul and Mary Craven retired, Frank Craven and Allen Storey took the responsibility for building the set and Eulaine Camp directed the production. The Live Nativity has continued as a church wide cooperative project with more people than we can name.

Presently Judy and Lamar Allen are directing the event each Christmas with Frank Craven and family building the set each year.

The live nativity scene is presented each December for the five nights preceeding Christmas Day. Each scene is continuous and 13 people are in the scene at any one time. All characters are live with the exception of the babe and the camel. However, Trinity was blessed with a live camel for the 2000 and 2001 event. New angel wings were added in 1999 and 2000 while Eulaine Camp was Director.

Inside activity includes helping to arrange turbans and halos on heads; heating bricks upon which cold wise men and shepherds stand; and making hot chocolate or coffee for tired workers.

Kathy, deaf from birth, was a child when my family moved to Trinity in 1962. Kathy loved to play the angel. And she was, in spite of the clever way she had of seeming not to see her parents when they were about to “sign” a reprimand to her.

As I wrote the poem below, I could envision Kathy, the faces of the young people in our household who loved to stand in the Nativity Scene and many others who participated with great enthusiasm in this annual event.

Our Nativity scene is alive
In living color too!
With teen-aged Mary dressed
Of course, in blue!

She sits beside the manger
Carol, Beth or Anne,
With Joseph standing by
In brown. He’s Bill or Dan.

The shepherds stand alert
A turban on each head.
There’s Mike and Sam or
Allen, Cleve and Fred.

The wise men are bedecked
In jeweled crowns that hide -
Or almost hide - the tousled hair
Of Terry, Rob and Clyde.

The angels, Kathy, Fran,
And Deborah... truly dear
But they can only qualify
As angels - once a year!

I watch the twisted halos
And am amazed to feel
In spite of pomp and pageantry
They somehow make Him real!

By Ruth Baird Shaw

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Recipes, Rhymes and Reflections by Ruth

A second Edition of Recipes, Rhymes and Reflections,
recently published. RR&R is a collection of time-tested recipes from some of Georgia's best cooks!
The book would be well worth the $10.00 for anyone who likes cookbooks and for hard to find recipes like the Southern cornbread dressing recipe or Lisette's apple dumplings, not to mention the delicious chocolate pie recipe that can be quickly mixed and poured into the crust from a blender!
Along with the recipes are nineteen of Ruth's most popular poems .

Critics say "Ruth's poetry speaks of human emotions and experiences with a light heart and a profound faith."
The little book also includes written versions of 6 sermons given during her pastorial ministry. Her homilies have been described a "Poetry in the Making." Ruth is often asked to share both her poetry and homilies with a wide variety of groups.

When Ruth was speaking at a Homecoming service a few years ago,a lady came up after the service to tell Ruth that she read her "Butterfly Poem" every morning as a part of her daily devotional.

It is a book of 122 pages selling these last few books for only $10 each... add $2. postage if you wish it mailed to you. If you do not have our snail mail address, you can use my email address to request a copy giving you name and mailing address.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rick Warren Interview

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:
People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.
I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.
God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.
God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain."
But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.
It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.
So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.
Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better .
God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.Painful moments, TRUST GOD.Every moment, THANK GOD.