Simplify The Way You Live

When it comes to the simple life do you want to reorganize your life or do you want to revolutionize your life? If you want to reorganize your life any old hint column in the newspaper will do. But if you want to revolutionize your life Jesus Christ is the one who can do that. He is the way that happens.

When we want to simplify our lives we usually want to start on the outside and reorganize this or that. But Jesus doesn’t start there. He starts by revolutionizing our lives from the inside out, making a difference. He shows us how to do it in the real world that you and I live in today.

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My Most Visited Blog Posts in 2013

I am not going to bore you to death with a list of the Top Ten posts I written, because if you  are like me, I really don’t have time to read ten blog posts right now. So, I am going to bore you with the five most visited blog posts I wrote in 2013. Enjoy!

 

 

1. New E-Book Available – http://www.jeffcalloway.com/new-ebook-available.html

2. Four Quick Signs of Bad Leadership – http://www.jeffcalloway.com/four-quick-signs-of-bad-leadership.html

3. Dealing With Difficult People – What About Bob? – http://www.jeffcalloway.com/dealing-bobs-life.html

4. When You Start Something, You’re Asking For A Battle – http://www.jeffcalloway.com/when-you-start-something-youre-asking-for-a-battle.html

5. Gospel Movements – http://www.jeffcalloway.com/movements.html

 

The Meaning of Christmas

Since the beginning of the biblical record, God promised God’s people that someday He would dwell among them. No more wondering what God is like, no more wondering if God really cares, because with the coming of this Child of Promise we can each know that God understands us. We can be assured that God identifies with our problems, sorrows, hopes, frustrations, and joys. God knows us so well not because He made us, not because He is all knowing, but because He became just like us – he became one of us – a person like you and me. As one of us He can show us the way to heaven, and make sure that we each get there.

Christmas is about the promise of God’s presence among us. But we’ve still go a problem don’t we. What can we do about the way things are today concerning the crass commercialism and the fact that so many people have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas?
I saw a 1998 survey that said that only 34% of Americans believe there is any religious meaning to Christmas at all.
In Japan, which is only 2% Christian, over 60% of the people there celebrate Christmas. Santa Claus and gift giving has become big business in Japan.
What are we going to do about that? Let me offer four things each of us can do to about this situation.

First, REMEMBER the true meaning of Christmas.

Do this by making your Advent season a time of spiritual preparation for Christ’s coming. Some of us have lists – decorate tree, buy gifts, clean house, cook food. Here’s a guarantee from me to you. If you’ll be as intentional about your spiritual preparation for the season this year as you are about all the other aspects of it, you’ll have a wonderful Christmas.

Second, REJOICE in the gift and the season.

Christmas is a season of joy. Some Christians I know go around with gloomy faces because commercialism has “stolen” Christmas – that’s the wrong attitude! Christians, above all others, should be rejoicing and decorating and celebrating this season. So what if some expert claims decorating Christmas trees is a holdover from pagan culture, or that the date of Christmas is a date borrowed from a Druid festival – it’s OUR holiday! Jesus IS our reason, so let’s celebrate!

Third, RECLAIM the season with great love and compassion.

This kind of goes with rejoicing (above), but I separated it because I want you to please notice that when we reclaim the season, we need to be compassionate about it and not beat folks over the head with the fact that Jesus is the reason for the season.
Look for creative ways to witness to non-believers about the true meaning of Christmas. Studies have shown that people are more spiritually open during this time of the year – consider the time an opportunity for a great harvest for God. But realize that you’re not going to do so if you give someone a dirty look and scold him or her for leaving Jesus out of the picture.

Finally, RESPOND to the Christ-child yourself; welcome the Son of God into your heart and into your home.

I read about a pastor who was walking down the hallway of an assisted living center looking at the Christmas decorations that residents had made for their doors. The decorations were small and were not very complicated or expensive. They’d probably been made in a craft session there at the center. A few were obviously variations on a single pattern. But one was very different. It had no tinsel; no colored Christmas seals. It looked more like a place card with just a few decorative pen strokes. It read simply, “Welcome, Lord Jesus.”

Don’t Be Stressed This Christmas Season. Here’s How.

So many peple try to find the meaning of Christmas.  Some think it is a feeling or a spirit.  We get caught up in the packages and bows, parties, and shopping. This is the worst time of the year for depression, because so many people have this idea of Christmas as a Currier & Ives painting.

Many people get so stressed out that they become depressed and Christmas has NO meaning at all.  They feel like Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas movie.  They are desperately trying to find Christmas.

I’ve tried to compile a list of potential things that happen at this time of year which may contribute to increased stress during the holiday season. See if any of these ring a bell, no holiday pun intended.

• Shopping for gifts
• Getting to the necessary holiday parties
• Putting up the decorations
• Cooking a meal
• Wrapping the gifts
• Making enough cookies and breads to give away
• Buying a tree
• Fighting the traffic
• Having enough money to buy gifts
• (If married) Figuring out when to celebrate at both sets of parents without offending either
• All the stores are out of the gift you’re looking for
• Three frightening words – Some assembly required
• Having the right clothes for social occasions
• Gaining weight
• Christmas programs for the kids at school and at church
• Untangling the strands of lights
• Sending out Christmas cards
• Hearing “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” for the 150th time
• Cleaning the house
• Forgetting someone for whom you should have purchased a gift
• Feeling the pressure to make a memory
• Knowing the year is coming to a close and you didn’t accomplish what you intended to
• Facing relatives you don’t get along with
• All of your work is due on a rapidly approaching December 25 deadline
• Knowing that maybe you’ll spend Christmas alone
• Three often overlooked words – batteries not included
• Being a part of a family that celebrates separately because of a divorce
• Christmas lights that won’t work
• Arranging travel schedules
• Missing loved ones who have passed away
• Paying off the credit cards
• Weeding through crowded stores
• Members of your family who find where you hid their presents.

 

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Getting Past The Stop And Go’s

For years at Christmas we journeyed back to Tennessee and Alabama to visit our families and enjoy a respite from the lake effect snow machine that usually cranks up in November in northeast Ohio. A few weeks after we returned from our annual pilgrimage to the Promised Land in East Tennessee in 2006, my wife Julie comes in the house laughing. She was holding in her hand an envelope addressed from the City of Knoxville, Tennessee. Inside the envelope were a couple of photographs that showed what looked like our vehicle going through a stop light. After closer examination of the license plate, I did determine that it was indeed our vehicle. Who was driving is still debatable in our home as both Julie and I took turns operating the vehicle while in Tennessee. I hope the City of Knoxville puts my fifty-dollar fine to good use.

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Fifty-Two Things I’ve Learned in My Fifty-Two Years

This past week I turned 52. Seems like a few years ago I was only 19 and Julie and I were getting married, but the truth is that was over three decades ago. I began to wonder, “What have I learned over the past Fifty-Two years of my life?” I did what you are probably thinking should be done, I started writing down things I have learned that have stuck with me. They are not world changing or will not solve the world’s problems, but they are things that have molded me and have made me who I am. They are not listed in order of importance and it is not all inclusive. Below is the list I came up with. What are things you have learned that you would like to share with others?

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What YOU Can Learn From A Church Planter

There are many people in ministry, corporations, government, and small business that all of us can learn from in order to grow as an individual. We have been presented to and bombarded by leaders messages, both in the religious and secular in regards of how to grow as a person or leader. We have books by Jack Welch, Tony Robbins, Steven Covey, and John Maxwell to name just a few. There’s one person in the category of ministry that I think many or most of us can learn much from – the church planter. It is possible that you have no idea what a church planter is or what one does. In order to save time and space, please refers to this Wikepedia definition of a church planter.

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Finding Your Christian Writing Community

How do I connect with individuals and the “community” I seek to reach with my writing?

As we approach this key question, it is imperative that we keep this question nestled securely in the context of the role of a missionary writer. It may be tempting to rely on conventional ways of attracting people to the your writing (such as mass emailings, spam emailings, or begging people who have a platform to help you). Experience shows that this has limited success and limited penetration into new readers.

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The Right Kind Of Dream For Your Life

The American dream and God’s dream are two very different things radically worlds apart. The American dream used to be a very easy thing to get 30, 40 years ago. It meant you buy a home in the suburbs, Dad goes to work, Mom stays home and bakes cookies. Ward and June Cleaver. Ozzie and Harriet. Father Knows Best. The American dream was pretty affordable for most people. It didn’t involve a whole lot.

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Following A Leader

Mickey Mantle, an almost mythical baseball star who feared he had failed to fulfill career expectations because of alcohol abuse and whose latter years were haunted by self-recrimination, died of cancer in 1995. He was 63. The former New York Yankees center fielder and a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame said at a news conference that he had squandered a gifted life and warned admirers he was no role model. “God gave me the ability to play baseball. God gave me everything,” he said. “For the kids out there, don’t be like me.” Like many boys growing up in the 1960’s, Mickey Mantle was one of the baseball idols who could do no wrong. But just like everyone else who has walked this planet, Mickey was human and made mistakes. The thing about Mickey, was he realized this and was not afraid to say so.
Source: ESPN
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