WE THE PEOPLE

There are two great documents that stand out in my mind as we celebrate Independence Day. One is the Declaration Of Independence and the other is, The Constitution of The United States.

The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776. It was a list of grievances against the king of England intended to justify separation from British rule.

The Constitution was written and signed in 1787. It was a charter of government that came to be ratified by the states, and it continues to be the supreme law of the land.

One document declares freedom and the other one declares unity. I love the way our Constitution begins. “WE THE PEOPLE”. To me, that says it all. In other words, we together will stand in unity to live in freedom from tyranny. We continue to live in freedom today because a group of people determined to live in unity. I feel a great responsibility as an American to remain united. Though it has been over 200 years since both documents were written and signed, let us celebrate our freedom and continue to live as WE THE PEOPLE.

I feel the same way as a Christian today. When Jesus died and then rose from the grave, that was a declaration of freedom from the domination of sin and the reign of death in our lives. The next great event happened several days after Jesus resurrection. It was called, The Day Of Pentecost and that’s when the Church was born. This day was great because 120 people gathered united in an upper room and waited for the Holy Spirit to fall. Their unity could be described as, WE THE CHURCH. This group of people were not only celebrating freedom in Jesus, but they were also uniting the greatest movement that would ever be.

Today, let’s celebrate our freedom from sin, but let’s not stop there. For the church to remain what God intended it to be, we must stand united and carry on the message that was preached over 2,000 years ago. We must continue to declare salvation and freedom in the name of Jesus and let the world know there is no other name like His. However, a divided church can’t make a difference in a broken world, so let us determine to be more united than we’ve ever been before. As an American, our theme is still, WE THE PEOPLE, but as a Christian our theme must be, WE THE CHURCH!!!

BEFORE YOU TAKE DOWN THE TREE

Another Christmas season has come and gone and now it’s time to get ready for a new year. We’ve listened to all of our favorite Holiday tunes and watched all kinds of Christmas movies for several weeks. But now it’s time to get out all of those green, red and clear tote boxes and start the breaking down process and store everything until this time next year. WAIT! HOLD ON! I want to tell you something before you take down the Christmas tree. I know you’re anxious to pack everything up, but keep the lights shining on the tree for just another moment.

The Christmas season is such a special time of the year and as soon as the tree is taken down, it will all be over. So, before you do that, take a minute and remember some things about this year that were so wonderful.

Before you take it down, do you remember the day you put it up? What inspired you to get the tree out and start decorating? Maybe it was your child’s first Christmas and you couldn’t wait to see how they would react to all of the lights. If you’re like us, then one of your kids started bringing stuff out of the garage, without your knowledge, and just began to put it up. Oh it was a mess for a little while, but do you remember once it was finally complete and your house, no matter how big or small, looked like a beautiful Christmas village.

Before you take down the tree, don’t forget the look on the faces of everyone when they opened their gifts. That priceless smile and those eyes lighting up as your child screams…”THAT’S WHAT I WANTED”!!! They run and hug you and say “THANK YOU”!!! All of a sudden, nothing else matters. As parents start putting all of the wrapping paper in trash bags, the kids start putting on their new pajamas and start playing with everything they just opened. Nerf darts start flying through the air. The sound of war is coming from one of the bedrooms as your son is on a “Call Of Duty” and is part of the special “Black Ops”. While one kid is playing a new guitar, another one is putting those new hot curlers in her hair. Oh it’s quite a scene and whatever you do, cherish those memories.

Before you take down the tree, remember your kids are another year older and they may not ask for the same kind of presents next year. In fact, your son or daughter can change so much in just one year. You could be buying clothes this year and looking at a car for them next year. Hold on to the memories of who they are now, because it doesn’t last long enough. Store the memories and the year this Christmas season represents. Next year they will be taller, they will even sound different and for some, your baby boy or baby girl will be in college. What did you all do this past year? Where did you go on vacation? What was the birthday themes? These things are important to think about before you take down the tree.

Take some time to be thankful for the family members you still have in your life. A parent or grandparent can go through a lot of changes in just a year. As I’m writing this blog, I’m looking at our Christmas tree and remembering my grandmother, who has had a difficult year. Time and age is taking her mind, but I remember just a few months ago when she was herself and we had some great conversations. I’m not sure what this next year will bring, but I’m thankful for the memories I have of her this year.

My wife and I are so blessed to have wonderful parents that we are extremely close to. Although this has been a very challenging year for both sets, we have made some awesome memories together. I not only enjoy the memories I have with them, but some of my favorite ones are how much my kids love being around them. It makes me so happy to see how excited they get when they find out Nana and Papaw Dean or Mamaw Joyce and Papaw Spencer are coming to town. They’ve had a great year of memories with them this year.

Last, but not least, before you take down the tree, take a moment and remember how much emphasis is placed on Jesus during this season. Movies, songs and plays all promote His birth. During the Christmas season, it’s mentioned everyday. Isn’t it amazing how things go better when Jesus is at the center of everything? Maybe while you’re taking down your decorations, when you get to the nativity scene, pause for a moment and commit to telling this story over and over again throughout the next year. Don’t wait until you unpack a Christmas box to think about the birth of Jesus.

Oh, there is one more thing. If you suffered the loss of someone that you loved this past year, I’d like to remind you of something. When we celebrate Christmas, we’re not just celebrating the birth of Jesus, but we are celebrating His life, His death and His resurrection. The reason Jesus came was so He could save us from our sins and one day bring us to where He is. On Christmas we rejoice because He came to us, but there will come a day when we go to Him. Just imagine how incredible that day is going to be when we see our loved ones and we behold the Lamb of God that died for our sins. That’s right…go ahead and think about that for a moment, BEFORE YOU TAKE DOWN THE TREE.

A NEW YEAR’S TO DO LIST

Instead of focusing on the problem, start looking for the answer.
Stop worrying about the people who have left you and invest in the ones that just entered.
Quit fretting over how you got in your current situation and make your plans on how to get out.
Don’t let a bad decision cause you to give up on your dream.
Make sure the hurt you’ve suffered doesn’t take the lead in how you treat others.
Ignore your age and pursue your passion.
How you see yourself will affect you more than how others see you.
Practice making peace.
Strengthen the important relationships in your life…you will need them and they will need you.
Commit to being positive.
Don’t engage in senseless social media wars.
Realize the greatest gift you have is today.
That’s when everything will begin to change.

VALENTINE’S DAY PREPARATION

We all know that Valentine’s Day is a day where we express our love to the ones we love. If you are having trouble deciding what to do this year, Here is a list of things you might want to think about as you get ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

1. Remember her favorite brand of chocolate, no matter what’s on sale…and don’t take a bite of it before you give it to her.
2. Get the correct number of Valentine’s Days you’ve been together before you post it on social media.
3. Don’t stay on your phone the entire Valentine’s Day Dinner. Post some pictures and then put it away.
4. Do not take her to a buffet…or to eat fast food…or to Hooters.
5. If you buy her something special to wear…make sure you get the size right.
6. Do not pour liquid bubble bath in the hot tub.
7. Make sure you get her a Valentine’s Day card and not a Birthday card by mistake. (True Story)
8. If you buy her underwear, (this is very important) you can’t go by her dress size.
9. Do not tell her you bought her flowers and decided to give them to your mother instead.
10. Make sure your car is clean and doesn’t smell like day-old White Castle burgers.
11. DON’T ARGUE!!! Besides, she’s always right.
12. DO NOT SUGGEST WATCHING 50 SHADES OF GREY!!!…. EVER!!!

If you have kids, hire a baby-sitter for a few hours, but don’t leave them completely out of this day. Remember, they are a product of your love for each other. However, do teach them the meaning of a shut and locked door.

Whatever you decide to do, just make sure and do something to celebrate your love for each other.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

BTW…we’re celebrating 29 Valentine’s Days together and we’re going to the Cheesecake Factory and the car smells great. Last but not least, I LOVE her more now than ever!!!

IT’S BEGINNING TO SOUND A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

Well, we’re packing up for our Christmas Vacation in Michigan to be with our family. I’m sure many of you are doing the same thing or you’re getting ready to. Since we’ll be away from home on Christmas, we decided to open our gifts from each other tonight. Home Alone 2 is playing, while my wife is cooking in the kitchen. The kids have memorized almost word of this movie and they keep asking me, “Can we please open our gifts now”? Sorry to give you a play by play, but it’s just what we do.

So what do you all do? What movies do you watch? What’s your favorite Christmas album? What’s the candy you most look forward to eating? Come on now, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” It may be a “Silent Night,” but “Joy To The World”, our Lord has come and “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Jesus birth is what all of this is about. He came to save us and we rejoice because of that. I also see that He made sure He wasn’t alone when He came this earth. He could have chosen a lot of places to have been born and with all kinds of people. However, this uncommon King chose to be born into a common family. Yes salvation was in the manger, but a family is what was gathered around Him. His purpose was not just to save us, but also to teach us the value of family.

As you enjoy the season, I encourage you to reflect on Jesus’ birth, but also be reminded that He thought family was important enough for it to be a part of every aspect of His life. His mother birthed Him and raised Him. She was with Him at His death, His resurrection and His ascension. Family followed the Master every step of the way. I think He wanted us to know how important family really is.

Enjoy the Season with your family.