Christmas Behind the Scenes 2

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Have you ever broken up with someone right before the holidays just to avoid buying them a gift? If you
said yes, you’re not alone. According to data analyzed from Facebook posts, two weeks before Christmas
is one of the most popular times of the year for couples to break up. On the opposite end of the spectrum,
however, is Christmas Day. Christmas Day is the least favorite day of the year for couples to break up (if
you’re thinking about dumping someone on Christmas Day, don’t be that guy/girl!)

Whether you’re breaking up or making up this Christmas (or glad you’re not dealing with either one), one
thing can be said for sure about the holiday season: it stirs up emotions. Maybe for you it’s excitement. What
am I going to get? Will the people I bought gifts for like what I’m giving them? Maybe it’s dread. Will my
cousin brag about all the stuff he got that’s cooler than my stuff? Will my sister get that Sally-Wets-Herself
doll and get fake baby pee all over me? The holidays are an emotional time.

And the thing about emotions is that they feel so real. You can feel like your life is over because you didn’t
get those leather boots that you wanted. You can feel like everything in your life is perfect because you got
the latest gaming station that set your parents back several hundred dollars. You can feel a lot of things that
aren’t actually true. That’s why it’s important that we never make a decision based only on our emotions.

So how do you make decisions that aren’t just based on emotions?

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all
your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV).

The Bible tells us not to “lean” or solely rely on our own understanding, or our own emotions or thoughts
when it comes to decision-making. The Bible says that if we trust the Lord and submit to Him (decide to
trade what you want for what He wants), that He will our paths straight.

The next time you’re about to make a big decision or even a little one, pause to ask yourself, “Is this based
on an emotion I’m feeling right now? Have I invited God into the decision-making process? Am I trusting
God for the outcome?”

Another key is getting other people involved.

Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Basically,
failing to ask for advice, specifically from wiser people, can really mess you up. Do you have a wise, older
person you can confide in when you need to make key decisions? Consider finding someone with these
characteristics:
• Someone you trust.
• Someone who makes wise decisions in their own life.
• Someone who cares about you enough to be honest with you.
What are some difficult or confusing decisions you’re facing right now?

Christmas Behind the Scenes

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One of the best-known Christmas songs is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Remember how it starts? “You
know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen…” Actually, I usually mumble the rest of the song because
I can’t remember the other names. But I still love it. Just the idea that Santa travels all over the world in a big
red sleigh pulled by eight flying reindeer—it’s incredible, right?

But did you know that Santa actually has several modes of transportation depending on which country you’re
in? Take Australia, for example. The Santa Down Under rides a kangaroo around the Outback to deliver his
gifts. In Hawaii, Santa paddles a canoe. He rides a horse in the Netherlands. And he travels by a donkey in
Switzerland. The Santa in the Czech Republic is really fancy. He actually drops from heaven on a golden cord.
(Yeah—that one wins.)

After hearing all those it makes you wonder where the idea of flying reindeer ever came from. The truth is,
no one really knows. But the history of Rudolph is a little clearer. In 1939, Robert L. May created Rudolph
as the “ugly duckling” reindeer since May himself was picked on as a child due to his small stature. No one
could have foreseen the wild success that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer would have.

Maybe you can relate the idea of being the underdog. Maybe you know how it feels to be the small one, the
not-as-smart one, the second string one, the non-popular one. Or maybe you are popular, but you still don’t
like yourself very much. Or maybe you think you’re just an average kid who isn’t too good or too bad at
anything, but you just don’t feel important. You just don’t feel irreplaceable.

But God would look at you and tell you that you’re absolutely wrong.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God
prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV).

Another translation of this verses calls us God’s “masterpiece.” Another says we are His “Workmanship.” In
other words, we were hand-carved by an inspired Creator on purpose. God wants to use you. If He didn’t,
He wouldn’t have created you. You exist for a specific and predetermined purpose.

This Christmas season, I want you think about why you were created.
1. What gift, talent, or skill did God give you that you can offer others?
2. What’s one way you can use it.

Spend some time praying. If you can’t think of a gift, talent, or skill, ask God to reveal one to you. Or ask God to put a passion inside of your to influence the lives of people around you.

Honor from God and Man


RG3 Heisman

Robert Griffin III, a.k.a. RG3, is highly favored among the NCAA Football Nation today.  Here in San Antonio, TX we have seen pep rally’s and lots of green and gold all over the Riverwalk!  It is an amazing honor with a player that is well deserved of the honor.

How about you?  Who has honored you in the past?  Imagine winning the Heisman or a great award and instantly changing the way you live and changing how you make your decisions.  That is something Robert Griffin III is dealing with as we speak.  He has a few security guards that are a new part of his routine.  He has a few more interviews that the world is viewing.  How about the pressure to WIN?

Mary found herself in a life-changing situation herself.  She was favored by GOD!  Her normal life transformed into something a little different, however.

26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.
37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
 Instead of media hype, she found herself having to explain to her closest friends and relatives why her figure was rapidly changing and her marital status had nothing to do with it!  With this honor and favor from God came hardship, questioning, and a journey farther than a Valero Bowl in San Antonio, TX.  The ultimate gift, however, is one that I still use today… JESUS!
Do you want to be highly favored?  What would you do if you won a great award like the Heisman?
How is favor with God in Mary’s case different from this kind of favor RG3 has today?
SIC’EM BEARS!