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I was sent this a long time ago, it is a great story and I wanted to share it with YOU!

Snowy Christmas Eve

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God, and he didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused. “That story is nonsense!” he said. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!” So she and the children left, and he stayed home. A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and could not go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed. The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It is warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and did not seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumbs trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on. Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.
“Why don’t they follow me?!” he exclaimed. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?” He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human. “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud. Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn — and one by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind:

“If only I were a goose, then I could save them!”

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier.
“Why would God want to be like us? That’s ridiculous!”

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done.

We were like the geese — blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us.

That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer:

“Thank You Jesus for coming in human form to show me the way out of the storm!”

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The final Sign of Life is “Outstretched Arms”. This shows a willingness to care for others. Outstretched arms show that Christians are following the example of Jesus Christ as they reach out to those in need. Outstretched arms are a sign of a Christian who has received the Grace of God and is taking what they have received and passing it on to another. The Love that Jesus Christ had for the world was:

1) Purposeful – God’s love is not fleeting or something that changes with events. God’s love is as strong as steel, as solid as granite, and as deliberate as a marching army. God’s love was not an accident. God’s love stretched to the outstretched arms of Jesus hanging on the cross.

2) Selfless – Selfless love thinks of others first and self last. When we stretch out our arms to others we become more concerned about others, and less worried about our own needs. Jesus died, not for Himself, but for others. His love was so strong that regardless of what He had to suffer He was going to provide a way of Salvation.

3) Unconditional – When God says “God so love the world”, he is talking about me and all the other me’s in the world. It does not see black or white, male or female, rich or poor, pretty or ugly, fat or skinny. God loves us all and stretches out his arms to the entire world. All they have to do is come.

4) Sacrificial – And of course because of His love His gave is all, His very life for the ones that He loves. His love is so amazing that He was willing whatever it took to reach us.

We are to love others as Jesus loved us, purposeful, selfless, unconditional, and sacrificial. If you truly want to make a mark on this world. If you want others to see Christ in you? Than reach your “outstretched arms” and love them like Jesus does.

Pastor Kevin Jackson

Excerpts taken form Signs of Life by Max Lucado

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A Christian who is living the faith shows certain signs of that life. He is to have Dusty Shoes (from going out into the world and sharing his faith). He is to have Worn Out Knees (From spending so much time in prayer for himself as well as others). This week we are going to look at the third sign of life “Open Hands”.

According to tradition, the custom of shaking hands began among ancient German duelists as a sign of peaceful intentions. You couldn’t draw your sword when your hand was outstretched. So an open hand showed they were meeting as friends. A closed hand or clenched fist is a universal sign of greed and selfishness and is often seen as a person with a closed heart. But we also notice that an open hand means the following:

* A sign of surrender. A big time executive spoke of the years when his son was away from Lord. He finally realized that he had to open his hands and let him go. For a while he tried to control and manipulate, pressure and influence him to live and do what he wanted him too do. He finally realized that all he was doing was driving him further away. He finally opened his hands and released his son to God’s care and keeping. He knew the Lord was able to do more than he could and  in time his son came back to the Lord. If you are burden down with difficult problems than open your hands and give it too the Lord. “Cast all your cares on Him, for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). To have open hands means giving your problems to God.

* A sign of Generosity. Dueteronomy 15:7-8 tells us that whenever we encounter a “poor man of  your brethren,” we should not harden our hearts, “but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.” The wise women in Proverbs 31 “opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy”. This is to be done with a  “cheerful heart” (2 Corinthians 9:7). We need to set our  mind to open our hands to those who are in need. As I have grown older I have learned that at Christmas now, I get more pleasure out of giving gifts to others than i do receiving them.

* A sign of Receptivity. An open hand implies a willingness to receive as well as give because it is hard to receive something when your hands are closed. God’s hands are open and stretched out in our direction. He is ready to give to you and to bless you. As Psalm 145:16 puts it; “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” But in order to receive His blessings you have have to let go of the things that are filling up your hands. If you hands are full of the things this world offers than you cannot receive the things that God wants to give. The Lord wants to give us more peace, more grace, more love for Him, more love for others, more patience, more joy, more self-control. But He needs you to be willing to stretch out your fingers to Him and open Your Hands!

Excerpts taken from Max Lucado’s book Signs of Life

Pastor Kevin Jackson

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Last week we talked about how dusty shoes are a good sign that we are Spiritually Alive. Another sign of life is “Worn-Out Knees.

The late Gypsy Smith told of the conversion of his Uncle Rodney.  Among gypsies, it was not considered proper for children to address their elders unless spoken to, so  young Gypsy prayed and waited for an opportunity. One day the boy’s uncle took note of Gypsy’s worn trousers.

“Laddie,” said Uncle Rodney, “how do you account for the fact that the knees of  your trousers have worn nearly through, while the rest of the suit is almost like new?”

The boy answered, “I have worn the knees through praying for you, Uncle Rodney.” Then he added with tears, “I want so much to have God make you a Christian!”

Uncle Rodney put his arms around Gypsy in a fatherly embrace, and a few moments later, he fell on his knees, confessing Christ as his Savior.

Prayer is mentioned more than 71 times in the New Testament. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 simply says “Pray without ceasing.” Jesus constantly was on his knees in prayer. He prayed for the sick, the hungry, the children, the government, the families, the church, and the lost. We can see over and over again just how important prayer is to a Christians Spiritual Life!

Are we wearing our knees out by praying for those around us? Do we spend time talking to God about our problems? Worn out knees is a sign of a Christian who is Spiritually Alive. We should pray first, and act second. We should continue to pray for the person or situation until something happens. We should “Pray without ceasing.” “We should have Worn out Knees!”

Excerpts taken from Signs of Life by Max Lucado

Pastor Kevin Jackson

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The world that we live in cannot see our inner faith, but it can see the works that we do that come from that Faith. Christians have changed the world by living their faith. By actually involving themselves in this world to show others what Christ is all about. How do you know that you are living your faith? That you are not just keeping it bottled up inside. Christ wants us to live our faith, not just on Sundays but all week long. For the next few weeks I would like to share with you some signs that you are living your faith.

Dusty Shoes:

“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23)

Jesus lived and ministered in the highways and byways of this world. He was constantly among the people with whom the religious elite of His day would have nothing to do with. He did not do his ministry in the Temple, He knew that in order to reach others He had to go out to them. One of the biggest mistakes that the church makes today is believing that if they get a good enough program or activity the world will beat a path to its door. In reality the only way to reach the lost is by getting our shoes dusty. Are we reaching out to the community? Are we going were the need is? Or are we sitting and waiting in the church for someone to show up?

The question that we need to ask ourselves is: are we willing to go out and get the dust of the world on our shoes? Are we willing to go into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in? Will we show them how much God loves them by meeting them where they are and providing what they need? Take a look at your shoes today. If most of what you see is lint from the carpet in the church and home, then ask God to give you dusty shoes, shoes like were worn by our Savior, shoes that are searching for the lost.

“If we are in the habit of polishing our shoes on Sunday morning, may it be because they are covered with a week’s work of dust from the streets of the world”

(Taken from “Signs of Life” by David Jeremiah)

Pastor Kevin Jackson

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