Jesus Our Savior

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,”Do not be afraid, I bring you good news that will bring great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

It has been hundreds of years since the Lord spoke to his people. Even if you were Jewish and knew all about the prophecies of a coming king. You had probably given up hope, but an angel appears to shepherds. Ordinary guys like you and me just doing an ordinary job. Late at night, it was probably quite dark, cold, and quiet and along comes an angel. That in itself was quite unexpected. I can understand their fear.

To us that would be like a UFO landing in our yard. Then the glory of the Lord shone around them. Worthiness had to be on their minds. “What are you telling me for?, I am nobody special.” I am just a shepherd with all my flaws and sins.” Yet they had to see him. This was a once in a lifetime event to tell people all about for years.

They rushed to Bethlehem to find this new born king. When they found him they were flooded with joy. Could our Lord come in any more humble of way. Just a perfect simple little baby to young struggling parents that were probably wondering how they ended up being the parents of a king.

How could they raise this kid properly. But with anything God calls us to do. God equips us to do it well. Jesus grew up in a struggling family full of brothers and sisters. Living a life just like you and me. This helped him understand what you and I go through.

Our Savior was just like you and me. But he was perfect. He did it all willingly just so he could be part of a family with those of us who accept him. A family that will live happily ever after.

Following Jesus

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24. NIV

What does it take to be a follower of Jesus?

Jesus never said it would be easy or that many would make it to heaven. Actually he said that the road to heaven was narrow and few would find it. Most people don’t make it. Do you want to be part of the crowd? If they don’t make it then that’s probably not the way to go.

Sure the free gift of Christ is eternal life. Accept him and you are on your way. If it’s that easy then why can’t everyone get there? If you read God’s words there is more.

Love your neighbor as yourself. One of the greatest commandments. Do you love everyone you meet? Do you prioritize people, wanting to be around a certain people more than others. Do you shun some people that don’t come up to your standards.

If someone was in need of help would you give them the help they need no matter who they were. What about a homeless, or handicapped, or sickly person. Loving your neighbor can sometimes be difficult. I like myself pretty much all the time. But can I love others all the time?

“If you love me keep my commandments.” John 14:15 NIV

Do you keep all the commandments? Do you even know them? There are a lot of commandments to keep. This is starting to sound like a commitment. I guarantee the more you commit the more you get back. Not just life eternal but, abundant life forever with him. Since I started serving him and following him wholeheartedly my life has gone from ok to amazing. The blessings just keep flowing my way. I still have difficult times, but they seem to come further and further apart.

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2. NIV

“”Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”Matthew 7:19. NIV

Are you producing fruit in your life? What are fruits? Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Are these showing up in your life? Some off the time? What can we do to see these happen more often?

God’s word has all the answers if you look.

There is so much more to being a follower than saying I’m a Christian. Truly following Jesus is more than just a commitment. You need to get to know him. You need to have a relationship with him. He will give you all the help you need if you will just ask him.

Christmas all year long

I wish Christmas would last all year long. People are so nice and accommodating this time of year. God asks us to be that way all year long. Loving one another as ourselves. It doesn’t have to cost a lot either. People spend thousands of dollars trying to get just that perfect gift. A lot of times the gift is set aside and forgotten anyway.

We can do so much all year long. Take time to appreciate everything in your day. The beautiful world around us. God made it just for us. How he gives us our daily bread each day, he helps us all throughout our day, and always does what is best for us. Pay attention to everything around you. The secretary at work has a new haircut, let her know you noticed. Debbie’s dress is cute, tell her. Appreciate people you meet, talk to them.

Do nice things for people. Hold the elevator, the door. Smile and say hello. Invite someone to coffee, or bring them a coffee. Show hospitality by inviting someone over for dinner tonight. Offer to mow a lawn for an older neighbor. Bake cookies for someone.

Spend time with someone who seems lonely, or visit a relative. Write a letter, write a poem, you never know how much that could mean, especially to loved ones. Going the extra mile to make someone feel special. These things don’t cost a lot of money but can mean so much to people around you. It makes life fuller for us and for others.

Giving is so much better than receiving. If more people tried harder to be friendly to those around them the better our world would be. I saw on tv the other day how a woman who missed her flight and was forced to spend the night at the airport waiting for another flight. She got over being upset. She decided to get people to dance with her. It started out slow but really caught on. She took pictures and posted them. They went viral.

It only takes one person to start a chain reaction of love. So let it begin with you.

Dream City Church

Welcome one and all to Dream City Church. On the corner of Sweetwater and Cave Creek in Phoenix. Started by Tommy Barnett 38 years ago. This has got to be the best church I have ever been to in my 58 years on this earth. I first came when the nursing home I was living in told me about it. They have wheelchair buses that travel throughout the valley on Sunday’s picking up special needs people that might not get out to church otherwise.

So I went, and I fell in love with the people and the church. I have never felt so much love and acceptance in my life. Being handicapped in a wheelchair from a stroke I had often felt out of place in public. So I stayed in my little care home with people just like me who understood me. That really was not living. Now I have so many friends to fellowship with each week and my life has never been better.

The church has a special needs ministry that reaches out to people like me. The people at the church have so much love to give. They have accepted me and been so wonderful to me. I just want to tell everyone.

This week in our class we had a Christmas party and we all received gift bags full of things we can use. Next week is the Christmas Pageant that they have been putting on for years. It is bigger a better than ever before. Professionally directed, it is fantastic. We make a full day of it. The buses come a little after 8:00 am to pick us up. We have our special needs class from 9:00-10:30 and then go to the sanctuary for the main service at 11:00. Then we gather for a great lunch and some entertainment till time for the Pageant.

The night of the 16th we are having a big Christmas bash and dance. We have so much fun together. We have bar-be-cues during the year and at the end of summer we spend a week together at camp in the pines of Williams. Swimming, zip lining, and doing all kinds of fun things just for us. Boy we in special needs sure are spoiled aren’t we.

The wheelchair buses drive from Union Hills in the north valley to Van Buren in the south valley. From 20th St. to Tatum up north. From I 17 to 7th St in the south. Contact Chip Gilliam at the Phoenix campus of Dream City he is running the buses so you can set up a ride with him.

If you want to know any more about the church or special needs you can email me at.