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The Reason for the Season

I know it's been awhile since I typed anything for this blog. I've just been thinking of a few things recently that I really wanted to post for everyone's thought and consideration. As I'm sure you know today is December 3rd, and that means Christmas is just around the corner (22 days and counting)! It's a great time of year filled with many presents, good food, holiday music, and everything else there is to offer. As wonderful as all these things are, however, they aren't the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. The real reason for celebrating Christmas is to commemorate the miracle birth of Jesus Christ by a virgin. It's not really Christmas unless Christ is in it. There are several areas where, even though many people want it to be different, Jesus still plays a prominent role. Take traditional music for example. Let's look at a traditional Christmas song, "Silent Night". The end of the second verse says, "Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born". What does that mean exactly? Savior from what? Also, during military funerals and such, someone on bagpipes is playing the song "Amazing Grace"; regardless of whether you've been in church before or not, I'm certain that you've heard this song played at one time or another. But what is that song talking about? The first verse says, "Amazing grace/How sweet the sound/That saved a wretch like me/I once was lost, but now am found/Was blind but now I see". What does this mean exactly? I'm going to explain to you what things from these songs mean and how they relate to all of us. First, let's look at the phrase "that saved a wretch like me" from "Amazing Grace". The Bible says in the book of Romans chapter 3 verse 23 that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. How do the lyric phrase and Bible verse relate? They both say that we're all sinners. This means that we've lived contrary to what God says we should be doing. Anything wrong we've done such as lying, cheating, stealing, or being greedy is classified as sin in God's eyes. When we sin we come short of the glory of God, and that makes us a wretch in comparison to Him. This is one thing that I see about God and Christ found in the song "Amazing Grace". Second, let's look at the phrase "I once was lost" from "Amazing Grace". Because we are sinners who fall short compared to God, that means we are lost and unable to find God. Since we have disobeyed God and He sees us as wretches, He has seen fit to punish us for our sin. The Bible says in Romans chapter 6 verse 23 that the wages (payment) for sin is death. The reason that man physically dies is because everyone sins during their lifetime, no matter how "big" or "small" the sin is. As well though, man dies spiritually. We can't find God spiritually because, as sinners, God has separated us from Himself and won't allow us to have any kind of fellowship or union with Him. Therefore, we're lost and have earned the penalty of dying both physically and spiritually because of our sin. Third, let's look at the phrase "Christ the Savior is born" from "Silent Night". This is talking about two amazing elements in the life of Jesus Christ. There is the birth of Jesus by a virgin, truly an amazing miracle. Jesus was both God and man because He was not born from a physical father; He was born through the Holy Spirit. He lived a perfect, sinless life. Jesus went about offering the kingdom of God to the people, but they rejected Him and accused Him of things He didn't do. They hated Jesus so much that they put Him before a court and He was sentenced to death for crimes He hadn't committed. Jesus was nailed to a cross and left to die. He did die, but He miraculously resurrected from the dead three days later. The Bible says in Romans 5:8 that God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He paid the price that we couldn't pay (the wages of sin) by dying on the cross for crimes that He didn't do. He suffered and bled and died on the cross for us. Therefore, Christ is our Savior because He is offering us salvation from spiritual death and from eternal punishment that God would otherwise be giving us. Jesus had the power to rise from the dead, so He has the power to raise us from the dead spiritually if we trust in Him. Lastly, let's look at the other phrases from "Amazing Grace". What is this amazing grace that's being sung about? Well, the Bible says in the book of Ephesians chapter 2 verse 8 that by grace we have been saved through faith (in Jesus Christ). Grace is defined as unmerited favor; in other words, God is showing us mercy and love when we as sinners definitely do not deserve it. He's offered us this amazing grace by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins as it says in John chapter 3 verse 16. Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 and 9 say that we're saved by grace through faith in Christ and that it's not anything we can do on our own. It says that our salvation isn't because of our works because then we would be boasting about it. Salvation through Christ isn't accomplished by anything we can do, because we as sinners in God's eyes will never be able to meet His standards on our own. That makes the grace He gives us even more amazing, because it shows that He loves us SO much when we really have nothing we can offer to Him in return. And when we put our faith in Jesus Christ and realize that nothing but Him can save us, the results are quite amazing as well. "Amazing Grace" says "I once was lost but now am found/Was blind but now I see". God opens our eyes and reveals to us how we can have true life in Him. He takes away our spiritual blindness and shows us the way to Him. That's truly amazing grace. The things I've just mentioned show that Christ still plays a prominent role in traditional music that is played by society today. He's mentioned frequently in the various holiday songs and also songs like "Amazing Grace" that are heard often in our world. That's why Jesus can never really be taken out of Christmas or Easter, because He's what the holidays are really all about. Christians in particular can take great joy in the holidays, because they know that Christ has wonderfully saved them from their sins and that He is the true source of their joy in life. Truly, Christ is the reason for the season.

Let the Games Begin!

Man, I am so psyched about this season of football. Baseball's a nice sport to fall back on, but given the choice of catching a football or baseball game, football wins every time. At this moment, I'm drafting my team for my CBS Sportsline fantasy football league (St. Louis Rams Fans). Last year I did both a college and pro league in Sportsline; I completely tanked out in pro, but I won my league championship in college. So I'm ready to go for this season. I'm debating whether to also do Yahoo's Pick-ems game, but haven't decided on that yet. I plan on doing the college fantasy football on Sportsline also soon. Ah, what a great time of year this is!


Unreal Tournament

After a long hiatus of our kitchen desktop being down, I've once again installed Unreal Tournament and a couple other games. It's been at least a month, maybe longer since I've played. And man, I didn't realize how much I missed playing UT. It is such an awesome game! Especially with all the mods and maps you can download from different places. I REALLY enjoy the gameplay in UT; again, it is an AWESOME game!

Short Missions Trip Recap

I know it's been a couple weeks since I've blogged on here, so here's an update. The missions trip was AWESOME! We first drove all night & morning Saturday to Denver, Colorado and spent a couple days there at a church that we support (Metro Baptist in Aurora, CO). Our missions group did most of the Sunday evening service, singing specials; my pastor gave the sermon as well. Then we drove all night & part of the morning to Montana where the week would be spent (Pryor, Montana on the Crow Indian Reservation). We basically worked for the missionaries, with the guys remodeling the house that the missionaries are going to be inhabiting in the future. The girls did kitchen duty and various other chores. During the week (Tuesday-Thursday, at least) our missions group and the church held a VBS for the local Indian kids. There were over 100 different kids that showed up that week, and 9 total got saved (PRAISE THE LORD!). Of those 9, I was able to personally lead 3 boys to the Lord; something I've never done before, and it was VERY exciting. So we accomplished the main goal of our whole trip, which was to see other people come to know Christ as Savior.

During the week we stayed at a hotel in Billings, which was about 30-45 minutes away from the church where the missionaries were. On Thursday night we said our goodbyes to the missionaries for the last time, and Friday morning we left Montana for home. On the way we stopped at Mount Rushmore, which was really cool; I got lots of pics and some souveniers. Then we continued home and arrived back in Columbia, Missouri around 2:30 Saturday afternoon.

Overall, it was a truly awesome time. I learned alot spiritually through all the sermons and devotionals, plus getting to show those 3 boys how they could accept Jesus. And it was also a lot of fun being able to help out and do the different activities.

Missions Trip Tonight

Well, tonight I leave for our church missions trip. Hope everyone has a great week! I won't be online again till next Saturday at best, maybe not till even later.

Busy Week

Yes indeed, this was and is going to be a very busy week. Last week I wasn't online b/c I was at a Baptist camp in Kansas. That was an awesome time; we had lots of fun games, good food, and I had a sweet counselor. I had a GREAT time. And not only did I have a great time, but I learned alot through the Bible messages by Evangelist Bryan Samms. The Lord spoke to my heart on a couple areas and I will now seek to live those out in my life. So that was last week (June 25th-30th).

Now, on this Friday, I'm leaving on a church missions trip. We'll be leaving between 10 & 11 PM and will get back sometime next Saturday (the 14th). We'll be travelling all night to Aurora, Colorado, stay there and help out with a church that we support, leave Sunday night, and travel to a Crow Indian Reservation in Montana to help with a missionary family. It's going to be a great time, one of great servitude and work. Plus a little fun mixed in ;) I'm REALLY looking forward to the trip and how I will grow in the Lord through this whole experience.

I Watched Spiderman 3!!

Yep, I went to see Spiderman 3 in theaters on Saturday (6/9) with my mom. Man, what an awesome movie! I say it's better than the other two, and definitely better than Spiderman 2 was. I absolutely loved every minute of it!!! You can read my Yahoo review of it here.

New Profile Banner and Images

What do you guys think of my new profile theme? Dcgames did all the artwork for me, and it looks fabulous! I love Spiderman, so this fits me perfectly. I've tried doing some banners and stuff myself, but definitely nothing like this.

I've created a couple sports themes that I think I'll try sometime. I'm a big St. Louis Rams & Cardinals fan, so I made a Rams theme and will make a Cardinals theme as well.

School's Out!

Today I finished the rest of my schoolwork for the year. I passed all my tests, so now I'm free from school for 1 1/2 to 2 months (usually go back late July/early August). I just finished 11th grade.

It'll be a busy summer, including going to a Baptist camp in Kansas and a church missions trip to Montana at the beginning of July.