Christmas Day!

As a kid I remember the dilemma.  I was always way too excited to go to sleep, but I knew that if I could fall asleep Christmas morning would come quicker.  Eventually I would fall fast asleep only to wake the next morning rather early—usually around 5 am.  I would run down the hallway toward my parents’ room and past the living room door (peeking in to see silhouettes of gifts on the floor).  The anticipation of Christmas morning was almost too much to bare!

ChristmasWith a whisper, I would say, “Mom, Dad, it’s time to get up!”  They would tell me to wake my older siblings and off I’d go to let them know it’s time to get up.  Eventually everyone would crawl out of the bed and head down the hall toward the living room.  The excitement was overwhelming!  The lights would flip on and I’d think, “No way!”  Presents were scattered throughout the living room.  I remember those days like they were yesterday.

Today, as a husband and father, I have enjoyed watching my three children with similar reactions to Christmas morning over the years.  There is something about the sheer excitement of Christmas day that transcends generations (and even cultures).  But why?

If we think about it, the first Christmas morning was filled with the same kind of wonder and excitement.  Luke tells us in his gospel that the announcement of Jesus’ birth came to the most unlikely—shepherds (Luke 2)!  Yet, His birth, as the angel told them, was for them.  In other words, the shepherds were the first to receive the greatest gift of all, the reason we celebrate this season today.  The angel’s words still bring child-like excitement: “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

“For me?” thought the shepherds. “Yes, for you!”  And for you, too!  The shepherds ran to see the baby Jesus and they leave with great excitement telling everyone around—“A Savior has been born for you!”  “For me?”  “Yes, for you!”

While we give and receive gifts this Christmas, it’s a reminder of the greatest gift ever given, a gift first given to the most unlikely.  A gift that changed their world.  A gift that they were not content to keep to themselves, but were willing to tell everyone around.

Let us do the same this Christmas.  “For unto us a Savior has been born!”  May the excitement and wonder of Christmas day compel us to share this great gift of Jesus with all those around us and beyond us.

Earthquake Preparedness

Haiti eartquake - 04Haiti Earthquake -07Experts continue to predict that the New Madrid Fault Line, which includes portions of Kentucky, will eventually produce an earthquake of 7.7 magnitude or greater.  A quake of this degree would generate 21 times the energy of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and would likely cause significant structural and infrastructure damage.  It would also potentially displace tens Haiti Earthquake -07of thousands of people, particularly in the western portion of our state.

Are We Ready?

Creating a family disaster preparedness plan and an emergency survival kit can greatly enhance your survival capabilities following a natural disaster.

Haiti earthquake - 2

During an earthquake, the best way to protect yourself from injury is to:

Drop. Drop to your hands and knees to lessen the chance of being injured in a fall.

Cover. Cover your head, neck area, and as much of your body as possible with your arms or by crawling under a table/desk. This will provide protection from falling items.

Hold. Hold on to your item of shelter or to your head and neck until tremors/shaking stops.

An emergency supply kit should be prepared to sustain life for a minimum of 96 hours, and should include:

Instruction Manual on Emergency Preparedness
Battery Powered Radio
First Aid Kit and Manual
Sleeping Bags and Blankets (Wool and Thermal)
Can Opener
Waterproof/Windproof Matches
Non-Perishable Foods: Ready-to-eat goods in unbreakable containers, canned meats, juice, fruits, vegetables, powdered mild, infant care foods, crackers, peanut butter, freeze-dried and/or dehydrated goods (MRE’s)
Flashlight with Extra Batteries
Water Storage (1 gallon daily, per person)
Water Purification/Filtration
Utility Knife/Multi-tool
Emergency Candles
Extra Eyeglasses/Contact Lenses
Essential Medications
Extra Clothing

SANITATION KIT (5 person example):
(1) 5/6-Gallon Bucket
(1) Port-a-Potty Lid
(12) Port-a-Potty Bags
(5) Port-a-Potty Chemicals
(5) Latex-Free Gloves
(5) 3M N-95 Particle Respirators
(2) Toilet Paper Rolls
(5) Toothbrushes
(5) Tissue Packs
(5) Combs
(5) Razors
(5) Bars of Soap
(5) Hand Sanitizers

Wet Wipes/Moist Towelettes
Baby Supplies
Paper Towels
Paper Plates/Cups
Plastic Utensils
Aluminum Foil

For Children: Puzzles, Coloring Books, Crayons, Books, Games
For Adults: Books, Magazines, Games

Paper and Pen
Copies of Insurance Policies and Personal Papers
Money (Cash)
Important Addresses/Phone Numbers
Work Gloves
Tool kit w/Most Commonly Used Tools

Flashlight w/spare batteries (keep a flashlight beside every bed in the house)
Portable Radio w/spare batteries (telephones may be out of order, so radio may be your best source of accurate information via the Emergency Alert System (EAS) (KSL 1160 AM))
First Aid Kit (everyone should know basic first aid, i.e. CPR, Heimlich Maneuver, & First Aid for severe bleeding and shock)
Smoke Detectors & Class ABC Fire Extinguishers are recommended for every home
Pipe Wrench & Adjustable Wrench for turning off gas or water mains
Work Gloves and Boots to assist with rescue work (or CERT Kit, if CERT Trained)

Haiti Earthquake -07Haiti Earthquake -07 STANDARD FIRST AID KIT:
First Aid Manual
Pain Relievers (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.)
Rubbing Alcohol
Cotton Balls
Cotton Swabs
Anti-Bacterial Ointment
Triangular Bandage (36”x 36”x 52”)
Elastic Bandage
Safety Pins
Anti-Diarrhea Medication
Salt Tablets
Sanitary Napkins (Pressure Dressing)
Medical Adhesive Tape
Small Splints
Heavy String
Items for any specific individual needs

Bethlehem Experience


Last night I took a trip to “Bethlehem.”  Oh, it was just 40 miles down the road from my house, but was a nice reminder of what that wonderful night some 2000 years ago might have been like.

As we entered the city we had to register for the census and declare all of our livestock.  We then passed by the money changer’s table and to the tax collector, where we paid our taxes.  Once our taxes were paid, we entered the marketplace.

The pottery shop was our first stop.  There was beautiful pottery displayed around the shop and the potter shared about how he takes a lump of clay and molds it into a beautiful vessel, just as God does with us.  Many times, he said, the vessel has flaws and he has to start all over.

After leaving the potter’s shop we went on to the bakery.  They told us of the different types of bread they were baking and gave us samples.  They were also sharing about some most incredible news they had been hearing.  It was about a baby being born and folks asking if this could be the Messiah.  “If you find Him will you let us know?” they asked.

Our next stop was the carpenter’s shop, where they were busy working with the wood.  We then visited the spice shop, the musicians, the basket maker, and the clothier.  At each of these locations they too were discussing the rumor of a baby being born.

The stop at the synagogue was most interesting.  There a learned Rabbi was teaching his students about Old Testament prophecy of a baby, the Messiah, which was to be born in Bethlehem.  “He will bring us peace and will be pierced for our transgressions.”

As we approached the inn, we met the innkeeper; then were greeted by shepherds who shared about the angel visiting them while they were in the fields saying, “Behold, unto you is born this night, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

Finally we came to the stable.  There, we met Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in the manger.  Mary and Joseph both shared how an angel had come to them telling them that this child was of the Holy Spirit and not to fear.

This “Bethlehem Experience” was an outreach of the New River/McCreary County Baptist Association at their ministry building in Winfield, TN.  At our final stop we were back in the 21st century.  Pastors were there to share the rest of the story.  They reminded us not to leave Jesus in the manger.  Yes, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and we do celebrate His birth at Christmas, but we must not stop there.  Jesus grew up.  He lived a sinless life.  He died on the cross for our sins.  He was buried, but three days later He rose from the grave, went back into heaven, and will one day come back for His children.

Can you celebrate the entire story this Christmas?  Is He your Lord and Savior?  If not, there is no better gift for you to receive this Christmas than accepting Him into your heart and life.

Merry Christmas!!