9:01 PM Andy McQuitty of Irving Bible Church quoted this Celtic Christmas Prayer in his sermon last Sunday. Here is the first stanza:
Jesus, we kneel before you in silent amazement. Thank you that, because of your birth, we know that our Father is with us. May we welcome you, not in a cold manger of a heart, But in a heart so pure, a heart warm with love for one another.
To read the whole text of this beautiful prayer, click here. 11:43 AM Part of an e-mail that arrived a few minutes ago:
Just a note to let you know you picked your sermon last Sunday for me. This Christmas has been different for me. I spent one Christmas in Vietnam on a riverboat and it wasn’t good, however this year hands down the worst. I could set down on a park bench and cry! My health problems, family health problems, waiting on a new job, and maybe missing one. I’m actually enjoying Christmas! Before the last two weeks it was doom & gloom so why the change? Your sermon—Joseph didn’t have much of a Christmas either. I heard that story a zillion times and it took this year—a year of disaster to wake me up. So when you are wondering why you picked that sermon out of all kinds of ideas……you did it for me and I thank you! The God of all circumstances!! If that is not encouragement then you can have my cold hard park bench I don’t need it anymore. Have yourself a nice day!!!
10:06 AM Answering more prisoner letters this AM. Received an amazing letter from “Alphonso” who was imprisoned on a murder charge for 19 years. DNA and other fingerprint evidence has recently been uncovered that evidently proves he did not commit the crime. He may be released in the next few days. How does he feel about his 19 years in prison?
I have been so overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of Christ—I’ve been given a wonderful peace that surpasses all understanding. I am absolutely convinced that had I not come to prison, my life would have been completely devastated beyond repair. It’s now been 19 years of incarceration and these years have been the most refreshing and enlightening years of my life—I am truly blessed beyond words.
He goes on to say he is writing a book about his life story called “Saved by the Cell.” 8:29 AM Here’s an excellent article on how to pray for your enemies. 7:50 AM Calvary missionaries Bob and Shirley Friedl (with God’s Helping Hands) wrote to say how much they enjoyed “Two From Galilee.” Shirley added this note:
“We did have one little humor comment. When you, Pastor, went up to the platform in the 4 o’clock performance, microphone in hand and the orchestra was still playing, I poked Bob and asked “Do you suppose he is going to sing?”
If I had started singing, there would have been a standing ovation—of people standing to leave the sanctuary. 7:46 AM Nick and John Mark Edwards are driving home from Samford today. They should arrive in Oak Park early this evening. Nick called yesterday and said his exams were over. I can tell he’s ready to come home for the Christmas break.