Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Season - #2487 - Amid Coal Mining Town's Hurts, Small Church Finds Heart for International Missions - Baptist Press (2) 10 Things About the Christmas Story You May Have Missed - Crosswalk (3) After National Outcry Federal Reverses Anti-Christian Bank Decision in Oklahoma

War, West Virginia
Pastor Travis Hyde didn't exactly get the reaction he'd hoped for. He saw dropped jaws and looks of disbelief; one woman appeared to almost fall out of her pew. In 2006, when Hyde became pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in War, W.Va., about 15 people were in the pews on Sundays. As the Christmas season approached, Hyde challenged the congregation to set a goal of $500 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. "It was obvious from the look on some folks' faces that they thought that was an impossible kind of task," Hyde said. "The most they had given in the past wasn't much more than $150." In this small coal-mining town of about 700 people, giving money can be a sensitive topic. There are few stores in War. Many buildings are abandoned or closed for business. The local post office does not deliver mail, and cell phone coverage is unreliable unless the town's only cell phone provider is used. In the 1950s, when more coal mining jobs were available, the town's population neared 3,000. Today, many of those jobs and the people who lived there are gone.  Read more......... This is a very inspiring story, please read to find out how much they collected.

10 Things About the Christmas Story You May Have Missed - Crosswalk - They were not "kings" from the east and there weren't three of them. And when they arrived in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary and Baby Jesus were not still in the stable, but in a house, contrary to half the Christmas cards that will be arriving at your house.  And there's no indication there were cattle in that stable or anywhere nearby. In fact, the only thing that leads us to believe Jesus was born in a stable is that Luke 2:7 tells us Mary laid the Baby in a manger, a feeding trough.  But you knew all this.  And you knew that all of this was predicted through the centuries by God's prophets. We particularly treasure the promises of Isaiah 7:14 ("Behold a virgin shall conceive....") and 9:6-7 ("For unto us a child is born...."), as well as Micah 5:2 ("Bethlehem...out of you shall come forth One to be Ruler over Israel...").  And you knew that, contrary to the Christmas hymn "The First Noel," the shepherds in Bethlehem's fields did not "looked up and saw a star shining in the East beyond them far" (modern hymnals have revised that line to read "For all to see there was a star....").  But, allow me to point out some aspects of this wonderful story it's possible you might have missed. There is no particular order intended. Read more........

After National Outcry Feds Reverse Anti-Christian Bank Decision in Oklahoma - The Blaze - The Federal Reserve has reversed its decision that originally forced a small Oklahoma bank to remove from its premises and website Bible verses, crosses, and Christmas buttons. The reversal occurred after national outcry and a letter from two Oklahoma lawmakers who charged that the decision may be unconstitutional. Sen Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent a joint letter to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday afternoon saying they have “seldom encountered a more alarming case of heavy-handed interpretation and enforcement of Federal regulations,” and charging the decision may be in violation of “fundamental Constitutional protections.” The letter ended by demanding a response. That response came Friday afternoon, when the Federal Reserve’s second in command contacted Payne County Bank president Lynn Kindler in Perkins, OK and told him he could once again display his Christian artifacts and Bible verses. “The Federal Reserve restored everything on a permanent basis,” he told KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City. “It’s over. We can put everything back up the way it was and keep it there.Read more.......

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