Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Joyce Meyers-Does your ministry stop when you step outside the church?

Does your ministry stop when you step outside of church? from Joyce Meyer Ministries on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy-Favorite Video Ever

Larry Williams- Being Your Personal Best

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Secret Santa spreads joy, disbelief in Kansas City

EmailPrint..– Tue Dec 14, 9:45 pm ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Secret Santa II hit the streets Tuesday in a long-standing Kansas City tradition of handing out $100 bills — sometimes several at a time — to unsuspecting strangers in thrift stores, food pantries and shelters.

Some people gasped in surprise. Some wanted to know if the $100 bill the tall man in the red cap offered was fake. Others wept.

Secret Santa II has seen a lot of reactions since taking over where his mentor, Kansas City's original Secret Santa, Larry Stewart, left off when he died in 2007 at age 58. Like Stewart, who gave away more than $1 million to strangers each December in mostly $100 bills, this Secret Santa prefers to stay anonymous.

A fake white beard taped to his face, Secret Santa II handed out about $10,000 in total Tuesday. Recipients included a police officer with terminal cancer, a homeless man pushing a rickety old shopping cart, an 81-year-old woman who had recently told her 27 grandchildren she wouldn't be able to afford any Christmas gifts, and Bernadette Turner, a 32-year-old unemployed mother of two.

"It's hard to come by," Turner said looking in disbelief at the $200 Secret Santa had given her.

Then one of Santa's "elves" — another tall man in a red cap — sidled up to next to Turner, asked a few questions, and handed her an additional $100. Turner, whose children are 3 and 8, was overcome.

"I can only afford one gift for each child. But now ...." she said, wiping tears from her cheeks and reaching out for a hug.

"Do you believe in Santa Claus?" Capt. Ray Wynn of the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department, asked from a few feet away. Wynn had followed Stewart on many "sleigh rides" around the country and now follows this Secret Santa, providing stories, memories and amusing sound effects.

"I do now," Turner said. "I do now."

Secret Santa II took over from Stewart about the time the recession hit and the economy went into a tailspin. Like Stewart, this Secret Santa doesn't talk about his own finances, where those $100 bills come from and if — like for so many people now — they've been harder to come by.

Come December, he just fills his pockets with money, dons his red cap and heads out looking for people to make really happy.

He will likely hand out about $40,000 this December. He says he'll go "till the money runs out."

"The recession, unemployment. This is the time you don't want to stop. You don't want to back off," he said.

He walked up to Peggy Potter, 59, of Kansas City, Kan., who was looking at some framed prints at a thrift store. He made some small talk, put his arm around her and within minutes she was crying. Her son died about a year and a half ago. Her husband died in July and her daughter died soon after that.

"I'm just ... today's been a rough day for me, just thinking about my loved ones," she said. "I've been having a hard time paying for all the funerals."

Santa gave her $200, listened more, hugged her, and told her the poster she was holding had special meaning. It was a photo of two hands, one large, one small. Words printed at the bottom could have been written by Secret Santa, the original or the current one.

It said: "Kindness in giving creates love."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Gift of Giving

I had the sincere honor to work with the volunteers of GRACE yesterday and I am beyond blown away at the tremendous support of contributions and volunteers working together to make sure this is a good holiday for those in need. I was able to do the fun stuff of picking out what clothes and toys would go to each family and wrapping the gifts for them. I browsed many items and I expected (since every item was donated) that there would be a lot of dollar store toys or thin items of clothing that would most likely tear with the first washing, but there wasn't a single item that appeared as if it were just randomly purchased without generous thought. I almost cried because I could almost see every toy and clothing item being carefully selected. I could see the person scrutinizing over whether the toy would be something fun or educational or whether it would be something to bring a happy tear to the eyes of an excited child and an appreciative mother who just wants the best for her children, but can't afford to provide that for them. It's overwhelming to imagine the different situations and to wrap your mind around all the unconditional love that everyone is pouring into this. It leaves you speechless to be in the middle of it all.

For those of you that do not understand what 'Positive Energy' means...what I described is a perfect example of positive energy. Taking the best parts of you and sharing it unconditionally with the world; being completely selfless and genuinely using God's grace to take care of those in need even if you are one of them also. God made us to be so special and it would be careless to let our gifts go to waste. I pray that everyone takes the time to be completely selfless at least once a day. It doesn't necessarily have to be joining a charity either; sometimes the smallest good deed can be what brings about the greatest happiness to someone else.

Christmas time is the best time of year to find organizations and charities because there tend to be more during these holidays; however, I encourage this kind of selfless devotion of time and energy throughout the year as well. Get in contact with your local churches and organizations and find out how you can make a difference to others in your community. If there aren't any activities going on then lead your own cause or reach out to as many as possible on your own. Another way of helping would be to step out of yourself and pay attention to friends, family, or even a complete stranger who wears a mark of sadness over them. You could really make someone's day by simply being a shoulder to cry on or even bring a lasting smile to someone with a witty joke or two. The possibilities are endless and every deed requires so little, but the rewards are so grand. God bless everyone!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Unseen gifts poem (Untitled and author unknown)

You gave on the way a pleasant smile
And thought no more about it.
It cheered a life that had been dark the while
Which might have been wrecked without it.
And so for that smile that was given there,
You'll have a reward sometime-somewhere.
You spoke one day a cheering word,
And passed to other duties.
It cheered a heart; new promise stirred
And painted a life with beauties.
And so for that word of golden cheer,
You'll have a reward sometime-somewhere.
You lent a hand to a fallen one;
life in love was given.
You saved a soul when hope was gone
And helped him on toward heaven.
and, so for that help you offered there,
You'll have a reward sometime-somewhere.
Author Unknown