In Jesus’ Name

God definitely wants us to be a blessing to others and as we all look to the new year of 2019, many of us may be contemplating what good we can do this coming year to make the world a better place. There are so many opportunities from serving at a soup kitchen and mailing encouragement cards to friends to building houses in third world countries and visiting folks in nursing homes, prisons and hospitals.

Giving words of blessing is another powerful way to have a positive impact on people. Take for example the verses in Numbers 6:22-27 below where God tells Moses to bless His people in a special way.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: ‘May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”

I love the variety of blessings God outlines for His people but I am also struck by the three little words towards the end of verse 27: “in my name”. You see that is how God wants us to bless others. This is not for God’s glory, for we know from 1 Corinthians 13 that “love is not self seeking”. Rather this is a simple way to edify those we serve and help them see the goodness of God.

So as we seek to do good to others in 2019, let’s not forget the powerful blessings that come when we speak, act and live in Jesus’ name. :)

Being like a Child this Christmas

Christmas is a time when we can all roll back the complexity and seriousness we make of life and become more childlike in our faith, outlook and attitude. It is a time when we can simplify our relationship with Jesus as we see Him as the Holy Baby in a manger, we can let our optimism for each days events rise as we see the good God has brought to our lives and we can enjoy the gifts of serving as we see the impact of simple actions on others.

It is Jesus’ desire for us all to be like children in our hearts each day as we let Him carry us on our way. Like a shepherd carries a lamb so Jesus is carrying us in His loving care. And when we see this truth through childlike eyes of faith, we are able to relax in His protection, provision and presence and enjoy Him the true gift of Christmas. The joy and peace this brings are hallmarks of Christmas and of children so I hope you enjoy this beautiful poem by hymn writer Isaac Watts that highlights both so well.

Hush

HUSH! my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

How much better thou’rt attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven He descended
And became a child like thee!

Soft and easy is thy cradle:
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When His birthplace was a stable
And His softest bed was hay.

See the kinder shepherds round Him,
Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought Him, there they found Him,
With His Virgin Mother by.

See the lovely babe adressing;
Lovely infant, how He smiled!
When He wept, the Mother’s blessing
Soothed and hush’d the holy child.

Lo, He slumbers in His manger,
Where the horned oxen fed:
Peace, my darling; here’s no danger,
Here’s no ox anear thy bed.

Isaac Watts

Christmas Video

The glorious day when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus is just over a week away and the excitement is in the air everywhere in anticipation of this annual event! In honor of this wonderful day and season of Advent, Leanne and I wanted to share our hopes and prayers for you this Christmas so checkout our second venture into the media world of video below. :)

WPB and CFL Jingle and Mingle Updates

For the second weekend in a row, we held two Access-Life Outpost Jingle and Mingle Christmas events. This past Saturday there were ones in Central Florida and West Palm Beach. They both had the usual seasonal and festive art, craft, game, snack and singing activities but also featured a few unique surprises like live dulcimer music and a gingerbread man appearance. :)

There were over 40 attendees in Central Florida and 146 folks in West Palm Beach which brings the total to over 400 people who attended the four Jingle and Mingles from Texas and Tennessee to Central Florida and West Palm Beach. Each one filled with the fun of celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus!

That’s whole point of Christmas, right? The reason we have hope, joy, peace and love. Jesus truly is the reason for the season and why Christmas is really the most wonderful time of the year.

We hope you enjoy the smiles in the photo collage above and if you want to see more photos, you can check out each area’s Outpost page at: https://access-life.com/outpost-in-wpb and https://access-life.com/outpost-in-central-florida.

ETN and NTX Jingle and Mingle Updates

This past Saturday, God blessed us with not just one but two Christmas Jingle and Mingle Outpost events. One was in East Tennessee which celebrated it’s 5th anniversary and the other was in North Texas where they held their second Jingle and Mingle in a row.

Both were well attended with over 80 joining in the fun in Tennessee and around 135 coming to celebrate Jesus’ birthday in Texas. There were Christmas crafts, seasonal games, festive food and even the singing of carols at each. Also, the Sunshine Ambassadors sang and danced at the ETN venue while Sing Your Way Home performed in NTX. Both groups featured folks living with disabilities bringing some extra fun and smiles to those who watched.

While everyone gathered for much fun and fellowshipping, the main purpose of these local outreaches to individuals and families living with disabilities is to provide folks with an opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. after all, He is the reason for the season.

More photos are posted on each of the area Outpost pages at: https://access-life.com/outpost-in-etn and https://access-life.com/outpost-in-ntx and we have two more Jingle and Mingles this weekend. One in West Palm Beach and one in Central FL so be looking for more pictures and smiles soon!

Joy and Peace

Well, this year’s Thanksgiving is in the books [and our bellies LOL] and the Christmas season is in full swing. The awe inspiring time of joy to the world, peace on earth and goodwill towards men [and women, too]. It is the world wide celebration of the birth of our gracious and glorious savior, Jesus. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Something about this beautiful season brings hope, joy, peace and a sense of well being. People have a smile on their face, an excitement for life and an optimism in their attitude. So what is it that changes our countenance, the way we think and the feelings we feel? It is Jesus, plain and simple. He is the one who bring about all these good things and as this season unfolds we are drawn more and more into the reality of the unmatchable gift that He is.

This is actually something we can experience all year round if we’ll but fix our eyes on the wonder and beauty of Jesus every day. What’s more the sweet fragrance that is Christ will bless those around us bringing more joy and peace to our communities and neighborhoods. Jesus is that way. He, through the Holy Spirit will permeate the atmosphere around us and bring more of heaven to earth each day as we set our focus on Him moment by moment.

So enjoy Jesus and as you do the hope of faith will rise and fill you with His joy and peace blessing not only you but those around you. Here is some snowy seasonal art and great verse that exemplifies this reality in such a vivid way. I pray they both encourage you today as you enjoy Christmas to it’s fullest.