Building People. Spreading Hope.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How to Celebrate a Stress-Free Christmas

1. Put CHRIST in front of Christ-mas.  He wants your life not your stuff.  Sing and play worship music.  Read the Christmas story from the Bible.  Brag on God’s goodness.  Spend some time alone and thank Him for his unspeakable gift – Jesus!

2. Guard against offenses.  Christmas has become one of the most stressful times of the year.  The word “offense” comes from a Greek word meaning bait.  Don’t bite the devil’s bait.  Don’t wear your feelings on your shoulders.  Give people the benefit of the doubt and be quick to forgive specially those you love. 

3.  Have a relaxed, easy going attitude.   Be more agreeable.  Nothing is worse than living in a house full of strife, getting all stressed out, snapping at each other.  Offenses will come but make up your mind not to get upset.  Go out of your way to let love and peace rule!

4. Beware of the sale and catalogue trap.  Many retailers mark up their prices up to 300% profit before they offer you the “80% off” price.  If it is not on your list, don’t buy.  Don’t spend what you don’t have.  Before you spend, consider the bills that will come due in January!  Most of us don’t need a miracle but a little bit of self-control.  Focus on homemade stuff!  Love is not expressed in the price tag.

5. Spend time not money.  Kids will forget the memory of the latest gadget but the time spent on playing with them, setting up a Christmas tree together, drinking hot chocolate by the fire, reading a Christmas story will create a life-long memory.  Let the kids open some of their gifts early.  Call or visit the elderly.

6. Make a list of jobs to do and check them done.  Set deadlines giving each job adequate time to finish.  Delegate some of the tasks and accept the results.  Don’t stress out if it is not done exactly the way you want but put on a smile and say “well done.”

7. Learn to say no.  You don't have to do it all.  Pick a few things and do it well.  Choose what you want to do and who you want to be with.  You can’t please everyone’s expectation.

8. Do not keep up with the Joneses.  The Bible teaches us not to compare ourselves with others.  Don’t get caught up in what others are buying or doing.  Be content with yours.

9. Take time for yourself.  Take time out to enjoy the season.  Pay attention to what you eat and drink.  Your mood will greatly depend on this.  Enjoy the food in a way that will not disappoint you getting on the scale on January 1st.  Remember, you are responsible for your own happiness!

10. Share the JOY of Christmas.  When something wonderful happens we should tell others about it.  Millions in Asia have never heard about the first Christmas.  You can bring the Gospel to someone for the first time.  No greater gift can you give to Christ than to cause someone to hear the Gospel. 

Celebrate Christ and Transform Lives:
Stay inspired on Facebook:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Unleash the Power - Be Thankful

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." - Charles Dickens
Gratitude is the most passionate transformative force in the universe. When we offer thanks to God or to another human being, gratitude gifts us with renewal, reflection and reconnection. Every time we remember to say “thank you” we experience nothing less than heaven on earth.
The Bible says, Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15
Researchers have found positive differences in grateful people. The people who focused on gratitude were just flat-out happier. They saw their lives in favorable terms. They felt better about their lives. They were more optimistic. They were more energetic, enthusiastic and determined to make the best of life. People who were thankful were fun to hang around with. They were interested and more likely to help others. They also had fewer illnesses.
If you’re going through a midnight hour of trials and can’t think of anything good to be thankful for, consider Paul and Silas. The Bible describes them (Acts 16:25-26) sitting in a prison thanking and praising God (after being beaten and tortured severely). Their thankful attitude created such a massive earthquake that “everyone’s chains were loosed.” Friend, no matter how dark your situation may look, there’s freedom in thanksgiving. This I must admit is extremely hard to do when you’re going through a dark period in your life. But you CAN do it.
Practical ways you can develop a thankful lifestyle:
Just say Thank You! Pick up the phone and make that call God placed in your heart. Send a thank you card. Express your gratitude for special favor received. Go visit someone you’ve not seen in a while. Give a token of appreciation.
Record your thanks. Too many people do the opposite. They journal the bitterness of life. But it glorifies God when we focus on being grateful – anything that make you feel uplifted, that brought a smile on your face or contributed to the future of your happiness.
Don’t forget God. Take the time to thank God. It is amazing how generous we’re to shoot out a prayer for help but not as grateful to come back and thank God for it. Remember the ten lepers Jesus healed. Only one had a grateful heart.
Your sincere expressions of appreciation will brighten the lives of others but most importantly – yours! Practice the art of gratitude and look for opportunities to thank and acknowledge the special people in your life. Keep a few small gifts to express your thanks in a tangible way when they bring a special blessing to your life. Remember that a life overflowing with gratitude and thanksgiving will touch others more deeply and produce more long lasting relationships.

For more Life Lessons and to join Sandy transform lives, check out:
Stay inspired on Facebook:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Your Miracle is Within Your Reach

You have probably never heard of Károly Takács. However, in Hungary, he is a national hero. In 1938, Takács of the Hungarian Army was the top pistol shooter in the world. He was expected to win the gold medal in the 1940 Olympic Games scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan. Those expectations vanished one terrible day just months before the Olympics. While training with his army squad, a hand grenade exploded in Takács’ right hand and his shooting hand was blown off.
Takács spent a month in the hospital, depressed at both the loss of his hand and the end to his Olympic dream. At that point, most people would have quit. But Takács did the unthinkable! He decided to learn how to shoot with his left hand. Instead of focusing on what he didn’t have, he decided to focus on what he did have – incredible mental toughness and a healthy left hand that with time could be developed to shoot like a champion.
The 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled because of World War II. But Takács kept training and in 1948, at the age of 38, Takács won the gold medal at the London Olympics and set a new world record in pistol shooting. Four years later, Takács won the gold medal again at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics – all with one arm!
Many times when we are in a crisis or facing a certain need in our lives, we tend to believe the answers are far out of our reach. We give up thinking, “I don’t have the right connection, I don’t have the resources, or I don’t have the education.” But in the midst of our deficit, God believes in us. He allows us to reach within ourselves and discover the gifts and talents He has put in us. If we just take a step of faith and look around what we have, we will find the answers are well within our reach.
Think about it! Moses parted the Red Sea holding up an ordinary staff. David killed Goliath using a slingshot. And even Jesus started by using five loaves and two fish from a little boy’s lunch to feed the five thousand. They each had their miracle well within their reach. I’ve learned that it’s not so much what we have, but it’s God’s blessing on what we have, that makes all the difference. But nothing happens until we make a move and take some action.
Are you in need of a miracle today? Does your business look like it will not recover from this slump? Do you feel like giving up? If any of this describes you, there is hope for you!
Moses had to walk up to the vast sea, and as his feet touched the water with his rod held high, the Red Sea parted for the Israelites to walk across. David had to swing the sling that brought down a giant. Jesus had to ask a little boy for his lunch to feed 5,000 people! Friend, when all you can see is what you do not have, remember, the miracle is often within your reach.
If you want a job, you have to knock on a few doors. If you are looking for a spouse, do not expect Prince Charming or Miss America to knock on your door. You must put yourself out there. If you are looking for a business deal to close, you have to keep following up with your prospect. If you want a better marriage or a family, you have to start making some adjustments. You’ve heard it said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Do not limit yourself or God. He knows exactly what you need and how to get it to you. Stay open to God’s unconventional ways. It is called faith. You are not a powerless victim, left in the merciless hand of fate. You are an overcomer, because the Almighty God is on your side. He not only lives in you, He also lives through you!
Friend, God will never allow you to go through a temptation or a trial without making an escape for you. The scripture says, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (I Corinthians 10:13, NIV)  He has you in the palm of His Hand. He had a solution to your problem long before it ever existed. Your situation is not impossible. Like Takács, Moses, and David, God has already prepared a way out for you.
No matter what you are going through, your answer is within your reach. Do not talk about what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have. The Scriptures says in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” He is close to you; He is within you, and He will cause you to triumph in every situation. Your miracle is within your reach!

For more Life Lessons and to join Sandy transform lives, check out:
Stay inspired on Facebook:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mission Trip Report: Revival in China

I have just returned from an unprecedented ministry trip to China. THANK YOU for going with us to bless our persecuted brothers and sisters with your prayers and support. Personally, I've never seen people more hungry for God than the Church in China.
We landed in Beijing and our ministry began with training pastors and leaders. Hundreds of them had gathered from different parts of China. Four pastors came from the remote north east part of Harbin, China. It was already snowing there but these church leaders traveled eighteen hours by train just to get to the training. Professor Du, one of my translators, flew in from another city because of the distance. He has led thousands of university students to the Lord even under threat of losing his job. After I preached a message on "How to Overcome Discouragement," he began to hand-copy my notes. He was so hungry for the Word!
We also traveled to another city called Shenyang where we saw the whole church pray, laugh, cry,dance, and soak in the Word of God. We ministered for eight to nine hours a day. When we stopped preaching they asked us to teach some more! After we gad preached some more, the pastor sheepishly requested, "If it's not too much trouble, will you please lay hands on all the leaders and pray for them?" Of course, we did! Altogether we were able to train 800 pastors and leaders during our time there.
Another highlight of our trip was distributing Bibles to rural church leaders and believers. My eyes welled up with tears when I saw them kissing the Bibles we had brought for them with your gifts. Many of these believers had been praying and fasting that they would receive their own Bible someday. God answered their prayers through you!
We incurred many expenses but through your generous support, we were able to bless our persecuted brothers and sisters in China. China will never be the same! I appreciate your continued prayers and support. Every soul saved, healed, delivered and touched were credited to your spiritual account. Without you, we couldn't have done any of this. Thank you for touching China with your love. I'm praying for you!

For more Life Lessons and to join Sandy transform lives, check out:
Stay inspired on Facebook: