Saturday, December 31, 2011



What if we had more time in a day to git 'er done, would we?
What if we had one more dime in the parking meter, would we have gotten that parking ticket?
What if we had one more mime on the street corner in July, would we welcome the sound of jackhammers?
What if?

What if we had filled up the tank on the way to work, right before Sheik Abdul sneezed and gas shot up 45 cents a gallon?
What if we had just been cussed out by a guy named Frank, but still gave the cashier a credit card-sized tract which looked like a "Facebook" logo with a Friend Request that reminded her "What a Friend we have in Jesus"?

What if we had just gotten that one last prayer in for uncle Joe, who was in Hospice Care but thinks he was good enough to get into Heaven because he never killed anyone....well except for that bridge he blew up in Viet Nam...and the er...secret mission to Cambodia...???!!!
What if?

You get the point! 
Life is sometimes a series of missed opportunities. It happens to everyone at the most crucial moment. How many times have we said "aw man...I should have said....." or "why didn't I mention......" or "if I get the chance to tell....I will...." ad nauseum!

This past year was no different. Looking back on what ain't no more, we see:
- Blizzard on Groundhog Day (February 2, 2011) which shut down the Midwest and took the life of a 55 year old friend of mine, who went shovelling two feet of snow with a bad heart.
- Tidal Wave shown live on worldwide TV in many of us watched in horror as thousands died lost forever to eternity in a split second, because they did not know the One True God.
- A monster mile-wide tornado took out Tuscaloosa, Alabama in April which they still have not recovered from.
- A similar set of violent tornadoes almost completely destroyed Joplin, Mo, about 6 hours from where we live. But unlike the other natural disasters, we were able to mobilize truckloads of food, water, clothing and money to help love on these dear people, who lost everything except their Hope!
- The St. Louis Cardinals, hot on the heels of one of the biggest Christian Days at the Ball Park in August, win the 2011 Baseball World Series in some of the best baseball ever played.
- Yet we had spectacles of spoiled rich kids armed with Apple iPads, iPhones and more electronics you can shake a stick at, "OCCUPYING" every major city in America, causing havoc, lost of income and disease by living in 1960's styled communes...complete with illicit sex and violence!
- But then we had the Tim Tebow phenomenon!  One thing those who don't understand us Followers of Jesus is this - Tebow has the jump on them! The thing is - a person either bows or "Takes" the knee to Jesus Christ NOW as your Lord and Savior - or THEN on Judgment Day, when the majority of mankind will be forced to do so, right before being condemned to Eternal Separation from God! 
Therefore - GO TEBOW!

All of the aforementioned are community and national phenomena, which we should not neglected. However the most two most important  Evaluations of the past year are these:

- Our Relationship with God (Are we saved and walking in His Light daily?)
- Our Relationship with our immediate family (wife, husband, children, extended family etc...)

Today, at your New Year's Eve party or fellowship or on your couch watching some ball fall off the side of a New York building, THINK ON THESE THINGS:
-  What if I had read my Bible more than just the 3 minutes in church, which the pastor reads and I follow?
-  What if I even opened a Bible because that same pastor uses wall projectors to teach Scripture on Sunday morning?!!
-  What if I prayed more than 7 minutes a week, which BARNA found out about us - The Body of Christ (the majority of US Pastors are only slightly better - 10 minutes per week!)
-  What if I reached out more and more to the lost, hurting and weary?

Could, should and would I learn from any shortcomings from the above and seek to immediately improve on my Walk with Jesus, as soon as possible, in 2012? This would be the mark of a true woman or man of God!

Could, should and would I get more involved in doing whatever I can, no matter how little, if there is a food drive at work to feed the poor or help those in need after a flood or tornado? Don't wait to do this by thinking someone else will pick up the slack, my friends! YOU are the person Christ gave all for! Therefore it's time for YOU to step up!

While all of the above is fine, if we do not have LOVE, we have nothing. We can do all of the above and write big checks or volunteer at every soup kitchen, but if we are a fraud at home, where rubber meets the road....well.....forgeddaboudit!

Consider this: if your teenage son or daughter have nothing good to say about you, or your spouse thinks you love yourself and your happiness more than her and your children, well then what are you going to do to change/improve that in 2012?

No amount of good wishes, "Happy New Year's" and resolutions will change the facade of perfection we have created in such an instance. If we are the real deal at home as we are in public, well PRAISE GOD for that...and may we grow from strength to strength.

However, if we need the Hand of the Lord to work on this one part of our lives, well then, let's get to it now....because this is the one which affects our walk with Christ and our community, in the final analysis.

In conclusion, long after we have gone through all the "What ifs" and evaluated our personal walk -whether it is in darkness or light - we will do well to embed the following Bible passage into our consciousness on this final day of 2011 and then allow it to take us into 2012 with all Flags Flying the Jesus Colors....and with that - HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14 ESV)

(image by google images)

Friday, December 30, 2011

SEASONS IN LIFE as another year leaves LAURIE

Seasons demonstrate to us that while nothing stays the same, there is beauty to be found in every season (Laurie Popovich)

 Temptations in bright yellows, oranges and reds;
The beauty surrounds us, turning our heads.
This beauty soon fades to a crimson brown,
And piles of leaves fall, littering the ground.
Twisting and turning as they dance with the wind;
The stirrings, the confusion, the unrest within.
Echoing the noise of the words once spoken,
Revealing the heart scarred and broken.
Trees stripped and standing bare,
Nothing to hide, nothing to spare.
Facing the cold, harsh winter winds;
Woe the brittle and breaking of limbs.
Hardened heart, frozen for a time;
Desiring great warmth,
Waiting to be defined.
Rains steady on the earth’s floor,
Seeds being watered evermore.
Resurrection of life all around,
Colorful blossoms of beauty abound.
Waters washing away the lies,
Seeds of truth within arise.
Springing forth from old to new,
Anchoring one in “Beautiful You”.
Light lengthens a summer’s day;
Pushing back darkness, showing the way.
Bright colors painted everywhere,
Withstanding a Sun’s gaze, glare.
Shade welcomed, warm waters near, far;
Visions of clear skies, the brightest of stars.
Frolicking, dancing my heart secure, at rest;   
Warmth of love defines me, giving me the best.
The beauty to be found in each season is found in you. You are the beauty to be found and shared with others.
You are loved,

Laurie Popovich 
(image by google images)



PSALM 112:
1 Praise the LORD!
  Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
 Who delights greatly in His commandments.
2 His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches will be in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever.
4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
5 A good man deals graciously and lends;
He will guide his affairs with discretion.
6 Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
8 His heart is established;
He will not be afraid,
Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
9 He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His horn will be exalted with honor.
10 The wicked will see it and be grieved;
He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
The desire of the wicked shall perish.
Psalm 112 1:1-4 (NKJV)

So I ask myself: what kind of man am I? How am I to live my life? In my walk in the Lord, He will show me the model for a man in His image. It is all I desire. God tells me now how to live my life. His instruction is crystal clear.
Birth of Understanding
I fear the Lord, I have reverence in He who is so much larger than life. His promise is I will be blessed in my reverence and delighting in His commandments: Love God, Love everyone in all aspects of who they may be. Jesus did not say love with a discretionary love, He said love. I shall and I receive a smile on my face because this is God’s will and I live it and feel it.

Understanding our Legacy
I raise my children to love Him, to be exposed to Him, to begin to learn how to seek Him. Pray with your children as one body seeking Him together. Your authority is paramount in rearing them, but God’s authority is all-encompassing. Love and pray with your children for they are a new generation to praise God. They will do the same to their children. Our legacy of the upright! Upright, or “strong moral rectitude”, is our path forward, generational. We can be the foundation for our children and their children by example in how we demonstrate our relationship with God. With respect. With praise. Bearing acknowledgment to He who blesses.

Understanding Eternal Treasure
Wealth and riches come in the form of wisdom and anointing in the oil of the Spirit. Material wealth fades, but His love and righteousness endure forever. Forever believe this of God. We are rich and wealthy in the things we store eternally. Hold Him in your heart. Make this your prayer now. God is eternal yet He knows our name. He is personal. Look at the greater picture. See through the eyes of eternity. We are encouraged in our pilgrimage on earth, we understand our true wealth is strictly in the Lord.

Shining without Obstruction
We emanate light: His light. As we walk we stumble less because we know Him more. As He reveals Himself, our light within emanates to brighten our path and show others the Spirit that will overcome their worldly spirit. Take refuge in the light for there can be no darkness in the light. We absorb God. We walk in His way and talk in His spirit. Our countenance is in His image. We have no dark place for the Lord sees us always. We have the indwelling Spirit and the Spirit is Light, we are the character of He who abides in us. Shine without obstruction.

Godly Integrity
The instruction in verse 5 lends itself to our integrity. We have the integrity of a godly person as we have walked in His way and learned a graceful spirit and merciful demeanor. Integrity is self-awareness of personal speech and action. We carry ourselves in His way. We are on His stage and act in His will. It is good because godly character and integrity are great desires. We cannot be exact. We can be aware of the completing process.

A Steadfast Heart
I cannot be shaken. The person of divine integrity will leave their mark in this world. I our personal legacy is through our generations. Our generations base their godly spirit on the Lord through the character we have set. John established this in His letters. He uses experience in the Lord to project character onto the future hearers of the Lord from those who have trod close to Him. We have unshaken godly integrity. We are treading close with God – we are remembered for this above all else.

Understand the World
News of evil, or news of the world does not shake us. We know the integrity of the world and our reaction in compassion to a fading flower. Once beautiful but at season’s end, fades and withers. That too is the character of man. We should not be surprise of what the spirit of man is incapable of from the perspective of our godly spirit. Remember that thought. Man is fallen and separated until he reconciles with Jesus.
Our hearts are steadfast in God. We have a heart dependent on the Lord and not man. Therefore, the nature of our heart is of God not of man. Steadfast in His way means we do not waver, weaving right and left on a path God lays out for us. It is our desire to walk a straight line and face our obstacles with our steadfast foothold in God.

Seeing Eternity
We cannot ever truly understand our adversarial relationship with the spirit of the world until we sit in our place in heaven. Then the wretched are truly seen, writhing and pursuing all temporary. The sand he grasps falls through his ungodly fingers. The Hebrew concordance defines the phrase He will not be afraid as “We will not truly know the awesomeness of our reverence” until we are in heaven. Just as we will not truly understand perfection except through what God tells us. In heaven we are glorified, perfected, and will know.

Our Influence in our Pilgrimage
Our countenance is dispersed. Our character is widely known. Our influence is felt among many. Our foundation is in all that is precious in the sight and word of God. Our integrity is bounded in Him. We have ministered and our “horn” or our “strength” is exalted in honor. God will reward the just and upright (Psalm 58:11)

The Dilemma of Man
The darkness cannot hide in the light, the atheist cannot deny love, man will recognize a godly spirit but will not understand. He is confounded and gnashes teeth, because eventually there is nothing left to strive for. The heart of man will be forever unsettle and empty. The heart he attempts to fill will keep draining like fine sand through his fingers. It is futile and hopeless. His desire perishes because the sun sets on his hope.

I truly believe that I can be the image of a perfect God, completing me daily. I give myself grace as He has indeed done. I love, as He has indeed showed. I have compassion, as Jesus truly demonstrated. Let the Word of the Lord adhere to your heart. You will be fortified and strong in His will. It is truly a life of joy. We have it at hand. We must respond to His calling and see beauty in His footprint as we place our step in each of His impressions. We are like children with our Father. Succumb to this child-like persona. We can be wise too but always remember all God’s people need to be held in the loving arms of our Father. So smile and seek Him.
Psalm 112 is the instruction for life:
Man birth in God through realization
Man’s reverence and praise for God
Man’s godly legacy
Mans integrity
Man’s countenance
Man’s influence
Man’s ministry
Man’s seat in heaven
Praise Him! Be blessed.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


What we witnessed during the Nike Shoe Riots of 2011, in the past five days, not just a complete breakdown of decency and humanity....but a glaring lack of SELF-CONTROL. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that "God did not give us a spirit of timidity (or fear) but of love, power and SELF-CONTROL". Self discipline and personal responsibility are gifts from God to ALL human beings! God has written His Law in the hearts of ALL mankind. Some just can't read it because their hearts are not right!

Also Galatians 5:23 tells us that one of the Fruits of the Spirit is self-control. The only people who even possess the Spirit are those who are saved and called to the elect as children of God in Christ. In light of all of this, my friend Evinda Lepins, author and conference speaker, has a very nice take on Self-Control or Temperance, as we get close to winding up yet another beautiful Christmas season!



Did you know that in translations of long ago, the word “self-control” was translated as temperance? The explanation for the word change is this: “The various gifts given by God” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness – “to us are capable of abuse.” 

Now let me clear that up a bit! :)

The right use of temperance/self-control requires the controlling power of your will under the operation and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In other words, it’s a surrendering and letting go and letting God, just like we talked about in the gift of faithfulness. See, when trying to do something within our own power and not under His power, we are either going to run into ourselves or run out of ourselves.

Here’s another really cool thing to understanding self-control/temperance: When we exercise temperance/self-control, this is our response to HIS Spirit. It suggests, not assumes, that what is learned must be put into practice.

And finally, self-control/temperance is the outer protective layer of all the other fruits, aka, gifts! Just like all fruits have a protective layer, so do the gifts. Some protective layers are thick; some are thin; some are soft, and some are hard, but the point is they protect the sweetness of the fruit/gifts within.

I don’t know about you, but I think that is so divinely ordered! Temperance to you, my friend!


(image by bing images)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Pop Culture Gone Wild!

The complete moral breakdown over the release of the latest  NIKE Air Jordan 11 Retro Concord basketball shoe is absolutely stunning!

The riots across America since Friday December 23, when Nike released this  $180 perennial favorite, did not happen by accident. It happened because of a philosophy which replaced the God of the Bible with men who posted themselves on pedestals as the gods, to whom, certain people should look to, for everything, from food to education to medicine to jobs name it.

Where did a mentality for any of the following incidents come from for some of the reports from around the country, over the past few days? I will tell you right NOW, that it did not come from the Gideon Bible Society or Focus on the Family!

NEWS ITEMS from Dec. 23-27, 2011:

- Police in Georgia had to break the windows of the car of a 24 year old woman, who left her two toddlers in there, while she was fighting for a pair of these shoes inside a mall.
- Police had to pepper spray 20 people in Seattle when fighting broke out in a mall there.
- Three teens and an adult were arrested in Toledo, Ohio for disorderly conduct and breaking and entering a store, which was carrying the shoes.
- We all saw the videos of the fights in the Mall of America and cops taking down crime suspects, who came to buy these shoes.
- A young girl was severely injured when the mob stampeded and broke down the doors of a really nice downtown Indianapolis mall...and on and on!

The entire country has been treated to these video clips for the past four days! Yet not a word from basketball mogul Michael Jordan or any pillar of the pop culture which spawn this mad stupidity and anarchy! Not a word from their preachers and street activists. Not a word from any national leaders!

Finally Nike released a weak statement asking for civility! How nice of them!

This sort of moral degeneration will never cease until parents, or the people who raise these kids, wake up and see what they are doing to our youngsters! Poverty is no excuse for this kind of misconduct! It is also not a license for it. Local church leaders have to return to the Word of God and forget this garbage and unbiblical doctrine called Social Justice! Nowhere in the Bible is Social Justice mentioned or promoted!

Is any of this going to happen anytime soon? No! But we can start! We can start by praying for God to raise up His people in all communities nationwide, not just in the inner cities...but in the corrupt rich suburbs as well, which feeds off the misfortune and music culture of urban America.

The bottom line is this - until America returns to prayer, and until the REAL Christians in America stand up and demand their pulpit occupants follow the Christ from the Bible, this will continue to happen on a larger scale.....with more and more devastating result each time!

Are you ready to pray?

Father God, in the Name of Jesus, You said "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord". But Lord, America has made gods of wood, hay, stubble, electronics, celebrity, Hollywood, smooth-talking politicians and now rubber shoes their gods! America has exchanged the One True Holy God in Heaven for a worthless piece of trash which will all burn up one day, when You come to judge these same people!

America has turned its back on You yet sing Joy to the World and pack fancy churches twice a year at Christmas and Easter...all the while saying they are a Christian nation! Lord, Abba, You know better! We sing Joy, but there is no Joy. We cry out Peace, but there is no Peace. We preach Goodwill to men, but there is only ill will!

Father God, we who are called by Your Name know judgment is at hand! We know the axe is at the root of the tree and the other shoe is ready to drop! We know each day brings us closer to the Return of the King against Whom, these same people will one day try to fight or claim "Lord Lord"...but He will not know them.

Father You said "if My people who are called by My Name" will repent and turn from their evil idolatry and chasing after the false gods of this world, then You will hear from Heaven and bless....but while we have a praying remnant, the larger so-called body of the church has let You down, God. So now, Lord, we cry out, in the Mighty Name of Jesus, for mercy and grace and then Wisdom, Discernment and Boldness as we seek to bring others in this perishing society to You before it is too late. Give us direction as to whom we should seek to be Your elect, so we can bring in the Harvest, before the two minute warning is over and the clock runs out!

Set Your Mighty Hand upon this Land, oh God. Deliver us from evil, give us strength and the courage to stand up for what is right, while leaving certain battles for You along to fight. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear, what the Spirit is saying in these last days about ALL these things, for Thine is the kingdom and the Power and the Glory, in the Name of Jesus, amen.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011



And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presentedgifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew 2:1 

And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presentedgifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  
Matthew 2:11
The Christmas season is the time of year we focus on Jesus, the Savior of the world, coming to earth as a babe. His humble entrance changed the future forever! God, in the flesh, bringing hope to a world filled with corruption, chaos and moral decay. In the little town of Bethlehem during the utter confusion of the census Jesus' birth silently swept in like a wintery snow. 

Questions arise about this historic account...
  • How did the word get out about the Messiah's arrival?
  • Why did God send Jesus at such a chaotic time?
  • Are you kidding me... an unsanitary stable with hay, animals and GERMS?
  • Why did the wise men bring gold, frankincense, an myrrh? Why didn't they bring blankets, baby clothes and rattlers? 
Let's tackle this last questions. Imagine the wise men just doing their thing... being wise. All of a sudden, they notice a Star beaming in the East. In all their wisdom and knowledge of scripture they recall Numbers 24:17, "A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab and destroy all the sons of tumult." These men didn't sit around contemplating the situation. They moved into action. With little time to waste they headed to the East, following the Star. Imagine their journey. Possibly they were singing songs of praise or contemplating what they would say first. With every step their hearts beat faster and faster. 

Keeping their eyes on the Star they land in the town of Bethlehem. They realize the Star is beaming its brilliant light on a meek home. The pounding of their excitement resembles their knock on the door. As it opens tender tears pour. Their eyes focus on the toddler who is with his mother. They can't contain themselves any longer. The Messiah, their Yeshua humbly standing in the midst them. In unison run toward the child and fall on their knees before Him in worship and praise. In a moments notice they begin digging into their bags. One by one they laid their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh at the feet of Jesus - their long awaited King! Tears puddle beneath them. Physically weary yet energized spiritually they leave this humble abode to return home. Wow, what a trip back that must have been!

Why did they choose these three gifts? This is an Awe-Ha moment... 

Gold symbolized Royalty (The King of the Jews)
Frankincense was a Fragrance (Used in the Temple-rep Priesthood)
Myrrh was an Ointment of Death (Prophesying Jesus' Death) 

God had it all planned out. He directed the Wise Men perfectly not only with the Star, but with the perfect gifts! Through these gifts God provided Joseph and Mary the financial resources needed to flee to Egypt, escaping the wrath of Herod. Their God, their son's Father, meeting the needs ahead of time!

Challenge this Christmas Season... May this Christmas be one you will remember as life changing. Not because of the gifts you receive or places you go, but one that embeds a deeper desire for a relationship with Jesus. Maybe the most precious gift you can give someone is the Gift of Prayer! The beautiful thing about this is it is the gift that keeps on giving. Let's call it The Merry Christmas Giver! 

From My Heart to yours,
Carla McDougal

Monday, December 26, 2011


We are all familiar with the story of that amazing birth night in Bethlehem! It was when God sent His holy angels to preach the first Gospel sermon. The landing of this Angelic Host on Shepherds Field (which is still around as you can see) is significant for many reasons!

These messengers from Heaven, could have announced the Birth of Jesus to kings and satraps and governors. They could have announced it to the priests in the temple, the teachers of the law and Pharisees and the righteous (in their own eyes) religious folks in Jerusalem. But they didn't! Why?

Why did the Holy God of Heaven select dirty, poor and outcast men, who worked from March to November in hard scrabble (as you can see again, from this photo) land among animals, animal waste and more. These men were kept out of Jerusalem almost exclusively! They were banned from entering any Temple of God to worship, because they were ceremonially unclean, under the 613 Laws of Moses in the Torah/Pentateuch! They were around dead sheep at times and animal waste, all the time. So the priests and religious authorities banned them!

These are whom God chose! It is a symbol for what He would do in the Life of Christ, not just in the short three year ministry He had on earth, but ever since He died and rose again!

The first sermon of Christ started like this "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed...(Luke 4:18)....and you can add to that "the outcast, unwanted and those left behind by the world!!

The Lord also chose the Shepherds for a simple yet VERY CRUCIAL mission, even though these men were unaware of the reason! The word shepherd here in the Christmas passage from Luke 2, is "poimenes" or...get this - "Pastor" in the English!

In one fell swoop, God revealed Himself, the Gospel and the Heavens to lowly outcasts and then anointed them the Pastors of the First Worship service - right on the harsh Shepherd's field in Bethlehem.

LUKE 2:   
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will bethe sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 
       14 “ Glory to God in the highest, 
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Verse 15 b (the shepherds said to each other, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing which has come to pass, WHICH THE LORD HAS MADE KNOWN TO US!!!"
Note here how obedient these newly minted 'pastors' became once they realized what God had just done for them! These men did not need to go to seminary to comprehend revelation and the revealed "RHEMA" word! They did not need a professor to tell them about hermaneutics and soteriology because they could not, like most shepherds, read a word of Hebrew! Yet they obeyed!

Secondly, look at verse 17 - "Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child". Now these men are supposed to be looking after their own flocks of who did they tell??!! Joseph and Mary appeared 8 days later, after the birth, in the Temple for Jesus' circumcision where they met Simeon and the prophetess Anna.

They had to walk many miles south (of Jerusalem) to get there and that would be a long walk with a newborn on dangerous roads. So the shepherds had not only to do some fast talking to villagers along the way, but to relay the word throughout their large herding community to those in both Bethlehem and Jerusalem! Remember these men were raising thousands of sheep for the annual Passover, so there was a large group of shepherds out there. Once the message was spread first throughout these men, it filtered out QUICKLY. These 'pastors' were literally proclaiming the "GOOD NEWS" - the true meaning of the Gospel!

Third, notice how stunned the people were at this Gospel truth! Verse 18 said "all who heard it MARVELED"!!! They were in completely blown away at what God had done - both in the Birth of the Savior to the most humble of parents in a dirty, cold smelly cave AND to whom He revealed the Event.

Finally, notice what happened in Verse 20 where it says "the shepherds (pastors) returned glorifying and praising God...."! That literally was the first Worship service after the Birth of Christ! The original language and meaning of "glorifying and praising" is singing worship songs (psalms etc) to each other, in a responsive manner! This means one group of men would sing the praise, and the other half would the sing the same praise phrase (or portion of the song), back to them! This would go on for hours as they walked back from their Proclaiming the Gospel to the entire region!

All I can say is WOW!

God is NO respecter of persons! God will choose whom He will chose. In this short passage of the Christmas story, we see so many things as the Shepherds ordained the "first pastors" (so to speak), therefore:

Well, this sounds like church to me! How about that!

Many Christmas seasons will come and go, but the Church age goes on - for now! The goal in this message today, however, is to show what occurred after the Birth and how it applies directly not just to our daily lives as believers, but how it teaches us all these actions of God. It also shows us how finely detailed He is in the methodical way He first laid out the Standard Operating Procedure, of those whom He calls - us.

We are to proclaim and preach the word.
We are to evangelize and tell everyone who will listen about it.
We are to constantly live in Wonder and Awe of Him.
We are to constantly live in a state of Worship of and to know....just like those shepherds of Shepherds Field in Bethlehem, almost 2000 years ago....the same shepherds who became the first pastors!

Please note this: as we marvel at the choice of these wonderful shepherds, let us not miss the symbolism of all of this. Remember I mentioned that these men raised the sheep for the Temple sacrifice in Jerusalem. Well, here are two things The Lord has impressed on me about this:
1. The Man Whom Micah 4:8 called the Tower of Flock, spoken off by these first preachers, became the ultimate Sacrificial Lamb- from the fields of Bethlehem to the Hills outside Jerusalem (where He gave His Life for us!)
2. All of us like sheep have gone astray and are in need of the Good Shepherd, the Shepherd of shepherds, that same Tower of Flock! Is He YOUR Shepherd too??!!!