Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

y sincere thanks, first of all, for the Christmas offering, to all of you who were in either the 9 or 11 o'clock services on the 20th. Your generosity is greatly appreciated, and I speak a hundrefold return to you and your household on your giving. Thanks, also, for the positive feedback on the sermon "Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room". I've had to learn over the years how to preach both with and without revelation, but let me tell you...it's definitely better "with"! In the second service, especially, I felt that life-giving energy of revelation that makes preaching worthwhile for me. The logos word is wonderful...it is the "sincere milk", and it does produce growth...but there's nothing like the rhema word. Faith comes by hearing that rhema/now word...that living, vibrating, productive Spirit-word that God is speakING...and in that service, I was aware of a genuine spirit of faith moving through the congregation, regardless of anything that may or may not be happening in the realm of natural circumstances...

very year at Christmas I like to bring something new to the story...last year it was the sermon about the Little Drummer Boy (the Kingdom principle of using what's already in your hand to be effective), and Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer (the thing that you thought was a weakness in your life...the thing that caused everyone else to shun you...may be the very thing that, "for such a time as this" will bring you to greatness). But this year's word about reconciliation and inclusion (the wise men who sought Him, and the shepherds who didn't, all receiving the same Good News) I think is my favorite.

evelation is what this season is all about...the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us...the invisible becoming visible...a time when we acknowledge the possibility of giving birth to the impossible:
For unto us... not unto me… not unto you... but unto us, the collective, corporate community of mankind...the household of humanity...unto all of us, a child is born; unto us, the global family, a Son is given, and the responsibility of the government will rest on His broad shoulders. In fact, all the governments of all the peoples of the world will ultimately recognize Him as their one true foundation, for the earth is His, and He belongs to all of us . He will be the physical embodiment of the “I Am,” the God who defies description; and, in an attempt to define the indefinable, He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase and expansion of His kingdom and government and peace there will be no end. He will reign initially from David's throne and over His kingdom, establishing it and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time, on into the eternal now. The passionate zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
(Isaiah 9:6,7 - The Bible In The Now)

ight now, I only want to focus and concentrate on these things...to rejoice in the reality that unto us a Son is given. No doubt, there's currently a lot going on in my life and in my ministry...in fact, you could say that I'm just generally in transition in pretty much every area...but I have chosen to take no thought for tomorrow according to Matthew 6:34, believing that, ultimately, my steps are ordered, and that the Lord will always perfect that which concerns me. I so appreciate hearing from many people over the last few days, several with whom I had basically lost contact, who have picked up from the blog that something's going on and wanted to send some encouragement (I'm frankly surprised that so many of you who I never hear from read it!)...but, seriously, I'm OK...we're OK...we can talk about it in a few days...but this is Christmas week, and I haven't even watched "It's a Wonderful Life" yet, or listened to the soundtrack of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"! First things first!

ou probably have your own drama swirling around you, currently...plenty to be worried about in the natural...lots of things by which to be distracted from the beauty of the holiday. We all have our plates full, but for the next few days I want us all to put those full plates down, and pick up real plates full of turkey and ham and all kinds of delicious and fatttening things (I even like egg nog and fruit cake...how extreme is that?!), and just enjoy Christmas in the now! You can watch what you eat later...this is a time for celebration! You can deal with your stuff later, too...it will most likely still be there...or, maybe not...who knows what Christmas miracles can and may occur in the next few hours?
“Peace I leave with you; I’m talking about My own, personal sense of peace, wholeness and well-being; I’m actually transferring it to you. You see, My peace is unlike the peace that comes from this realm...the peace that is reactionary and temporal, dependent on outward circumstances to determine its strength and presence. My peace is other-worldly – settled, absolute – causing you to be in harmony with your whole life – past, present, and future – and ultimately with the whole of creation. It will empower you to refuse to let your heart (your inner world) become troubled, agitated, or upset, no matter what is happening around you, and you can be fearless because you will be at peace with the Father, with yourself, and with the universe."
(John 14:27 - John In The Now)



hoose to be happy and grateful for all that you have this week...choose to take time to count your many blessings...choose to embrace and manifest all of the best sentiments of the season like "peace on earth, good will toward people" (especially the people in your life and personal world), and "God bless us, everyone (there are enough available blessings to go around...more than enough for all of us)!"
What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. - Agnes M. Pharo


ave yourself a merry little Christmas, bloggers and Facebook friends. Regardless of what you may have gone through in 2009, the fact is that you made it...you're here now...and you have lived to see another holiday season. So you need to enjoy it...every bit of it...even if it really is only a merry "little" Christmas this year. God is good (all the time), and He has been good to you throughout 2009 in ways that you can't even see right now. You know, we probably overuse the Romans 8:28 "all things work together" phrase and concept (I wrote a whole book about it, in fact) to help us deal with all the unexplainable and overwhelming things that often happen in our lives...but in the big picture, that's what is really going on. Take a minute out of the holiday hustle and bustle to get quiet, and in your spirit you may hear Him say, "I really do know the plans I have for you..."


EAL PEOPLE EXPERIENCING THE REAL GOD IN THE REAL WORLD...for many of us this Christmas, this trademark of Church In The Now is becoming much more than a slogan or even a concept. Because of all that has happened and is happening in the world around us, and at CITN, we are forced into walking this idea out...manifesting it as living epistles to be read by all. Mary and Joseph's reality was certainly altered when the angel told them that they would become the mother and step-father of Jesus, but their whole world was turned upside down when they found out they had to go to Bethlehem in the third trimester of Mary's pregnancy, supposedly to be taxed. Of course, the real deal was that they had to get there so that the Messianic prophecy about the birth could be fulfilled. Sometimes what we think is an inconvenience or even random chaos in our life is actually God getting us to where we are supposed to be, so that a prophetic imperative can be confirmed. And part of the end result of surviving that rugged trip to our own "Bethelehem" is that what emerges...indeed what is "birthed"...is something that is completely REAL.


n a word, we have everthing to be thankful for, and nothing to fear...we also have, as I've already said, every reason to enjoy the holidays...to have a Merry Christmas (Jesus is the reason for the season), a Happy New Year...even a Happy Hanukkah (Shalom, y'all)...and an awesome Kwanzaa! Why not celebrate it all?! Why limit Thanksgiving to a single Thursday in November?! You don't have to have a turkey to remind you to celebrate and to be grateful and to rejoice! The holiday season...especially Christmas...is a state of mind...an attitude...a realizaion...a remembrace that God is good and life is good, and life in Him should be appreciated and cherished and valued, regardless of what may or may not be happening in the world around us...Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be Which inspire your heavenly song? Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

o I am praying for all of this community to grasp this (just like the little monk praying over there on the altar that forms the letter "S"), but my prayer is really just a declaration of faith...an affirmation...a blessing that I now pronounce over you and your household and your family and your loved ones...a blessing over all that you are, and over all that you will become in the new year...I bless your dreams...I bless your vision...I bless your spirit and your soul and your body...I bless your memory of Christmas past, and your imagination of Christmas future...most of all, and most importantly, I bless your paradigm of Christmas present...Christmas in the NOW! A thrill of hope, The weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night divine, O night, O night divine!


is the season to be jolly...and thankful...and positive...and proactive...and open and optimistic and full of faith for the future! It's time to reflect on the journey, and to look back over all of it with absolutely no regrets. It's the season to expect the unexpected...to re-connect with the wonder of childlike belief. Call it magic or miracle, the truth of it is that this is the time when we open up our hearts to believe that the clunky and clumsy logic of natural laws is done away with...and suddenly we dream a world of possibilities where angelic choirs serenade shepherds, and eastern astrologers are led by celestial lights, and virgins conceive, and birth is given to the impossible! It's the most wonderful time of the year!


ay your days be merry and bright, and may all you Christmases be right, as you see everything in your life the right way! I speak joy to your world, and say that all of your nights are silent, so that you may sleep in heavenly peace. No matter what lies ahead for you, let nothing you dismay...remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day...and because He was, the only things that you need to concentrate on are tidings of comfort and joy! The hopes and fear of all your years are met in Him tonight! He deserves all of your praise. He knows our need, Our weakness is no stranger, Behold your King, before Him lowly bend, Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!


nd so, as I come to the end of this year's BLOGINTHENOW Christmas post, I await your responses on the comments page. I know we're all busy, but if you have a minute or two, and you have something to add to the conversation, take the time (if you haven't already) to express your thoughts and Christmas wishes for the rest of the blog community (yes, even you blurkers). What you write doesn't have to be poetic or profound...it just needs to be real.


ELAH! GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!
But the angel spoke immediately and authoritatively, saying to them, "Do not be afraid! I am here to announce good news to you...good news of a great and joyful event, and of a new reality! And this good news...this new reality...is for all people everywhere...it is for the entirety of humanity! This very night a Savior has been born in the City of David...a Savior who will perfectly embody the Christ, and will be known as the Lord! If you seek Him you will find Him...and this is what you're to look for: a baby swaddled in a blanket, and lying in a feeding trough for animals!" As soon as the angel made this declaration, the sky above the shepherds' heads lit up, and was filled with a seemingly infinite number of angels who formed a thunderous, mass choir, singing God's praises, and shouting, "GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST PARTS OF THE HEAVENLY REALM...AND IN THE EARTHLY DIMENSION, PEACE...PEACE TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE EARTH...AND A REVELATION TO THEM THAT GOD'S WILL TOWARD ALL OF HUMANITY IS ONLY GOOD!" (Luke 2:10-14, Luke In The Now)

84 comments:

Karl said...

Amen.

Pamela - IamIcan said...

Yesterday's 11 am service was just awesome - I loved it. Not only was I blessed with the Word I almost fell out of my chair with laughter. Right after the service I was thinking where else in the world can you get that kind of combination? I am blessed - way to go Bishop! The only thing is I cannot figure out why our seats are not full. Oh, I know we do not offer free food - free fattening food. You know people follow food. Where there is food people will come - good greasy fried chicken - biscuits with gravy or sorghum syrup - mashed potatoes - macaroni & cheese - green beans and to top it off strawberry cobbler made with a homemade crust. Oh, I forgot - some good sweet sweet ice tea. Maybe even a homemade coconut cake that take several hours to make - all from scratch - the coconut filling would just soak the cake. My mother was the best cook - too bad she cannot do it anymore or we could get her to do the food ministry for those people who follow food.
Oops - I better get ready for work.

Pamela H :)

Anonymous said...

Nonnie Lemmon said...

A hundredford return! WOOHOOOOO!! Gotta love the rhema Word of Life! (I'm takin' that!) What I appreciated about the 9:00 message was how it caused me research Scripture variations. Don't know much about original languages - scoured several sites - couldn't find any Weissmen references.

Anonymous said...

Amalia Amaki said...

see you later

Anonymous said...

Amalia Amaki said...

Bible study Wed. night, right?

Anonymous said...

Nonnie Lemmon said...

...but...here's what I found in the swaddling clothes at the fireplace mantle: In Matthew 2, when Herod sent the wise men to search for the child, he commanded them to bring him back the Word. (in order that he might worship Him, too. Yes, a ruse. But, still...interesting.)

In Luke 2, I appreciate the reference to Joseph being of the house of David. (God's crazy praise dancing King) I like how verse 6 changes according to different translations. Some say, "the days were accomplished"; others, "the days were completed." There's rhema on: "that she should be delivered." Significant to Eve's redemption? Mary was also of the Davidic lineage. (her name meaning, "bitter")

The swaddling clothes remind me of the Genesis account when God made tunics of skin for Adam and Eve's spirits. It reminds me that the Word of God is not bound.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Yes, Dr. Amaki...Wed night I'll be teaching out of GITN...see you then...

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Nonnie Lemmon...first of all, I'll throw you an LOL on the Weissman translation reference...secondly, great observations on those passages...

Anonymous said...

Jonna S. Gayle said...

Where else can you get a Sunday morning puppet show out of the nativity figures? Wow, wish the whole world could have seen it!!!!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks, Jonna...I like working with props when they really can help me get the point across...

Anonymous said...

Nonnie Lemmon said...

Sanctuary much! I know there's more. (make the reindeer hush)

Anonymous said...

Jonna S. Gayle said...

I am one of the most animated people I know....... Glad to see my title challenged.... LOL

Anonymous said...

Torri Hornsby Griffin said...

Bishop, I LOVED your sermon yesterday! It is so nice to hear the Christmas story with such clarity through the Gospels in the Now.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks for having an ear to hear, Dr. Torri...

Anonymous said...

From the CITN blog:

Jetaun Johnson said...

Awesome service today Bish! My parents were visiting from NYC, and plan to join CITN once they relocate to Grayson, GA next month. I'm sooooo happy they got "it!"...love u & Pastor Debbie!

Anonymous said...

Matthew McDonald said...

Merry Christmas Bishop from Maine. I am going to place an order for the Gospels in the Now. I would place a hardy wager that I am going to be the first person in Maine to have a copy of them.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks, Matthew...you're a pioneer...also, I was noticing (on FB) that you were in The Mousetrap...that's one of my favorite plays...actually my favorite Agatha Christie play...I've never been to Maine (wasn't that a Three Dog Night song?), but hopefully we'll meet one day...Merry Christmas...

Anonymous said...

Matthew McDonald said...

I think that CITN should have an outreach to New England.

Anonymous said...

John W. Brumlow said...

I loved the delivery of the Word Sunday and especially with Ugandan nativity images. We have a set passed down from my maternal grandparents that was given to them by a brother to my grandmother. All of the images have blond hair including the cow and camel. I once thought this to be symbolic of the arian mindset of pre WWII America but this past ... See MoreChristmas it dawned on me that the yellowish highlights on the top side of the images reflect candle light very well and give the images a glowing effect. How very cool that the original artist of that set used candle reflective colors. It gives me even more understanding of what it means to live in the best light that you have access to. All creation reflects Light. It is beautiful to see many of those reflections that are obscure to those not looking for it. I totally love it when I am caught off guard like the shepherds were that night and as far as seeking and following the Light goes, I am continually amazed at what is revealed. Thanks for the Beautiful imagery.

Anonymous said...

Harolene Leguizamon said...

I meant to tell you that I was happy to receive a copy of your GITN and as soon as we walked in the door daddy took it and said he wanted to read in it, so...I have no comment as yet as I have not seen it since! Don't worry, I know where he lives! Thanks!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Oh, Lord, I didn't know it was coming out that way...I don't want to start anything, so if there's something in it that he or anyone else out there disagrees with, just consider me wrong and pray for me (I know he already does)...still wish we could get together some time over the holidays...what's that Armenian dessert that you used to make that I loved so much? You used to cut it in diamond shapes, and there was an almond on each piece...I want some of that...

Anonymous said...

Shara McCullers Greer said...

Bishop, yesterday was the 13th Christmas sermon Judson and I have heard you teach and it was the 13th different way I have heard it taught. Thats your gift and thats what we love.

Anonymous said...

Leslie Holloway said...

it was great to be ITB yesterday! I bought GITN and I'm excited to begin! You're such a comedian! Love ya!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Wow, thanks, Shara...I appreciate it...

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Glad you made it...glad you got it...comedian?...I just do what I do, Leslie...

Anonymous said...

Leslie Holloway said...

Ummmm well I was laughing. I was just telling my co worker about it. Laughter can cure anything!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

OK, then...add comedian to my resume'...

Anonymous said...

Leslie Holloway said...

Didn't you attempt a stand up thing some years ago??? LOL

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Uhh...I'd rather not talk about it...

Anonymous said...

Harolene Leguizamon said...

Paklava! I will try and get a batch made up for you! Thanks for remembering! Be strong and of good courage!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Excellent...thanks...

Larry Usher said...

Yes, yesterday was a rich, colorful and glowing one at CITN, those are the terms my spirit received, which to me is Christmas. Thanks Bishop.
Will head up to NY Wed morn, so keep the fires burning and blessings to all. Be back for New Year!

word ver: OVIVE, NOT REvive, but Ovive, Oh life, oh live!

Karl said...

I read that German Stollen bread is also significant of Jesus being swaddled because the bread is "swaddled" around the almond paste center. Hmmm...or should I say "yummm!"

Anonymous said...

Wow, you just added the histmas. It is all good and you are right, I don't need a turkey to be thankful. But I am still obsessing over the revelation part, that is my norm anyway, that says that is what this season is all about. This seems to be what my entire life is all about. I spent thirty plus years interacting with people in the worst of trouble, sometimes stopping their pain and at other times watching them go through it without any immediate relief, and in each case there was revelation.

This time of year means many different things to many different people. For some it is a reminder of pain. For others it is a time of remembering the goodness of God and a blessing of good will toward
all. For me though, it is a time to reflect on all that has been placed in my view as a testament of life.

I am an observer even if I have intervened on a few occasions with some type of positive action. Everything I've seen so far has completely been confirmed by revelation upon revelation of God's best intent toward creation.

There is no cure for me. I am a hopeless believer in the victorious Christ, both the One that I personally believe presented life as a God/man to show us what we have had from the beginning and the One that is alive in the world today through the Body that has remained.

So, this revelation, what is its value? I say priceless.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Beautifully stated, Anon @ 4:10

Anonymous said...

Herman Lawrence said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family bishop. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Brandon Mitchell said...

Merry Christmas Bishop

Anonymous said...

It's A Wonderful Life

Nicola Mason said...

Bishop,

I love that movie...Happy Holidays and God speed for 2010 to you and your family.
Peace

Anonymous said...

Nonnie Lemmon said...

Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

John W. Brumlow said...

Merry Christmas Bishop Jim Swilley

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

John Brumlow...loved what you wrote yesterday about the nativity scene...

Anonymous said...

It's A Wonderful Life

John Wanza said...

Bishop, A great movie. I think it speaks to where we are as a Church..I am sure we have a Clerance working out our Blessing...

Anonymous said...

Nancy Courter said...

Bishop, your post is absolutely beautiful..we are all truly blessed--I love the word for 2010---"Begin again in 2010

- ready for another acrostic?

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

I'm all for that, John (Wanza), but what I really want is for the people in the church to realize that THEY are the blessing...that they have the ability to produce the blessing of regular faithfulness in their giving ("bread for the eater AND seed for the sower"), so that we don't have to live in "We need a miracle!" mode all the time...if everyone will just realize that we really do have a wonderful life at CITN, and begin NOW to cherish it and support it, we still have a window of time to save it...we don't need the red sea parted...we just need for the people to believe in the vision...I can say these things to you because you know I love you, but in the last few days I've had several people ask, "If the Lord provides, will we be able to go back to streaming the services and keep the property?", and when I hear that I realize (and I take full responsibility for this because I founded the church and pastor it) that the people need a paradigm shift...I've got to figure out a way to make them understand that it's their church...their responsibility...anyway, don't regret posting your comment...it gave me a platform to say something that I need to be saying a lot...Merry Christmas, dude...

Anonymous said...

Marilou Estler Vlaun said...

Jim Earl... It was great that you and Dave reconnected after so many years. have a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!!!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks, P. Nancy...

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks, Marilou...it was good for us to catch up after all this time...I'd love for you guys to come out and visit us soon...

Ebony said...

¡Feliz Navidad mi familia de BITN!! Paz, y Amor por Siempre!!!

Bishop, mil gracias for the Christmas blessing. Love you like I love red velvet cake!

Pamela - IamIcan said...

Bishop, your words are so beautiful and so true. Merry Christmas to all of my family - the family of God. Love you all.

Pamela H

Anonymous said...

Darlene Runner said...

Take a look around our campus and see beyond the buildings to God and His glory. See the people. See the CHILDREN! See yourself and your family. See the city. See heaven on earth. It's all there and more. Now see yourself without it. Yes, Bishop. It's our responsibility.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Muchas gracias, Ebony...

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks, Pamela...

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Very well put, Darlene...thanks so much...

karl said...

goodnight. 4:58am

word ver: wabigho
"Lake wabigho"

Anonymous said...

Bishop your words are always so beautiful. Thank you for the Christmas blessing, I recieve it and right back at ya!

Merry Christmas and my continued support in the New Year!

Debra M.

Anonymous said...

FA LA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA.

The King's Cup said...

Positive Words - Life Giving Words - Heart Piercing Words - Words for The Moment! As always!

Thank you Bishop!

Believing for a Christmas Miracle, Knowing HE will pour out MORE OF HIS LOVE THAN YOU COULD ASK OR THINK!

REST IN HIS PEACE - HE IS SPEAKING TO HEARTS!

SHALOM!

River said...

Just Jumping In To Say
Merry Christmas
No matter what the future brings
No matter how big or small
Remember we serve an Awesome King
who gave His All In All.

Like the song says Everything Is Alright!!!

Christmas Miracles Are Just Around The Corner.
Don't Stop Believing
There is a miracle and it's not on 34th street this year but on 1877 Iris Dr. Conyers Ga
I still believe in Christmas Miracles I do I Do

Larry Usher said...

I wish there was a "magic wand" sometimes that you could wave for instant revelation, but, unfortunately it does not exist. I have gone from times of such dryness wondering, "where the heck are you Lord", to times when the revelations came like a raining downpour. I know how it is when you get a beautiful, life-giving revelation and once having been shared it seems to fall to the ground uncelebrated, unsung, a "ho-hum" triviality.
God knows the times and the seasons, all we can do is observe as best possible, work as efficiently as we can, keep planting and watering and believing and hoping...it IS all well, it IS as He planned...

Something amazing is always afoot and is around the next piece of Manna...I will partake of the Christ today and know that what I am able to eat today is all I could eat, no more, no less...it is well.

Heading to NY now, everyone have the best week of your lives, for it is the only week we have to enjoy! Love y'all.

Larry

Anonymous said...

Tommy Smith said...

To our amazing Bishop, we wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS! For the last eight years, you, pastor Debye and the faithful CITN family have supported my family. You have helped us to build a life giving ministry center here on the island of Mindano, showing your love for the Filipino people. Each week we are able to minister t...o thousands of people because of the generosity of Church In the Now family. From The Sanctuary Network of Churches, Covenant Bible Institute and Sanctuary Christain Academy, we send our love to you all. We are forever grateful for your life and commitment to Philippines and the world. Words can not express our appreciation. None of the things we have done would have been possible without you our faithful father in Faith. We love you!
Tommy, Ging, Caleb and Zoe Smith

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Hey, buddy...you're way too kind...love you guys so much, and I'm so proud of all that you've accomplished...you are my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased...Merry Christmas to all of you there!

Avatar said...

Nothing profound to add from me...just agreeing for manifestation of the “living epistles to be read by all”, enjoying the blessings [KIR: reading this post and the comments daily sure is helpful] of Christmas in the NOW!...expecting the yonder-breaking new and glorious morn by just doing-what-I-know-to-do and shaking off the unnecessary. A beautiful freedom reigns.

Bishop, there was a clarifying anointing on REAL-ly enjoying the eggnog and fruitcake this year...and "celebrating it all" added something I cannot put into words.

...so, blogfam and blurkers, a Walton-mountain-hear-your-name Merry Christmas to all...with a Trans-Siberian fresh sound inspiring laser-light show Happy Holidays all around!

Anonymous said...

Christmas is such a magical time and even though it is stressful, it is a time to reflect on the Greatness of God and the miracle of Jesus and all that He did to redeem mankind.

I don’t get it? Jesus set the pace for us to show the true love of God and light of God...CITN has been the place of restoration and renewal. A true investment has been placed within us. I can’t conceive why anyone would not give God at least 10% of their earnings to the church where they are fed and watered. I have always believed in the principal of the tithe, whether it scriptually applies today or not. Back in the days of Oral Roberts and the Faith ministry, I learned the principal of giving and that you can never out give God. The secret…Believe that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek them. Believe that God says to prove him and see that he won’t pour out a blessing too big to carry! I have numerous miracles to share...

I think this would be a good time for others to share the miracles of God in their lives and shed some hope to others.

Karl said...

I've been enjoying the talks about the magi seeking Him. Haven't thought of some of those things before now.

I'm glad that God reveals Himself to both those who seek Him and those who don't.

Thanks again for the word, bishop.

Avatar said...

A Christmas Miracle, 12-23Anon@9:19?

I got a call from someone's phone during the CITN Christmas Eve service tonight.

We're visiting out of town and they had no idea at first that the call was made...but I got to enjoy about 15 minutes of the service...including Joy to the World...priceless.

Anonymous said...

That's cool...

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Yes, it is...

Anonymous said...

Joanne Patek said...

...& God made YOU extra special ~ & I am so glad HE shares you with us. The Best thing to hold onto in life is each other. Suddenly Single-Eyed...NJOY His very Merry Christmas.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks, Joanne...it's all good...

Karl said...

A Merry Christmas good morning wish to all!
Last night's service was great, blues, jazz, gospel...what a buffet!

May the Daystar continue to rise in your hearts this day...and "let" your light shine to all.

Anonymous said...

Praise Him! \o/

Iris said...

A few of my favorite things… Some gingerbread and a candy cane, treasured stocking hung by the fire, a warm glass of apple cider, mistletoe, my favorite angel placed on top the tree where cherished ornaments of old are carefully placed, singing Christmas carols with loved ones. But most of all, the manger scene, some wise men and a few shepherds, the Christmas story told by some ceramic figures on the mantel, remind of me of a God that came near to be experienced by all.

So as we celebrate all that today represents…. I’m sending you a little Christmas, packaged in love, joy, peace, reconciliation, unity and so much more… Hoping you all experience the miracle of Christmas, finding its real meaning in each and every heart.

Merry Christmas everyone…
Iris

Erik said...

Merry Christmas Everybody !!!!!

Every moment is cherished.

I am in Valdosta visiting my son and his girlfriend, my mom came in Wed afternoon and we drove down yesterday. What a wonderful gift to see my family happy and at peace. I can’t help but think of all the years we have gone through, laughing last night about the struggles and so many times thinking how we would possibly get through this or that, and here we are.

I even got to experiment with an Etouffee recipe which turned out amazing for Christmas Eve dinner. Today it will be greens and Creole BBQ Shrimp, another Christmas classic.

My son now has a kitten in his home, so the cat trend continues. He only needs to get 6 more to keep up with me.

For Christmas my cats got me a present, another cat !

It is a stray they met in the neighborhood and brought her home. I imagine their conversation went something like this -- “ Wow, it’s really cold out, you (the new cat) have no place to go? Listen, we have this human who takes care of us, and if you just show up, purr and be really cute, he will HAVE to take you in. Come on, it’ll be fine. “ So now there is another furry one and she is really cute. Those cats have me wrapped around their paws – little brats.

Glory to God in the Highest, Heaven and Nature sing each moment of God’s love. His peace is settled and absolute , with all we are and everything that we were meant to be, in harmony.

Merry Christmas !

And to ALL a good peace.

Karl said...

In the midst of financial concerns I've been reading about when David and the people gave to build the Lord's house in 1 Chron. 28 and 29.

Here's a little snippet:
1 Chronicles 29:16,17

16 O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.

17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.

New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Anonymous said...

12/26/2009
So Christmas is over. As for me, maybe for someone else, I’m glad. Old sadness and depression comes to visit me most holidays. I did get to see some of my family this year, so that helped.Visited with my son a few days before he went to Mexico. One of my daughters decorated beautifully, and we had grandkids open gifts. Anyway--So you are one of many who get the blues on Holidays, you are not alone!! I wanted you to know that.
But the thing that really got me back to feeling ok, was a presentation about the Star of Bethlehem, I saw this morning at about 3 AM. It was so amazing and encouraging! Basically, it shows the scientific evidence of the pattern of the stars and planets and the Star of Bethlehem, on the dates of the conception, the wise men’s visit, the death of Christ,etc. It also has a simple explanation as to how the star stopped over Bethlehem. God is truly a genius to calculate these star patterns as He created the galaxies. It’s on website, bethlehemstar.net.
Law professor Frederick Larson at Texas A&M started.
Of course, I don’t know if it’s all true, and I am surly not saying anyone has to believe what Larson’s conclusion are, but I really like science, so I love to look at this kind of evidence.

One of my conclusions of the presentation is: God claims and proves to be in total control of all the stars,He sent thesign of the Star to Bethlehem, and so He is surly has active authority over the universe. He is Good, Holy, Tender, and Powerful.

So blessing to you Bishop, to all the bloggers, all the church,to all individuals, all families, and to all the nations.

Anon in North GA

P. Avery said...

A Christmas night story:
Settling kids down to a late bedtime, following many "one more things" that kids always do, and after various questions and comments about the day, there was a pause I thought meant sleep had come...until a sweet 7-year-old grandson's voice melted my heart with his soft..."thank you for the Christmas presents, Gram-mah."

After relating the story to our sons, Uncle Jeff said "Man, that makes you want to go out tomorrow and buy something else for him so he'll say it again!" As we all agreed...I knew...God feels the same way.

Karl said...

Question: What does it really mean for "Christ's enemies to be made His footstool?"

Isn't that a place of "rest" for the king's feet?

I used to always think that since it was "under His feet" that it meant "to crush His enemies", but that's not what it says.

What say ye?

Anonymous said...

Karl-- good point!
My take on the footstool:
I'll say the LORD has a genius way of making (calculating) what looks like an enemy, into a blessing! I've seen it so many times. That's one of the points I am referring to in the Star of Bethlehem above. Also, the foot stool connects me to what we reviewed these past years in CITN--ALL THINGS will work out for our good, and we will believe this, expect it, and see it.
My vision (prayer) for money problems this year for church and us: we get out of debt (or stay out of debt), we become prosperous, we realize our career dreams, and we tithe first 10% we earn-- believing this other will come. (OR whatever God's will is, which is better that I can imagine.)
I got out of $30,000 debt, about 10 years ago; by trusting the tithe- I heard : 'Go to the Lord, not the lender'. I give the first 10% to God ,(I get to decide where this goes) and He makes the other 90% meet my needs. I also heard to leave the check book at home, save the credit card for things like renting a car, make a note of what I spent, and be good to the poor. It’s pretty scary to tithe when one is in debt, but it worked for me. Probably because I believed it would. I was in a fearful place, but God was there with me. I still am very grateful that I got out of debt, and I see I really could not have done it without Gods help. So the debt became my footstool (it is a strong witness of God’s power, and I can rest on the memory.) I will add: I do not follow legalistic systems and rules. I give myself permission work out my salvation with fear and trembling. That is a good way to come to a decision as to how one will deal with money problems.
So may we believe in a prosperous new year!!
Anon in North GA

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Abolutely right, Karl...I think I taught on that once...maybe I should revisit it...

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Good stuff, Anon in NGA...

Ms. Melissa Session said...

My name is Melissa and I am planning to move in August near Woodstock,CA. I was referred to your church by a Twitter Friend who told me the power of God moves there. I was wanting to know if you could tell me more. Do you lay hands on the sick? Pray in tongues? Basically, are you a Book of Acts church? Thanks so much for responding. Melissa Session in San Diego. God Bless.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Hi Melissa...yes, we are a Spirit-filled church, but we're not close to Woodstock (I'm assuming you meant Woodstock, GA)...anyway, we'd be glad to have you visit...

Anonymous said...

Linda Luke said...

It is the most beautiful time of the year where we truly get into and manifest the spirit of CHRIST! A beautiful translation of the meaning of Christmas and life! BELIEVE!!

Ms. Melissa Session said...

Yes I meant GA, but I'll probably be closer to Buford than Woodstock. Thanks.