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Friday, December 27, 2013

How the Story of Rudolf Is Like the Body of Christ


Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer. This is such a great story!!!

Why do I love it so much?

Is it the awesome animation, groovy-hip music, the rounded characters and superb acting?

Actually, it’s the theme of discovering the personal characteristic that makes us feel like a misfit is actually what God gave us as a gift. Like the Body of Christ.

Think about it.

Rudolf’s weird nose saves Christmas. The elf who doesn’t want to build toys, can fix teeth. The Abominable Snowman is the only one tall enough to place the star on the tree and was trained by the gold miner who couldn’t seem to find gold. Lastly, who better to find homes for the Misfit Toys than those who are misfits themselves?

This is how God uses us, as different members of the Body. If you question this idea, read the stories in the Bible. The small shepherd boy who defeats a giant and becomes a warrior king. The man “slow of speech” speaks to Pharaoh. The carpenter’s son (or so it was thought) is truly the Son of God.

We are all gifted by Him to be used for His purposes. When we use them for ourselves, they become a deficit. When seen in light of God’s Will, He will make them our strength!

It’s funny how we often can’t recognize our own gifts. We’ve lived with them all our lives, take them for granted, and don’t realize others are not gifted similarly. Unfortunately, when we do notice others lacking of our gift (the one we take for granted), we see it as a deficit, rather than recognizing their complementary skills. That’s why my other favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. A movie about a man who’d only done what he knew was right all his life, not realizing his impact, until one day an angel showed him.

There are many George Bailey’s in our world. You could be one of them.

I pray for you all this season, that you will open a most precious gift—the one God gave you for His purpose. It’s a one-of-a-kind, especially made for only you. You’ll love it when you recognize it, because it will bring you lots of happiness when you use it. However, when you use it for Him, it won’t just make you happy …

It will bring you Great, Soul-stirring Joy!

Other posts you might like:
When You Don’t Fit the Mold—by Rachel Phifer
How One Small Girl Inspired a Ministry of Access
A No-Matter-What Kind of Joy

Friday, December 20, 2013

Why I Hate the Movie Toy Story

Toy Story Bloopers … I kid you not!

It’s supposed to be a cold, snowy winter. I believe this. Why? Because I am hearing more and more people tell me their mouse stories. The rodents are looking for shelter. In houses.

They know.

Of course, the other reason people are telling me their mouse stories is because we have been sharing ours. We have lived in our home for over twenty years and have never even seen a trace of a rodent. Our neighborhood has tackled ants. The court above us actually had snakes. But this is the year of the rodent. Ugh! I will never look at Mickey Mouse the same. We have boycotted watching Ratatouille.

So, in order to fight the little furry disease-carriers, we’ve had to clean out our basement to make sure these creatures can’t find a space to hide. Oh my! I didn’t realize all the stuff I had stored in there I didn’t need. Stuff I’d kept because I “might” use it later. Stuff kept because it was a gift from someone I loved. And yes, stuff I kept because it carried special memories for me.

I’ve kept stuff out of guilt. Guilt over the gifter who wanted me to LOVE this present more than anyone else’s. Guilt over throwing something away that might still have use … therefore adding to the landfill problem.

Oh, the the guilt weighs on me.

With all this guilt over junk, the LAST thing I need is to feel sorry for a toy cowboy or spaceman who may be set aside because I, or my children, no longer play with them.


No more!!!

This morning I set out 7 bags, and 4 boxes of stuff for the Purple Heart. My husband made two trips to the dump, and there’s still more to do!

Why can’t somebody write an animated story about toys finding a NEW home, a home where they have a new playmate who can appreciate them even more than the kid who had them before? A child who doesn’t have much, but because the donor didn’t hang on to what he doesn’t need, this child now has a special gift?

That would be a precious story.

Oh, the coats I’ve given away that could warm a homeless family. The shoes, the sweaters, the dresses that could finally find use rather than sit in boxes, longing for purpose Smile. Today, I gave them purpose again.

Fly, my friends. Be free. Find a new home and make it a happy one!!!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:19-21)

Other posts you might like:

Such As These

Archie Bunker on Shoes and Socks

A No-Matter-What Kind of Joy

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas in Light of the One Year Anniversary of Sandy Hook—By Lita Parke

Thank you, Connie, for inviting me to share some of my thoughts and musings. I am honored to have my very first guest post to be with your Living the Body of Christ readers. Please let these thoughts encourage you all to worship anew the only One who can heal the broken-hearted and continue to pray for these families and the survivors.

As my five year old turns six just one day before the one year anniversary of Sandy Hook on December 14th, I am struck again by the pain these families are enduring. I cannot even fathom their broken hearts. As our country is mourning the man who has done great things for our world, Nelson Mandela, in a beautiful little enclave in Connecticut, there is also mourning. An aching for those who did great things in protecting those in their care, and grieving for those whose lives were cut short on this earth. I hope my reflections from last year, will be used to give you eyes to see his deep love in sending His only son into this broken mess of a world to give us true freedom, that he is the only Hope we have in the wake of such terror.

Here is my tribute from last Advent …

Sandy Hook and the Meaning of Christmas

Like all of us...there are no words...These times of inexplicable grief during a period that should be happy and joyful.

Last night after our church's beautiful Christmas program, and three joyous parties hosted at our home over the weekend ticked off the list, I was able to think, pray, read, weep.

One of the gems that caught my eye was this article, "Dark Day" by Jamie Dean from World Magazine. The author says,   
"But Christmas will still come, and its message will be especially for those who grieve. Indeed, its message will come from a suffering servant, a man of sorrows, and one who is acquainted with grief. It will come from one who invites those sitting in darkness to feel their sorrow," and yet hope in His promises of what Christmas really means.  
I listened anew to my favorite Christmas carols and then I heard the pain:
Pain of Moms and Dads who lost their precious Children

Pain of Children who lost their Mommies

Pain of Husbands who lost their Wives and are now Half of "One flesh"

Pain of the Neighbors, Family, Friends & Community

Pain for the Ones who survive and may think, "Why me?"

Pain for those struggling with children who have mental illness

And yet, coupled with pain is 


Hope not in our safety plan (which is wise)

nor in homeschooling (which I do)

nor in adding more laws


He is Sovereign and Good and Holy


He experienced the Death of His own Son


Death and Sin were conquered on the cross


In Jesus, we will live forever in His presence 

where there is no more pain, sorrow or grief.

He will wipe every tear.

The double edge of Christmas:
Pain and Healing
Grief and Comfort
Sorrow and Trust

The warm, cozy hymns sounded differently,
struck a chord deep in my heart, 
a new depth of meaning.
Below is a small picture of those carols.
via www.JADEintheparke.com

As I looked again at these hymns, I understood the reality of pain and grief was always present in these carols.  
I didn't have ears to hear.  
Yet, the joyous strains of glad tidings found there coupled with the reality of our sinful world fills my heart with joy.  
Bittersweet today.  
Joyous forever.  
 Hymns from Top Left (moving Clockwise):
Hark the Herald Angels Sing Acappella version
Grace and Peace to you,  
Mom to JADE (and hugging each one tighter)  
Please visit the Sandy Hook Family website in remembrance of those who lost their lives.  Feel free to print out the picture above if it is helpful to you.

It is my gift to anyone who could be blessed by it.

You may fully share this picture but please keep the link where it is attributed. Please do not distribute it or sell it. It belongs to www.jadeintheparke.com  If you are interested in a print with no watermarks, please email jadeintheparke@gmail.com with more details of your request.  
 Lita in wagonLita Parke has been married to her husband, Justin, for almost twenty years. They have four kids who range in age from 17 to 6 and the initials of their first names spell out the curious little name of her blog, www.JADEintheparke.com. She was born and raised in America by her Indian parents who immigrated to the US in the 1960s. She is a study in contrasts: A theatrical, outgoing child of a physicist/computer scientist mother and an engineer/real estate dad. An only child having four. Homeschooling during the week and then teaching cardio kickboxing on the weekend. Grew up not attending church, and now embraces the truth of reformed theology. Loves Jesus, yet needy, broken, and grumpy for His grace, each and every day.  
Other posts you might like:  

Friday, December 6, 2013

C.S. Lewis on Fiction

I just wanted to share this quote from C.S. Lewis with my fellow creatives today ....

“Reason is the natural organ of truth, but imagination is the organ of meaning.”

Think about it. Story takes the facts and makes them live. Being a writer of fiction, a painter of art, or whatever creative pursuit to which you aspire, you can bring life to mere truth.

I've read that with all the great and thoughtful contributions in the area of apologetics, C.S. Lewis valued his fiction the most. I can tell you as a fan of his, the fiction expanded on the prose in ways the prose alone could not have. I aspire to do the same.

Thank you, Mr. Lewis!