Dec 01 2010

WOW, God - The Christmas Story

The story of the birth of Jesus is filled with "Wow, God" stories ... the Angels, the Star, Shepherds, Wise Men, a Miraculous Birth ... amazing stories that changed lives and the world!  So tell us your "Wow, God - Christmas Story".

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Dec 01 2010

World AIDS Day - Kay Warren

World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

Today, Kay Warren joins us to talk about what the church can do and how we all can pray and do something when it comes to HIV/AIDS.  In fact, today, Kay and her husband Pastor Rick Warren will be hosting a special live virtual event on the web - you can check it out HERE

Dec 01 2010

The Tale of Three Trees

The Tale of Three Trees
A traditional folk tale, retold by Angela Elwell Hunt


Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up.

The first little tree looked up at the stars twinkling like diamonds above him. "I want to hold treasure," he said. "I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I will be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!"

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. "I want to be a strong sailing ship," he said. "I want to travel mighty waters and carry powerful kings. I will be the strongest ship in the world!"

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and busy women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave this mountain top at all," she said. "I want to grow so tall that when people stop to took at me they will raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world!"

Years passed. The rains came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall.

One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain.

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell.

"Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest," thought the first tree. "I shall hold wonderful treasure."

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell.

"Now I shall sail mighty waters," thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship fit for kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven.

But the woodcutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me," he muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought him to a carpenter's shop, but the busy carpenter was not thinking about treasure chests. Instead his work-worn hands fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals.

The once-beautiful tree was not covered with gold or filled with treasure. He was coated with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took him to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ships were being made that day. Instead the once-strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat.

Too small and too weak to sail an ocean or even a river, he was taken to a little lake. Every day he brought in loads of dead, smelly fish.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard.

"What happened?" the once-tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted to do was stay on the mountain top and point to God."

Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams.

But one night golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box.

"I wish I could make a cradle for him," her husband whispered.

The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful," she said.

And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening, many years later, a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake.

Soon a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. He knew he did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and rain.

The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace, be still!" The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun.

And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the King of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry, jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her.

She felt ugly and harsh and cruel.

But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything.

It had made the first tree beautiful.

It had made the second tree strong.

And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God.

That was better than being the tallest tree in the whole world.

 

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Nov 30 2010

The Christmas Cookie Club

Ann Pearlman's best-selling book The Christmas Cookie Club debuted last year, telling the story of a group of women who form a once-a-year alliance to bake and exchange cookies, and wind up forming lifelong bonds that transcended their group’s initial purpose.

Here is the Pecan Butter Balls from the novel The Christmas Cookie Club

            2 cups chopped pecans

            2 cups flour

            1 cup melted butter

            ½ cup sugar

            2 teaspoons vanilla

            ¼ teaspoons salt

            confectioner’s sugar.

 

            Chop pecans in blender or food processor. Combine all except confectioner’s sugar. Gather into a ball. With floured hands, shape in one inch balls and bake on ungreased cookie sheet.  I line my cookie sheets with wax paper or parchment paper and spray them with Pam.  Bake in 325 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Pull off the papers and let cookies cool, but make sure they’re still warm and gently shake them in bag with confectioners. Place them back on the paper and add more confectioners while they cool.  Makes five dozen.

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