And all the while there were no tragedies in my own family!
I take none of this for granted, most especially the last item on the list. Life is fragile, and I give thanks to God for the opportunity to share another Christmas with my family, with my children all in good health. I'm only sorry that everybody can't be so fortunate.
And so we prepare to knuckle down to the hard work of celebrating another blazingly hot Aussie Christmas, with no snowmen visible beyond those featured on imported decorations.
Even so, I am deeply aware that this is a cold and lonely time of year for a great many people, most especially in communities like mine - first-world, relatively-affluent communities where we shut away our old people in homes and our mentally ill in hospitals and boarding-houses.
Perhaps this is the year to take Jesus' advice on party-preparation seriously:
"When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,and you will be blessed" (Luke 14:12-14)
click the pics to see the full-size images
This Month's Free 'How to' Videos
Once again we have a couple of brand new how-to videos that hopefully will be as helpful as they are awesome.
This month our first video covers the important task of hiding pages on your website from the search engines. Naturally you want most pages on your site to be easy for people to find, but most of us have some pages (such as download pages for products) that we want to keep private. This video shows you the vital steps you need to take to keep a page off Google's radar.
The second video covers an issue relevant to all of us who use Facebook - how to block people who you don't want to be friends with anymore!
As per usual, the first video can be freely downloaded by everybody and shared around, and the other is a private video, available only to members of www.fighting-fathers.com.
Click on the buttons or text links above to access the videos. This will open a new window where you'll have the choice to watch the video now or download it to your computer for later viewing. Everyone should be able to access the first video. If you try access the 'members-only' video, it may ask for username and password.
I hope you find both of these helpful and would be grateful for your feedback. And remember, if you're not yet a member at www.fighting-fathers.com you can click here to sign up for a one-month free trial.
"Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die— there will I be buried. .” (Ruth 1:16)
These are the words of Ruth - to my mind one of the most inspiring characters of the entire Biblical drama, and one who prefigures Christ as does no other Old Testament figure.
Ruth - a foreigner in the land of Israel - prostitutes herself for the sake of Naomi, her Jewish mother-in-law.
Is 'prostitutes' too strong a term?
Others have certainly found less inflammatory words to describe Ruth's actions, but however we come to terms with her we must recognise that she sacrifices her body in a very unique way, and she sacrifices it for the sake of love - a very Christ-like act indeed!
The story of Ruth gives us a uniquely Biblical combination of sensuality and sacrifice, of gorgeousness and grace, of the hot and the holy!
You can find the written version of my sermon here or you can download the MP3 from the member site here. Alternatively, just click the play button below to listen now.