My Biblically based opinion on all things. Political, Social, Cultural, Spiritual, etc...
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." The Romans 15:4 Project
Mick Dobra

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Weekly ReCap – 12-31-2008 – Happy New Year!

Wishing you a happy and blessed new year!

May I suggest you resolve to invest in your marriage and family this year. . .

Jessica and I hope you will consider attending the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference this year. We went our first year of our marriage and committed to make it an annual investment!

In todays culture it is more important than ever to invest in strengthening your marriage and family for God's glory!

Excerpts from "The Glory of God in the Goodness of Marriage":

". . . Marriage is about our happiness, our holiness, and our wholeness -- but it is supremely about the glory of God. When marriage is entered into rightly, when marriage vows are kept with purity, when all the goods of marriage are enjoyed in their proper place -- God is glorified.

. . . Christian couples who are committed to this high conception of marriage must see themselves as counter-revolutionaries. In a very real sense, they are. They are standing against the tide of public opinion, against the trend of modern morality, against the erosion of order and the deflationary market in faithfulness. Before God, they stand committed to each other -- and only to each other. To live together for each other, no matter what may come. . .”

By Al Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
CrossWalk.com (www.crosswalk.com/marriage/11550140/)

Your Marriage, Your Family is God's Smallest Battle Formation!

Please make this investment in your marriage and family to God's glory!

Visit www.familylife.com/groups/rccpeoria to learn more about this event and register for the group rate!
  • 21 Days for a New Awakening! Jan 1-21 2009
    In partnership with Awakening America I will be participating in the 21 Days for a New Awakening Jan. 1 through 21 of 2009. Join me for 21 days of focused prayer and fasting for a Christ Awakening!
    Learn more. . .

  • Christmas Readings - New Years Day
    When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
    Read on. . .

  • MSA: Peoria's 40 Days of Prayer starts Dec 31!
    The Forty Days begins tomorrow night, Dec 31st at 700 Main, 6 p.m. Another great, on-going adventure of standing in the gap for our city, calling on the name of the Lord, coming bolding to the throne of grace to find help and mercy for our families, city, nation, and world, seeing God miraculously protect and bless our city, of seeing lives and neighborhoods transformed.
    Learn more. . .

  • Illinois Politics: Constitution Party Convention in Peoria
    The Constitution Party is hosting a Special State Convention in Peoria. If you are tired of the corruption in Illinois, this meeting is for you. January 17, 2009 at the Peoria Public Library from 9:00 am until 4:45 pm. Follow this link to see the schedule, try and set aside an hour or more to visit and learn more about the party!
    Learn more. . .

  • Bible Challenge 2008 - Week 40
    Knights and Ladies, help bring the word of God home to our families, to reflect Christ's glory in them. Strive to be the spiritual leaders of God's smallest battle formation!
    Read more. . .

Grateful for:

- My wife and God's glory, grace, and power that was and is evident in my love for her!


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Bible Challenge 2008 - Week 40

Week 40

“Now the overseer [bishop or elder] must. . . manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)” (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

I love the saying, “The Family is God's Smallest Battle Formation!” In Paul's instructions to Timothy we see how important our family management is. The marriage covenant is made between husband and wife and God. The marriage and family is an extension of the Church, and should reflect the glory of the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

Knights and Ladies, help bring the word of God home to our families, to reflect Christ's glory in them. Strive to be the spiritual leaders of God's smallest battle formation!

Monday --- 1 Timothy 6
Tuesday --- 2 Timothy 1
Wednesday --- 2 Timothy 2
Thursday --- 2 Timothy 3
Friday --- 2 Timothy 4

Jessica and I hope you will consider attending the Weekend to Remember this year. We went our first year of our marriage and committed to make it an annual investment!

In todays culture it is more important than ever to invest in strengthening your marriage and family for God's glory!

Excerpts from "The Glory of God in the Goodness of Marriage":

". . . Marriage is about our happiness, our holiness, and our wholeness -- but it is supremely about the glory of God. When marriage is entered into rightly, when marriage vows are kept with purity, when all the goods of marriage are enjoyed in their proper place -- God is glorified.

. . . Christian couples who are committed to this high conception of marriage must see themselves as counter-revolutionaries. In a very real sense, they are. They are standing against the tide of public opinion, against the trend of modern morality, against the erosion of order and the deflationary market in faithfulness. Before God, they stand committed to each other -- and only to each other. To live together for each other, no matter what may come. . .”
By Al Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
CrossWalk.com (www.crosswalk.com/marriage/11550140/)

Your Marriage, Your Family is God's Smallest Battle Formation!

Please make this investment in your marriage and family to God's glory!

Visit www.familylife.com/groups/rccpeoria to learn more about this event and register for the group rate!

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)



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Illinois Politics: Constitution Party Convention in Peoria

The Constitution Party is hosting a Special State Convention in Peoria. If you are tired of the corruption in Illinois, this meeting is for you.

January 17, 2009 at the Peoria Public Library from 9:00 am until 4:45 pm.

Agenda (as last reported):
* To learn more about the party try and make one or all of the highlighted times if you can't make the full day!

9:00 - 9:15 am: Opening, Prayer, Pledge, Opening business
9:15 - 9:45 am: Opening Remarks Randy Stufflebeam, Party Chairman
9:45 - 10:00 am: Introduction of Party Staff
10:00 - 11:00 am: Party Business
11:00 - 11:30 am: Guest Speaker Christina Tobin of FREE and Equal Elections
11:30 - 1:00 pm: Lunch
1:00 - 1:30 pm: Guest Speaker Elder Tyler of African American Family Association
1:30 - 2:30 pm: Open House, Public Reception, and Networking
2:30 - 3:30 pm: Party Business
3:30 - 4:30 pm: Keynote Speaker Senator Chris Lauzen
4:30 - 4:45 pm: Closing Comments

A message from Randall C. Stufflebeam, Chairman, Constitution Party of Illinois:

TIRED OF THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM YET???

The Constitution Party is hosting a Special State Convention on January 17, 2009 at the Peoria Public Library from 9:00 am until 4:45 pm. If you are tired of the corruption in Illinois, this meeting is for you.

The Constitution Party will be organizing to get principled men and women elected to office, who will uphold the standards of honesty and integrity with the purpose of restoring this state and this nation to their constitutional roots.

If you have become disenchanted with the two major parties, NOW IS TIME to join with other patriotic citizens to take back our state and our country. Did you know that besides George Ryan, two other former Illinois Governors were convicted of wrong-doing/corruption and that Blagojevich will just make the forth in the procession?

I’ve been told, “If you’re not a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.” I believe this to be a true and valid statement. Especially in this, the most corrupt state in the union, it is not possible to be neutral. Complacency and apathy only breeds more corruption. It is time for the citizens of Illinois to take back control of our government and it's obviously NOT going to happen through either of the two major parties.

Contrary to recent slogans, we don’t need “change that you can believe in," we need a constitutional restoration. It was the Constitution of the United States of America and the principles that were laid down by our founding fathers that made this nation the greatest to ever have existed in the history of the world.

If Abraham Lincoln can get elected in a “New” political party (Republicans) in a time when the line between the two major parties (Whigs & Democrats) was indistinguishable, IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN AND NOW IS THE TIME!

It is anticipated that I will be officially announcing my candidacy for Governor of Illinois at the convention. I am willing to lead the charge in this fight for our freedoms and our liberty. BUT, I can not do it alone. Will you fight this battle against corruption with me? Someone must carry the banner of honesty and integrity, and if not us, WHO?? It has become poignantly obvious that neither the Republican nor the Democratic Parties have the will to do so. It is time for “We, the People” to rise once again to take our state and our nation back from the hands of tyrants.

Candidates who have indicated their intent to run for offices throughout the state will also be announced at the convention and I look forward to working with every one to see them elected.

We have less than 15 months until it will be time to collect 25,000 uncontestable signatures for the statewide races and we have a lot of work to be accomplished before that time.

Will you join me in the crusade to take back our state? Then join us on January the 17th and let us ready ourselves to fight and WIN THIS BATTLE!!

Yours in Liberty,
Randall C. Stufflebeam
Chairman, Constitution Party of Illinois


http://www.constitutionpartyil.com/ - Chairman-CPIL@cp-il.com

{ American Liberty a Christian Issue? }



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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

MSA: Peoria's 40 Days of Prayer starts Dec 31!

Ministry Service Announcement: Peoria's 40 Days of Prayer! Message from pastor Bruce:

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

The Forty Days begins tomorrow night, Dec 31st at 700 Main, 6 p.m. Another great, on-going adventure of standing in the gap for our city, calling on the name of the Lord, coming bolding to the throne of grace to find help and mercy for our families, city, nation, and world, seeing God miraculously protect and bless our city, of seeing lives and neighborhoods transformed.

Another fabulous season of knitting our hearts together with brothers and sisters from many different churches, denominations, races, and social situations. Tons of laughter, hugs, and tears as we share life together and pray together. Growing unity in the Church of Greater Peoria

The Prayerfurnace is officially leading the 40 Days on Monday, January 5th, but I invite you to join me for as many of the Forty Days as possible...

Blessings,
Anticipating an incredible move of God,

Pastor Bruce
Peoria Prayerfurnace
309-676-1370

Other Prayer resources:
PUSH for PEACE: www.pushforpeacepeoria.org
Peoria Prayer Center: www.peoriaprayercenter.org
John 17 Transformation: www.john17ofgreaterpeoria.org
Moms In Touch: www.momsintouch.org

And don't forget 21 Days for Awakening www.ChaplainMick.com/awakening.aspx




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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Weekly ReCap - 12-23-2008 - Merry Christmas!

Good news of Great joy!

God the Creator, born to humble parents in the most humble circumstances, lived among us as a loving Shepherd to show us the way!

God Almighty, our Heavenly Father, I thank you and praise you for coming to dwell with us, not as a god or king to lord over us as we would understand, but as a shepherd who lovingly cares for his flock. What a glorious expression of love that you lowered yourself to such extremes to save us and show us the way. You were born among us to the humblest of obedient parents in the humblest of circumstances. Thank you God.

. . . the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

(Luke 2:6-14)

Merry Christmas!


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Bible Challenge 2008 - Week 39

Week 39

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

Knights and Ladies, let God's word transform us. Let it guide us to holy living!

Monday --- 1 Timothy 1
Tuesday --- 1 Timothy 2
Wednesday --- 1 Timothy 3
Thursday --- 1 Timothy 4
Friday --- 1 Timothy 5

"Jesus' message was: The life your parched soul craves is now available to all who learn to do life moment by moment with God. As we become comfortable doing life with God, we begin to experience the power of his life flowing up into our often lifeless world — a power that brings peace even in the storms, a power that gives self-control even when we're angry, a power to live a life of freedom from the chains that enslave us, a power to develop deep, authentic relationships, a power to love even the most difficult people, and the power to experience a joy in the moments of each day as every moment of life becomes alive with new possibilities."
("Soul Revolution: How Imperfect People Become All God Intended" by John Burke, quoted in Zondervan Daily Inspiration)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0310276462?ie=UTF8&tag=clearimagecomput&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0310276462

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)


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Greater Peoria Area FCA Update

A Message from the Greater Peoria Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes:

Dear FCA Teammates,

But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." Luke 2:10

It ‘s always exciting to receive good news! On that night the angel’s announcement eternally altered the lives of those who received the message, and the birth of Jesus Christ forever changed the world. As Christians, we have the great joy of knowing Christ as our Savior and the task of sharing the Good News with everyone we meet.

We at the Greater Peoria Area FCA have been passionate about proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ this past year. Together with staff, parents and volunteers, our vision to see athletes and coaches impacted for Christ in the Greater Peoria Area was carried out in many ways. Here are a few of those ways:

- 20 campus ministries with 2 new “FCA huddles” since the start of theschool year.
- Campus Leadership Training Night with 36 FCA Campus Leaders.
- 2 coaches huddles in the Peoria Area.
- 10 pre-game meals and chapels for the Woodruff H.S. Football team in partnership with Youth for Christ and area churches. At least 4 have made commitments to Christ this year.
- Annual FCA Coaches Breakfast at the Boys Class A and AA State Basketball Tournaments. Over 100 coaches and family members in attendance from around the state.

Thanks to the dedication of many FCA volunteers and donors, the Good News of Christ has been shared in 2008! God has blessed the Greater Peoria Area FCA with abundant opportunities to impact the lives of athletes andcoaches. As we look forward to 2009, we are expecting God to do an incredible work in the Greater Peoria Area. We desire to join in His work and continue our vision “to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches.”

Year-end gifts are a crucial part of seeing the FCA vision accomplished in the coming year. Please prayerfully consider how you may further partner with the Greater Peoria Area FCA team through prayer and financial support. Lives are changed through the generous giving of teammates such as you. Thank you for your passion to reach athletes and coaches for Christ. May God bless you this Christmas season as you celebrate the gift of Jesus. We look forward to what God has in store for 2009!

Click on this link to donate now... http://www.peoriafca.org/DonateLocally/

Your teammate in Christ,
Cole Espenschied

You can donate using our secure online form by following the links at http://www.peoriafca.org

Greater Peoria Area FCA
Office 4100 N. Brandywine Dr. Suite 210 Peoria, IL 61614
http://www.peoriafca.org
cell 309.222.0374 office 309.682.7322

FCA Prayer Team

Please let me know if you would like to join the team. 309-231-4542

Cole has been doing incredible work for the Kingdom. In the January issue of STV (Sharing the Victory, the national FCA magazine), the Morton High School FCA Huddle will be featured!

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ. . .” Colossians 4:3

Prayer Team Purpose

To provide consistent prayer cover for all aspects of the spring banquet.

Banquet Purpose

To strengthen and expand the team of people engaged in helping FCA accomplish its vision.

Greater Peoria FCA Vision

To present the gospel of Jesus Christ to every coach and athlete. . . challenging them to receive it, live it, and share it.

Prayer Team Strategy

Time frame: January 2009 to April 2009

1. Communicate with the other banquet teams to determine prayer needs.

2. Make an individual commitment to pray daily for FCA in general and the banquet specifically.

Prayer team meetings (try to make at least 2 a month)

6:30am - 7:00am and/or 11:45am - 12:15pm Tuesdays at Kades Coffee (I will be there twice a day to host a prayer meeting)

Jan. 20th
Feb. 3rd and 17th
Mar. 3rd and 17th

For Him!
Mick



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Christmas Readings - New Years Day

Christmas Readings

Year B, from The online Revised Common Lectionary

New Years Day

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

Psalm 8

Revelation 21:1-6a

Matthew 25:31-46


The online Revised Common Lectionary. The online Revised Common Lectionary is a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, a division of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. (http://divinity.lib.vanderbilt.edu/lectionary/)


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Christmas Readings - First Sunday

Christmas Readings

Year B, from The online Revised Common Lectionary

First Sunday after Christmas Day

Isaiah 61:10-62:3

Psalm 148

Galatians 4:4-7

Luke 2:22-40


The online Revised Common Lectionary. The online Revised Common Lectionary is a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, a division of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. (http://divinity.lib.vanderbilt.edu/lectionary/)

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Christmas Readings - Nativity of the Lord

Christmas Readings

Year B, from The online Revised Common Lectionary

Nativity of the Lord (Christmas Eve & Day, Proper I)

Isaiah 9:2-7

Psalm 96

Titus 2:11-14

Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)



The online Revised Common Lectionary. The online Revised Common Lectionary is a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, a division of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. (http://divinity.lib.vanderbilt.edu/lectionary/)

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Monday, December 22, 2008

21 Days for a New Awakening! Jan 1-21 2009

In partnership with Awakening America I will be participating in the 21 Days for a New Awakening Jan. 1 through 21 of 2009.

Let me know if you will join in 21 days of focused prayer and fasting for a Christ Awakening!

Awakening

1) Acknowledge the authority of Scripture: Read and pray through Scripture references in the prayer guide. (contact me or attend the prayer meetings if you would like a copy of the prayer guide)

2) Acknowledge the need for Spiritual rebirth: Read the article "21 Days for a New Awakening" by Billy Wilson (excerpt and link below), and acknowledge our nations need for rebirth and awakening.

3) Acknowledge the need for personal repentance and renewed faith in Christ: Read and pray through the devotional samples in the prayer guide and acknowledge our need for personal repentance, submission, and awakening. (contact me or attend the prayer meetings if you would like a copy of the prayer guide)

Scheduled Prayer Meetings (call for details 309-231-4542):

Wednesday Dec. 31, 6:30-7:00am, Kades Coffee
Wednesday Jan. 7, 6:30-7:00am, Kades Coffee
Wednesday Jan. 14, 6:30-7:00am, Kades Coffee
Wednesday Jan. 21, 6:30-7:00am, Kades Coffee

21 Days for a New Awakening!

"In his classic study The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon gave at least 5 internal causes as to why Rome fell:

- Rapid Increase of Divorce
- Spiraling Taxes and Government Spending
- A Craze for Pleasure and Brutality
- Failure to See the Moral Erosion as an Enemy
- The Decay of Religion Leaving People without Guidance

America has been and continues to be the world power of our generation. Yet, the influence of our financial, political, and moral authority is in decline. How can this be? How can the greatest nation in the world be floundering so desperately? Our answer drives us to examine the internal forces in America more than the external ones.

In my opinion, America’s decline is a result of her spiritual bankruptcy. We need a deep, transformational revival and awakening. The destiny of America is in the hands of the church!"
(excerpts from "21 Days for a New Awakening" by Billy Wilson)

Stay tuned to Chaplain Mick's Awakening America for more details!

{ www.ChaplainMick.com/awakening.aspx }


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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weekly ReCap – 12-19-2008 – Ice Storm!

2:00pm, Fri. 12/19. . . no power from 2am to 10:30am, and just spent an hour cutting trees!

I thank God we are safe and warm, praying that you are as well!

Grateful for:

- emergency propane heaters

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Bible Challenge 2008 - Week 38

Week 38

“And so you became a model to all the believers. . .” (1 Thessalonians 1:7)

Knights and Ladies, strive in your “work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

Become “imitators of [the Apostles] and of the Lord,” so that we can become an example and encouragement to other believers! (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Monday --- 1 Thessalonians 4
Tuesday --- 1 Thessalonians 5
Wednesday --- 2 Thessalonians 1
Thursday --- 2 Thessalonians 2
Friday --- 2 Thessalonians 3

"This morning may each of us hear the Lord Jesus speak to us, saying, 'I myself will help you.' It's a small thing for Me, as your God, to help you in your time of need, especially when you consider what I've done for you already. What! Not help you? I bought you with My blood. What! Not help you? I died for you, and if I've already done what is greater, will I now not do what is less? Help you? This is the very least I will ever do for you, for I have done much more for you in the past and will do much more for you in the future.

'Before the world began I chose you and made the covenant for you. I set My glory aside and become a man for you, and then I laid down My life for you. If I did all this, surely I will help you now....' —Charles Spurgeon"
(“Look Unto Me: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon” by Jim Reimann, from Zondervan Daily Inspirations)
http://astore.amazon.com/clearimagecomput/detail/0310283876

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)


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Friday, December 19, 2008

Ice Storm!

2:00pm, Fri. 12/19. . . no power from 2am to 10:30am, and just spent an hour cutting trees!

I thank God we are safe and warm, praying that you are as well!

I will resume regular posts by tomorrow night.



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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Illinois Politics: Are You Ready to Fight?

A message from Randall C. Stufflebeam, Chairman, Constitution Party of Illinois:

TIRED OF THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM YET???

The Constitution Party is hosting a Special State Convention on January 17, 2009 at the Peoria Public Library from 9:00 am until 4:45 pm. If you are tired of the corruption in Illinois, this meeting is for you.

The Constitution Party will be organizing to get principled men and women elected to office, who will uphold the standards of honesty and integrity with the purpose of restoring this state and this nation to their constitutional roots.

If you have become disenchanted with the two major parties, NOW IS TIME to join with other patriotic citizens to take back our state and our country. Did you know that besides George Ryan, two other former Illinois Governors were convicted of wrong-doing/corruption and that Blagojevich will just make the forth in the procession?

I’ve been told, “If you’re not a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.” I believe this to be a true and valid statement. Especially in this, the most corrupt state in the union, it is not possible to be neutral. Complacency and apathy only breeds more corruption. It is time for the citizens of Illinois to take back control of our government and it's obviously NOT going to happen through either of the two major parties.

Contrary to recent slogans, we don’t need “change that you can believe in," we need a constitutional restoration. It was the Constitution of the United States of America and the principles that were laid down by our founding fathers that made this nation the greatest to ever have existed in the history of the world.

If Abraham Lincoln can get elected in a “New” political party (Republicans) in a time when the line between the two major parties (Whigs & Democrats) was indistinguishable, IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN AND NOW IS THE TIME!

It is anticipated that I will be officially announcing my candidacy for Governor of Illinois at the convention. I am willing to lead the charge in this fight for our freedoms and our liberty. BUT, I can not do it alone. Will you fight this battle against corruption with me? Someone must carry the banner of honesty and integrity, and if not us, WHO?? It has become poignantly obvious that neither the Republican nor the Democratic Parties have the will to do so. It is time for “We, the People” to rise once again to take our state and our nation back from the hands of tyrants.

Candidates who have indicated their intent to run for offices throughout the state will also be announced at the convention and I look forward to working with every one to see them elected.

We have less than 15 months until it will be time to collect 25,000 uncontestable signatures for the statewide races and we have a lot of work to be accomplished before that time.

Will you join me in the crusade to take back our state? Then join us on January the 17th and let us ready ourselves to fight and WIN THIS BATTLE!!

Yours in Liberty,
Randall C. Stufflebeam
Chairman, Constitution Party of Illinois


http://www.constitutionpartyil.com/ - Chairman-CPIL@cp-il.com

{ American Liberty a Christian Issue? }



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Advent - Fourth Sunday Readings

Advent Readings

Year B, from The online Revised Common Lectionary

Fourth Sunday

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Luke 1:47-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26

Romans 16:25-27

Luke 1:26-38


Advent

“(from the Latin Advenio, meaning ‘to come to’, ‘the coming of the Saviour’)” (1)

A holy season of the Christian church, also known as the season of Christmas.

A season of celebration of the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ, and of expectant and hopeful waiting for His return!

“Adventus is the Latin word for ‘coming’, and is the exact Latin equivalent for the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming.” (1)

“The theme of readings and teachings during advent is often to prepare for the Second Coming while commemorating the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. With the view of directing the thoughts of [the faithful] to the first coming of Jesus Christ as Saviour, and to his second coming as Judge, special lessons are prescribed for each of the four Sundays in Advent.” (1)


Works Cited:

(1) Advent. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent)

Revised Common Lectionary. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revised_Common_Lectionary)

The online Revised Common Lectionary. The online Revised Common Lectionary is a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, a division of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. (http://divinity.lib.vanderbilt.edu/lectionary/)


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Awakening America Prayer Meetings!

In partnership with Awakening America I will be participating in the 21 Days for a New Awakening Jan. 1 through 21 of 2009.

Let me know if you will join in 21 days of focused prayer and fasting for a Christ Awakening!

Scheduled Prayer Meetings (call for details 309-231-4542):

Wednesday Dec. 31, 6:30am, Kades Coffee
Wednesday Jan. 7, 6:30am, Kades Coffee
Wednesday Jan. 14, 6:30am, Kades Coffee
Wednesday Jan. 21, 6:30am, Kades Coffee

21 Days for a New Awakening!

"In his classic study The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon gave at least 5 internal causes as to why Rome fell:

- Rapid Increase of Divorce
- Spiraling Taxes and Government Spending
- A Craze for Pleasure and Brutality
- Failure to See the Moral Erosion as an Enemy
- The Decay of Religion Leaving People without Guidance

America has been and continues to be the world power of our generation. Yet, the influence of our financial, political, and moral authority is in decline. How can this be? How can the greatest nation in the world be floundering so desperately? Our answer drives us to examine the internal forces in America more than the external ones.

In my opinion, America’s decline is a result of her spiritual bankruptcy. We need a deep, transformational revival and awakening. The destiny of America is in the hands of the church!"
(excerpts from "21 Days for a New Awakening" by Billy Wilson)

Stay tuned to Chaplain Mick's Awakening America for more details!

{ www.ChaplainMick.com/awakening.aspx }



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Friday, December 12, 2008

Weekly ReCap – 12-12-2008 – Joy

Christmas season. . . hurry up and have fun!

I must be wired differently than many, because being busy having or manufacturing fun, isn't fun at all. Oh, the elements of fun may be there, but not true fun, not joy. If you are wired that way, good there is nothing wrong with that, but don't assume that everyone else is. However, I will accept and love you as you are even if the favor isn't returned.

For me, true fun, joy, is slowing down; Saying “No Thanks” a little more often and spending time relaxing with my wife and children; reflecting on this life, the zoe, that God has given me; sharing deeply with others, not just scratching the surface. When I slow down I can identify the gluttony of the season. The gluttony of 'having fun' and the gluttony of material possessions. I can better keep myself from falling prey to the gluttony beast. The gluttony of the season breaks my heart.

Of course, the greatest joy is knowing that the little baby born in a barn with farm animals, placed in a feeding trough, and raised in a humble carpenter's family was actually the King of all creation! He has forgiven our sins by taking our punishment upon himself and promised us the hope of eternal life by raising from the dead.

Who could make up something that ridiculous? Heck, a fat guy climbing down a chimney with a bag of toys makes more sense. . . or is it a gluttonous diversion from the truth?

Father God, thank you for sending your Son to my rescue! Come, King Jesus, I await your return.


  • Advent - Third Sunday Readings
    "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."
    Read more. . .

  • Help an Orphan this Christmas!
    Theo was only 4 years old when his family's village was attacked by Islamic extremists. His father was killed in the attack. Today Theo lives at the Caleb House, a children's home supported by The Voice of the Martyrs for children who have become victims of Christian persecution in Indonesia.
    Learn more. . .

  • You Can Sing Christmas Carols at School!
    Despite the blatant hostility of one of her colleagues, Heather's students sang Christmas carols for the whole school this past year. . . Gateways offers an eight-page Christmas booklet that looks like a greeting card. It is a friendly way to help the teacher understand that it is perfectly legal to teach students about the birth of Jesus.
    Learn more. . .

  • 21 Days for a New Awakening - Jan. 1 - 21
    Let me know if you will join in 21 days of focused prayer and fasting for a Christ Awakening! "In my opinion, America’s decline is a result of her spiritual bankruptcy. We need a deep, transformational revival and awakening. The destiny of America is in the hands of the church!"
    Learn more. . .

  • Bible Challenge 2008 - Week 37
    Knights and Ladies, let our lives shine, holy and transformed, like the stars in the universe so that others may see the life that is available through Jesus Christ!
    Read more. . .

Reading:

- "Christmas in Public Schools? Yes, We Can!"
Barbara Curtis, Crosswalk.com
"In addition to allowing student religious expression, the law is clear – on federal and state level as well as in courts – that teachers may teach in historical context the biblical origin of Christmas, just as they may teach that Chanukah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple.

As for Christmas carols, not only have courts ruled consistently that they may be sung in public school programs, but teachers who neglect religious-themed music limit themselves and their students not only quantitatively, but qualitatively. Carols, spiritual anthems and choruses are among the most beautiful pieces of music ever written."

- "10 Ideas: What Really Matters at Christmas?"
FamilyLife
"Although holiday budgets may be trimmed this year, nothing can reduce the real meaning of Christmas. More than 2000 years ago Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, was born in a simple manger. Here are ten ideas that can help us focus on what really matters at Christmas. . ."

- "Renew Your Family's Faith by Celebrating Advent"
Sarah Jennings, Crosswalk.com
". . . in an effort to slow down and focus on the true heart of Christmas, I've found myself returning to those blissful childhood days. This time, though, it’s not to relive the legend of Santa Claus or to justify eating an entire batch of cookies solo, but for one simple tradition: Advent."

Grateful for:

- Snow shoveling. The aching back means I am well and able!
- The roof over my head, and the warmth and safety for my family.
- Stories. The stories people tell, like around the coffee pot at work.



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Bible Challenge 2008 - Week 37

Week 37

“. . . shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.” (Philippians 2:15b-16a)

“The doctrine and example of consistent believers will enlighten others, and direct their way to Christ and holiness, even as the light-house warns mariners to avoid rocks, and directs their course into the harbour. Let us try thus to shine. The gospel is the word of life, it makes known to us eternal life through Jesus Christ.”
(Mathew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible)

Knights and Ladies, let our lives shine, holy and transformed, like the stars in the universe so that others may see the life that is available through Jesus Christ!

Monday --- Colossians 3
Tuesday --- Colossians 4
Wednesday --- 1 Thessalonians 1
Thursday --- 1 Thessalonians 2
Friday --- 1 Thessalonians 3

“Although postmodern innovators are trending liberal, most have not yet reached liberalism's conclusions. They still believe in the Trinity, the deity of Christ, his resurrection and return, and many other Christian beliefs that liberals have historically denied.

My only concern is that their quest to correct the abuses of previous generations must not lead them to err on the opposite extreme. Authentic Christianity demands our head, heart, and hands. Our labor for Christ flows from our love for him, which can arise only when we know and think rightly about him. Genuine Christians never stop serving, because they never stop loving, and they never stop loving, because they never stop believing.”
(“Don't Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough” by Michael E. Wittmer, quoted in Zondervan Daily Inspiration)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)



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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

21 Days for a New Awakening - Jan. 1 - 21

In partnership with Awakening America I will be participating in the 21 Days for a New Awakening Jan. 1 through 21 of 2009.

Let me know if you will join in 21 days of focused prayer and fasting for a Christ Awakening!

"In his classic study The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon gave at least 5 internal causes as to why Rome fell:

- Rapid Increase of Divorce
- Spiraling Taxes and Government Spending
- A Craze for Pleasure and Brutality
- Failure to See the Moral Erosion as an Enemy
- The Decay of Religion Leaving People without Guidance

America has been and continues to be the world power of our generation. Yet, the influence of our financial, political, and moral authority is in decline. How can this be? How can the greatest nation in the world be floundering so desperately? Our answer drives us to examine the internal forces in America more than the external ones.

In my opinion, America’s decline is a result of her spiritual bankruptcy. We need a deep, transformational revival and awakening. The destiny of America is in the hands of the church!"
(excerpts from "21 Days for a New Awakening" by Billy Wilson)

Stay tuned to Chaplain Mick's Awakening America for more details!


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You Can Sing Christmas Carols at School!

A message from Gateways to Better Education:

Here is an encouraging story from a friend of Gateways who also happens to be one determined music teacher!

"Thanks for Encouraging Me to Move from Fear to Freedom"

Despite the blatant hostility of one of her colleagues, Heather's students sang Christmas carols for the whole school this past year.

Heather is an elementary school music teacher in California. She visits various teachers' classrooms and provides music instruction for the students. However, one teacher was not happy when he heard about her plans to teach the children Christmas carols.

"The teacher slammed his hand down on the desk" wrote Heather, "and said to me 'You will NOT sing any Christmas carols with my students in my room!' I respected his wishes and we didn't sing them in his room but we sang Christmas carols in the school courtyard at an evening concert and tons of people thanked me afterwards for being bold enough to sing carols on campus. Thank you for encouraging me to move from fear to freedom."

Heather added, "I had nothing but positive responses from the faculty, the new principal, and the parents. We even sang Silent Night as our closing song."

Later, she celebrated Religious Freedom Day with that same teacher's students by writing "Happy Religious Freedom Day" on the board. "We had a great discussion!"

To help the teachers in your school move from fear to freedom, Order Your Christmas Restoration Cards Today

Gateways offers an eight-page Christmas booklet that looks like a greeting card. It is a friendly way to help the teacher understand that it is perfectly legal to teach students about the birth of Jesus. The card tells a humorous story and includes legal documentation, suggested lesson plans, and comes with an envelope.

CLICK HERE to order cards for your children's teachers.


Yours for Keeping the Faith in Public Schools,
Eric Buehrer
Gateways to Better Education





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Help an Orphan this Christmas!

A message from VOM:

Join with VOM in Remembering the Children of Persecuted Families this Christmas.

Theo was only 4 years old when his family's village was attacked by Islamic extremists. His father was killed in the attack. Today Theo lives at the Caleb House, a children's home supported by The Voice of the Martyrs for children who have become victims of Christian persecution in Indonesia.

Every year The Voice of the Martyrs selects a country to distribute Christmas Care Packs to children whose families have been persecuted for their faith. This year we have selected Indonesia, and we invite you to sponsor a Christmas Care Pack or even a Village Outreach Pack. Imagine the joy on Theo's face, and other children like him, when they receive a Christmas present they know was sponsored by a caring Christian family in the USA.

Christmas Care Packs include a backpack filled with quality items like clothing, school supplies, a toy and, most importantly, a He Lived Among Us Gospel storybook.

Please share this opportunity with your friends and family. Let’s join together in remembering children of persecuted Christians this Christmas!


{ Click Here to learn more about the VOM Christmas and Village Care Packs! }



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