Mr. Christmas

Devotional writings, reflections on life, and miscellaneous other writings.

Mr. Christmas Mr. Christmas

3 Tools Every Father Should Know How to Use

Sermon starters, teaching ideas, and outlines.

3 Tools Every Father Should Know How to Use 3 Tools Every Father Should Know How to Use

5 Reasons Why You Need to Prepare For Grief

People skills, group leadership, and shepherding.

5 Reasons Why You Need to Prepare For Grief 5 Reasons Why You Need to Prepare For Grief

5 Reasons Why You Need TAWG

TAWG is the difference between spiritual strength and weakness.  TAWG can take a good preacher/teacher and make him something much more.  TAWG will largely determine whether you succeed or fail in ministry.  You can learn every preparation and preaching technique ever devised by man but if you ignore TAWG, you just failed.  Prepare both the message AND the man!  You prepare the message through study.  You prepare the man through “Time Alone With God.”

While in seminary, I attended a fellowship led by a very high profile pastor.  He was nationally known.  Though noted for his incredible preaching style and dynamic delivery, it soon became obvious that genuine TAWG was lacking.  I admit that I was caught up in that electrified environment.  For a time, it was an incredible place to be!  However, the height of excitement plummeted into sickening scandal.  That’s the thing about TAWG; you can come clean before Him, or you can be exposed by Him.

Allow me to suggest a few reasons why you should stop everything else you are doing and make whatever adjustments are necessary to incorporate TAWG into every single day. (Go ahead, retrieve your copy of God’s word and look up the passages indicated.  It will be a good start!)

1.  God is calling, “Where are you?”

Are you too busy for him?  Are you hiding from him?  Genesis 3:9-10

2.  God is the source of a Believer’s power.

If you are not living plugged-in to God, who is your power source?  Isaiah 40:31

3.  God is in control of your ministry, not you.

Can you reasonably ask his blessing on your ministry when your heart is far from him?  Acts 8:18-22

4.  God has established the laws of sowing and reaping.

You are included.     Galatians 6:7

5.  God has a habit of pulling back the curtain on your life.

It did not do the Wizard of Oz any good to say, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”  It won’t do you any good either.  Luke 12:1-3


Are there other reasons that come to your mind?  I’d love to hear them!





Basic Hospital Etiquette: What Should I Know?

photo courtesy of

A few years ago, I was hospitalized for a surgical procedure which gave me a whole new perspective on this issue. While I had already been practicing some of the principles introduced here, I became very aware of the need to further address the lack of dignity and privacy. Wearing minimal clothing, lying in a bed with unfamiliar people moving around, and needles, needles, needles, combined to keep me on edge. That doesn’t even account for the hospital room door that hardly ever stayed shut. I realized that I never fully understood these issues as a visitor.

By observing a few simple things, you can be the best prepared hospital minister your flock has ever had.

Always knock on the door, even if it is open.
      • Knocking conveys respect.
      • Knocking gives them a moment to prepare or cover themself.
      • Knocking conveys professional courtesy to medical personnel who may be in the room.

HIPAA laws have caused doctors and nurses to be especially careful when treating a patient or discussing medical issues in front of others.  If a medical professional is giving treatment, I usually step outside until he or she indicates that their interaction is complete, unless the patient requests that I stay.

Direct your attention to the patient.
        • Make eye contact and smile.
        • Avoid extended conversations with other people in the room.
        • Avoid glances at their form or affected area, covered or uncovered.
        • Avoid long looks at the medical equipment.
Stand relaxed and easy.
        • Taking a seat can often put you out of easy line of sight.
        • Relax. If you are tense, they will likely sense it.
        • Remember that you are here to minister to them.
Do not under ANY circumstance sit on the hospital bed, even if invited to do so.
        • There may be instruments or tubes hidden beneath the covers.
        • The patient may experience pain because of bed movement. (Ooops, I’m sorry, doesn’t fix it.)
        • If invited closer, step alongside the head of the bed to pray or converse softly.
If your patient is out the room, ALWAYS leave a card with a short note on the back.
        • Your kind note will be read many times over. Make it heartfelt.
        • If you do not have a card handy, ask for a piece of note paper at the nurse’s station.

By eliminating the social awkwardness already experienced by your patient, you have a greater opportunity to minister to them!  When they cease to be so keenly self-conscious, you have done your job well!  Set them at ease and then use your SLIPPR, as referred to in “How to Make a Meaningful Hospital Visit in 10 Minutes or Less.”

Please share your observations and critique!  We can sharpen each other!

Basic Training

Our children were reared in a setting that made regular changes of residence almost obligatory. It is difficult for a child to build lasting relationships when the friends they make today are waving in the rear view mirror tomorrow. For that reason, Donna and I were purposeful in knitting close family ties between ourselves and our children.

While my wife and I were dreading the departure of our son into military service, we were blessed to be present for an exchange we shall never forget. Our daughter, who was struggling much more than either of us realized, found a way to touch her brother’s heart. She accomplished it without any danger of retaliation or retort.

She found an edition of scripture produced especially for Army personnel. Its green leather cover bore his name imprinted in beautiful gold letters, beneath the seal of the U.S. Army. Inside she had highlighted an assortment of verses. The pale blues and yellows illuminated the favorite passages of many of his friends. As he silently leafed through the gossamer pages, occasionally stopping to read marked verses, she told him,

“I have the list of verses from your friends. I will be reading those verses with you while you are gone.”

It was all that I could do to avoid falling to pieces.

In that moment I knew that Donna and I had accomplished our mission. Our children love each other and they have each experienced the love of the Lord. Though we will not be present for many of the battles they will face, we know that they each have been through basic training and have completed it successfully.


Why Adultery is Just Plain Stupid

“Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul.  Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away.  For jealousy is a husband’s fury; therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.  He will accept no recompense, nor will he be appeased though you give him many gifts.”                                                                                                                                                                    Psalm 6:32-35 NKJV

1.  You and those you love will pay a high price.

  • An expensive moment in history is recorded.
  • Someone knows.
  • Someone will remember for years to come.
  • Someone will relate what they have heard.
  • Someone you love dearly will be crushed by what is told.
  • You cannot escape what is known of you.

2.  Your ability to be trusted is called into question.

What does infidelity say about your ability to keep your word?  There is no need to get mad when someone cites infidelity as the reason they do not trust you.  It is not their fault that you have not kept your promises.
“Physical infidelity is the signal, the notice given, that all fidelities are undermined.”
Katherine Anne Porter

  • The value of trust appraises highest once it has been sold.
  • How much is the ability to be trusted worth to you?

3.  The betrayed mate just put a target on your back.

Do I really have to explain this?

4.  God loves both parties who have just wounded the other.

  • A woman has just damaged the man whom God created for greatness.
  • A man has just violated the precious daughter of the Most High God.
Before you commit adultery, tell God that it will be okay, just this once.  Remember your words, they will be repeated for you when you stand before Him.

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”                                                                       Matthew 12:36 NKJV


4 Reasons Why You CAN Make Hospital Visit to Someone You Have Never Met

Have you ever been called upon to make a hospital visit to someone you have never met? Spending a few moments in the hospital with a friend or family member is a loving thing to do, but how quickly do you respond when asked to visit someone you have never seen? After mastering a few basic concepts, great hospital visits with anyone will become another useful tool in your ministry bag.

Even before I became a pastor, I made countless hospital visits.  The vast majority of these visits were to people I knew well.  I walked past hundreds of needy strangers to find them.  One particular afternoon I stepped onto an elevator and was enclosed with a couple who were in obvious distress.  I simply asked if I might pray with them.  That afternoon, as I reflected upon our elevator prayer meeting, I realized that there were some observations worth noting.

1.  Most people in the hospital are hurting in one way or another.

Whether they are the patient or family member, they are in need of comfort and reassurance.  They are vulnerable whether they wish to admit it or not.  A simple act of kindness is magnified in the presence of distress.  You can be confident in offering a kind word or a prayer, knowing that it is as needed as a doctor’s prescription.

2.  A brief introduction and genuine concern is all it takes to make a friend.

“Pardon me, ma’am. My name is Maston Jackson, pastor of Next Street Corner Church.  I couldn’t help but overhear that you are having a hard time right now.  Would you mind if I prayed with you?”

Some pointers for a good introduction:

  • Be polite
  • Keep your voice low and soft
  • Identify yourself clearly
  • Express sympathy without being nosy (do not ask for details)
  • Offer to pray with them
  • Give them the ability to decline without a negative connotation

3.  This moment of ministry is NOT about you.

Lay aside your feelings of insecurity.  These people are focused on their own pain.  You will seldom have interaction with people who are less interested in your shortcomings.  A man facing surgery does not care how much money you make nor does he care on which side of town you live.  The parent of a sick child has no interest in how many times you have been a bad mom or dad.  Victims of a tornado do not care who the Good Samaritans are if they are helping.

4.  You are an Ambassador of Heaven.

Though you may have never met, you are not a stranger. You represent God, who loves these hurting people dearly.  He knows them well.  Act and speak with the tenderness of a loving brother. You never know what doors may be opening for future interaction.  Focus the love of God like a laser beam through the lens of your kind touch.

Anyone can make a hospital visit with someone they have never met.  More importantly, it is healthy for you to lay aside your own issues as you reach out to others.  You just have to be respectful of their circumstances and remember that the Father in Heaven has arranged this meeting.

Have you had an experience making a hospital visit to someone you have never met?  I’d love to hear about it!