Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Case of the Copious Lexicon

I've been taking a short hiatus from reading books by Christian authors & thought I'd delve into the first two Ellery Queen novels; little did I realize I'd need both a dictionary & a thesaurus to understand/enjoy them.

So, here are words I learned from  “The Roman Hat Mystery” & “The French Powder Mystery”:

aesopian: conveying meaning by hint, euphemism, innuendo, or the like
amanuensis: a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another; secretary
appurtenances: something subordinate to another, more important thing
avocation: something a person does in addition to a principal occupation, hobby; diversion or distraction
betokening: to give evidence of; indicate
blatherskite: a person given to voluble, empty talk; nonsense
brusqueness: abrupt in manner; blunt; rough
captious: proceeding from a faultfinding or caviling disposition, faultfinding
celerity: swiftness; speed
cicatrix: new tissue that forms over a wound and later contracts into a scar
cudgel: to try to comprehend or remember
evince: to show clearly; make evident or manifest; prove
habiliments: clothes as worn in a particular profession
ignominious: discreditable, humiliating, contemptible
imperious: domineering in a haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing
imprecations: to invoke or call down (evil or curses), as upon a person
insectivorous: adapted to feeding on insects
intelligentsia: intellectuals considered as a group or class, especially as a cultural, social, or political elite
invective: vehement or violent denunciation, censure, or reproach
moue: a pouting grimace
myopic: lacking tolerance or understanding; narrow-minded
nacreous:  lustrous; pearly
nascent: beginning to exist or develop
nebulous: hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused
nonce: the present, or immediate, occasion or purpose
penury: extreme poverty; destitution
peremptorily: leaving no opportunity for denial or refusal; imperative
peroration: a long speech characterized by lofty and often pompous language
piscine: of, relating to, or resembling a fish or fishes
profundity: a profoundly deep place; abyss
prosaic: commonplace or dull; matter-of-fact or unimaginative
punctilious: strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions
ratiocination: the process of logical reasoning
redolent: having a pleasant odor; fragrant
sententiously: given to or using pithy sayings or maxims
sepulchral: of, relating to, or serving as a tomb
sotto voce: (of singing or a spoken remark) in a quiet voice, as if not to be overheard
stolidity: not easily stirred or moved mentally; unemotional; impassive
surreptitious: obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized; clandestine
toque: a brimless and close-fitting hat for women, in any of several shapes
tremulous: characterized by trembling, as from fear, nervousness, or weakness
vagary: a whimsical, wild, or unusual idea, desire, or action
virago: a loud-voiced, ill-tempered, scolding woman; shrew
viscid: having a glutinous consistency; sticky; adhesive; viscous
volubly: characterized by a ready and continuous flow of words; fluent; glib; talkative

That's quite a few new words, for me at least...

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Credenda Variance

I had an interesting “discussion”  w/ another single man in a Bible Study recently, I write “discussion” in quotes because it was anything but & it actually tied into a another “discussion” I had online w/ a worship leader recently.

The topic(s) were [separately] purity then reverence in worship but ultimately it was all about integrity & consistency. There were actually three interesting conversations I've had recently...

The First Topic: Purity

This Believer I was talking to said he wouldn't watch any movie that had nudity, sex scenes, adultery, etc, citing the verse “I will put nothing wicked before my eyes”.  Though I secretly agreed w/ him in principle, I thought I'd test him & see how far he was willing to defend his beliefs, so I responded, “you're a hypocrite”.

“What? I'm not a hypocrite!”
“Yes you are, you're a first class hypocrite”
“How I am a hypocrite?”
“You just admitted you were”
“I did not, how am I a hypocrite?”
“You just said you won't watch any movie or tv show that has this stuff (sex, adultery, etc) in it, does that apply to books to?”
“Of course”
“You hypocrite”

The conversation took a decidedly heated turn…

“I AM NOT A HYPOCRITE!!!”
“You read your Bible every day, right?”
“You bet I do”
“The Bible contains the following: nudity, sex, incest, rape, adultery, seduction, witchcraft, human sacrifices, demon worship, even cannibalism & you allow that in you; so you either apply your standards across the board, 24/7 to everything or your standards are fluid which makes you a hypocrite. So which one is it & which one are you?”
“THAT'S THE WORD OF GOD!”
“I'm not arguing that. The topic at hand is your standards; do your standards apply to everything you watch & read? Either they do or they don't”

So before fists & Bibles started flying I diffused the conversation by saying I agreed w/ him that we need to be careful what we allow in us but if I was an unbeliever or a new Believer, how would he respond to me & how would he come across?

The Second Topic: Self–Control

So I was talking to a married elder of a fellowship I know of in the area & the topic of self–control came up, I started it & it went something like this:

“So is the fruit of the Spirit temporary?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean is it only for certain people at certain times?”
“No, it's for all Believers all the time”
“Seriously?”
“Seriously”
“So you're saying that single Believers have to have self–control but married Believers don't?”
“Well...”
“So once you're married self–control goes out the window? You no longer have to practice it?”
“I would never deny my spouse… do you have a problem w/ self–control?”
“No, I tap into grace but why don't you?”
“I don't have to, I'm married”
“So you're saying self-control is temporary, it's conditional; it's based on your condition: single it's essential, married it's optional”
“Something like that...” 

The conversation got more & more uncomfortable but it got him thinking about some things: the freedom he has in marriage & the pressure/standards that single people have to live up to. Sometimes I think single Believers are so much more stronger than married Believers are, they have to be, they have no choice...

The Third Topic: Worship

Worship, whether individually or corporately, is a very touchy topic; everyone has their own ideas of what it is/isn't, what it should/shouldn't be. Visit a few online Christian forums & you'll the see spectrum of views, it's interesting…

People who wear suits or dresses on Sunday mornings look down on those who don't.

“You wouldn't dream of wearing jeans when you meet the President, would you? You would wear your best clothes to a wedding or funeral right? Why would you think it's okay to dress casual in the House of the Lord? Why would you come in late, sipping coffee?”

vs 

“Do you wear a suit or dress when you're having your home devotionals or personal worship time? Are you drinking coffee or tea during these times? If you're not doing something personally why are you doing it corporately?”

I've been waking up around 3:30 am lately & my favorite time of the day is 4:45 am; I sit in the semi-dark, sometimes just a candle as my only light, w/ a hot cup of coffee & just sit there in my bare feet & jammies... in the quiet, quietly meditating/worshiping… gently sipping my coffee…  do I do that in corporate worship? No, but I don't condemn those who do drink coffee while worshiping in a corporate gathering. I don't pass judgment either on those on the worship team who take their shoes off.

So this worship leader was having a fit over what he perceived was a lack of reverence in the modern worship setting.

People in other countries are literally losing their heads over their faith in Jesus & some people here in America are losing their minds over bare feet, jeans & coffee in corporate gatherings of Believers.

I highly doubt that any Believer is going to put on their best suit or best dress for their personal morning or evening devotionals.

Reverence is a matter of the heart & only God knows who reverences Him. So I asked this worship leader if he applies his standard to only Sunday mornings or if it applies 24/7. He was incensed at the question & went ballistic on me. 

I'm finding these mindsets in many Christians nowadays, their standards & beliefs appear to be inconsistent, rather fluid & when their beliefs are challenged, they become unnerved or unhinged; don't be fooled, people pick up on that, especially unbelievers & it comes across as hypocrisy.

Are your standards/beliefs/practices active 24/7 or are they fluid?
Are they conditional (based on your condition) or apply across the board?
Are you passing judgment on people who worship in a different manner than you?

Any thoughts on this?  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Personal Log: Inauguration Day

inauguration

  • the beginning or introduction of a system, policy, or period; 
  • the formal admission of someone to office. 
  • a ceremony to mark the beginning of something.

Well today is a new day. In the United States, it's Inauguration Day; some people are happy & some people are not, that's just the way it is... regardless of how you voted this is a day to come together & unite.

It's a new era, not only for America but for myself as well. 2017 has already been something different than what I expected it to be; a year ago I was in a completely different place, certain things were not even on my radar but I look where I am now & see a future & a hope in so many areas. The Lord has really done a work in me the last couple of months & changed my heart & attitude on a few things I've wrestled with but like He told me, "it's going to be okay".

I'm still finding my place & where I belong but in the meantime I have a couple of recording projects to keep me busy. 'Been writing/re-writing some worship songs & feel pretty good about them. I'm not actively playing on a worship team & that's okay, if I'm asked to help I will, if not I won't, but right now I'm very content where I am & am trusting God in all things, through all things & for all things.

Our Country is going to be okay.
My fellowship is going to be okay.
I'm going to be okay.
It's all going to be okay.

It's a new year & a new day, let's put the past behind & look forward, reach forward & move forward in every area of our lives with Jesus as our focus.

Matthew 19:26
"...with God, all things are possible"

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Twelfth Night 2017



Well, the 12th Day of Christmas has arrived & it's always a little sad for me as I love the Christmas season but everything  has it's time & everything must end so a new season can begin…

Since Thanksgiving I've done quite a bit of study &  reflection (& of course entertainment) on the Advent & the passion of our God in becoming one of us so He could save us…. The 12 Tribes of Israel… the 12 Disciples… the 12 Days of Christmas… Twelfth Night… it all comes together & weaves a beautiful story of love from Love Himself. 



To kick off Christmas I go w/ Charlie Brown but I have a personal tradition on this day, the 12th Day of Christmas/Twelfth Night to end the season w/ “The Passion of the Christ”, a movie that really brings it all home & reminds me just why Jesus came. It's intense & when it's over I mop up my tears, I worship & then I need something lite so I sandwich the season by popping in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” & look forward to December once again.

I have always, always hated the western mindset of this big build up to December 25th then “bam!” it's over: the tree comes down, the lights are put away, everything is marked down & put on clearance. Since I've started observing the 12 Days of Christmas, Jesus Christ has become much more meaningful to me so I encourage all of you to consider stretching Christmas 2017 out just a little bit longer; who knows, you might find new meaning in it too...   

Monday, January 2, 2017

Personal Log: 1.3.2017

Here are some things you can do this year to enrich your relationship w/ Jesus:



Have a Dedicated Bible Reading Plan

There's nothing like reading the Bible but some people have always had a hard time w/ exactly how to do that:
  • Do you read it chronologically?
  • Do you study themes/topics?
  • Do read a chapter per day or chapter of OT, NT, Psalms, Proverbs per day?

However you read the Bible, try not to rush through it to meet your set quota. Here are some tips:
  • read it slowly
  • ask the Lord for revelation of what the passage means 
  • ask the Lord to see Jesus & the heart of God in each book or scenario
  • look at who the intended audience was
  • dig into the Hebrew & Greek words
  • read as many commentaries on a certain passage/theme as you can
  • read it in relation to the finished work of Jesus on the Cross

I tried something once that was really interesting & brought the Bible to life for me. I read the passage where it says, “God is love” so I went back to Genesis & re-read the Bible replacing the words God, Lord, Jesus, He, Him, My, etc w/ the word “Love” & it changed everything for me.

Examples:
  • “In the beginning God created the heavens & the earth...” became “In the beginning Love created the heavens & the earth...”
  • “Jesus fed the 5,000” became “Love fed the 5,000”
  • “the wrath of God” became “the wrath of Love”
  • “the great & terrible Day of the Lord” became “the great & terrible Day of Love”
  • “the revelation of Jesus Christ” became “the revelation of Love”

Can you see how things like this just transforms your daily Bible reading? 

There's so many different ways of reading/studying the Bible; find the one that's best for you right now & go w/ it, the method may grow & change as you do.  

Use the Audio Bible

There's also nothing like listening to the Bible being read.

I got into this last year & just loved it. In my lifetime, I've read the NT letters & epistles countless times but when someone is reading them as an actual letter to actual people, w/o chapter breaks or verses, it becomes so passionate & so clear. 

Let's face it: books like Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy & Revelation can be a hard (or scary) read for anyone, but listening to them can be a bit easier on you. 

I was laying in bed one night listening to the entire book of Leviticus & when it came to chapter 26 I caught such a revelation of grace & of God's desire for us & our company, it was amazing… I had read it several times before but hearing it just hit me in a new way.

The audio Bible can also be great for when you're going to/from work. In 20 minutes you can hear all of Philippians or Galatians & hear them again on the way home. 

Prayer

I pray in the Spirit & I also pray in English. Praying in the Spirit helps me: helps me focus, helps me when I just don't know how to pray for something or someone… it just helps.

If you don't believe in praying in tongues then try to have a dedicated prayer time, anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes per day, whatever works for you.

Lately, much of my personal prayer time consists of simply loving, thanking & praising God. I rarely ask for anything anymore; God has already supplied all my needs & what He hasn't supplied I must not need (at least right now). 

Yes, there are times when you ask God for something but most of my prayer time is thanking God for my health, for His love, mercy, protection, for His authority… thanking Him for taking care of me, for His provision, for handling things/people as I place them on the altar & into His care… just praising Him for who He is.  

Years ago I adopted the mantra “fasting from asking”, my prayers before that were mainly begging & pleading w/ God, in other words “seeking His hand not His face”. Now, I'm just enjoying Him & all His blessings in my life.

Once a week I try to sit in silence before God: no praying in the Spirit, no talking, no nothing. I just turn everything off & sit there in silence, enjoying His presence & waiting on Him.

I remember one time about 8 years ago when I took over corporate prayer on a Wednesday evening at my fellowship. I turned off all the lights except for the candles, closed all the sanctuary doors & posted on the outside of each door explaining that this night only we'll be sitting in silence for about 45 – 60 minutes, then we'll gather up front & share. I had people come & go but it was dead silence in there for that time & afterward the sharing was so powerful:
  • Some said they had never disciplined themselves like that before & they felt God's presence to the point of almost shaking
  • Others said it was like God wrapped His arms around them & they never felt such intense love & acceptance
  • Still others never realized just how much they dominated their personal prayer time
  • Others received such incredible clarity & direction for their lives all because they were silent…

I'll never forget that night, it was the night I realized the value of what the Psalmist sang, “in silence my soul waits for You”.

All these things may or may not help you, if you feel led then give them a try. 



Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Epigram Compendium: 2016 Edition

epigram: any witty, ingenious, or pointed saying tersely expressed

compendium: a summary, epitome, or abridgment  

I had my annual year-end blog half written but to be honest, it was just not coming together (in fact it was boring me to pieces) so I decided that I'd end 2016 w/ some of my favorite Scripture, tweets & quotes that I've posted over the last twelve months on Twitter & Google+.

For your viewing pleasure:

#Jesus gave His life both FOR us & TO us;
it's not just a changed life, it's an exchanged life.

*

A revelation always brings a revolution, in your life or in others.
Catch a revelation of #grace, in the Person of #Jesus.

*

When one chapter ends another begins, unless of course it's the end of the book –  #obvious

*

We don't wrestle w/ our needs, they're already supplied;
it's our wants that leave us sore, bruised & exhausted…

*

God:

has made you. 
will carry you. 
will sustain you. 
will rescue you. 

This is MY God! Isaiah 46:4



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Now is NOT the time for Christians to be at odds w/ each other over 
anything but heresy, there's a bigger picture here folks.

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My Friend: "I'm not laughing at you I'm laughing w/ you"
Me: "But I'm... not... laughing..."
#rascaltalk

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Praise AFTER the fact is CONFIRMATION of God's faithfulness.
Praise BEFORE the fact is CONFIDENCE in God's faithfulness.

*

Don't put people in a box, if you do you may as well call it a coffin,
nail it shut & lower it; let people be themselves.

*


"Are your excuses more important than your dreams?"
This is something I've been thinking about lately…

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Men, if you love a woman, show her long before you tell her; 
actions scream what the heart whispers.

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Resolve to let any problem in a relationship be one of communication, not commitment.

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Grace is not so much “holier than thou”,
it's more like “holier than that”.

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"What is the purpose of my life?" would be better asked as
"WHO is the purpose of my life?", one word can shift the focus.

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Worry does not impress #God one bit, not one itty, bitty bit…

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"Sometimes the #Truth is hard to swallow, 
that's why you have to wash it down w/ the Word."

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Never underestimate the explosive power of forgiveness.

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"If the Great Commission is true, our plans are not too big; they are too small." - Pat Morley

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Too many Christians are not changing the world because
they're busy the changing diapers of other Christians. #growup

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You'll never achieve unity by imposing uniformity.

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The only people that like legalism are legalists & deep down,
I'm not so sure they're crazy about it either…

*


“The secret of a good sermon is having a good beginning & 
a good ending & having them as close together as possible" - George Burns


*

"The good Lord made us all, if we're good enough for Him we ought 
to be good enough for each other" - Jed Clampett #classictv

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Hannah (in her bitterness) still had her #prayer answered by #God (in His mercy), think on that…

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ONE sentence can change & transform an ENTIRE city; just look at Jonah... #chooseyourwords

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Caeser came, saw & conquered;
#Jesus saw, came & more than conquered ~

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You can't "love the Lord w/ all your heart" &
flirt w/ sin at the same time, be faithful ~ #Jesus #love

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“Flirting w/ Moses is cheating on Jesus” - Andrew Farley

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God loves the beautiful mess called “people”.

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When you remove #God from anything, it becomes godless;
is that what you want for your family, community or country?

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Actions speak louder than words, this is especially true for followers of Christ; walk the talk.

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Some have accused me of not being spontaneous, I refer you to my calendar,
it has "be spontaneous" penciled in on every first & third Wednesday at 6 pm.

*

Time is short, you can play it safe or live by faith,
you can take it easy or you can take chances, your choice. 

*

You don't need permission to fulfill the Great Commission,
just open your mouth, your heart & your life, let God do the rest.

*

Jesus lived a life extraordinary, does your life 
reflect ordinary or that something "extra"? 

*

Next time you pray, be mindful of who's dominating the conversation.

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Guys, some girls go for jerks, others go for gents
but it's awfully hard for them to resist godly... be godly.

*

Climb the mountains.
Forge the rivers.
Make new trails.
Take chances.
Push #faith to the limits.
You have one #life, live it.
Change the world.
Change your world.

*

#Jesus & His first Disciples didn't have social media,
they were simply social & turned the world upside down.

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When the enemy comes creeping around your life,
'just remind him he's trespassing on private property.

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A little personality goes a long way but a lot of personality goes a bit too far.

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First impressions are important, but so are last impressions,
be aware of how you treat people & how you leave them feeling.

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Those that truly walk in the light of Love have spent some time in the shadow of the Cross. #love

*

99% of the miracles of Jesus were under the old covenant,
we have a better covenant now; imagine the possibilities! #unstoppable

*

We'll never have peace in this world until the Prince of Peace is the center of our world. #truth

*

If you cannot interchange the words "servant" & "leader"
then you haven't grasped the concept of either... #truth

*

The best part about waking up is waking up; many people didn't make it;
be #thankful for every breath, every moment, every day.

*

You can look to the mountain or you can look to the 
One whose feet rest on that mountain, your choice... #perspective

*

We live in the most amazing, exciting time in all of human history,
have faith that in God, anything & everything is very much possible!

*

In the natural, the calm comes AFTER the storm; in the spiritual,
we as Christians have it DURING the storm, what a difference... 

*

Grow in love & let it be perfected in you; after all, 
perfect love tells fear to pack it's bags.


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People don't hear what you think, they hear what you say & even then,
what they heard may not be what you said…

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Desire + Discipline = Difference.

*

Your purpose & your destiny are tied to your identity in Christ,
personal revelation comes from knowing who you are in Him.
*

Miracles are spectacular but temporary,
it's better to live & operate in the Blessing, that's long-term -

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Some questions are better left unanswered this side of Heaven…

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Excellence is the outcome of habitual integrity.

*

Without integrity, you disintegrate.

*

Proverbs 16:21
"Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness". 
In plain talk = you're never persuasive when abrasive.



*

Fear & Faith are both choices - you choose which one
you're going to live in & only one of those pleases God.

*

Fear will surrender to Faith or Faith will surrender to Fear,
only you decide who is the master & who is the slave...

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‎"Hamburger Helper only works if the hamburger 
is ready to accept that it needs help" - Danny Chambers

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"If your life isn't supernatural, it's superficial" – Andrew Wommack

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Christian, you may not be on the same page w/ another Believer,
but at least you're in the same Book.

*

Jesus washed the dirty feet of:


Judas, who betrayed Him,
Peter, who denied Him,
& the Disciples, who deserted Him.

That's what God is like.

*

A Christian is someone whom God is with (Matt. 28:20), in (Col. 1:27), and for (Rom. 8:31).


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas at the Bijou

For several years I've watched Christmas movies all year long, one each month; after all Christmas is in your heart but this year I purposely waited until December to start watching my favorite Holiday flicks; it was hard but that's what self-control is for.

Here is a list of my favorite Holiday movies & why I like them:

The Man Who Came To Dinner



For a long time this was my least favorite Holiday movie but to be honest, it's been growing on me the last few years. It's the story of Sheridan Whiteside, an irascible celebrated man of letters who, while visiting in Ohio, takes a nasty fall & is house bound for the Holidays: taking over, barking orders & making everyone's life miserable, including sabotaging his secretary's new found love life. He's a combination of Scrooge & Groucho Marx, in the end though he sees the error of his ways & pretty much fixes everything, then as he's leaving…

Favorite Line:  “My Great Aunt Jennifer ate a whole box of candy every day of her life. She lived to be 102 and when she'd been dead three days she looked better than you do now!”

A Christmas Story



This is the story of Ralphie Parker, a likable kid & his quest for an official Red Ryder Range 200 Shot BB gun rifle; that's all he wants & this movie chronicles his dreams, schemes & manipulations. I'm not sure that Ralphie changes at the end of the film or learns a lesson but it's fun to watch all the shenanigans that unfold throughout this glimpse of yuletide Americana, it's heartwarming & a perennial favorite.

Favorite Line: “How are they going to deliver a bowling alley here tonight?!”  

Miracle on 34th Street



I know this a Santa Claus movie but in reality, it's a great evangelistic film & here's why: The real deal comes to town & slowly, one by one, each character, through interaction & witnessing his sincere care & love, starts to believe in him; in the end, they all believe. Sound familiar? It should, read any of the Gospels…

Favorite Line:  “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don't you see? It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for. It's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles” 

It's a Wonderful Life



I've seen this movie upwards of 50 times in my life; I'm not kidding about that. The well known story of George Bailey, a small town man w/ big dreams who gives up those dreams so others can find theirs… In a moment of desperation, he's given a gift: to see what life would be like without him in it. I'm sure we've all been there, if even for a moment, 'wondering how things, family & people would have turned out w/o our influence.

Favorite Line: “Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?”  

Elf



The story of Buddy, a human raised by elves at the North Pole, who goes in search of his father in New York City & finds not only family but also love. His worldview, shaped by Christmas, starts to infect all those around him & the spirit of Christmas becomes everyone's mindset. I really like this film, it's heartwarming & just plain fun to watch. 

Favorite Line: “Hey! There's no singing at the North Pole. YES THERE IS!” 

Christmas in Connecticut



My all-time favorite Holiday flick. Elizabeth Lane, celebrated columnist, is living a lie & all of a sudden, she has to manufacture the life she's been pretending to live. To complicate it all, she meets war hero Jefferson Jones & they slowly fall for each other, even though she's pretending to be married & he's already engaged. I've seen this movie too many times to count & it's fresh each time.

Favorite Line: “John, when you're kissing me, don't talk about plumbing.”

A Charlie Brown Christmas



There's no words to describe this one, it's a just a classic. Perpetually hapless Charlie Brown discovers the real meaning of Christmas, that's all. It's short & to the point & that's the way I like it…. The parts that crack me up in this is when any character yells at another & that character spins backwards off the screen.

Favorite Line: “That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

With that I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas & happy viewing!