Family Christmas Devotions on iTunes

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Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but when you have kids at home, it can also be the craziest.  It’s hard to find time in the busy holiday season to make sure Jesus is the center of your celebration.

I just uploaded a new series of Christmas devotions on iTunes to make that a little bit easier.

Whether you’re traveling with your family or just on the go, you can listen to the Backstage Bethlehem whenever it’s convenient.

Episode 1 – No Ordinary Baby

We’re all familiar with the cute image of baby Jesus at Christmas, but there’s so much more to Jesus than that.  In this episode we will pull back the curtain on Christmas and take a look at who Jesus really is.

Listen in iTunes.

Episode 2 – Best King Ever

Jesus isn’t just a King, but the King of Kings, the best King ever!  In this episode we will discover what it means in our lives that Jesus is still on his throne.

Listen in iTunes.
Continue reading “Family Christmas Devotions on iTunes”

Savior

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Big Idea: Jesus came to save us from sin. 

Verse: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36 (NIV)

Have you ever been stuck? Maybe you were climbing a tree but couldn’t get down. Or maybe you reached through the banisters on the stairs but couldn’t get your arm out. Or maybe you got your hair caught in something or accidentally glued your fingers together. 

There are all kinds of ways to get stuck. 

Sometimes when we’re stuck, we can get ourselves out of the mess, but other times we may be stuck so bad we can’t save ourselves. That’s when we need someone who’s not stuck to set us free.  

That’s what Christmas is all about. God’s people weren’t stuck in a tree or in the banisters on the stairs. They were stuck in sin. Sin is when we do bad things. It’s when we do things our way instead of God’s way.  

God can’t stand sin, but thankfully he loves us. That’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus came to earth to free us from our sin, and a group of shepherds were the first ones to hear about this good news. 
Continue reading “Savior”

God With Us

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Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Backstage Bethlehem sent straight to your inbox.

Big Idea: Jesus is God with us.  

VerseThe Word became a human being. He made his home with us. – John 1:14 (NLT)

Who are your favorite people to spend time with? Your parents? Your brother or sister? Your best friend? 

When we spend time with our favorite people, it doesn’t really matter what we’re doing. It’s just fun being together. The “what” doesn’t matter nearly as much as the “with.” 

God loves being with his people. In fact, that’s the whole point of Christmas.
Continue reading “God With Us”

Best King Ever

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Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Backstage Bethlehem sent straight to your inbox.

Big Idea: Jesus is the King of Kings.

VerseNow he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. – Ephesians 1:22 (NLT)

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a king? A crown? A throne? A castle? 

How about a baby? We don’t usually think of babies and kings together, do we? Yet, that’s exactly what Christmas is all about. Jesus, born in a manger, is also the King of Kings. Kings may be important people and rule over their kingdoms, but Jesus is the King who rules over everything.  

Several months before Jesus was born, an angel appeared to a young girl named Mary and told her some surprising news. He said Mary was going to have a baby, but this baby would be special. He said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God” (Luke 1: 32 NIrV). God’s Son was coming to earth!
Continue reading “Best King Ever”

No Ordinary Baby

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Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Backstage Bethlehem sent straight to your inbox.

Verse: He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. – John 1:10 (NLT)

Big Idea:  Jesus was no ordinary baby.

Have you ever tried to guess what’s inside a Christmas present? Some gifts are obvious. You can tell what they are just by looking at their shape and size. You may have to shake them a time or two, but you can figure them out.  

Other gifts? Not so much.  

Small gifts may come wrapped in big boxes. Big gifts may be split up between multiple boxes to look smaller than they are. Someone may even put a heavy object or something that rattles in the present to fool you. A clever parent could wrap a gift in a way that you would never guess what was inside.

That’s how it was with the first Christmas. God sent his greatest gift into the world, but most people had no idea what it was. On the outside Jesus looked like an ordinary baby, but this baby was so much more than that.  

John 1:10 says, “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him” (NLT). Continue reading “No Ordinary Baby”

Turkey Busters 7: Jesus Changes Everything

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Verse: I give thanks to God who saves me. He saves me through Jesus Christ our Lord – Romans. 7:25 NIrV

Big Idea: Jesus loves us no matter what.

Throughout this series we’ve seen how selfishness causes us to act like turkeys, but loving God and loving other people can bust those turkeys in our lives.  

Can you remember the four turkey busters we’ve talked about so far?  Here they are:

1. Thankfulness

Thankfulness causes us to stop and thank God for the good things we have our in our lives, even when things don’t go our way.

2. Humility

Humility is making a big deal out of God and others and not about ourselves. It helps us stop trying to impress people and enjoy the life God gives us.

3. Serving

We can show God’s love to others by doing the jobs no one else wants to do. Serving helps us to become more like Jesus.

4. Worship

When we focus on God and his goodness, worship helps us not to worry.  It frees us from fear and shows the world God is real.

Believe it or not, there was once a man who was an expert at all of these things.  His name, of course, was Jesus. Continue reading “Turkey Busters 7: Jesus Changes Everything”

Turkey Busters 6: Thankful No Matter What

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This is Part Six of a seven-part series.  Here are parts One, Two, Three, Four and Five if you need to catch up. Sign up to receive Turkey Busters sent straight to your inbox.

Verse: Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Give thanks to God no matter what.  

What makes you thankful? Playing with friends? Getting good grades? Winning a game?

What about when you’re fighting with your friends or you get a bad grade or your team loses? Are you still thankful then?

It’s much easier to be thankful when life’s going our way. The good things in our lives motivate us to give thanks. A truly thankful person, however, learns to give thanks no matter what. 
Continue reading “Turkey Busters 6: Thankful No Matter What”

Turkey Busters 5: Worship Over Worry

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This is Part Four of a seven-part series.  Here is Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four if you need to catch up. Sign up to receive Turkey Busters sent straight to your inbox.

Verse: Come, let us bow down and worship him. Let us fall on our knees in front of the Lord our Maker. – Psalm 95:6 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Choose to worship instead of worry.

Have you ever faced a big problem? What did you do about it? Did you worry? Did you whine? Did you try to solve it on your own? Sometimes we get so caught up in our problems it keeps us from loving God and others because all we can think about is ourselves.  

When we just focus on ourselves, it makes our problems seem worse.  

There was a king in the Bible named Jehoshaphat who once faced a big problem too. A huge army was on its way to attack his country. In fact, three different armies had teamed up against him. He and his people were totally outnumbered, and the king was scared.  

Continue reading “Turkey Busters 5: Worship Over Worry”

Turkey Busters 4: Serving Others

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This is Part Four of a seven-part series.  Here is Part One and Part Two and Part Three if you need to catch up. Sign up to receive Turkey Busters sent straight to your inbox.

Verse to Remember: The most important person among you will be your servant. – Matthew 23:11 (NIrV)

Big Idea: Be like Jesus and do the job no one else wants to do.

What is the worst household chore you can imagine? Taking out the trash? Scrubbing the toilet? Cleaning out the litter box?

If you had lived in Jesus’ day, it might have been washing feet. Sounds gross, doesn’t it? You don’t know the half of it.

In Bible times people didn’t have cars so they walked almost everywhere they went. They didn’t have sneakers either. They wore sandals which meant their feet got dirty fast.

To make matters worse, their roads could be pretty gross. Most of them were made of dirt, and guess what happened to that dirt when it rained. It turned to mud.
Continue reading “Turkey Busters 4: Serving Others”

Christmas Devotions for Families

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Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but when you have kids at home, it can also be the craziest.  It’s hard to find time in the busy holiday season to make sure that Jesus is the center of your celebration.

Backstage Bethlehem will make that a little bit easier.  In this series of family devotions, we will pull back the curtain on Christmas and take a look at who Jesus really is, the Creator and King of the universe on a daring mission to save the world.

Don’t settle for an ordinary advent.  Take your family behind-the-scenes for an unforgettable journey.  Sign up for my family devotional newsletter to receive a new Backstage Bethlehem devotion every Monday beginning November 26.

If you already signed up for my Thanksgiving devotions, you do not need to sign up again.