Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reigning Champion

About every other year as part of the LBC Staff Christmas festivities, a battle of wit and guts rages in my basement.  This week for several hours, the Staff men waged war against each other in Monopoly in my basement to the death. 

This year, the reigning champ, Pastor Pritt met his match with a new young buck known simply as "Cruice like Juice".  Please enjoy the play by play.

Witmer jumped out to an amazing first two rounds of the board buying up many choice properties on vairous colors.  This slowed and Olinda eventually caught up to the purchasing frienzy.  Cruice took the Untilities/Railroad strategy straight from an online cheat site, and scored the first "monopoly" with Utilities (though it is debated if Utilities can be actually counted for anything).  Pritt seemed to lack "umpah" at first, but slowly built up steam and negotiated with Witmer for the first true "monopoly" in light blue slumb lands.  This trade would determine the battle at the end of the game and was only given by Witmer to secure one railroad and an orange property to kill Cruice dead in his tracts that owned two railroads and an orange.  The promise was made to Pritt that Witmer would bury the properties and they would never be sold to Cruice.  A promise that was kept.

Olinda then made several decisions that seemed to allow him to surge to an imminent dominance.  Cruice licked his wounds on the Railroad debauchery for several rounds and only made a purchase of minor properties in addition to Park Place.  Somewhere along that time, Cruice landed on "Chance" as he seemed to along with "Community Chest" about 30 times in the game.  This is no exageration.  The card read "Advance to Boardwalk".  With one turn of the game, Cruice owned Boardwalk and Park Place.

Meanwhile, Pritt developed light blue and slowly acquired the direct purple corner.  Witmer was not silent acquiring several properties an "monopolizing" red.  Olinda acquired yellow.  Pritt developed first on light blue, then Cruice in the ritz, then Witmer on red.  Before long Hotels and multi-houses lined the board.

Somewhere in those moments, Olinda's world fell apart and I believe Cruice put him out of his misery with a direct land on the properties of the quadruple figure rents.  Olinda was out.  Witmer held much longer, but finally paid the price after several Pritt hits and a final Cruice destruction. 

Then, there were two.  Pritt and Cruice exchanged rent and battled it out with no clear end in site.  Since Witmer/Olinda property was now available, several other properties were purchased to get advantage.  At the 5 hour mark, a time limit was set of 30 more minutes and the two battled it out like Tolkien warriors of old.  As the final minutes ticked away, Pritt landed one to many times on the ritzy side of town and lost most of his cash and several of his extensive web of hotels and houses.

Pritt was dethroned and there was a new Champion in town.  Hail to the new champion and be sure to go by his office to admire his new "traveling" trophy.

You may question the wisdom or legitimacy of such a game.  I will simply tell you with experience that all work and no play makes a church staff...well, no fun to work with.

Caroling, Caroling now we go...

I just returned from a most enjoyable time of Christmas caroling.  This is the first time we attempted it on a mid-week service night and we were a bit afraid that we may suffer in attendance.  In past years we have noticed that fewer people were coming on dedicated caroling nights.  Anyhow, we were most pleased to see about 60 people show up to visit several of our shutins, widows, and hurting people.

James says:  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  What happened tonight was pure religion.

Our group was the "Christiana group" of 17 people.  We had three stops in about a 10 mile radius.  The first was a member of our church who is battling cancer.  They really appreciated our stop.  The second was one of our handicapped seniors that has recently moved to a retirement facility.  She wept with joy and hugged each of us as we finished our last song:  "This is so wonderful" she said.  The last was a dear couple well into their 80's who have also recently entered a retirement community.  - "this is so nice" they said as they held Emma and listened to the sounds of the Incarnation of God in song.  On another occasion in our journeys, we were able to sing the gospel to a group of unsaved ladies who rejoiced.

I have heard that the other groups had similar experiences of great fellowship and ministry.  Anything new is a bit of a risk, but I will guarantee you that this will become part of our Christmas Tradition at LBC each year.  This is a wonderful opportunity to experience "Pure Religion" and I didn't even write of the joys of being with the other families.

Merry CHRISTmas,


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Come to the Manger

I would like to encourage our church family and friends to come to our Christmas Cantata:  Come to the Manger this Sunday.  There will be 2 showings at 9am and 10:45am. 

The Cantata has three major movements.  First, the humble scene of Bethlehem's manger with the shepherds attending.  Secondly, there is the picture of visit of the Magi in Jesus' toddler years bringing gifts of precious and meaningful treasure.   Finally, there is return to the manger with the realization of Christ's identity as future King and Lord.

I trust the Lord will use this event to be a blessing to believers and a gospel light to those without Jesus.