Archive for the 'Family' Category

Please Come Home for Christmas

In our current series, Not Your Grandma’s Christmas Carol, we’ve been taking a look at some more recent Christmas tunes and using them to help us with some common holiday issues; dealing with disappointment and dealing with cultural consumerism. This past weekend we used the song, Please Come Home for Christmas, as a springboard to talk about dealing with family at the holidays.

One of the greatest stressors at Christmas time is family. Obnoxious relatives, strained relationships, past negative encounters and unrealistic expectations can make for a not-so-merry time. And while you can’t do anything about the rest of your family, you can do something about you. Sunday I encouraged you to try re-gifting to your family. Re-gift the things that you’ve already received from God as recorded in John 3:16. Re-gift unconditional acceptance. Re-gift self-sacrifice. Re-gift forgiveness. Re-gift a relational future.

We’re accustomed to giving “stuff” as Christmas gifts. Maybe this year you can give something to family that really matters. And it’s something that if you’re a follower of Christ, you already have. Just give it away.

If you missed last week’s message, Please Come Home for Christmas, you can view it here:

Harold’s 10th Anniversary at Cedar Ridge

At our BA Campus Leadership Community this past Sunday, we recognized my brother, Harold Pittman, for having been on our Cedar Ridge staff for 10 years. Harold serves as our Worship Minister at our BA campus but his ministry influences all of our campuses. It has been a pleasure for me to get to work with him this last decade and Cedar Ridge is fortunate to benefit from his talent and leadership. If you have the opportunity, express your appreciation to Harold by telling him personally or writing him a note.

Kyler Pittman is Getting Married

In case you haven’t heard, our son, Kyler, and his girlfriend, Nichole, recently announced their engagement. I forgot what a process it is to select just the right ring and ask at just the right time. But it’s done and there are plans to be made. We love “Niki” like a family member already and are looking forward to their wedding. They are planning to get married May 18, 2013.

You can read about Kyler’s redneck proposal on their wedding website: nicholeandkyler.ourwedding.com

The Story of Thanksgiving

In my pursuit of preventing Thanksgiving from becoming just another self-absorbed day of feasting, I sought out to find a brief summary of the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving without the Christian perspective being removed. The story below can be read in a few minutes around the dinner table. It retells the first Thanksgiving story. It maintains the faith narrative. It is not original to me as I have copied and pasted from multiple sources. This has been read at the Pittman house before our Thanksgiving dinner the last two years. I hope it’s a resource you might be able to use with your family. The Word document version is available to download at the bottom of this post.

In 1614, Captain Thomas Hunt captured several Indians in the New World, including one named Squanto, to be sold into slavery in Spain. A Spanish monk purchased Squanto’s freedom, taught him English, and introduced him to Jesus Christ. In 1619 Squanto returned to his native land, only to find his tribe wiped out by an epidemic.

Around the same time, a group called the Separatists fled from England to Holland to find religious freedom. Unfortunately they also found poverty, grueling work hours, and a secular culture that threatened to undo the values they had carefully instilled into their children. In 1620, they sold everything and indentured themselves for seven years to finance their journey to America.

On the Mayflower, the Separatists were joined by those seeking the new land for other reasons; these they called the Strangers. The two groups, 102 altogether, were called the Pilgrims. Their journey across the Atlantic ocean lasted nine weeks. In one of those “accidents” which change the course of history, the ship lost its course and landed far north of its destination at what we now call Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Once outside the territory covered by the King’s Charter, the Pilgrims became responsible for their own government, and so they forged the birth certificate of this nation in the hull of the Mayflower by stating their purpose. We call it the Mayflower Compact. And in it they wrote, “in the name of God, Amen. We do plant this colony for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

Never in the history of the world had a nation been established for those reasons. They came here, not just for religious liberty, but to practice the dictates of their Christian conscience. This is their words, “For the propagating of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the remotest parts of the world. Yeah but we be just stepping stones unto others for the performing of such great a task.”

In late 1620, they began their new life at the place they named Plymouth. After a prayer service, the Pilgrims began building hasty shelters. It was a devastating winter – whipped with wind and sleet and snow. Unprepared for the harsh New England winter, half the Pilgrims died. Still the Separatists clung to their faith; not one chose to return to England with the Mayflower that spring.

Spring brought unexpected relief with the help of a generous Christian brother – Squanto. He taught them how to grow corn, use fertilizer, stalk deer, and catch fish. William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth, wrote of Squanto that he was “a special instrument sent of God for good beyond their expectations.”

And so their first harvest was good. Governor Bradford proclaimed a day of celebration and thanksgiving to God, and the Pilgrims invited their Indian friends. Ninety members of the tribe came, along with Squanto, bearing venison and wild turkeys for all to share. Together the Pilgrims and the Indians feasted, played games, ran races, and showed their prowess with bow and arrow and musket.

Pilgrim Edward Winslow described the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving in these words. “Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling so that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as…served the company almost a week… Many of the Indians came amongst us and…whom for three days we entertained and feasted… And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God we are…far from want.” And that was the first Thanksgiving.

In 1789, President George Washington issued the a federal Thanksgiving proclamation, declaring in part. “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . . . Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.”

As Americans, we celebrate Thanksgiving each year, retaining the original gratefulness to God displayed by the Pilgrims and many other founding fathers, and remember that it is to those early and courageous Pilgrims that we owe not only the traditional Thanksgiving holiday but also the concepts of self-government, “hard-work” ethic, self-reliant communities, and devout religious faith.

The Story of Thanksgiving (word doc)

Kimber in the Southeast Outlook

My daughter, Kimber is on the front page of the November 8th edition of the Southeast Outlook, a newspaper publication of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. Kimber worked in Kenya this summer in conjunction with Life in Abundance International and MI2, an intern program made available through Southeast Christian Church. Check it out.

Southeast Outlook Nov 8, 2012 Edition

Kimber In Kenya

I’m proud of my youngest daughter, Kimber, who is in her second year at Manhattan Christian College. She spent the summer in Kenya doing a missions internship with Life in Abundance International. She put together this great video depicting her adventures.

Marriage Wins!

My friends Bob and Holly Warner shared this great testimony of how God restored their marriage after being divorced nineteen years. They shared their story with our Cedar Ridge family this past Sunday.

Kimber’s Senior Prom

Hard to believe my daughter Kimber’s Senior Prom has come and gone.

This is a Real Man’s Dog

Was out in the backyard tonight just throwing some horse shoes with the family. Kyler’s one-year old English Setter, Gage, insisted on retrieving them for us.

When Your Baby Graduates

My youngest, Kimber, graduated last night along with 1062 other Broken Arrow High School seniors at a capacity-crowd Mabee Center. Like any other graduate, Kimber is excited about this new stage of life……..not half as much as her parents.

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