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True Abundance

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10(NAS)

My childhood Christmases were ones of material abundance. All the latest toys and games could be found under the ornately decorated tree. Our house was filled with Christmas music and the entire family was in the Christmas spirit. We had all our favorite cookies, snacks and candy that would keep us on a sugar high as we played with all our wonderful gifts late into the night. As a young married adult, I also experienced the material abundance of Christmas. We had parties in elegantly decorated homes with our friends and spent lavishly on gifts. Yes, many Christmases of my past were overflowing with material abundance.

One Christmas in particular, however, had no such worldly pleasures. Such extravagant Christmases of my past had no place inside the prison walls where I would spend that Christmas. In fact, it was easy to forget that it was Christmas. There was no tree, mistletoe or other festive decorations adorning the concrete walls inside the prison dorm. None of my fellow inmates were in the spirit of Christmas either. The day would come and go like any other day.

However, it was this Christmas in prison - spent without family, friends, gifts and delicious meals - where I discovered the real meaning of Christmas. I had already received the greatest gift ever given when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in a dark, lonely prison cell. I now understood that Christmas was not about all the extravagance we stress over every year. Christmas is about the ultimate gift delivered to each of us in the form of a helpless baby. That baby, God's only son, who would grow up and die for me so that I might have abundant life.

Funny word - abundant - it is not about all the things we can accumulate in this life. It is about the gift that has already been given to us and the relationships we build as we continually share that gift with others. How many people will we cross paths with this Christmas who do not know of the true abundance they have in Jesus Christ? How many people are seeking fulfillment in material things when all they need can be found in Christ? Let's all take time this season to share with another person the abundance we have in the greatest gift ever given.

Margaret Willis


A Season of Thanks

Fall is my favorite season too! The orange and red leaves, the smell of all spice, nutmeg, pumpkin and even that distinctive smell from the first time the heater gets turned on - love 'em all. Thanksgiving is a time of warmth, of brilliant color, good smells and above all, thankfulness.....No longer do I search for words to describe my thankfulness because there are not enough words and the words I know are not adequate. It's not that I don't try to express my thanks, because I want the Lord to know my gratitude, but I've come to realize my gratitude (or lack thereof) is the loudest in my everyday life. Without saying a word, the way I arise in the morning, drive in traffic, treat my co-workers and share my "stuff" say enough.
May thankfulness exude my every word, thought and action not only in this season, but throughout the year. Hear my prayer, O Lord, my Righteous Redeemer!

Philemon 1:4-7

Blessings to you and yours!
Lisa B.


Changing of Seasons

I love the changing of seasons. Fall is my favorite time of year so I am excited for the crisp air in the morning that turns into perfect park weather in the afternoon; all the beautiful colors that dust the leaves on trees; looking forward to the buffet at Thanksgiving, which of course means pumpkin pie, and football. We can't forget football! I love football. Mostly, I love the Aggies playing football---Whoop and Gig 'em! I love people getting together to root on other people and the camaraderie that goes into cheering for your team.

This thought leads me into how happy I am that all the Bible studies have started back up. Talk about rooting on others. If you need fans, get into a ladies' Bible study! In my adult life I have been surrounded by amazing women who love God, but none so like I have found in my Monday morning Bible study. Having only lived in Amarillo for 2.5 years, I have closer, deeper relationships than any in my 30 years previous to living here.

As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes there is a time, or season, for everything; a time to tear down and build up; a time to be silent and a time to speak. Maybe now is your season to tear down some walls around your heart and be silent no more.

Ayvrie Dixon


Kay Warren at Hillside Amarillo

I like Kay Warren. I've yet to meet her personally, but was introduced to her heart through the book "Dangerous Surrender. What Happens When You Say Yes to God." As one might expect, her story is compelling. She and her husband, Rick Warren, started Saddleback Church in their living room about 30 years ago. She's a two time survivor of cancer. She's a mom & grandmother. She's an advocate for orphans, HIV/AIDS, and suffering throughout the world. Her story could stand alone as a good read.

But it's her heart's tenacious desire to yield fully to God that grabbed my attention. It stunned me.

In a world where so many messages are diluted of the real power of humility, her's is concentrated and potent. If you want to know more about the amazing movements that she is involved in leading to help change lives around the world, check out www.kaywarren.com.

And if you want a chance to hear this ruined, dynamic, passionate voice call us to the core of what it means to love God enough to say "yes" ... here's your invitation.

Kay will be speaking at Hillside Amarillo on Friday, April 16th at 7:00pm in the auditorium. It is free to the public. Childcare is available for 5th grade and younger, if you register. Contact Lisa Bradshaw at 806.457.4930 for more information. Although this evening is sponsored by HillsideWomen, it is not for women only. Invite anyone you know to attend!

If you've ever wondered "What could I possibly do to make a difference?" when overwhelmed at the world's suffering, injustices, or needs... I implore you to come hear Kay Warren. But WARNING: If you come hear her message of yielded surrender, you may be ruined as well.