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2014 : Questions to Ask Before the Start of a New Year

Friday, December 27, 2013




By Dr. Don Whitney



The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.
1. What's one thing you could do in 2014 to increase your enjoyment of God?

2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do in 2014?

3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life in 2014?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress in 2014, and what will you do about it?

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it in 2014?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently in 2014?

8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make 2014 different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life in 2014?

10. What single thing that you plan to do in 2014 will matter most in 10 years? In eternity?

 In addition to these 10 questions, here are 21 more to help you "Consider your ways." Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month in 2014.

11. What's the most important decision you need to make in 2014?

12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what's one way you could simplify in that area?

13. What's the most important need you feel burdened to meet in 2014?

14. What habit would you most like to establish in 2014?

15. Who is the person you most want to encourage in 2014?

16. What is your most important financial goal in 2014 , and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?

17. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life in 2014?

18. What's one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) in 2014?

19. What's one thing you could do in 2014 to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?

20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read in 2014?

21. What one thing do you most regret about 2013, and what will you do about it in 2014?

22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly in 2014?

23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it in 2014?

24. What's the most important trip you want to take in 2014?

25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve in 2014?

26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount in 2014?

27. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute in 2014?

28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better in 2014, and what will you do about it?

29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?

30. What's the most important new item you want to buy in 2014?

31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it in 2014?
 
The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn't considered the question.
If you've found these questions helpful, you might want to put them someplace —
 in a day planner, PDA, calendar, bulletin board, etc. — 
where you can review them more frequently than once a year.
So let's evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical diligence, remembering that, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let's also remember our dependence on our King who said, "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Happy Holiday 

Let's Make 2014, A GREAT One:) !!!! 

Holidays : A list of Dope Activities For the Holidays !

Tuesday, December 17, 2013




By Debra Fileta
We Just  love the holidays.
They are a special reminder of the two greatest joys in life: our relationship with God and our relationships with others.
When it comes to making the most of the holidays, it’s important to take the time to connect with the people God has placed in our lives. Sometimes that means getting together and building our relationships with one another.  Other times, it means reaching out with the love of God to the world around us.
As you take the time to love and be loved this holiday season, here are a list of my favorite holiday activities that will add cheer, joy, and charity to your life and the lives of those around you!  So choose a date, send an invite, and make something happen!
1.  Have an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party
2.  Host a Cookie Exchange
3.  Get a group of friends together for Caroling.  Make it special by visiting those in need at a senior home, a children’s hospital, or a local shelter.
4.  A good ol’ snowball fight.  You’re never too old for this!
5.  Have a holiday photo booth! With fun props, signs, and outfits.
6.  Baking and decorating Christmas cookies!
7.  Wrapping up gifts to deliver to those in need.
8.  Getting together to fill Operation Christmas Child boxes to send to children in third world countries.
9.  A Christmas movie night marathon (It’s a Wonderful Life better make that list!)
10.  A contest for decorating the best Gingerbread man/house.
11.  Hosting a White Elephant Gift Exchange
12.  Christmas candy/Chocolate fondue night!
13.  Baking cookies to deliver to the Homeless Shelter
14.  Volunteering at a Soup Kitchen to serve a meal
15.  A Christmas Music Worship Night
16.  Check out the Big Tree at Rockefeller Center
17.  Hosting a clothing or Coat  drive
18.  A holiday-themed dinner party
19.  Having Friends and family  over for hot chocolate and cookies!
20.  A DIY Christmas Ornament Making Party
21.  A Holiday-themed Scavenger Hunt around Town
22.  Volunteering with the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots
23.  Getting involved with Angel Tree Ministries buying gifts for children of prisoners.
24.  Driving Around and Looking at Lights
25.  A Chat by the Fireplace with good friends and yummy hot drinks.
No matter how you choose to celebrate this Christmas season, be sure you take the time to love and be loved. 
What are some of your favorite holiday activities?

Holidays : What's your Favorite Holiday Movies ?

Most of us spend a good deal of time watching television or Netflix (Our Favorite) over the holiday season. If you are looking for your Holiday fix here is a  great list to use.


Here is our  pick for quality viewing time for the visitors in your home this week and next. There are also different movies we watch for different reasons.
1-     It's a Wonderful Life - On the Top of any list. We watch it every year, and it just keeps getting better.
2-      Miracle on  34th Street - The original is a heartwarming story. You cannot help but smile and think of the kinder days in your childhood.
3-      Deck the Halls-  It tells the story of just how competitive we have become with Christmas decorations
4-      The Santa Clause We all know what it’s like to have to agree to something and we feel unworthy.
5-      The Christmas Shoes It will make you pay attention to the people in front and around you. You may be able to make someone’s wish come true
6-      This Christmas It will remind you that being with family  is  truly the best gift of year.
7-      The Preacher’s Wife-  It tells the story of healing and love’s enduring heart.
8-      The Nativity. It reminds you  of what Christmas is Truly about
9-      The Polar Express. It may be animated but it tells a story of Hope.
10-    A Christmas Story. Surely we all have seen it but you need to watch it again just for the laugh out loud quality of the child and the frozen flag pole.
11-    Home Alone - The first one, not the sequels! A really good family film for the holidays, except there's no family! Funny gags, hilarious antics and truly feel-good moments as well. (one of our favorites)
12-     A Charlie Brown Christmas  - We know it's a made-for-TV movie, but to ignore it would be stupid. Generations of kids have grown up on it.
13-    Elf  - Will Ferrell drives this great-for-the-entire-family Christmas comedy. Of course the uncredited appearance of Peter Billingsley is a special holiday treat.
14 -   Bad Santa  - Come on, admit it! You know it made you laugh. There's just something funny about a drunken Santa.
Just Added - Best Man Holiday , just love that movie 
What is your favorite holiday movie?
Happy Viewing!

Event Recap : Young Audiences Arts for Learning Annual Gala - November 21th 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013




Young Audiences Arts for Learning celebrates its Annual Gala on Thursday, November 21, 2013 at the Waldorf Astoria. Young Audiences will honor Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller for their commitment to philanthropy and the acclaimed Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company will perform. The Gala is chaired by Young Audiences Board Members Mrs. Michel P. Fribourg, Lady Maughan, and Mrs. John L. Weinberg, with Paul J. Fribourg, Chairman and CEO of Continental Grain Company, serving as Business Committee Chairman, and Diane Volk as Master of Ceremonies

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Gala Honorees Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller with YA Executive Director David Dik and YA Gala co-chair Mary Ann Fribourg

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Gala Honorees Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller

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YA Board Chairman Corinne Greenberg with Maurice Greenberg

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YA Board Member Marjorie Hyman with Kenneth Langone

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Elaine Langone and Gala Honoree Fiona Druckenmiller

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Gretchen Kimball, YA Board Memeber, with Marcus Romero, YA Communications Manager 

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Kiono Thomas with YA Board Member Jim Gellert

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Jill Simmons and YA Executive Director, David Dik

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About Young Audiences Arts for Learning
For more than 60 years, Young Audiences Arts for Learning (YA) has inspired young people and sought to expand their learning through the arts. Founded in 1952, YA works to support affiliated organizations that are each dedicated to playing a decisive role in young people's development. Last year, the YA network of 30 affiliates reached 5 million children in over 6,000 schools and community centers with 85,000 performance demonstrations, workshops, and teacher services. This year, Young Audiences of Louisiana opened the very first Young Audiences Charter School, and we continued our work around the network in the media and digital arts through programs like Immersive Game Design in Wichita, Cleveland, and Indiana. These programs teach students to design and produce their own fully-functional digital games and inspire them to harness the power of technology for learning and creating.

Amazing Organization and a Great Event and A Special Thanks to Marcus !

#GivingTuesday: A Day of Giving Back

Tuesday, December 3, 2013



If you can’t feed a hundred people then just feed one.” ~ Mother Theresa

After a successful inaugural effort during the fall of 2012 , a unique giving experience will take place again this year on December 3rd, 2013.  It is called #GivingTuesday and it is catching on across the country and around the world.
What is #GivingTuesday exactly? It’s a national movement during the holidays dedicated to charitable giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are synonymous with holiday shopping. The goal of #GivingTuesday is to encourage people everywhere including retailers, charities, online organizations, community centers, individuals and families to come together with one common purpose -- to help others and incentivize ways to give more, give smarter, and celebrate the great American spirit of generosity through charitable contributions and volunteerism.

#GivingTuesday is a simple idea. All you need to do is find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Then tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters.
Check out our Non Profit 
The World Is  a Girl's Runway, INC. 
www.facebook.com/TheWorldIsAGirlsRunway
The World Is A Girl’s Runway is to create a runway platform for young women to develop self respect, well being, team building skills, etiquette & career training, volunteering, and building confidence .

Life: 4 Questions to Ask When a Friendship Starts Feeling Unhealthy

Monday, December 2, 2013



When a Friendship Gets Draining

By Brandi Green 
You have that friend. Everyone does. You're not always sure quite why you hang out with them. Maybe it's inertia. You're always apologizing for them to others and steeling yourself to handle your time with them. It's not that you mind hanging around them but, sometimes, you wonder if they take away more from your life than they add.
After turning 30, I’ve reflected on many aspects of my life, including my friendships. Who are my real friends? Who is continuing on this journey with me? My intention of doing this was to make sure make I’m investing in friendships that are meaningful and genuine.  
The Scriptures speak to the need for having close and reliable friends: One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). According to the Bible, we should seek to do the following in our friendships: be loyal, (Proverbs 17:17), encouragement one another (Ephesians 4:29-32), speak the truth in love (Proverbs 27:5-6), love unconditionally (Romans 12:10), make wise choices (Proverbs 13:20) and make sure you have similar values (Proverbs 12:26,1 Corinthians15:33). The Bible offers clear examples of strong friendships: Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Elijah and Elisha.
Just like any relationship, friendships require effort, grace, patience and time. They also require balance. You can put your all into a friendship and receive very little in return. That imbalance leads to brokenness, chaos, resentment and other negative feelings.
Of course, when starting to assess your friendships, you should begin with yourself. Are you a good friend? Do you put the other person ahead of yourself or are you always insisting on doing things your way?

We are all sinful human beings, and any friendship will take understanding and forgiveness. But at some point, a friendship can become draining, which is not healthy for either person. Here are a few ways to determine if you’re in a draining relationship. It might serve as a catalyst to discuss some of the issues in your friendship or to determine if your season is over.

Are you investing in the friendship  more than your friend?
It’s extremely important to determine the importance of both people being invested in the friendship. Are you pulling your weight? Does your friend only call you when he or she wants something? One-sided friendships are frustrating and exhausting. Friendships that are defined by reciprocity are more engaging and fulfilling for both people.

Are you engrossed in your friends’ dreams so much that you’re neglecting yours?

Are you always your friend’s personal cheerleader? Friends should help friends pursue their dreams—it’s a beautiful thing. However, issues arise when friends rely on their friends too much as they pursue their dreams. There should be a healthy dose of both friends helping one another along the journey to their dreams.

Do you always have to think twice about what to say around your friend?  

Friendship requires the balance of respecting your friend’s boundaries and being able to be yourself. True friendships allow for friends to be their “authentic” selves. If you constantly feel that the need to tiptoe around topics or replay in your mind what not to say then you should perhaps re-evaluate that friendship or directly talk through what it is that makes you feel that way.

Does your friend complain a lot but is not willing to make any changes?

There are some people who don’t want to take your advice even after you’ve talked about it numerous times. They know what they should do, but they enjoy rehashing their circumstances to no avail. This isn’t to say your friend should always exactly follow your advice. Not every issue is cut and dry, and often things should be talked through numerous times.
But when complaining takes the place of any sort of action, listening to a friend struggle with an issue after numerous attempts to advise him or her is draining. At some point, you should decide if you’re going to “table” that particular topic or determine if you want to continue in a friendship.
These questions are just a few guidelines, so they shouldn't be viewed as the ultimate test of a friendship. Just like any relationship, friendships can be difficult. They require sacrifices from both people involved, and they shouldn't be dropped just because your friend can be hard to deal with—if that were the case, none of us would have any friends. But there is a point when friendships can cross the line from healthy to draining, and sometimes it's worth examining whether it's time—for your sake and your friend's—to step back or move on.


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