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{}   *Christmas Backlash?* 


If you enjoy this email service, I encourage
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Be sure to check out our inspirational list just for teenagers!


Good afternoon readers!

Before we get to today's story I wanted to share something with all of you.  As you know we don't do any outside advertising on our list, but today I wanted to make an exception.  A family in our church, the Uppenkamps, have gone through some pretty trying times this Christmas season.  Tom Uppenkamp, the father, lost his eye in an accident at work this past month.  His wife Brenda has been working on an instrumental CD this past year and she finally has it ready to go.  I wanted to let all of you know about it in case you might be interested in purchasing it for a gift or for yourselves.  I asked them to send me some info on it and have included it below.  I have purchased copies of it to give as gifts this year and have a copy for my family that we have listened to and enjoyed... One friend of ours recently lost her husband to a brain tumor and Brenda gave her the Soft Winds CD and our friend remarked that it was one of the main things the Lord used to help her get through that first trying week after his death...

Consider checking out their website and listening to some of the music they have there...  And please keep the Uppenkamp family in your thoughts and prayers as Tom heals from this terrible injury...

May all of you have a wonderful Holiday Season!

From my family to yours,


Soft Winds

Basic Elements Productions has produced their first CD called "Soft Winds".  Soft Winds is an easy listening CD for times of relaxation and refreshing that will soothe and inspire you.  Soft Winds is a great addition for exercising and stretching and it has the capability of meeting background music needs in many professional settings.  The calming melodies will soothe your soul and refresh your mind.  Check out their website for more information at

You can email Brenda at: if you have any questions!


Christmas Backlash?

by Rubel Shelly

USA Today reports that a 25-year-old Memphian has declared his intention to renounce the Christmas rush. He and his wife have told their family and friends not to expect gifts from them this year. "We don't feel any obligation to buy gifts," he says. "I felt odd getting things I didn't need."

The Washington Post carries a similar story that broadens the indictment. It quotes psychologist Patricia Dalton who says that she and her colleagues see hosts of unhappy people whose lives have been hollowed out by "runaway consumerism" -- the compulsion to buy clothes they don't need, expensive accessories they can't afford, and high-end trinkets they have come to regard as essentials to life. The stress of paying for all these things drives people to work so hard that they're ruining their marriages, their family life, and their health.

Yet we know the American economy could collapse if everybody suddenly quit buying gifts, new things, and only the things we truly need! So what is a responsible person to do? What should a spiritual person do? Is there a middle ground between being a sour-faced Scrooge and a ravenous spendthrift?

My own opinion is that Christmas is one of the most joyous times of the year. I'm not for abolishing gift-giving as part of the season. Can't we see the gifting we do for one another at Christmas as a reminder of heaven's great gift to us in the birth of Jesus? Is the choice really so extreme as frugality versus greed?

Some of us do behave irresponsibly around Christmastime. We seem to forget that debt enslaves. We shower children with an excess that leaves many of them both greedy and ungrateful. Christians too often wind up their year feeling spiritually empty -- drained by a holiday that should have been a holy day.

So give appropriate gifts to the people you love. As a testimony to grace received, shower grace on others. But set sensible boundaries about the money you can pay for those gifts, so pride and greed don't drive your spending. If things are tight for your family this year, draw names and radically minimize the buying.

Whether flush or finite in your giving potential, build generosity and sharing into your family scheme. If you can't make a donation or supply a gift, help at a homeless shelter. Visit a nursing home. Attend free Christmas Eve worship.

Don't gripe that everyone has "forgotten the true meaning" of Christmas. Just embrace it for yourself and your family. And model it for those who may have gotten caught up in the hijacking of what can still be a holy season for you.

Rubel Shelly

Write Rubel and let him know what you thought of his story!

(c) 2004 Rubel Shelly. Used by permission.

Visit: to read more of Rubel's writing or to sign up for his weekly column: FAX of Life.

Rubel Shelly has preached for the Woodmont Hills Church of Christ in Nashville since 1978. During that time, he has also taught at David Lipscomb University and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is the author of more than 20 books, including several which have been translated into languages such as Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Russian. He is married to the former Myra Shappley, and they are the parents of three children: Mrs. David (Michelle) Arms, Tim, and Tom.


Thought For The Day:

You see things and you say, "Why?" But I dream things that never were and I say, "Why not?" --George Bernard Shaw

Verse for the Day:

"Without faith it is impossible to please God." --Hebrews 11:6

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"How do you know you can't make a rocket out of tinfoil boxes and cardboard unless you try?"

Parent's Thought For The Day

"There's a time when you have to explain to your children why they're born, and it's a marvelous thing if you know the reason by then." --Hazel Scott

Coach's Thought For The Day

"It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit!"

Writer's Thought For The Day:

"The real truth about writing workshops, though, is that they can jump-start
you on some things, get you through a morass of confusion more quickly, or
they can make you even more confused. But they can't teach you to be a
writer." --Gregory Frost

Deep Thought For The Day:

"I locked my coat-hanger in car. Good thing I had a key."


Michael's updated book Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter," is finally here! ($13.95)

Visit the link below to preview the book!  Personalized autographed copies are available at no extra charge and we pay the shipping for you!  An E-book version is also available for just $6.95!

Be sure to let us know who you would like it autographed for and then allow about two weeks for us to sign it and send it on its way to you.

Credit card, PayPal, Checks, and Money orders accepted!

The book is also available through,,, and


Have you been to the website lately?  If you like what you see and would like to have your own professional looking website, visit the link below.  Bizstudio has been a wonderful service for and with 550,000 visitors and over 1,030,000 page views in the past three years, the website has been a tremendous tool in helping us to "Touch Lives, One Email at a Time." Although I had no prior experience building a website, I was able to create and build the site easily utilizing Bizstudio's online editor.  It includes an Online Site Editor, Unlimited Updates, Unlimited Pages, Professional Themes, Pre-Programmed Features, E-mail Accounts, and free Search Engine Submission.  If I could do it with no prior experience you can too! Check it out at this link:


Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!
Silverhill, AL

Let me make you a video from your photos!
Check out my video production business
by visiting:


Do you feel as if life has no meaning for you?


Reading Books, Changing Lives!

For those of you who would like to purchase the books from the bookstore via your credit card, you can now do so!

You can now order a number of different autographed best-selling inspirational books for the same price you would get them in the store, the shipping to you is paid for, and you are helping change the lives of teenagers and those they come in contact with!


A number of people have written to us asking what an EBook is, since our book is being offered in both print and EBook versions.  An EBook is a book that can be downloaded and read right on your computer. The advantage of ordering the EBook is that is costs less, $6.95 (No other charges), as compared to $13.95 for the print book. Plus your EBook will arrive the same day you order it and you can begin reading the stories right away!

EBooks are read via Acrobat Reader, which is software that is already on your computer. So for those of you who don't want to wait for the print book to be delivered, check out this link to order the EBook version of Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter."


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