If you enjoy this email service, I encourage you to spread the word to family and friends that we may bring inspiration to the lives of many! If you are not on the list and this has been passed along to you, join the thousands of world-wide readers by visiting:
Besure to check out our inspirational list just for teenagers!
Finally there is a great filter to block Internet pornography and other objectionable content! Kristi and I have used this filter for 5 years now and want to recommend the Bsafe Online filter to you. We absolutely love it. To find out more and get your own FREE 10-Day Trial, just visit:
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 $3.25!
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 Amazon.com, Borders.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Booklocker.com
Good morning HeartTouchers.com readers!
Before we get to today's story, I wanted to let everyone know that you can now hear the latest message I gave entitled, "The Young and the Restless" on our Inspired Audio page. Just visit:
From my family to yours,
Author Michael T. Powers
The Same Old Story
by Michael T. Powers
In the twenty or so years that my wife and I have been doing youth ministry, we have dealt with a lot of teens who have gotten themselves into some dire straits. In fact, I thought there was nothing that could possibly surprise us anymore.
I was wrong.
There is one teenage girl we know that I had to tell you about. However, before I do, I want you to understand that in our youth ministry, we always strive for confidentiality, to protect both the teen and the teen's family. So it is with great trepidation that I share this with you for I know that some of you will figure out who this girl is. But I am hoping that by the end of these few pages, you will understand why I had to share what I am about to tell you.
Before you rush to judgment, I want you to hang with me here. In fact, more than anything else, I want you to put yourself in this teen's shoes. Try and feel what she must be feeling.
This young girl is about 14 years old and she comes to the stark realization that she is pregnant. Not only does she realize that her life is going to drastically change, but to make matters worse, she is afraid to tell her boyfriend. Normally she can go to her boyfriend with any problem. He is a pretty stable, understanding and dependable guy. But this time it's different. You see, the baby is not his.
She lays awake that first night thinking about all the people she has to face that next day.
She has always been worthy of the trust her parents have put in her. In fact other families have remarked to her parents how they wish their daughters were more like her. But now she has to stand before them and explain how she got pregnant. And if that is not bad enough, she is going to have to explain to them that the father of the baby is not the young man that her parents think she should marry.
She loves her boyfriend more than anyone! Well, almost more than anyone. How is she going to face him? Where is she going to get the courage? It would almost be easier if she could tell him that it was just a big mistake and that she is oh, so sorry for it. But she can't lie to him. She will have to look into his trusting eyes and tell him that she willfully chose the path that led to this little life growing inside of her. She knows deep down inside, that if she had to do it all over again, she would make the same decision, and end up in the same precarious situation. "Please God! Please let him understand and not abandon me. I need him so much right now!"
Right or wrong, they have always put her on a pedestal. Always looked to her for answers. Always modeled their life after hers. But she knows instinctively that they will not understand. In fact she knows that she may never be able to explain to them what made her do what she did.
So she lays there in bed, afraid, overwhelmed, and reaching out to God for strength to face what is ahead of her.
The next day she finally gets up the courage to tell her boyfriend. He reacts just as she feared he would react. He is going to leave her.
She becomes distraught and questions God: "Why God? Why? I know that I am in this situation because of a decision I made, but please don't take my boyfriend away from me! I desperately need him now!"
This unnamed teen goes to bed that night more afraid than ever, feeling every bit the young child that she is.
Her name? Normally I wouldn't give that to you. But in this case she asked that her name be known so that others will understand what she has gone through and be encouraged.
Her name is Mary and she lived 2000 years ago.
Have you ever thought of the Christmas story in this way before?
Think about it! You are a 14-year old girl and an angel appears to you and says, "I'm going to place a baby inside of your womb." Most 14-year old girls I know would say, "I'm sorry, but that doesn't fit in with my plans for my life. I have my whole life ahead of me and I can't be held back by a baby! How am I going to go to prom now!?"
How does Mary tell Joseph? Have you ever thought of that? She has to go to her future husband and say, "I'm pregnant and the baby is not yours.
The conversation may have gone something like this:
Mary: "Joe, before you get angry at me I want you to know that I didn't cheat on you."
Joseph: "Come on Mary! You know full well that we have not known each other in the biblical sense, so the baby can't possibly be mine!"
Mary: "Joseph, you have to believe me. I did not have sex with anyone!"
Joseph: "Please Mary, don't do this to me. You know that I love you and care for you. But I can't listen to this."
Mary: "OK, Joseph, I won't lie to you." (She pauses, searching his eyes for the understanding that she knows is not humanly possible.) "The baby is from God."
Joseph: "Mary! Please! This is not like you! In fact, I am beginning to think I don't even know you any more!"
Mary: "You have to believe me Joseph!"
Joseph: (The wheels already turning in his head as to what he needs to do) "Mary, you know that I love you. But I won't stand for this. I have every right to put you away from me publicly, but I don't have the heart to do that to you. I won't marry you now, but I will allow you to find some dignity and not make a big deal out of this. But go you will."
Mary: "Please Joseph! You've got to believe me! Why would I make something like this up!"
Joseph: "Enough! I don't want to hear another word."
And he walks away, leaving Mary distraught and worrying.
You know the story. An angel appears to Joseph and verifies that what Mary says is truth.
Hopefully by now you are not thinking of the story of Jesus' birth as the same old boring story that we read every Christmas season!
Stop your busyness and ponder with me these next few weeks.
Think of God as a fetus, leaving Heaven and all of its splendor and becoming one of the most fragile things on Earth: a human baby. An animal baby is more able to defend and adapt when they are born than a human is.
As a writer, I would never have written the story this way. If I'm going to write the story of God coming to Earth, He's going to be on a white stallion when He rides out of Heaven. Every hoof-beat will leave lightning-like sparks on the streets of gold and peals of thunder in the air. The stars will line up as letters in every language that will blink: "The King of Kings is Coming!" He's going to burst through the ozone layer in a fiery explosion that will rock the foundation of the earth and send humans and animals to a prone position on the ground. Then He's going to circle the entire earth from east to west and the clouds will trail behind Him like a pure white flowing robe. There'll be the deafening sound of heavenly trumpets and the majestic pureness of millions of angels' voices hitting your ears as if they were right next to you.
That's how I'd write it.
God says, "Nope. He's going to live inside of an unwed teenage girl and He's going to be born in a stable." Which is a really nice word for a cave where smelly animals live. There was manure and urine on the floor, and the stench was almost unbearable. Priceless paintings and works of art did not hang on the walls in this nursery. No, if you were to look on these walls you would see cobwebs.
Psalm 33:6 reads, "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth." The One who breathed galaxies into existence, now depended on an umbilical cord for His oxygen. Amazing!
In your wildest dreams, can you equate the deity of the King of Kings making his entrance into this world through the human process we call birth.
Instead of noticing a crown of purest gold on his head, you notice the cone-shape of his head as he was forced through the birth canal. Instead of wearing the finest robes money can buy, he is wrapped in rags.
Instead of a finely crafted bed made by the most gifted craftsman in the land, he is laid in a feeding trough. That's what a manger is! A feeding trough! God was put in a feeding trough where cows put their tongues to lick up food. That is where the King of the universe slept each night.
He who sustains the entire universe is now being sustained through the milk of a teenage girl.
If Mary could have written a book, it would be on the New York Times' Best-Selling List. The title of the book would have been, "I Changed God's Diapers." Have you ever thought of that? Someone had to change the God of the universe's diapers. This gets a little gross, and I'm used to talking to youth, so forgive me, but, human waste was next to Jesus' skin. Is it hard to imagine Jesus in such a mundane and human way? In fact it is almost irreverent. But the God of the universe loved us so much that he was willing to humble Himself and give us the most precious Christmas present ever given: His Son Jesus.
May we never let ourselves say, "The same old Christmas story," ever again. And, may we never get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season that we don't stop and take the time to reflect about what an amazing God we have.
May this Christmas, and every Christmas from here on out, never lose it's magic or it's meaning.
Michael T. Powers
© 2006 by Michael T. Powers
Write Michael and let him know your thoughts on this story!
Michael T. Powers, the youth minister at Faith Community Church in Janesville, Wisconsin is also the founder of HeartTouchers.com, a popular website with over 2 million visitors in the last four years. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart, Kristi, and the proud father of three young, rambunctious boys.
He is also an author with stories in 27 inspirational books including many in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and his own entitled: Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter." To preview his book or to join the thousands of world-wide readers on his inspirational e-mail list, visit: http://www.HeartTouchers.com
Most importantly, Michael believes that life is not about religion, but about a relationship -- a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Creation Q & A
Q: Do six ordinary days limit God?
A. Since God is omnipotent, He could have created everything in six seconds, six minutes, six days, or any time period He chose. But the point is that it's not what God could have done, it's what He said He did.
There are many, even in the church, who justify their acceptance of evolutionary time periods by saying, "You literal six-day creationists are limiting God! I allow God billions of years to create?I don't limit Him to six days!"
However, believing that God created everything in six literal days is not limiting Him. Rather, we are limiting ourselves by letting God tell us what He did. We don't tell God what He did. After all, only He was there.
Many Christians don't seem to understand that the reason we believe God created in six days is because we are letting God speak to us through the language of the Bible. We can't impose our ideas on God's Word?we must let God's Word speak to us.
When we take this approach, it's obvious from the language of Genesis that God created in six literal days. Relying on the Bible alone, there's really no debate.
If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. (1 Timothy 4:6)
Click on the Bible above or visit the web site listed below!
This new addition to our web site will give you an article on the leading news in the Creation/Evolution controversy each day.
This section also includes a rotating Question and Answer feature and a weekly Creation Comic strip from the people at AnswersInGenesis.org.
Be sure to come back and visit each day for an informative article that will help you keep up to date on the latest news in this controversial area!
Thought For The Day
"One reason the dog has so many friends: he wags his tail instead of his tongue."
Verse for the Day
"An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends." --Proverbs 16:28
Kid's Thought For The Day
"Don't pick on your sister when she's holding a baseball bat."
Parent's Thought For The Day
"A good marriage is the union of two forgivers." --Ruth Bell Graham
Coach's Thought For The Day
"Nothing makes a player more productive than the last minute." --John Kessel
Writer's Thought For The Day
"A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor." --Ring Lardner
Deep Thought For The Day
On a sign outside a church:
"This is a C H _ _ C H ... what's missing?"
Inspired Audio -- Inspirational Audio Message of the Week!
Inspired Audio is a brand new offshoot of HeartTouchers.com. Every week we will offer a different audio message that you can listen to right on your comput as you are surfing the net or just getting things done around the house. Be sure to come back and visit each week!
This Week: "The Young and the Restless" by Author Michael T. Powers
From the E-mail Box
Warm congratulations on reaching the 2000 hits a day. It proves that your inspirational website touches many lives.
I love and collect quotes so I'm definitely a fan of the many and varied quotes that are included with the stories. Needless to say, I look forward to my weekly 'heart/soul food.' Please keep up the good work.
May God continue to bless you,
Your Heartouchers has always been an inspiration to me. You know how to pick the best of the best Writers.
You are a Champion. Always love to read the stories. I know many of them as I always take the time to send them a note about the story.
Keep up the great Work.
Over 120,000 people have listened to popular Chicken Soup Author Michael T. Powers' free inspirational message entitled: "Breathing Life into Others". If you aren't one of them just visit: http://www.HeartTouchers.com and click on the link to listen to the free streaming audio message.
Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business
"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!"
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?
To Subscribe visit: http://www.HeartTouchers.com/subscribe