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The Parson Place Newsletter

December 2005   Rev. Michael L. White, Editor/Publisher

MISSION STATEMENT: Using computers and the Web to promote Christian views and a faith-related community, Parson Place offers FREE software downloads, inspirational articles, pastoral ministry materials, a subscription-only newsletter, and much more. Be sure to visit Parson Place on the Web today, and spread the word to all your family and friends to come visit, too!

You can view past issues of The Parson Place Newsletter in the Archives section of Parson Place on the Web.

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* Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Sale! From now until 1 January 2006, my book, Digital Evangelism: You Can Do It, Too!, is available at a whopping 30% discount, so now's the time to get your copy! Buy one for your pastor, church library, and missions and evangelism directors, too! The book also has a specialty bookmark that matches its cover art, which makes a terrific accessory. I'm offering a Christmas special for the bookmark, too: BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE! Look for the link on the book's order page, just above the "Add to cart" button. FREE shipping on all bookmark orders!

* It's here! I've recently released a brand new software title I've developed for the Parson Place Software Creations collection. If you're looking for an easy-to-use computer program that enables folks with little or no HTML coding knowledge to create their own web pages in a snap, then Page Pump 2.0 is just what you've been waiting for. More advanced HTML programmers can also use it to create their own web pages quickly and easily. All you have to do is type your web document's text, then point and click on the command buttons to automatically create your web pages. 33% OFF FOR CHRISTMAS! Read more about it now!

* Get your Parson Place Specialty Bookmarks now! They're beautifully designed and make an excellent accessory to any book, including The Holy Bible. These will make wonderful Christmas gifts to accentuate any books you give for Christmas, too. BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE! Remember -- you get FREE shipping on all bookmark orders, too!

* Are you looking for inexpensive Christian books or gifts for the Christmas Season? There's no better place to buy discounted Christian books, resources, and gifts than Christian Book Distributors (CBD). They have the best prices anywhere! Christmas is upon us, so check out what they have to offer now!

Buy discounted books and gifts from Christian Book Distributors

* Would you, or someone else you can recommend, like to advertise in The Parson Place Newsletter? Ad swaps welcome! View the Parson Place advertiser's page now for more details!

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Reverend Fun's Weekly Cartoon!


New Boots

My first grade daughter and her friend both needed new boots as winter approached. The friend got in the car one morning and finally had gotten her boots. "Beth," I commented, "I see you got new boots. Where did you get them?"

"At the store," she answered.

"Which one?" I asked.

She began looking at her new boots and after a pause said, "Both of them."

*Thanks to Pastor Tim for this joke!*

Party Favor

After the party, as the couple was driving home, the woman asks her husband, "Honey, has anyone ever told you how handsome, sexy and irresistible to women you are?"

The flattered husband said, "No, dear, they haven't."

The wife yells, "Then what on earth gave you THAT idea at the party tonight?"

*Thanks to Pastor Tim for this joke!*
Pastor Tim's CleanLaugh

Dress for Success

The poor country pastor was livid when he confronted his wife with the receipt for a $250 dress she had bought. "How could you do this!" he exclaimed.

"I don't know," she wailed, "I was standing in the store looking at the dress on sale. Then I found myself trying it on. It was like the Devil was whispering to me, 'Gee, you look great in that dress. You should buy it.'"

"Well," the pastor persisted, "You know how to deal with him! Just tell him, "Get behind me, Satan!"

"I did," replied his wife, "but then he said, "It looks great from back here, too."

*Thanks to Pastor Tim for this joke!*

Star Salesman

A minister concluded that his church was getting into serious financial troubles. Coincidentally, by chance, while checking the church storeroom, he discovered several cartons of new Bibles that had never been opened and distributed. So at his Sunday sermon, he asked for three volunteers from the congregation who would be willing to sell the Bibles door-to-door for $10 each to raise the desperately needed money for the church.

Peter, Paul and Louie all raised their hands to volunteer for the task. The reverend knew that Peter and Paul earned their living as salesmen and were likely capable of selling some Bibles, but he had serious doubts about Louie. Louie was just a little local farmer, who had always tended to keep to himself, because he was embarrassed by his speech impediment. Poor little Louis stuttered very badly. But, not wanting to discourage poor Louis, the reverend decided to let him try anyway.

He sent the three of them away with the back seat of their cars stacked with Bibles and asked them to meet with him and report the results of their door-to- door selling efforts the following Sunday.

Anxious to find out how successful they were, the reverend immediately asked Peter, "Well, Peter, how did you make out selling our Bibles last week?"

Proudly handing the reverend an envelope, Peter replied, "Father, using my sales prowess, I was able to sell 20 Bibles, and here's the $200 I collected on behalf of the church."

"Fine job, Peter!" The reverend said, vigorously shaking his hand. "You are indeed a fine salesman and the Church is indebted to you."

Turning to Paul, he asked "And Paul, how many Bibles did you manage to sell for the church last week?"

Paul, smiling and sticking out his chest, confidently replied,"Reverend, I am a professional salesman and was happy to give the church the benefit of my sales expertise. Last week I sold 28 Bibles on behalf of the church, and here's $280 I collected."

The reverend responded, "That's absolutely splendid, Paul. You are truly a professional salesman and the church is also indebted to you."

Apprehensively, the reverend turned to little Louie and said, "And Louie, did you manage to sell any Bibles last week?"

Louie silently offered the reverend a large envelope. The reverend opened it and counted the contents. "What is this?" the reverend exclaimed. "Louie, there's $3200 in here! Are you suggesting that you sold 320 Bibles for the church, door to door, in just one week?"

Louie just nodded.

That's impossible!" both Peter and Paul said in unison. "We are professional salesmen, yet you claim to have sold 10 times as many Bibles as we could?"

"Yes, this does seem unlikely," the reverend agreed. "I think you'd better explain how you managed to accomplish this, Louie."

Louie shrugged. "I-I-I- re-re-really do-do-don't kn-kn-know f-f-f-for sh-sh-sh-sure," he stammered.

Impatiently, Peter interrupted. "For crying out loud, Louie, just tell us what you said to them when they answered the door!"

"A-a-a-all I-I-I s-s-said wa-wa-was," Louis replied, "W-w-w-w-would y-y-y-you l-l-l-l-l-like t-t-to b-b-b-buy th-th-th-this B-B-B-B-Bible f-f-for t-t-ten b-b-b-bucks ---o-o-o-or--- wo-wo-would yo-you j-j-j-just l-like m-m-me t-t-to st-st-stand h-h-here and r-r-r-r-r-read it t-to y-y-you?"

*Thanks to Pastor Tim for this joke!*

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Sunday School Lessons by Rev. Walter Albritton

This is a weekly instruction by Rev. Walter Albritton. Visit the Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Conference (AWFUMC) web site to read the most current one. To find out more about his inspirational writings and Christian ministry, visit Brother Walter's web site.

The Parson's Ponderings: A World Away at Christmas
by Rev. Michael L. White

[This article has also been published in the online monthly, FaithWriters Magazine, for December 2005. You can view it at http://www.faithwritersmagazine.com/heart.php. This link will change to http://www.faithwritersmagazine.com/December05/index.php after December 2005, however. Merry Christmas!]

In December 1998, the U. S. Army assigned me to South Korea for a one year, unaccompanied tour of duty as battalion chaplain to an air defense unit. “Unaccompanied” means I was assigned without my family, so they remained in the United States.

As my flight stretched hour-by-hour into 17 long hours, I remember quite vividly thinking how very far from home I was going to be. This was my first, long-term separation from my family, and I was having a tough time emotionally. The worst part was that I had to report ten days before Christmas, making this the only Christmas we had ever spent apart. Granted, there are plenty of others in the military services who have missed numerous important occasions with their families, Christmas included, but this was my first. I was feeling quite disheartened about it and called upon the Lord for strength to sustain me for the long year ahead. As the unit’s chaplain, I was to be the resident spiritual leader and morale monitor, so it would not be a good example for me to demonstrate difficulty coping in front of the troops.

When Christmas Day came, I went into the dining facility for lunch with my new comrades and a group of young girls from the Isaac's Orphanage in Uijongbu (pronounced oy-WEE-jong-boo). The meal was almost like home, with plenty of turkey and all the trimmings. It was truly a sumptuous feast. The children were a wonderful delight, too, as each one advanced to accept with customary gratitude a gift provided by the Soldiers in my unit. Each would approach the presenter with hands outstretched together, with palms upward, and would then bow as the gift was placed in her small hands. A very polite “Kamsahamnida!” (pronounced kahm-sahm-nee-DA), which means “Thank you!”, accompanied each bow.

After a moment or two, one of the Soldiers noticed the children were not opening their presents, so, with the help of the interpreter, she urged them to begin opening them. As it turned out, this was another of the Korean rules of politeness. Recipients of gifts are not supposed to open their gifts in the presence of their givers, in case they dislike their gift, so as not to embarrass them with their reaction. Once the children had permission to open their presents immediately, however, it did not take them long to begin tearing off the wrapping paper and gleefully enjoying their gifts.

Of all the gifts that Christmas Day – the delicious meal and the joyful children, notwithstanding – the one that touched my heart more than anything was a Christmas card I received from a young couple in my previous assignment at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. It was the only piece of mail I’d received since my arrival, and it was the perfect topper to the day. The forethought they showed in mailing that card to my new address before I had even arrived there brought a lump to my throat. (It generally took about ten days for mail to travel to or from the U. S., but judging by the postmark, it took their card just seven days.) The fact that I received it in my hands on Christmas Day itself added even more to my astonishment.

When the mail clerk told me I had mail, I was genuinely surprised. I had been there only ten days, and I had forgotten that I had published the mailing address before I ever left home, so I didn’t think there had been time enough for anyone to write me. Amazingly, no one else, including my family, had thought to mail anything to me in advance.

That lump in my throat grew bigger as I held the card in my hands and read their personal note through tear-dimmed eyes, “…We pray your ministry in Korea brings you and all those to whom you minister, joy and peace. Have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful new year!” I was instantly reminded that God had neither forsaken nor forgotten me. He knew exactly where I was, even a world away from my family and my home at Christmas.

In my hour of great loneliness, and in a parallel scene reminiscent of the birth of Jesus, God caused a husband and his young, pregnant wife to send me a Christmas greeting that fulfilled the purest intent of Christmas: Love, Joy, Hope, and Peace. I took it as a sign of reassurance from God that, although I was unaccompanied by my family, I was accompanied by God Himself. He truly was Emmanuel (“God with us”) to me. I felt a sense of spiritual strength and encouragement come over me that I was now sure I could endure the hardship of separation over the coming year, and I was able to offer comfort to many others suffering the same pangs of loneliness. For that, I am eternally grateful, both to the couple and to God for His tender mercy and lovingkindness.

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Christian News and Issues

Agape Press News (Top Christian news headlines)

Christian News and Commentary at Cross Walk

Maranatha Christian Journal
Read all the current Christian news headlines at MCJ Online.

Praize News (Top Christian news headlines from the Praize Christian Network)

Religion News Service
Read the latest press releases from various religious groups.

Voice of the Martyrs Newsletter
(Keep abreast of the latest reports of persecution of Christians all around the world.)

World Net Daily (Extensive news from all around the world.)

Read Breakpoint commentaries on the Breakpoint web site. Breakpoint is a daily (M-F) radio and email commentary by Chuck Colson. They are always insightful, thought-provoking, and very apropos to our times.

Listen to Breakpoint commentaries from the Breakpoint web site (in real audio format - works with Windows Media Player and RealOne Player).

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Recommended Web Sites

Holidays this month: Christmas Day (25 December), and New Year's Eve (31 December)
All links open in a new window.

Jerry's Christmas Wonderland
Lots of fun and interesting stuff to read and do on this site!

Audrey's Christmas Page
Tons more stuff to see and do on this site!

Christmas Lyrics
Lyrics to some of the popular songs of the season

Christmas Carols and Songs
More Christmas lyrics, PLUS, recipes and more!

Stacey's Christmas
A Christmas MIDI Collection with lyrics. This will really get you in the spirit!

The Christmas Cottage
Christmas graphics, music, recipes, inspiration, and much, much more!

Cathy's Christmas Cottage
More great Christmas goodies! The Christian Web Site Newsletter
For a complete list of current new additions, go to:

The Internet for Christians Newsletter
(read it online!)

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This Issue's Web Tip

Anti-virus software is not an option in today's dangerous online world, and most of the anti-virus detection providers, such as Norton and McAfee, charge sizeable fees for the benefit of providing protection. However, did you know there is a free alternative that is every bit as effective as Norton or McAfee? AVG Anti-virus Software offers a free edition for home (non-commercial) and non-profit organizations, like schools, churches, and charities. Just point your browser to http://free.grisoft.com and read all about it. Click on the "Get AVG Here" link on the navigation menu at the top left of the screen on their web site to go to the download page. Once you've installed the software, don't forget to check for virus detection updates on a daily basis. In fact, it's a great idea to do so immediately after installing the software, just to be sure you have the latest virus detection file. Any anti-virus software is only as good as its latest detection file update.

That's all there is to it! If you have questions, feel free to email me, and I'll do my best to give you answers. If I don't know, I can, at least, refer you to someone else who can help you.

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Final Remarks

Well, that does it for this issue! I hope you found something useful to share with others. You are welcome to share this newsletter with whomever, but PLEASE DON'T SPAM ANYONE with it.

God willing, I'll greet you again next month with another collection of the best of my Internet experience. May God bless you!

Michael L. White
Email: info@parsonplace.com
Web Site: http://www.parsonplace.com

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