Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good Search and Shop

Perhaps you've heard the buzz about Good Search.  If not, check out this video from Fox News (there are others from ABC and CBS as well).  It's a simple way of giving to non-profits by simply searching the web or shopping online.

If you haven't yet, you can do your Christmas shopping online through Good Shop and a portion of your purchase will be donated to a charity of your choice.  In the section under the question: "Who do you support?" simply type "Reach Out on Campus (Athens, OH)" and shop at one or more of the variety of retailers including: Saks, Nike, Target, Walmart, Apple Store, Ebay, FTD, JC Penny, LL Bean, Best Buy and many others.

There is no additional charge to you for shopping online through Good Search.  Some of the stores have even agreed to increase their giving to your charity of choice during this Christmas season.  Something to consider as an optional way of giving this season.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas letter

Dear Friends,

A homeless man came by one day. He looked me over. Imagine that, he looked me over. I’d heard about him from some of the other folks in town. They say that he’s the product of promiscuity. His mother wasn’t married when he was conceived. That didn’t really bother me though. People have said a lot worse about me.

His dress wasn’t much to speak of. The clothes were plain and rather dirty with a couple of holes here and there. I’ve thrown out clothes better than what he was wearing. Rather strange that there was such a hoopla about this guy. He had been teaching in the area and was beginning to gain some notoriety. What happened next took me by surprise.

“Follow me.” It was a simple phrase but rather shocking. I had a house, nice clothes, a rather lucrative job and he was asking me to leave it all and follow him; this homeless teacher. I know it may sound ridiculous to you but I did it. I followed him. Since then my life has been completely changed. People have a hard time believing that a traitorous tax collector could change. But Jesus has completely remade me. Let me share with you some of the words from the beginning of the book I wrote:

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25)
This is a fantastic story. Many do not believe it. I’m sure you know people who live right next door to you who do not believe that this is in any way possible. But I assure you that it is. God truly is with us. He came to be with us in the person of Jesus and even though Jesus died on a cruel Roman cross He still lives. As a result we all have a life option. There is hope both now and always. There is nothing to fear and it is completely possible to change. I know. Jesus asked me to follow Him. He has asked you too.

Jesus’ call is constant. Even when we feel defeated, frightened and concerned about the future of our world, Jesus calls us to Himself and shines light into darkness and hope into hopelessness. Jesus will save his people from their sins. What a glorious story to tell to all. I trust you will keep the story going even as Jesus trusted us to start it after He ascended to heaven.

Blessings,
Matthew

Thanks for indulging my imagination a bit. This is a great time of the year for us all to express the truth of Jesus with all our friends, family and strangers. Thank you for your partnership with us in spreading the Good News here in Athens and around the world.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Reach Out on Campus!