Straight Talk

Operation Narnia to help needy children
Operation Christmas Child is partnering with the upcoming film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, set for release on December 10. Through this partnership, Narnia fans will be encouraged to participate in the world’s largest Christmas project by packing shoebox gifts that will make a difference in the lives of needy children.

In Narnia, it was always winter and never Christmas until Aslan arrived with hope. In the same way, simple shoebox gifts filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items can bring hope to children around the world by reminding them they are loved and not forgotten.

“We’re very excited to participate in the upcoming release of the movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” said Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse. “We want children around the world to know the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of Jesus Christ—and the joy and hope that this brings.”

In the third installment of the blockbuster series by renowned Christian author and apologist, C.S. Lewis, Lucy and Edmund Pevensie embark upon an incredible adventure on the Narnian ship, the Dawn Treader, confronting obstacles beyond their imagination. Like the Pevensies, shoebox gifts will make their own incredible journeys to over 100 countries this season. Operation Christmas Child will use whatever means necessary—ships, trucks, buses, trains, airplanes, boats, camels, and even dog sleds—for the gifts to reach the neediest children in the far corners of the earth. For many children, these will be the first gifts they have ever received.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, the international relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has hand-delivered shoebox gifts in over 130 countries to more than 77 million children suffering from poverty, disaster, disease, and war.

To learn more about the film and the Christmas project including how to pack an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift, visit www.samaritanspurse.org or www.operationnarnia.com.

Lewis and Chesterton for the holidays
C.S. Lewis was one of the intellectual powerhouses of our modern era and considered by many to be the most thought-provoking and influential writer within contemporary Christian culture.

With the stacks of study Bibles available these days, it seems a little surprising that The C.S. Lewis Bible is just now being published. Nevertheless, its time has come and Bible students and fans of Lewis’ work will be pleased. There are over 600 selections from Lewis’ spiritual classics, such as Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed, The Four Loves, and The Weight of Glory, as well as letters, poetry, and Lewis’ lesser-known works. Each reading, paired alongside relevant passages in the Bible, offers C.S. Lewis’ thoughts to a reader’s daily study of Scripture.

This is the perfect gift for your United Methodist pastor, lay leader, or Sunday school teacher.

Although not nearly as well known as C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton was an equally engaging intellect known for his apologetics, mystery novels, and literary criticism. As a matter of fact, Lewis credits Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man for his Christian vision. Chesterton’s Heretics and Orthodoxy are still considered Christian classics.

Defiant Joy, written by Kevin Belmonte, is a bracing biography of Chesterton’s life. In addition, Belmonte has also compiled a new version of Chesterton’s most memorable quotes.

“People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe,” wrote Chesterton. “There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy.”

Chesterton also observed: “The Church always seems behind the times, when it is really beyond the times; it is waiting till the last fad shall have seen its last summer. It keeps the key of permanent virtue.”

In a different era, Chesterton was a formidable defender of the Christian faith in the face of a tidal wave of modernist sentiment. Chesterton challenged the intellects of his day with civility and humor. He wrote long-form epic poetry, widely-published articles, and lectured on art, politics, and history.

Both Chesterton volumes are highly recommended

A lifegiving Christmas…keeping it real
Rethink Church through United Methodist Communications has produced an advent series called “A Lifegiving Christmas…keepin’ it real,” which encourages participants to keep a well-rounded model of discipleship priority amidst all the holiday distractions. Individuals are encouraged to keep covenant with one another in making and keeping a “wishlist,” while congregations can focus on growing loving communities where hope, peace, and joy prevail. The missional focus can bring local churches into new relationships as they connect with others not only in worship, but also in mission and social activities. The sermon series is available as a free download at umcom.org/advent.

A companion multimedia package ($25) includes the sermon series plus: five videos appropriate for worship, small group discussion, or online viewing; four worship bulletin graphics; five worship slide graphics; an invitation card (for congregants to share with others); door hanger; direct mail; and a 5-part readers’ theatre piece to engage creative talents and keep people focused on the theme. Two graphics options are included for both the invitation card and direct mail. This bundle can be purchased online by going to umcom.org/advent.
—United Methodist Communications

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