Newsletter – Volume 27


Newsletter – Volume 27

December 25, 2023

This Week

Updates from the back of the pen
His turn...

Merry Christmas! If there was ever a time to write about Jesus Christ’s own black sheep story, it would be on Christmas. So, here it goes…

Everything about Jesus is perfection. What he did. What he said. How he led. And how he lived and even how he died. Nothing black sheepish about any of it. Until we think about the fact that he was not like what anyone expected, particularly as it related to his role as Messiah. Although he fulfilled over 300 OT prophecies, people of his day – especially the religious experts – missed it. Didn’t believe it. Rejected it. We might even say, he was killed over it. And in that sense, he was the most iconic black sheep, and nowhere is that seen as demonstratively as in his birth.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a small indiscriminate town 10 miles outside Jerusalem. Away from the bright lights. The son of a common woman with mystery surrounding his conception. He was not born in a mansion, with kingly pomp and circumstance. He was born in a feed trough because there was no room in the hotel. The reason his parents weren’t at home was because of some political maneuvering where a king needed a census. The nine-month- pregnant mother of Jesus was forced to ride on the back of a donkey to obey the bureaucratic edict. His birth was riddled with all kinds of disappointment and disruption. Nothing was impressive or noteworthy. Were it not for the angelic choir, no one would have know anything was significant. Which begs the question, why would the creator of the universe choose this kind of introduction for the savior of the world?

The best I can make of it is that it was done this way so that everyone would know God had them in mind when he sent his son. No one is insignificant. No one is left out. It makes the invitation accessible to all! Exactly as the Father wanted. From the beginning this was the plan, all were meant to be included – even the black sheep – for he himself was one!

Word of the Week


Noun:  all the descendants of a common ancestor

We are different
     and we are the same
We love one another
     And we tolerate one another
We believe the best about each other
     And we doubt each other’s intentions
We celebrate each other’s successes
     And we try not to be too envious
We share each other’s sorrows
     And we try not to say, “I told you so”
We want the best for each other
     And we want the best for ourselves

We enjoy seeing each other
     And we try not to stay too long
We pray fervently for each other
     And we forget each other’s birthdays
We are kind to each other
     And we are mean to each other
We are beautiful
      And we are not so much
We are family
     And we wouldn’t have it any other way

A creative holiday film worth seeing


Overview: Will Farrell and Ryan Reynolds star in a funny modern musical of the classic Dickens story (available on Apple+) Rated 4.2 stars by audience members and 7.2 by Rotten Tomatoes.

I know there are some who say, never mess with the classics and I agree that some things should be left alone. Anddd there have been plenty of re-make attempts of the Christmas Carole that I wish I had not wasted my time seeing (cue Albert Finney’s portrayal in the 1970’s version of Scrooge). However, I was pleasantly surprised by this remake. First, it was a unique mix of music, comedy, and philosophizing around the theme of change. And it all really worked for me. I had not watched any trailers or read any previews, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was drawn in by their take on the spirit world’s annual selection process for their targeted redemption perp. The surprise plot twists were also intriguing to me, and there were also several laugh-out-loud scenes. We watched with the family and there were no high cringe moments (which is rare these days). So, if you are looking for a post-Christmas holiday movie to enjoy, this might be one worth viewing. Only downside is that you do need an Apple+ membership to see it.

A personal request

Healing Prayer

Pocket Prayer: What seems impossible to us in the flesh is not impossible to you O God!

This is my friend, Leila Zhumasheva.  I met Leila when I first went to H4C this past January. She is from Kazakhstan, and she has traveled the world seeking holistic solutions to her rare and (thus far) incurable breast cancer. She is back at Hope4Cancer for another 6 weeks. She is in desperate need of our prayers both for physical and spiritual healing. She has exhausted all her financial resources and is also a spiritual seeker. My prayer is that she would have a profound encounter with the Lord that would renew her on every level. Please join me in that prayer!

Finally in stock!

Pocket Prayers Devotional

“Even a black sheep knows that the soul needs to be fed…”

The devotionals have finally arrived! If you have been following the journey, you know that we had multiple delays in the production and shipping process. It was very much a character- building, trust-testing process for me. I am not sure I passed. But it did give me some direction on a few New Year’s Resolutions I need to add to the list. If you would like to start the year with a fresh approach to prayer and/or something to easily include as part of your morning routine, you can now order your copy from the website HERE  and we will ship it out the very next day. I have also hear a number of people who are using it as a family devotional tool after dinner. So, however it might be beneficial to you in your own spiritual journey, we hope you will consider ordering a copy for yourself or your friend. All the proceeds fund the Van Waarde Foundation, which helps underwrite a wide variety of projects that are designed to strengthen fellow Black Sheep Messengers.

As you feel prompted, you can make a tax deductible end-of-year contribution to the Van Waarde Foundation that makes these resources available.

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