Cindyrella ran

In case you missed it, over the weekend and the New Year’s holiday, we ran our annual end-of-the-year campaign. It covered the brief span of 4 emails in two days, and since it went by so fast, we decided to revisit it over the remainder of this week, not because we are still fundraising (although we will certainly be happy to receive your gifts into this week should you be so inclined), but because we loved the little story we created around the traditional Cinderella theme, and, though the story was just for fun so as to entertain you along the way, there are always elements of truth to point out, and even learn from, especially in fairy tales, otherwise, we would not relate to them like we do. Certainly Cinderella is arguably the most relatable of all. It encompasses the dream of every girl to be a princess, and every boy to be a prince. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, so here is the whole story so far, along with a commentary, at the end, about the latest part of the story just added today.
I also want to give a big Thank You to everybody, listed below, who took part in our campaign. As soon as we get the newly remastered digital copies of Inside and Naphtali, up on our website, we will be forwarding you instructions on how to download your free copy as our “Thank You” to you. By the way, we will be extending that free download offer through to the end of the week.
So now to our story …

Cindyrella: A Modern Twist On An Old Classic
Art by Rongrong Devoe

Narrator: Once upon a time there was a beautiful young girl named Cindyrella. She had two, let’s just say, not so very nice stepsisters who were very, very mean to her.

Stepsister 1: Did you charge my iPhone?
Cindyrella: Yes, I did.
Stepsister 2: Did you clean my iPad screen
Cindyrella: Yes, I did.
Stepsister 1: Did you go online and renew my Netflix subscription?
Cindyrella: Yes, I did. 
Stepsister 2: Did you clean my room while I binge-watched Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel?
Cindyrella: Yes, I did.
Stepsister 1&2Did you make your end-of-the-year contribution to The Catch Ministry?
Cindyrella: Yes, I did.

What to do with two mean stepsisters
Narrator: The step-sisters made Cindyrella do everything for them.
Cindyrella: (calling out) Stepsisters! While I was charging your iPhones, you both received a Text from the Prince’s royal New Year’s Eve Party.
Stepsister 1: (fighting) WHAT?!!! Give me the phone!! I want to read it!
Stepsister 2: (fighting) No! I want to read it first!
Cindyrella: (mockingly) Ummm, the text was sent to both of your phones. Duh!
Stepsister 1&2: OMG! We are invited to the Prince’s NYE ball that’s being held at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom! 
Stepsister 1: And did you see who was performing at the ball?
Stepsister 1&2: No way!!
Cinderella: (crying sadly) I wish I could go, too.
 
*****
Narrator: It was New Year’s Eve and the night of the party was here.
Stepsister 1: (laughing) Ha, ha! We are so going to have a great time at the party.
Stepsister 2: (laughing) Have a great night working, Cindyrella.
Narrator: After the not-so-very-nice step sisters had left, suddenly, some lady who look a lot like Marti Fischer appeared in the form of the fairy godmother. Note: It says “godmother” not “grandmother.” Though most renditions have her looking like an old frumpy grandmother, that is certainly not the case with Marti Fischer. Marti may be a grandmother but she sure doesn’t look like one as our Catch audience will vouch for. And why does Cindyrella get a fairy godmother anyway?  Probably because she’s such a saccharine sweet, even-tempered, obedient, pious little angel of a passive, personality-deficient worker drone doormat, and only Good Girls™ like her are worthy of divine intervention. 
Cindyrella: Where did you come from?
Fairy godmother: It’s not important to know who I am or where I came from. As soon as I find my wand, I am here to help you turn a sad situation in which it looks like you have lost all hope into something wonderful. 
Narrator: But the magic can’t start until the fairy godmother finds her lost wand. At which point we question whether someone who misplaces a wand should be allowed to wield one freely.  But find it she did, waving her magic wand, and as she did…

Cindyrella: Wait a minute, is that an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, with a5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine generating a mighty 715 horsepower and a terrifying top speed of 211 mph?
 
Fairy godmother: Yes it is! And what else would you expect from a fairy godmother like me? This will get you to the party quickly, my dear, and, even more importantly, home before midnight!
Narrator: And then there’s the part where the mice turn into security guards and the dog into her chauffeur, who looks a lot like the very John Fischer we know! Right before our very eyes.
 
Fairy godmother:Well, hop in my, dear. We can’t waste time.
 
Cindyrella: But, uh…
Fairy godmother: Oh … Don’t even try to thank me.
CindyrellaOh, I wasn’t… I mean, I am thankful, but … but don’t you think my dress…
 
Fairy godmotherYes, it’s lovely, dear, lov…[realizing] Good Heavens, child! You can’t go in that!
Narrator: With a wave of her wand, Cindyrella’s rags immediately turn into a Valentino appliquéd silk-organza gown originally $32,900 but marked down to $11,515 – a 65% savings!
Cindyrella: Are you kidding me?!!!.
Narrator: And on her feet were a pair of high heels with red soles – unmistakably Christian Louboutin selling at Barneys New York for $3,095, but don’t even try, Cinderella’s fairy godmother bought the last pair.
Cindyrella: No, seriously, you’re joking, right?
Narrator: Pointing out her entirely fabulous footwear, she uttered possibly the most charming thing a princess could say.
Cindyrella: “Why, it’s like a dream. A wonderful dream come true.”
Narrator: And we cheer as the fairy godmother sends her off to meet her handsome prince. And the fairy godmother waves goodbye with her wand, which is twice as cool as just with a hand.
Even the skeptics among us can’t watch this scene without resigning to the fact that there’s just something utterly smile-inducing about seeing a little bit of fairy dust make a girl’s dream come true. 
Before she departs, the Fairy Godmother gives Cindyrella a word of caution: at the stroke of twelve, the spell will be broken, and everything will return to normal. 
Cindyrella: Wait!! By midnight – Or what??!! 
Narrator: Grateful for the gifts anyway, Cindyrella thanks her fairy godmother and happily rides off to the ball as fairy godmother bids her farewell.
 
******
 
Narrator: Cindyrella, was now being comfortably whisked off to the New Year’s Eve Party in style, in her “carriage,” the new Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. It should be no surprise to anyone in this audience that John Fischer, Cindyrella’s dog turned chauffeur, who had just uploaded to his iPhone the newly remastered digital version of his album, Inside, couldn’t resist the opportunity to try it out on the incredible sound system inside the Aston Martin. So all the way to the ball, the screaming guitar licks of Phil Keaggy could be heard on the song “I’ve Been Hiding.” And indeed, Cinderella felt she was hiding inside her freshly discovered beauty. No one would recognize her, and no one did.
 
Stepsister 1: Who is that? She has to be some sort of a celebrity, but where are the lights, cameras and paparazzi? No one seems to know who she is.
 
Stepsister 2: No kidding. What a mystery.
Stepsister 1: Oh no!!! Wait!! This can’t be!! The prince is going to go dance with her!
Stepsister 2: This is so not fair! He was supposed to dance with me!
Narrator: As the stepsisters began to fight over who the prince should dance with, he walked towards Cindyrella while winking at the band up on the stage as if to alert them to be ready for some pre-planned event.
Prince: Would you like to dance with me?
Cindyrella: Why, yes, your highness. I would be thrilled.
Narrator: The Prince was obviously smitten, but so was Cindyrella.
 
At once the band began the intro to John Fischer’s “Two Years,” and you’ll never guess who the band was. It was the Catch Ministry Board of Directors! On the bass drum was their name, “The BODS.” Yes, folks, it was Mike Boland on bass, Rob Stutzman on guitar, John Styll on drums, Alex Klein on saxophone and up jumped Cindyrella’s chauffeur to sing, “And I love you more cause you’ve opened up the door to the worst and the best inside me …” It was a magical moment followed by dance after dance after dance and neither the Prince nor Cinderella saw anyone else in the room. And no one in the room saw anyone else but Cindyrella and the Prince. All of this was well-documented on everyone’s Facebook, Instagram and social media feeds.
 
But suddenly — just like that — the spell was broken by the pealing of the clock. It was midnight!
 
Cindyrella: Nooooo! 
Prince: What’s wrong?
Cindyrella: I must go!! I have like one bar left on my iPhone battery, and I need to get my end-of-the-year contribution into The Catch Ministry before midnight!
Prince: Looking both saddened and shocked, “You do have a point there! I’m not saying it’s a showstopper between us that you hadn’t made your contribution yet, but still…”
What if Cindyrella misses the deadline? Is this Prince a member of The Catch community, too? On the edge of your seat? One more email until the real clock strikes twelve. Will the Prince ever find Cindyrella? What if Cindyrella misses the deadline? Have you? Check your inbox, there’s still more to this story.
 
[Marti wants me to apologize for the poor use of product placement at the end of this episode. It is pretty bad. But thanks for sticking with us anyway and putting up with our fundraising efforts. Be sure and catch the Commentary below.]
 
Commentary
Cindyrella ran. She didn’t need to, but she did.
The finery, provided by the fairy godmother, that had allowed her natural beauty to come forth and that had made her attractive to the prince was about to leave her. A few more strokes of the clock and he would have known the truth. But who among us thinks it would have made any difference? Had Cindyrella’s dress turned into rags in his arms, would he have suddenly cast her off? As the story goes on to tell us, because he eventually does find out about her servant status, he would have loved her all the more.
Cindyrella ran because she was trusting in all the wrong things. The fairy godmother got her to the ball, and got her to be noticed by the Prince, but once he did, her personhood would have taken over and he would have fallen in love not just with her beauty, but with her – who she was –  her personality, her character – what we call inner beauty.  
Her inner beauty – her humbleness and kindness and patience was still in tact. The Prince saw that too. Had the fairy godmother bestowed the same things on one of the stepsisters, there would not have been the same result. Her true colors – her evil character – would have come through and the Prince would not have been attracted to her. He would have been appalled, as we all are, by her selfish attitude. 
When the Prince finally found Cindyrella again, he found her in her servant state, and that certainly didn’t stop him. He knew who she was. Plus, he had all the wealth of the kingdom to dress her in. She did not need the fairy godmother anymore.
God loves us completely, inside and out. We have no need to hide and no need to change for that love. True, He is in the process of changing us into His image, but His love is not conditional upon that change. He will hunt us down and find us and make us His bride. And He’s got the wealth of His kingdom to lavish on us. 
Cindyrella ran. We don’t have to run. If we run at all, we run to Him, not away from Him.

And as grace turned outward works in our lives, we cause others to run towards Him and not away from Him.

Happy New Year everybody!
We wish to give a standing ovation to those who participated in this end-of-the-year campaign.  We invite you to help us start out the New Year by giving to the Catch Ministry’s worldwide reach to the many who are responding to the Grace given to you and me that we, one at a time, turn out to others.
 

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The Fairy Godmother in us all

In case you missed it, over the weekend and the New Year’s holiday, we ran our annual end-of-the-year campaign. It covered the brief span of 4 emails in two days, and since it went by so fast, we decided to revisit it over the remainder of this week, not because we are still fundraising (although we will certainly be happy to receive your gifts into this week should you be so inclined), but because we loved the little story we created around the traditional Cinderella theme, and, though the story was just for fun so as to entertain you along the way, there are always elements of truth to point out, and even learn from, especially in fairy tales, otherwise, we would not relate to them like we do. Certainly Cinderella is arguably the most relatable of all. It encompasses the dream of every girl to be a princess, and every boy to be a prince. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, so here are the first two scenes from the story, and at the end, I will make a few comments about the absent-minded fairy godmother and her wand.
I also want to give a big Thank You to everybody, listed below, who took part in our campaign. As soon as we get the newly remastered digital copies of Inside and Naphtali, up on our website, we will be forwarding you instructions on how to download your free copy as our Thank You to you. By the way, we will be extending that free download offer through to the end of the week.
So now to our story …

Cindyrella: A Modern Twist On An Old Classic
Art by Rongrong Devoe

Narrator: Once upon a time there was a beautiful young girl named Cindyrella. She had two, let’s just say, not so very nice stepsisters who were very, very mean to her.

Stepsister 1: Did you charge my iPhone?
Cindyrella: Yes, I did.
Stepsister 2: Did you clean my iPad screen
Cindyrella: Yes, I did.
Stepsister 1: Did you go online and renew my Netflix subscription?
Cindyrella: Yes, I did. 
Stepsister 2: Did you clean my room while I binge-watched Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel?
Cindyrella: Yes, I did.
Stepsister 1&2Did you make your end-of-the-year contribution to The Catch Ministry?
Cindyrella: Yes, I did.

What to do with two mean stepsisters
Narrator: The step-sisters made Cindyrella do everything for them.
Cindyrella: (calling out) Stepsisters! While I was charging your iPhones, you both received a Text from the Prince’s royal New Year’s Eve Party.
Stepsister 1: (fighting) WHAT?!!! Give me the phone!! I want to read it!
Stepsister 2: (fighting) No! I want to read it first!
Cindyrella: (mockingly) Ummm, the text was sent to both of your phones. Duh!
Stepsister 1&2: OMG! We are invited to the Prince’s NYE ball that’s being held at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom! 
Stepsister 1: And did you see who was performing at the ball?
Stepsister 1&2: No way!!
Cinderella: (crying sadly) I wish I could go, too.
 
*****
Narrator: It was New Year’s Eve and the night of the party was here.
Stepsister 1: (laughing) Ha, ha! We are so going to have a great time at the party.
Stepsister 2: (laughing) Have a great night working, Cindyrella.
Narrator: After the not-so-very-nice step sisters had left, suddenly, some lady who look a lot like Marti Fischer appeared in the form of the fairy godmother. Note: It says “godmother” not “grandmother.” Though most renditions have her looking like an old frumpy grandmother, that is certainly not the case with Marti Fischer. Marti may be a grandmother but she sure doesn’t look like one as our Catch audience will vouch for. And why does Cindyrella get a fairy godmother anyway?  Probably because she’s such a saccharine sweet, even-tempered, obedient, pious little angel of a passive, personality-deficient worker drone doormat, and only Good Girls™ like her are worthy of divine intervention. 
Cindyrella: Where did you come from?
Fairy godmother: It’s not important to know who I am or where I came from. As soon as I find my wand, I am here to help you turn a sad situation in which it looks like you have lost all hope into something wonderful. 
Narrator: But the magic can’t start until the fairy godmother finds her lost wand. At which point we question whether someone who misplaces a wand should be allowed to wield one freely.  But find it she did, waving her magic wand, and as she did…

Cindyrella: Wait a minute, is that an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, with a5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine generating a mighty 715 horsepower and a terrifying top speed of 211 mph?
 
Fairy godmother: Yes it is! And what else would you expect from a fairy godmother like me? This will get you to the party quickly, my dear, and, even more importantly, home before midnight!
Narrator: And then there’s the part where the mice turn into security guards and the dog into her chauffeur, who looks a lot like the very John Fischer we know! Right before our very eyes.
 
Fairy godmother:Well, hop in my, dear. We can’t waste time.
 
Cindyrella: But, uh…
Fairy godmother: Oh … Don’t even try to thank me.
CindyrellaOh, I wasn’t… I mean, I am thankful, but … but don’t you think my dress…
 
Fairy godmotherYes, it’s lovely, dear, lov…[realizing] Good Heavens, child! You can’t go in that!
Narrator: With a wave of her wand, Cindyrella’s rags immediately turn into a Valentino appliquéd silk-organza gown originally $32,900 but marked down to $11,515 – a 65% savings!
Cindyrella: Are you kidding me?!!!.
Narrator: And on her feet were a pair of high heels with red soles – unmistakably Christian Louboutin selling at Barneys New York for $3,095, but don’t even try, Cinderella’s fairy godmother bought the last pair.
Cindyrella: No, seriously, you’re joking, right?
Narrator: Pointing out her entirely fabulous footwear, she uttered possibly the most charming thing a princess could say.
Cindyrella: “Why, it’s like a dream. A wonderful dream come true.”
Narrator: And we cheer as the fairy godmother sends her off to meet her handsome prince. And the fairy godmother waves goodbye with her wand, which is twice as cool as just with a hand.
Even the skeptics among us can’t watch this scene without resigning to the fact that there’s just something utterly smile-inducing about seeing a little bit of fairy dust make a girl’s dream come true. 
Before she departs, the Fairy Godmother gives Cindyrella a word of caution: at the stroke of twelve, the spell will be broken, and everything will return to normal. 
Cindyrella: Wait!! By midnight – Or what??!! 
Narrator: Grateful for the gifts anyway, Cindyrella thanks her fairy godmother and happily rides off to the ball as fairy godmother bids her farewell.
 
******
Commentary
Every fairy tale has to have some kind of magic. And why is that? Because we are all limited, fallible human beings who constantly struggle with insecurity, fear, and competency. We are all constantly questioning being good enough, attractive enough, strong enough, smart enough – in short, being adequate for life or even the task at hand. Though we might feel proficient in some areas, we lack in others. For that reason, the magic in a fairy tale is reminiscent of the Spirit of God and how God wishes to empower us to do His will and become the people He wants us to be (and I might add, to be the people we want to be as well). It’s going to take some “magic” – some stretching beyond what we are capable of in and of ourselves.
And in a similar way, the fairy godmother represents you and me as those who possess spiritual gifts meant to bless and enable others to experience their fulfillment in relationship with God and in service. But our fairy godmother is absent-minded, and not very observant. (She almost sent Cindyrella off to the ball in rags.) This is, of course, because we are human, and yet, we can still “wield the wand,” even though we might misplace it now and then.  We can bring the “magic” into someone’s life. And when that happens, it’s just as good as being a fairy godmother – watching the Holy Spirit touch someone’s life and allowing them to accomplish what they could never do on their own. 
So the fairy godmother is really you! Pick up that wand, dust off that spiritual gift, and offer it to someone today. It’s been given with the purpose of giving it on. We receive so we can give. We do not receive for ourselves alone; we receive to give. It’s always that way in God’s economy. It’s grace turned outward.
Happy New Year everybody!
We wish to give a standing ovation to those who participated in this end-of-the-year campaign.  We invite you to help us start out the New Year by giving to the Catch Ministry’s worldwide reach to the many who are responding to the Grace given to you and me that we, one at a time, turn out to others.
 

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Silent Night, Holy Night

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How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given

So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven

No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin

Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in

 

Jesus was born into straw poverty on a silent night because that’s the way He continues to come into the world again, and again and again. He quietly steals His way into the straw poverty of our hearts — no fanfare — only angels notice and sing. (The Bible says the angels make a pretty big deal of it when even one sinner comes to Christ, but, of course, we don’t hear that.)

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Putting up with the likes of us

stable

So this Christmas, focus on Christ being born in you. Maybe that’s why He was born the first time into a smelly stable. Not that much different from being born in us.

These are the last three sentences of my Catch last Monday, and if that wasn’t the first time I’d ever had that thought, I forgot about it, because that surely seemed like a totally new thought, and since it is new to me now — and it’s a pretty profound thought at that — I think it deserves further consideration.

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Jesus — ‘bastard child’

 

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Jesus understands everything about being human because He experienced it, including feeling the effects of the rumor mill. He understands how people talk, and how no matter what you say, people are going to believe what they want to believe.

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The Book for today and tomorrow

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I breezed through Barnes and Noble Booksellers last night, not seeking any book, but seeking a grande non-fat latte at the Starbucks counter inside, and a place to work while Chandler and his girlfriend were roaming the mall and looking to go ice skating at a rink set up for the holidays. I was tempted to browse because the look and smell of new books, and the time to read them, is such a diminishing reality in our computer-driven culture.

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‘Be born in us today’

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How silently, how silently

The wondrous gift was given

So God imparts to human hearts

The blessings of His heaven

No ear may hear His coming,

But in this world of sin

Where meek souls will receive Him still

The dear Christ enters in

 

I heard the story this weekend about someone who discovered a framed poster in front of someone’s house with the sign “FREE” stuck to it. Closer examination revealed that it was a very large poster made up of motivational sayings all in different colors and calligraphy — sayings like, “In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can,” “Quitters never win, and winners never quit,” or “If you can dream it, you can do it,” “Mistakes are proof that you are trying,” and of course, the Nike mantra: “Just do it.” And if you got close enough to this motivational tool, you could see a couple stickers on the bottom with a handwritten message from the current owner: “This isn’t working for me,” and “You can have it.”

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‘Ring Them Bells’

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Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; 

The Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail,

With peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

     – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We finally wrestled the Christmas boxes down from the attic this week, put the ornaments on the tree, the wreath on the front door and garlands around the front door frame, and now all over the house, little Christmas knick-knacks we have collected over the years grace window sills, the fireplace mantel, the coffee table, the dining room table and even the backs of the dining room chairs. The picture above is what I see right now as I write this. And there are bells everywhere. I can’t sit down at the dining room table without ringing a bell. We even have little sleigh bells from a few Christmases ago that you can wear around your wrist. Bells to go.

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