Thursday, December 14, 2017

Don't Miss Christmas This Christmas

December 15, 2016, Max Lucado captured the heart of the story of Christmas on when he wrote:
Perhaps our world, and your life, resembles a Bethlehem stable. Crude in some spots, smelly in others. Not much glamour. Not always neat. People in your circle remind you of stable animals: grazing like sheep, stubborn like donkeys, and that cow in the corner looks a lot like the fellow next door.
The moment Mary touched God’s face is the moment God made his case: There is no place he will not go. If he is willing to be born in a barnyard, then expect him to be at work anywhere: bars, bedrooms, boardrooms, and brothels. No place is too common. No person is too hardened. No distance is too far. There is no person he cannot reach. There is no limit to his love. When Christ was born, so was our hope.
Actually, I think we need Christmas more than ever this year.
We could use a season that is dedicated to giving, not receiving; to caring, not critiquing. Put away our differences. Put up the Christmas tree. Take comfort in the familiar story and the ancient carols. Our world, like that of Bethlehem, is difficult and crowded. Our days can feel as cold and uncertain as that midnight manger. Yet in the midst of it all, let’s do what Mary did. Let’s invite the source of peace to enter our world. Let’s find hope, once more, in the infant King.
God became one of us so we could become one with him. That is the promise of Bethlehem.

Let’s not waste the opportunity this Christmas to invite someone to hear the Christmas story. Many of you will be with family, and that’s important. But let’s go out of our way to ask the neighbor family who doesn’t attend church to sit with us at the Christmas Eve service. It doesn’t have to interfere with your Christmas plans. Perhaps you know someone who is all alone this Christmas. Or an international student who has no place to attend this Christmas. Is there a business associate going through a tough time or someone you are aware of is experiencing a loss this Christmas? Everyone needs to be at a Christmas Eve service at 2:00, 3:30, or 5:00 pm to be reminded of the hope we have in the infant King.
Pastor Mark
P.S. Are you anxious, overwhelmed, or depressed? Do you feel like your life lacks purpose and meaning? Join me this Sunday at 9:00 and 10:30 as we discover how life can have meaning and purpose all because Jesus came at Christmastime.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Some Things Never Change

In a world of constant change and a culture of rapid change, isn’t it reassuring to have some constants- some things that never change, no matter how fast everything around you does? Here is a list of things you can always bank on, know never change, and give you a sense of security in an ever changing culture:
1.        The Bible is still the Word of God.  ‘The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever’ (Isaiah 40:8).
2.       The Gospel still changes lives. ‘Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.’ (I Corinthians 15:3-4). ‘For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). God still changes people from the inside out through the Gospel.
3.       Life Groups are vital. Meeting with others in community for prayer, Bible study, accountability, service, and growth is invaluable. ‘They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity- all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people’ (Acts 2:46-47).
4.       The Mission Field still needs workers. ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields’ (Matthew 9:37-38). Your mission field is outside your front door. You don’t have to travel far to find it.
5.        Prayer is still powerful. ‘The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and produces wonderful results’ (James 5:16).
6.       Hurting people still need ministering to. ‘Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people’ (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15).
7.        God is still in control. ‘Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan’ (Ephesians 1:11).
The next time you feel overwhelmed with rapid changes and you can’t keep up, remember some things never change. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Mark Brunott

P.S. If we’re honest, the holidays can really be hard. We know that Jesus cares about us. But what difference does that make? Join us this Sunday at 9 or 10:30 AM to find out.