Monday, November 28, 2011

The Christmas Curse

Christmas is in the air! You see the lights, hear the music, smell the aroma, sense the excitement, and it all leads to one conclusion, it is the Christmas season. With the excitement of Christmas comes the curse of Christmas. That curse is the busyness that goes with the season. I want to challenge you to slow down and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. Do not get too busy for God. We have many things planned as a church. Come to all you can but do not let our activities distract from worshiping God this holiday season. I encourage you to make Sunday mornings a priority over the next several weeks and be ready to say no to the bombardment of activities that keep you from experiencing the true meaning of Christmas.

We have two great opportunities this week. The first is Open House at the Parsonage. This is mine and Tara’s gift to you. We will be serving lots of food from soups to fudge. It is on Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00. It is come and go. If you just have a couple of minutes to drop by and say hi or if you want to come and hang out and fellowship for a while, you are welcome. This is a tradition for my family and a day we look forward to year round. Sunday evening we will be celebrating Hanging of the Green. The choir will be performing as well as other special times of music. We will be singing Christmas carols and will conclude with a candle lighting service. This is something new for Eastern Heights and we hope it to be an unforgettable evening of worship as we kick off the Christmas season.

Salvation For the Worst

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sacrifice for Missions

Sunday evening we kicked off our World Missions Offering. It has been the tradition of Southern Baptists for over 100 years to give to missions during the Christmas season. Kaylene Westbrook did a great job introducing the women whom our SBC offerings are named after. The International Mission Board offering is named after Lottie Moon. Kaylene shared with us that Lottie refused to marry the one she loved because it would not help her to fulfill God’s call upon her life. She made many sacrifices to share Christ’s love with the Chinese. Did you know that she actually died of starvation? As we think about giving to missions this Christmas season let us not forget the great sacrifice that our missionaries are making every single day. Think about honoring Lottie Moon in this way. Skip a meal each week and give that money to our World Mission Offering. Every dollar you give goes directly to the mission field.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fear What?

It was over thirty minutes after the earthquake on Saturday night that we realized that we had not seen our dog since the event. It is very unusual to not know where she is because she wants to always be where we are. She does not just want to be where we are but for us to be holding her. We began walking through the house calling her and walking around the backyard because we had propped the door open. After coming back in and taking a closer search of our house she came walking up behind me. We think she may have been hiding under the bed. When I went down to pick her up she cowered from me. She stayed at least arms length from me so I could not touch her. When I finally was able to pick her up she was trembling in fear. Obviously the earthquake frightened her greatly and the only thing she knew to blame it on was us.

Fear, when directed toward anything but God, comes from the absence of faith. When we live in fear of the things of this world we are living like we do not trust God. Christians are called to live bold lives, fearing God more than man. When we cower to the things of this world we are showing our lack of wisdom about God. The world is powerless against the things of God. The only person to fear is God. He is a just God who brings judgment. C.S. Lewis gave a great picture of how to balance the fear of God with his grace. Thomnas and Lucy had a conversation about the lion who represented Christ. Thomnas says, “He is not a tame lion.” Lucy replied, “No, but he’s good”.

Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”

1 Thessalonians 5:12-15

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Beautiful Fellowship

The Fall FamFest at the Hoelscher Farm was an outstanding evening. We got to experience some great music from some of our very own musicians. The children played games, ran through the hay maze, and absolutely enjoyed being around each other. The adults visited, judged chili, and ate while sitting around the fire enjoying the beautiful fall weather. We had long time members, new members and guests all experiencing the joy that comes from the fellowship of the body of Christ.

When we read about the early church in Acts we learn that they participated in much more together than just worship. They ate together daily. They worked together. They even played together. This is an example that was set by Jesus. Jesus enjoyed being with his disciples and his disciples enjoyed being with each other. They were all very different. There were zealots for the nation of Israel and tax collectors for Rome. Yet, through the miracle that came with Christ, they became as close as brothers and shared a bond that could not be broken through persecution or even death.

I hope that as Eastern Heights goes through life together we learn to live with the same type of love for each other.

“walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

God Provides

God provides in many different ways. I have been reading Ezra as part of my daily devotional time.     Ezra leads the people of Israel out o...