Tuesday, December 24, 2013

reasons for a Merry Christmas

O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.

I begin today by telling each of you “Merry Christmas” from our church leaders and from our family.  We really are blessed.  Christmas is a time when we celebrate Jesus.  We take time out of the busy lives we live to spend extra time with family and those we care about the most.  Family and friends are important.

All around us are the signs of the Christmas season, and it is true that the reason for Christmas is also the payment of our sin and the person who loves us the most.  Jesus is the reason and the forgiver of our sin.  Notice the lights and all the decorations.  Most people won’t tell you this, but each piece is a celebration of Jesus.  It ought to be a reminder to celebrate.  It should influence the way we deal with the people we encounter.

Christmas is all about Christ.  I want to take some lines in today’s post to give you reasons for a Merry Christmas.  This has been an incredible year.

Personally there are so many things that have carved out a year of blessing.  Our oldest child had surgery this past summer to correct a problem with her jaw, and it was major surgery.  She has healed completely, and the surgery and correction was success.  My wife finished her master’s degree and began a new job.  Our children are successful in school and headed toward even more success.  We are proud of them, and I am grateful for our family.

This year has been full of happenings around our church that have blessed thousands of people.  In fact we have served around 14,000 people this calendar year.  We are committed to making a difference in our region of the world.  The back2school outreach took a huge step forward as six churches came together to serve over 3,000 students, and along with the school supplies, backpacks, clothes and haircuts the children received new shoes.  As they got new shoes each child’s feet were washed by a volunteer that talked to them about Jesus and their dreams for the future.  I cannot wait to see how next year’s back2school comes together.  On Halloween about 2,000 children came to our event.  There were new feeding opportunities this year, and each week we have served more than 100 people with hot meals and food boxes.  Many, many people have come through our doors to be served as we demonstrate the love of God to our community and beyond.  I truly am grateful and amazed.

There are people who changed their address this year from earth to heaven.  Jed.  Leon.  Betty.  Chester.  And several others.  They left a mark on our lives and on the world around them.  But in the midst of their deaths God has brought so many blessings and much growth to the people around them.  People really are the best gifts God gives, and people are God’s purpose for everything.  We cannot fix our attention of focus our success on material things and on programs.  We must fix our ministry and our minds toward the precious people that God places in our lives.

My God-given dreams for our church and ministry have continued to increase.  We came into 2013 making offers on a piece of property not far from our present location, but it wasn’t until the middle of May that we were blessed with the opportunity to buy 22 acres and a former manufacturing facility that will one day be The Community Fellowship and Dream Center.  It is three miles from our current location.  It will take lots of money and work to get us in this new space, but we have already seen God do incredible things.  We pray that in 2014 we will be in our new location. 

God has left a huge mark on my life through the growth the past 12 months have brought, some difficult and some not so difficult.  I’ve had some low times.  Yet there have been many times when I saw God do things that no one else could do.  I’ve seen God save people and offer second chances to lots of people.  I’ve been there when the presence of God was so thick that you couldn’t miss it and had to worship.  We have experienced God providing for what we needed and others needed, and God exceeded our needs with blessings. 

There is more to come.  2014 will be incredible.  I ask that you not think that these are the only reasons for a Merry Christmas.  Literally if I lose everything and still have Jesus, I still have everything.  He is what Christmas is all about.  Yet I have countless, no thousands of blessings to hold up, to point you to and to remind us that what God did before He will do again.

My commitment is to include God in my Christmas celebrate.  Will you include Him in yours?  Make a choice to do that.  Read the Christmas story.  Talk about your blessings with your family.  Chose a person that you can bless in the new few days.  Let Christ be part of His holy day or holiday. 

Jesus is the son of God, come to earth to be with us in the flesh.  The promise of Christmas is the presence of Christ.  He is with us in all circumstances.  He holds us, helps us and honors us as we seek Him.  Mary and Joseph were the earthly parents of the divine.  The shepherds came to worship and told everyone what they saw.  The wise men are the example for us as we come to Jesus, give our gives and worship Him on a daily basis.  Christmas is any every day event for the Christian. 

Luke 2:7  NLT
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

May God bless your Christmas with light that will continually shine, and may others see Jesus in your words and actions.  Merry Christmas to you!

Once again, who do you know that is discouraged and lonely this Christmas?  Make a call or even invite them over to spend some time with you.

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