Let me begin by wishing everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I plan to keep this edition of TAB brief, as I want to encourage all of us push the pause button on the hustle and bustle that comes with Christmas and spend a few moments reflecting on the day Jesus came to us.....in the flesh.
As you reflect on what the arrival of our Savior means to you personally, take a moment and read this excerpt from the book, God Came Near, by Max Lucado.....
"The noise and the bustle began earlier than usual in the village. As night gave way to dawn, people were already on the streets. Vendors were positioning themselves on the corners of the most heavily traveled avenues. Store owners were unlocking the doors to their shops. Children were awakened by the excited barking of the street dogs and the complaints of donkeys pulling carts.
The owner of the inn had awakened earlier than most in the town. After all, the inn was full, all the beds taken. Every available mat or blanket had been put to use. Soon all the customers would be stirring and there would be a lot of work to do.
One's imagination is kindled thinking about the conversation of the innkeeper and his family at the breakfast table. Did anyone mention the arrival of the young couple the night before? Did anyone comment on the pregnancy of the girl on the donkey? Perhaps. Perhaps someone raised the subject. But, at best, it was raised, not discussed. There was nothing novel about them. They were, possibly, one of several families turned away that night.
Besides who had time to talk about them when there was so much excitement in the air? Augustus did the economy of Bethlehem a favor when he decreed that a census should be taken. Who could remember when such commerce had hit the village?
No, it was doubtful that anyone mentioned the couple's arrival or wondered about the condition of the girl. They were too busy. There was too much to do to imagine that the impossible had occurred.
God had entered the world as a baby.
Those who missed His Majesty's arrival that night missed it not because of evil acts or malice; no, they missed it because they simply weren't looking.
Little has changed in the last two thousand years, has it?"
Plan to join us this Sunday at 9:15am, as we gather together to celebrate the birth of Immanuel.....God with us!
If you can't make our Sunday gathering, please consider joining us for our Christmas Eve service, Monday, at 4:00pm. This brief service will include carols, a brief message from God's Word and a time to pause, light a candle and sing, Silent Night!
See you Sunday.
"Until the Whole World Hears" is more than just a catchy Christian mission phrase. It's a lifestyle that says, "I want to feel the heart of Jesus and see the world through His eyes. I want to be His hands and feet. I want to live a life that leads people to Him."
This Sunday, Parkside Fellowship will begin a week-long global mission emphasis revolving around the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This emphasis is not just about writing a check; nor, is just about praying for our global missionaries......that's the easy part. The hard part is making a personal commitment to join the harvest.
Every farmer wants a harvest. His eyes see an empty field that is overgrown with weeds and covered with rocks. But his mind sees his field covered with strong, healthy crops. And the promise in his mind, not the problems before his eyes, takes him into the field to work.
First he breaks up the hard dirt, so the seeds can grow easily. Then he plants the seeds. As they grow, he pulls out the weeds that try to choke the new plants. He makes sure they have enough water, and he protects them from birds and bugs.
He does his part, knowing that only God has the power to make the seeds grow.
When the time is right, the farmer goes into the field, gathers the fruit of his harvest and takes it to his storehouse. There, he collects new seeds for the next planting season--more seeds than he started with. So his harvest grows greater every year.
This is the parable of the harvest found in Matthew 13. For generations, farmers or what today we call missionaries, have been preparing and spreading the seeds of the Gospel and now, more than ever, they need harvesters to go out into the fields and harvest the seeds that have been planted and are now ready to be harvested.
In Matthew 9, Jesus displays true emotion as he looks out over the crowd that has gathered to hear him teach and turning to his disciples says, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." What field might God be calling you to go and join the harvest.....if only for a week or two.?
All must Pray.....Many will Give......Some will Go. Join us this Sunday, as we ask God to show us our role in the harvest. One easy role is to make a personal commitment to invite one person, who doesn't know Jesus, to our Christmas Eve service, which takes place at 4:00pm. Who is God placing on your heart to invite?
FYI.....don't forget tomorrow's (Saturday) Young @ Heart Christmas Party. It takes place from 2:30pm to 4:30pm in the Fireside Room.
See you Sunday......or Saturday.
First of all, let me apologize for not sending out my weekly TAB email the last few weeks. I'm sure you can agree with me when I say that there are times in life when things pile up and you find yourself running from one thing to another. Hopefully things will start to slow down a bit, but with Christmas quickly approaching, I'm not sure that will happen. Thanks for you prayers and understanding.
Speaking of Christmas, I want to focus this edition of TAB on this crazy time of the year when we waver between getting caught up in the excitement of the season and trying to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Sadly, apart from the angels nudging a few scared shepherds and a handful of wise star-gazers who were able to decode a cryptic star, many missed out on that very first Christmas when Christ was born in Bethlehem.
Missing the prophetic mystery of Jesus' birth means missing God-with-us, God-beside us, God becoming one of us. Missing out on Jesus changes everything. Like many, we can become lost in crowded malls, financial debt, and endless lists of gifts to buy, only to miss out on the one gift that can truly satisfy our thirst for more.
How do I keep from missing Jesus?......focus on the eternal over the temporal. Colossians 3:2 reads, "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." We are celebrating the arrival of our Savior. The significance of giving presents is to be directly related to God's presenting us the gift of His Son.
Next, Christmas is the time of year when people are wide-open to the Gospel. Remember who we represent. We are His chosen ambassadors, doing His business, so let's do it this Christmas. Share Jesus with a co-worker or invite a neighbor to our Christmas Eve service, which will take place at 4:00 pm and include carols and candlelight.
Finally, one of the most effective maneuvers of the world system is to create a false sense of excitement. As Christians, we are in danger of climbing the Christmas mountain, only to get lost in the afterglow of the New Year. Guard yourself. Enjoy the 25th.....but not at the expense of the 26th. Make Hebrews 12:3 your theme verse for Christmas and beyond....."Consider Him.....so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted."
Join us this Sunday, at 9:15am, as we begin our Christmas series titled, "He Came...." This week, we will focus on the fact that Jesus came to rescue us from our suffering and our sin. Our passage will be Isaiah 53. Take some time over the next few days to read this incredible chapter showing God's incredible display of love through His Son, Jesus.
See you Sunday.