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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

Merry Christmas 12/23/15

Good morning,

I’d like to ask you to read the story below.  I’ve borrowed it from Breakpoint Daily, which is an email that I receive 5 times a week from The Colson Center.

Friends, we’re coming to the close of a dark year. We’ve witnessed the brutality and barbarism of ISIS overseas and watched violent clashes between police and protesters in the Heartland. All around we see death, anger, and despair. I’m sure you’ll agree there is much about the human condition we wish weren’t true.

Yet as we approach Christmas, we’re reminded once again that the darkness gathering around us does not have the final word. John the Apostle opens his Gospel with timeless words of hope regarding the Word of God: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

In Tarrant, Alabama, the beautiful light of hope shined into one woman’s family. Let me tell you their story.

As reported at AL.com, Helen Johnson stood in the store aisle in despair. She and her two daughters, a niece and two grandchildren, had not eaten for two days and now she was 50 cents short for the dozen eggs she was hoping to buy. Out of options and hope, Helen stuffed five of the eggs in her pocket and tried to walk out. Fortunately, as it turns out, they broke. “I’m not a good thief at all,” she said.

When confronted by store employees, she admitted her crime and waited for police. Yet, when Officer William Stacy got there, the story didn’t go as she expected. Instead of escorting her to the back of his squad car, Officer Stacy bought the dozen eggs for her and let her know the store was not pressing charges. When asked how she could repay him, Stacy told her not to shoplift again.

When I heard about this, I kept thinking about the touching scene in Les Miserables where Bishop Myriel presses the silver candlesticks into the criminal Jean Valjean’s hands. Your life has been spared for God, he told him. Kindness, rather than retribution, and mercy instead of justice, is what makes these stories great.

But Helen Johnson’s story did not end there. A man filmed the incident at the store and posted it online. The video went viral and offers of help began pouring in. Three days later, police officers were helping Mrs. Johnson sign up for a toy drive and the following day, officers returned with two truckloads of food. For a family with virtually nothing, a stocked pantry was unbelievable. “My heart is wide open right now,” she said.

The small acts of kindness by the store’s management and Officer Stacy sparked a wave of compassion and charity.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This, as much as any other, is the message that gives us hope at Christmas.

I KNOW the news of this year has been horrible, terrifying, heartbreaking and at times hopeless.  But on this 23rd day of December, 2015, I want to remind you that of all people in this world, WE HAVE HOPE!  I cannot predict or stop what ISIS is going to do; I have no control over terrorism either inside or outside of this nation; I have so very little control over health issues or weather or accidents or so much more . . . But I have a God who loves me, who gave His Son to be my Savior and your Savior and I have HOPE in The ONE who will have the final say.

You can too.  If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can.  It is as simply as confessing your sin, receiving His forgiveness and walking with Him in newness of life.  If you need help please talk to someone, please feel free to call me 575 937-4929, or come see me and I’ll be more than happy to show you how to know this.

If you are consumed by fear, I want to challenge you to learn to trust God NO MATTER the circumstances or what is happening in the world.  He will give you a peace that goes beyond all of your understanding or knowledge (Philippians 4:7).  It is real and it is available.

Most of us have no idea whatsoever what it’s like to be 50 cents short of providing food for our children, but Jesus does.  He came to serve the “least of these” as we have seen in this Advent season with the shepherds being the first people in the world to get the news of Messiah’s birth.  Remember, the shepherds were among those who were the lowest class of people in Israel and yet, God sent an angel specifically to them first.

If you are in need of food please let us know here and we will do everything we can to get food for you or to help you in any way that we can.  We can’t do everything, but we promise we will do whatever we can.

I love you.  Merry Christmas

Rick

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  Upcoming Activities

 

Thursday December 24 – We will have a very special Christmas Eve service at 6:00 p.m.  We would love to have you and your family join with us for this celebration!

 

Sunday December 27 – We will have one combined worship service on Sunday December 27 at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary.  We are going to enjoy the fruit of the Joy of the Lord on that morning.  It will be a great time for the body of Christ at Angus to come together and worship together!

 



Immanuel 12/16/15

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Good morning,

The following is taken from a book by Max Lucado, God Came Near, and is entitled “Absurdity In the Flesh.”

“He looks like anything but a king.  His face is prunish and red.  His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby.  And he is absolutely dependent upon Mary for his well-being.

“Majesty in the midst of the mundane.  Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat.  Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable, through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter.

“She touches the face of the infant-God.  ‘How long was your journey?’

“This baby had overlooked the universe.  These rags keeping him warm were the robes of eternity.  His golden throne room had been abandoned in favor of a dirty sheep pen.  And worshiping angels had been replaced with kind but bewildered shepherds.

“Meanwhile, the city hums.  The merchants are unaware that God has visited their planet.  The innkeeper would never believe that he had just sent God into the cold.  And the people would scoff at anyone who told them the Messiah lay in the arms of a teenager on the outskirts of their village.  They were all too busy to consider the possibility.

“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?”

What am I looking for today?  That question has come up more than once this morning.  What are you looking for today?  Well, I just want to tell me and tell you that God is here!  He is Immanuel, God with us!  He comes into our lives at every single place (yes, in the filth, in the manure, in the mundane, at every single place) and too often I miss it because I’m simply looking at what is going on instead of Who is here.  He is here:  God is here:  Immanuel is here:  the Son of God has stepped right into the middle of your life and mine today and I don’t want to miss it and I don’t want you to miss it.

I want to challenge you to look for Him everywhere!  Please don’t miss Him today because what I know is, He is right here, right in the middle of everything that you are going through.

I love you

Rick

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  Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday December 16 – There are no regular activities tonight at the church or for the next two Wednesdays.  The children and teens will be meeting off-campus tonight and we aren’t having dinner or any adult activities here tonight.

 

Sunday December 20 – We continue in the Advent Season and the celebration of Our Coming Savior.  This Sunday morning we are going to be looking at Mary and Joseph!  WOW, what I’m seeing and what I want to share with you, well, I can’t hardly wait!

 

Thursday December 24 – We will have a very special Christmas Eve service at 6:00 p.m.  We would love to have you and your family join with us for this celebration!

 

Sunday December 27 – We will have one combined worship service on Sunday December 27 at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary.  We are going to enjoy the fruit of the Joy of the Lord on that morning.  It will be a great time for the body of Christ at Angus to come together and worship together!

 

I would like to ask you to please keep my dad in your prayers.  Dad fell yesterday morning at the Rehab place he was at and hit his head.  They did a CT scan this morning and he is bleeding again into his brain.  Tomorrow, Thursday, they will do another surgery to drain the blood off of his brain.  Thank you for your prayers!

 

 

 



Hanukkah 12/9/15

Good morning,

Last week at this time I was in the hospital in Lubbock with my dad preparing for his brain surgery.  I missed sending out this Wednesday email because of that.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit with my dad on his 88th birthday – he is doing wonderful; God has touched him and the doctors and nurses who have been taking care of him and at this point it looks like he will make a complete recovery.  WOW.  I am amazed and I am grateful.  I do not understand the ways of God, the ways of health and life, but I am grateful to God that in the middle of everything that is going on I can trust Him . . . regardless.

This past Sunday evening began the celebration of Hanukkah; an eight day celebration of God’s intervention.  Briefly, between 336-165 B.C., a number of events took place in Jerusalem that showed God’s hand on the nation and people of Israel.  Antiochus, a king who took over half of the kingdom of Alexander the Great after his death and whose territory included the area we know of as Israel, persecuted Israel.  He oppressively enforced the Greek culture on Israel.  He put to death those who worshiped God or studied Torah, he desecrated the Altar and Holy of Holies by sacrificing a pig there and sprinkling its blood there and on the Torah scrolls and ultimately he martyred 100,000 righteous Jews.

Finally the Jewish people had had enough and a revolt was led by a priest, Mattathias Maccabees, and after he died, his son Judah took command.  In 165 B.C. 10,000 Maccabees faced 60,000 enemy soldiers.  God gave them victory in two battles between Jerusalem and Hebron.

They reclaimed Jerusalem and the priests cleansed the Temple, built a new altar and furniture, and hung new curtains before the Holy of Holies.  They rededicated the Temple on Kislev 25, the same day when Antiochus had defiled it with a pig three years earlier.  They offered a sacrifice on a new stone altar and everyone fell facedown to worship.  Israel decided to celebrate the rededication for eight days because the nation had missed the eight-day celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.  It was the birth of a new feast, the Feast of Dedication.  Rabbis explain that a one-day supply of olive oil miraculously burned for eight days in the menorah which provided enough time to press olives and refine new oil.

There is a lesson here for all of us and it is of the power of God.  The “majority” does not have the final say.  The biggest “stick” does not have the final say.  The person in “power” does not have the final say.  Man does not have the final say – God does.  The Feast of Dedication, Hanukkah, is a reminder to all of us that God will do whatever is necessary for His will to be accomplished.  We do not always know His specific will, but the truth of the matter is that most of the time we know what is not His will.  We can seek to justify anything that we do, but ultimately what we need to know and listen to is what God has said.

I want to seek to honor God, regardless of the circumstances of my life.  I want to see what God is doing and take my eyes off of what man is doing.  I trust God.  I know that He has the final answer and so I am going to do everything that I can to listen to Him, to live what He has called me to live and to lift up Christ.  If God can make a one-day supply of oil burn for 8 days, then that tells me that He is interested in every little thing that is going on in my life and in yours and that I can trust Him.

Happy Hanukkah!

Rick

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  Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday December 9 – We have our regular Wednesday evening activities beginning with dinner at 5.  We invite you to join us for a very special evening.

 

Sunday December 13 – We continue in the Advent Season and the celebration of Our Coming Savior.  This Sunday morning we are going to be looking at the Shepherds role in this entire drama.  There is a lot that God has to say to us during this Advent Season and we hope that you will come and be a part of it with us!

 

Thursday December 24 – We will have a very special Christmas Eve service at 6:00 p.m.  We would love to have you and your family join with us for this celebration!

 

Sunday December 27 – We will have one combined worship service on Sunday December 27 at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary.  We are going to enjoy the fruit of the Joy of the Lord on that morning.  It will be a great time for the body of Christ at Angus to come together and worship together!