Hearing the Music

Together

main image

The Grapes of Wrath is one of my favorite novels and I often think on Ma Joad and her relentless pursuit of keeping the “fambly” together through all of their challenges, despair and life moments. As we enter 2021, Ma Joad is coming to my mind again. I think we’d do well to catch some of her tenacity, and keep up the hard work of maintaining our unity as a church family during a global pandemic as we begin this new year....together.

There are many ways we’re fighting isolation as a church family: our Bible Studies, our C-Groups, Youth Groups, children’s Bible verse memory challenges, single women’s meetings and our varied worship offerings. Then there are the texts, phone calls and cards that are going out. But one thing is for sure--it takes work. It’s harder to connect. If you are struggling in any way, please let the church know.

One opportunity I’d like to highlight is our Together in Prayer group that meets via Zoom on Wednesdays 7-8pm. The group is mostly populated by those of us with older kids or empty-nesters, but all are welcome! It’s pretty simple--we say hello, we go to prayer, we chat a bit and say goodbye. Some people pray out loud, some stay on mute with the video off the whole time. But in that way we go before God in prayer together, and you are invited. Use this form to get the Zoom link.

Learning to pray is a journey for me. I’ve been surrounded by people who pray my whole life; I’ve had many, many people pray for me and my family (thanks be to God!!); I’ve talked about prayer and have prayed for others. But I’ve mostly felt guilty, inept and as if I wasn’t doing nearly enough. (rightly so!) I do not know the ways of Jesus going off by himself to spend time with his Father in the midst of his chaos. But I can testify that the Holy Spirit has been drawing me more and more into prayer, and teaching me to just do the next thing. And what I’ve seen is that He does work through our prayers. He likes to do that. Things start to move, and I can see it. It’s usually pretty quiet, but sometimes his presence is loud and without a doubt. (It feels to me as if we’re helping him in the kitchen--he could do his will much more easily without us, but he invites us in to use us and to train us.) I notice also that after a while I might change a longtime prayer over a situation to be more in line with God’s heart. This little app has been helpful to me: prayminder.com. It sends prayer prompts throughout the day. If you’re looking for something like that, I recommend it. Also remember our weekly prayer email. You can contact the church office to be added to the list to receive it if you don't already.

Noting big life events is an important way for the “fambly” to live together. We have had many entries for our family Bible this past year: births, adoptions and the dear ones who have died. Praying over these families would be a great way to live together with them.

This Sunday we celebrate Epiphany--the light of Christ going out to all the world. Pastor Addison will open Luke 2:10 with us; we’ll celebrate the Lord’s Supper; we’ll hear an Epiphany testimony. Let’s look for the ways God is drawing us together into himself through these things so we can move into 2021 and welcome others into our family. May we "fear not and behold the good news of great joy that is for all the people" this Epiphany Sunday. 

 

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Posted by Susan Guerra

Someone to Find Us

main image

Happy Friday

For the record, "Happy Friday" is intentional each and every week. It is not that I am never unhappy or that I am simply happy it's Friday in some "workin for the weekend" sense; no, it is more a sense of choosing to be happy whatever the circumstances may be. Choosing to be happy, because I have a Savior.

I ran across a series of Advent reflections* that capture both the need our fallen circumstances create, but also captures beautifully the provision that Christmas promises: 

"We can never really understand Christmas unless we understand how much we need that baby in the manger. Advent is a time to think about the ways that life without God is an empty husk …

For Christians, and nobody else really has much business thinking about Advent or observing it, there is something else. If there is no Christmas, there is no Cross, no answer to the problems of sin, separation, failure and pain. Advent is a time to think about what life would be like if we didn’t have faith in a Redeemer, a Savior who was ready, willing and able to complete the broken arc of our lives, forgive what is past and walk with us step by step to help us build something better in the time that is left.

Advent is a time to remember that we need something more than what we can summon with our own resources to make our lives work. It’s a time to remember how lost we would be if Someone hadn’t come to find us."

Thank God that Someone did come to find us. This week we will dive into our longest section of Isaiah 40 by looking at verses 12-26. Here we get more detail about the God that we were encouraged to “Behold” last week. Once again, our confidence grows beyond our circumstances as we realize this God that we trust in is incomparable!

 

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

Mountain Climbing

main image

I am not much of a mountain climber. I have taken some nice hikes out west that ended quite high with some beautiful views. I was also a participant in some cable car rides that deposited me high in the Alps and the peaks of Transylvania. But to really be a mountain climber takes effort, training, preparation, and a passion for getting “up" to see the world. Interestingly enough, YHWH, through the prophet Isaiah, tells the people of God to do some mountain climbing, "Go on up to a high mountain” (Isaiah 40:9). 

As we are going to discover this weekend, God is encouraging His people to become rock jocks for the purpose of heralding the good news of the Gospel. The basic message seems to be that once God makes us characters in His story we are to become carriers of His story. As with all mountaineering endeavors we will have to overcome fears, find a source of strength, and be carried along by our passion to gain a perspective on this world that is worth shouting from high places. Where will we find this courage, strength and passion? The message we are to carry is also the answer we need, “Behold your God!” (Is. 40:9). 

I look forward to seeing you this weekend and diving into this marvelous text. I do have a favor to ask. Our 10 am service was a little more crowded these past couple of weeks than we would like it to be. There is plenty of room in the 11:30am service. If a few of you 10am folks would consider taking a turn each week at 11:30am, we could balance the services out a bit. I realize that 11:30am is not the most convenient time, but making that sacrifice would be a service to many. Don’t forget to RSVP for services here.

Finally, plans are underway for a joint Christmas Eve service with Gracehill. We plan to incorporate some neighborhood caroling ahead of time, and make the service available via livestream.

Time to get climbing …

 

Photo by Diogo Tavares on Unsplash

12345678910 ... 2930

https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/#/report-home/a107216086w160095995p161340156