Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year!
And a fantastic New Year in Christ it will be!

Back in October, after our pastor preached an amazing message on hearing from God, I challenged our church family to write down when they heard from God! In the days after that they were probably saying, “What ever happened to those papers? Why did she have us do that?” At the time, Pastor Blake asked me the same question, “Now what are you going to do with them?” And…I had no clue…until yesterday!

Let’s start at the top. When you ask if our church folks hear from God, the resounding answer is YES!! Hallelujah!! What did I do with the almost 30 responses they wrote? After placing them on the altar and praising God for speaking to us, I carried them home like little gold nuggets, read them with tears in my eyes and then put them all in a list. Would you like to know what God’s been saying to all of us? There were two main areas where He spoke in our lives. First, was to give us guidance in our life commitments, our need for worship, to center on and share love! Over one third of our lives were guided by God!! Amazing. Second, another third of us heard the name of someone to visit, to encourage, to invite, to comfort and to pray for! Folks, God knows each of us by name and calls others to help us when we are in need. His faithfulness is right in black and white on those little slips of paper. Praises that our family answers His call! Many others were thankful…for joy, for peace, for family. They knew they were to trust, to serve, not to fear, to tolerate, to be strong in the face of illness.

I don’t know about you, but I was blown away by these results. You know why? I can say that I belong to a church family where so many hear from God and answer His call. As we enter into this new year of 2017, I want to challenge ALL of us to make our lives devoted to hearing from God, in every area of our lives. Priscilla Shirer shares Five Ms to knowing the voice of God:
• Look for the Message of the Spirit
• Live in the Mode of Prayer
• Search out the Model in Scripture
• Submit to the Ministry of an Eli (wise, mature, believer)
• Expect the Mercy of Confirmation (God makes sure you know it’s Him)
(Priscilla Shirer. Discerning the Voice of God.)

In closing, it is my honor to share a few of the actual words of my brothers and sisters in Christ that really touched my heart and gave me some ideas about where our church will be heading this new year!

“It was good to be in the House of the Lord today.” Let worship be a priority!
“I Love to tell the Story.” Get out there and share Jesus with everyone we know!
“I feel the Holy Spirit filling this sanctuary! Amen.”
WOW! It just doesn’t get any better than THAT!!

These folks are truly amazing and I love them all!
Happy New Year! Listen for His Voice! Barbara

The Heart of Christmas 2016

In just a few days, when you wake up, it will be Christmas Day. Will your life be different? Will mine?
Will you be a completed person if you open your new IPOD, IPAD, IPHONE, I Whatever or tackle Darth Vader in your Star Wars Forever Video game? Will your life, my life, be different, …
because a little baby was born in a manger in Bethlehem… WHO IS GOD?

YES – GOD born in rough straw in a lowly manger…
YES – GOD who loves you SO much that He sent this little one, HIS OWN SON to be, Emmanuel…GOD with us!
YES – GOD who sent this precious baby boy to die on a cross for us and to give us NEW LIFE in HIM.
NOT a life whose WIFI will fail, or signal will be weak or batteries will dry up and die…
A life of joy…true, life changing joy…on a journey to be glorified with God in Heaven for evermore.

In his reflections on Advent, my favorite theologian, Henry Nowen, writes how he wants HIS life to be different because of Christmas Day:

• He wants Jesus to speak within Him…this baby to rule his Heart
• He wants his thoughts to be the thoughts of Jesus…to rule his Mind
• He wants Jesus to act from within him…to rule his very being.
• Nowen prays, “JESUS, LOVE OF MY LIFE, help me see the world as YOU see the world and act as YOU would act.”

That’s what CAN happen, folks, because God was born in that manger in our Jesus Christ… our Lord and Savior!
Picture with me now, as Nowen does, sitting in our living rooms, with our kids, wherever we are… our Christmas being blessed beyond belief by this amazing birth in Bethlehem as we:

• Feel Our hearts so full of Jesus that we will be a blessing to all our family

• That Our minds will be so full of Jesus that we will hear HIS voice and feel HIS love!

• That We will Know peace by our actions being so full of Jesus that we are humble, unselfish, loving

• That We Watch that mighty love of Jesus help us to hear folks crying, to see folks starving, to hurt for those in pain, falling on our knees in prayer.

THEN our lives will be new and different because of Christmas Day.
I hope you will join me in trying to live THAT picture THIS week and EVERY week until we see our Jesus face to face!

But Best of ALL…because of Christmas Day:
We will shout with the great company of the heavenly hosts and the angel of the Lord:

“Glory be to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men.”

Merry Christmas in Jesus Love!
Barbara

LET’S PRAY TOGETHER:

Our Heavenly Father, we as a family in you, want to welcome your son into this world and into our hearts this Christmas and every day after. We praise you and glorify you that YOU love us so much that you sent your son, to be born in that lowly manger so that we would know humility, servanthood and total trust in you. You sent your son to be crucified on that cross so that we would be pure and clean in your eyes, and sent the Holy Spirit to live within us to love and guide us until that glorious day when we will see you face to face and be with you forever. Hallelujah, Lord.
Let us remember all those who are ill this season…those who are hungry…all those who are grieving… those in the pain of missing a loved one…all those who are discouraged and disappointed, Lord…and those who hunger and thirst for you. Be close to them, Lord Jesus…there is room in their hearts for you!

We thank you and praise you for all that you are and all that you do,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.