Hello Dear Ones!
What a wonderful day we had in the Lord, yesterday! What a blessing to watch Deb and Tian X. light our Advent Wreath for the fourth week and tell us about the love of Christ! Tracy T. led our responsive reading and Gerry D. handed out our traditional Sunday School Christmas candy after the service with the help of Jeffrey R. and Jessica A! How fun to see the ‘family tradition’ passed down through our children’s hands! Praise the Lord!
God’s message this week came to us from Matt 1:18-25 and titled, “God with Us!” Matthew reminds us God’s incarnation on Christmas had a human cost. While we often focus on how blessed Mary was to carry the Son of God and Joseph was blessed to raise a perfect stepson (literally), we don’t often think about the cost of their obedience. Immaculate Conception has only happened once in history and to think it happened to a young girl pledged to an ordinary carpenter in of all places Nazareth (see John 1:46) was beyond the pale of belief!
We find Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:26-38. We find Mary’s radical obedience captured in v. 38: “I am the Lord’s servant….May your word to me be fulfilled.”
In our text, Joseph finds Mary pregnant (v. 18) and wrestling with her unbelievable story of an encounter with an angel and Immaculate Conception. He decides to divorce her quietly to remain faithful to the law and not expose her to public disgrace (v. 19), but just then God intervenes in a dream and through an angel of the Lord, God tells Joseph not to be afraid, take Mary home as your wife and give the Son conceived the name Jesus (vv. 20-21).
After his encounter with the Lord, Joseph responds obediently, (v. 24) regardless of the cost of saying ‘yes’ to God. The truth is, by being obedient, both Mary and Joseph faced enormous ridicule, scorn, and public shame. In the eyes of the watching world, Mary had been unfaithful and Joseph was a fool (at best) for either believing her preposterous story or choosing to marry her with her after she had cheated on him. Praise God for obedience!
As we prepare for Christmas 2014, I wonder who God is mysteriously speaking to in our midst? Who is God challenging to care for others and risk rejection, scorn, or sighs from those around them? Perhaps it’s time to face the rejection of others and be obedient! Are you willing to be embarrassed for Jesus? You won’t find true satisfaction and the peace, joy, hope and love you long for until you yield fully to the Holy Spirit and say yes to God!
But it also seems possible some of you might feel like outcasts or misfits! I pray you hear in this message God loves the misunderstood and uses them to advance His Kingdom! May this Christmas be one where all of us experience ‘God with Us.’ Blessings, Pastor Dan
NEWS AND EVENTS
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE AT 6:00PM DEC. 24th
Make plans to invite a friend and come to church for a traditional time of ‘carols and communion.’ While we have had a variety of productions in the past, this year we are simplifying our Christmas Eve plans. Yes, we will still have an area where we can light a candle to acknowledge our pain and loss, and we will certainly sing ‘Silent Night’ as we close to candle light, but this year we’re planning to sing carols, read and reflect on the Christmas Story and receive communion as we focus on Christ this Christmas Eve.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR TOM CHRISTOFFERSEN!
Jean and the family have met and below are the arrangements for Tom Christoffersen. Both the memorial and the luncheon will take place at our church. To be honest, I still can’t believe he’s gone! But, as Tom’s daughter Janice said, “Dad is spending Christmas this year with Jesus.” Bless you for your continued prayers!
MEMORIAL – Dec. 27 at 11:00AM in the Sanctuary (upstairs)
LUNCHEON – Dec. 27 at 12:30PM in the Fellowship Hall (downstairs)
I have heard that the family plans to bring not only photographs, but several pieces of artwork that Tom fabricated, drew, or painted. In case you didn’t know, Tom was an amazing artist and spent his career in the graphic arts business. Tom also had a great sense of humor and this comes through his art, too! Come, be a part of this wonderful man’s memorial and celebration of life and love the family, too!
NEW YEARS PARTY
AT THE PARSONAGE WED. 12-31 AT 6:30PM
Ok, maybe you were wondering, ‘Will Pastor Dan do a Bible Study on New Year’s Eve since it’s on a Wed. night?’ Well, after talking with Janie, the answer is no, but we are hosting a New Year’s Eve party starting! So, bring your favorite snacks and games and join us starting at 6:30pm! Will Pastor Dan make it til’ midnight? Not a chance! But, we can spend a few hours of fun and food together before bedtime! If you’d like to help or have any questions, see Janie or call/email her at 616.204.2499 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TURN AND DON’T GIVE SOMEONE THE FLU!
It’s that wonderful season when we learn how to use hand sanitizer and practice our best ‘fist bumps’ instead of hugs! It’s a fun, easy, and safe way to say hello!
WINTER JAM 2015 CONCERT
Janie has declared Winter Jam 2015 at the Van Andel Arena is a must go to concert for all teens and young adults. Groups include Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429, For King & Country, Newsong, and Family Force 5. The cost is just $10 each, but the first 3 teens and 2 young adults that RSVP Janie at email@example.com will go free! This is going to a great way to start your New Year! Are you in? Hope so!
WED. NIGHT BIBLE STUDY (AND ICE CREAM)
RETURNS ON JAN. 07 AT 6:30PM
The party will be great, but on Jan. 07 at 6:30pm it is back to our weekly Bible study. We’re using “Faith Connections,” a Bible based study centered on Wesleyan holiness and it comes with a study guide! In this time of non-stop busyness, you need to slow down a bit, let your soul drink deeply, and stay for ice cream! You’ll be glad you did!
‘ENCOUNTER GOD WEEKEND’
AT CLYDE PARK CHURCH
This Jan. the Grand Rapids Zone is hosting an ‘Encounter God Weekend’ at the Clyde Park Church of the Nazarene starting Fri. evening and ending Sat. evening on Jan. 30-31.
Encounter God weekends are an opportunity for Christians to experience deep spiritual renewal and change their life! By leading the participant through a series of lessons and experiences, this weekend can result in a visible, manifested change, by discovering how to establish a closer relationship with God, how to have direct fellowship with Him, and how to commit to His lordship in their lives.
Perhaps the best part is that you will learn how to experience forgiveness, emotional healing, how to experience freedom from spiritual and emotional bondage, and how to restore your sense of worth and value. This isn’t just hype, this is the real deal! Janie and I were in Cali Colombia where this originated and it is changing the world.
What: Encounter God Weekend
Where: Clyde Park Church of the Nazarene, 2545 Clyde Park Ave., SW, Wyoming, MI
When: begins Fri., Jan 30 at 4:30pm and Sat., Jan. 31 at 8:00am
Cost: $35 per individual; $60 per couple
How to register? Click on the link below!
WILL YOU HELP WITH A MIDDLE EAST GARAGE SALE?
With all of the problems in the Middle East, it’s easy to overlook the needs of the kids living there. While we can’t stop the violence, we can help these kids receive a quality education by DONATING quality new and used items to be sold in a spring garage sale. We hope to raise $250 to help our District raise $20,000 to support 4 Nazarene Schools operating in the Middle East who are shining stars in the midst of turmoil and conflict.
Bring your clean, gently used items (priced if possible) to church and place them on the table outside the classroom at the far end of the fellowship hall. If you would like a ‘tax receipt’ for your donation, see our Church Treasurer. Any questions? See Pastor Dan!
DO WE HAVE YOUR BIRTHDAY,
ANNIVERSARY, AND EMAIL INFO?
As you have probably noticed, we put our church family’s birthdays and anniversaries in our weekly program. Do we have yours? We also send a newsletter, prayer requests, and district information via email if we have your email. If you would like to be included just add your info to the ‘tear off tab’ on the program and drop it in the offering plate or email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
JAN. 18 @ 4PM
Our missionary gatherings will resume after the first of the year, but in the meantime, pray for our missionaries! Holidays can be a real hard time for missionaries and their families ‘back home.’ Technology brings us all closer, but it’s just not the same!
THIRD THURSDAY CHINESE LUNCH
JAN. 15th AT 11:30AM
By our next Third Thursday Chinese Lunch even our Christmas exchanges and returns should be complete, the tree taken down, and life will be returning to normal! Why not come out to Hibachi Grill on Alpine (behind Target) at 11:30am and share your favorite Christmas 2014 story! Remember, to look for the coupon! Hope to see you there!
Christmas Eve Service – 6:00pm (pick up your poinsettia’s)
Tom Christoffersen’s Celebration of Life (11am) and Luncheon
Teen / Young Adult Winter Jam at Van Andel 6:00pm
Third Thursday Lunch at Hibachi Grill on Alpine (11:30am)
Missionary Gathering 4pm (at the parsonage)
District Celebrate Life at Kuyper College (Reg deadline Dec. 04)
Northeast Community Potluck (after the worship service)
Tri-District Team Day in Perry, MI