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GriefShare: Support Group
Thursdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm
in the Commons
Sept 7 – Nov 16 (11 week study)
Join us for a time of sharing featuring biblical concepts for healing from grief. A warm, caring environment you will see as an “oasis” on your journey through grief.
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Taught by Bill Spear

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Category: Devotions

Advent 2017 – Thursday, Dec 14

Advent means “Coming” in Latin. For us as Christians, Advent represents the coming of Jesus, God in flesh, to save the world. Advent is a great time for each of us to remember when we made the decision to follow Jesus and accept the gift of God’s grace. Advent also represents our strong faith that Jesus is coming again. So, my prayer this Advent season is that we would remember each of these “comings” during this time leading up to Christmas.

Lord, thank you for Jesus coming to the world in that manger in Bethlehem, for helping me make the decision to follow him, for him coming into my life, and for my faith and anticipation of him coming again. May your Holy Spirit be ever present in my life and may your light shine through me as a beacon to lead others to you. Amen

Rich Ferris, elder

Advent 2017 – Wednesday, Dec 13

When I was 31 weeks pregnant with my twin boys I developed severe preeclampsia and became very ill. Medical professionals had to intervene in order to save the lives of, not only my twins, but to save my life as well. Delivered by emergency C Section at exactly 32 weeks, my children would remain in the hospital for the next 56 days while they grew, developed their strength, learned how to breathe on their own, and even drink milk. Together with the nurses, Mitchell and I taught them to eat; one tiny bottle at a time, we helped them to breathe, we nursed them to health. Mitchell and I sacrificed and found balance each day to maintain the simplest things: paying bills, buying groceries, maintaining relationships all seemed overwhelming while caring for our children who had taken up residency at a Denver hospital. As we nurtured and cared for our children, we also realized that God was nurturing us. Finally, after 8 long weeks in the NICU, we were told we could take our babies home. I’ve never felt such joy and such fear in one moment.

I imagine that my relationship with Christ has many of the same struggles Mitchell and I faced with Liam and Logan’s premature birth. We can find ourselves having to leave a comfortable place and take a leap into the unknown, perhaps before we think we’re ready. After taking that leap, we rely on Christ to help develop our strength and grow our spiritual desires and maturity. This Christmas season I reflect on the miracle of Liam and Logan’s birth and the gift of life they were given by God’s grace.

Julie Andrews, children’s ministry director

Advent 2017 – Tuesday, Dec 12

Each Christmas an illustrated book version of the Christmas Story emerges from our footlocker of ornaments and decorations. While the target audience of this book may be younger children, it is a beautiful story, and we often forget how selflessly Jesus socially demoted himself to enter our world. Sometimes lost in the focus on the crèche scene are the references to light throughout the story. The shepherds were understandably initially terrified by the bright light of the glory of the Lord which illuminated the inky darkness of the night. Of course the angel was announcing good news, the light of the world. The Magi, led by a supernaturally bright star, travelled great distance to worship Jesus, the King of the Jews, the bright Morning Star (Rev. 22:16). 

It is no coincidence the exact time the star appeared was the moment Jesus was born to rescue us from the darkness of sin and death. The light had entered the world in a new and forever transformative way. As Jesus’ earthly life was slipping away on the cross, it is no coincidence darkness enveloped the world. The light was dying and departing from humanity. Fortunately in yet another flash of light, an angel rolled back the stone that sealed the tomb. “His appearance was like lightning and his clothes were white as snow.
The Bible begins in Genesis 1:3 with God speaking light into existence. While the story and glory of God are overwhelming to us, Jesus reassures us many times by saying, “Don’t be afraid.” Since Jesus has paid the price for our sin, we can live a life covered by his grace. This is real freedom! Are you letting your light shine?
This year I have spent a lot of time considering what elements and commitments in my life prevent me from moving closer to God. This Christmas take time to consider what habits, behaviors, activities, distractions, and sinful ways are preventing you from growing stronger in your relationship with Jesus Christ?
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. May the comfort and joy of Christmas bless you and your family as 2017 comes to a close.
The Butler family (Bruce, Maggie, and Bella)

Advent 2017 – Monday, Dec 11

One of the biggest traditions of Christmas is the giving and receiving of presents. I’m not going to lie; I love that part about it! And I truly do love to give gifts as much as I love receiving them. And now as a mom of two young children, Christmas morning has that much more excitement about it as I get to watch my boys shriek with joy as they unwrap their gifts.

I am not entirely sure where the tradition of giving and receiving on Christmas began, but we do know that the Magi brought gifts to baby Jesus so many years ago. Perhaps our present day tradition is a reminder of what these men did.

As I was praying about what to write in this devotional, I was challenged to think about what gift I could bring to Jesus this Christmas. We will still buy our friends and family gifts, but I want to be generous towards Jesus this year too. What can I give to him? Maybe it’s my time, serving someone else, loving someone who is hard to love, or forgiving someone. I am not sure just yet. I encourage you to think about that too. How can you bless Jesus this Christmas season?

Darla Schmidt, administrative assistant

Advent 2017 – Sunday, Dec 10

As Christmas approaches this year, I am reflecting on how amazing the Word of God is. It truly is living, active and affects you differently each time you read it. Recently I have been studying Ecclesiastes. Listening to the author’s failed attempts to find real meaning in just about anything in this world has really started me thinking.

My kids continue to grow and my oldest child is beginning preparations to go to college. I am realizing once again that almost everything in life is guaranteed to change. Whether it is relationships, employment, health, death, or just about anything else you can name, changes and uncertainty will come sooner or later. It is very easy to become overwhelmed and frantic. Where can peace be found?

The story of Christmas is HOPE and it never changes. It is the best and only true anchor in life. God acted on our behalf. He sent HIS SON to fix our brokenness. THAT is where the peace lies. I pray that God’s peace will find you this Advent season. Don’t just know the story, let it into your heart!

Jeff White, elder

Advent 2017 – Saturday, Dec 9

READING: Philippians 1:12-21 & 2:19-30

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage…” Do you think of Paul as someone who saw the proverbial silver lining in life’s cloudy days? His partners’ participation in many ways filled the voids created by the fear and confusion he must have felt as a helpless political prisoner in the hands of the Empire. What is your response to undeserved or unexpected “political” headwinds at work or even at home? Are courage and hope your expectations?

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon…” Did you ever think of the apostle Paul as having heroes? The people he mentions here are amazing examples of faithful service. Paul starts with the example of the mindset of Christ Jesus, then he describes the loyalty of Timothy, then the resilience of Epaphroditus. Later, he mentions Philippi’s own Euodia, Syntyche, and Clement. Never underestimate the significance of your devoted service to others. Often, people say, “I serve because it makes me feel like I make a difference and have purpose.” According to this entire section, those heroes who set examples of service for us were motivated by how it impacted others, not by how it made them feel!

What does that have to do with Advent? In this season of the year, many misunderstand HOPE as cheery anticipation that the meals, gifts, and parties will result in their own happiness. We can learn from Paul and his partners that true HOPE has assurance that their actions bless others first. Express mature HOPE as you await Jesus’ Second Advent!

Mark Hill, pastor

Advent 2017 – Friday, Dec 8

The Christ. Isn’t Jesus’ last name. Advent is when I first realized this. It took me a long time to realize that our theology in America has largely taken Jesus out of the Trinity. Advent reminds us what the shape of God is, and since God made everything, what the shape of everything should be (if it isn’t already!). The Trinity, always outpouring and mutually indwelling, always self-giving, (obviously) knew it was the best idea to become a baby.

A tiny, stinky, needy, loud little flesh-lump. Now there’s a son whose veins are filled with blood that sprung from the well of Mary’s heart.

Dependent, and vulnerable: that’s not what people say about God, but that’s what The Christ tells us God will do for us.

Where would Jesus be without the Love of a mom? And a Dad? And a community?

They protected him from the political authorities that he threatened with his existence alone.

Our relationships are divine. The Trinity shows us that outpouring ourselves is how you do it. You go down. Dependent, vulnerable, down like Jesus.

Stefan Seeling, student ministries director

Advent 2017 – Thursday, Dec 7

I arrived at the hotel and realized I forgot my cell phone charger. The battery was down to 30% and going fast. I have to admit I was a little concerned. I’ve come to depend on my phone and suddenly realized that I had no way to re-energize it. I could purchase a charger the next morning or possibly borrow one if available, brain storming solutions as though my life depended on it.

How much more should we be concerned about re-energizing our spiritual life? How long has it been since a serious quiet time in prayer and in God’s word? Is your spiritual meter down to 30%, 20%, or even 10%? Our spiritual life needs new life breathed into it every day. The Christmas season is upon us, and it’s easy to get distracted with the busyness of the season when we should slow down and re-energize. Spend time in prayer for your church family, friends, family, and the needs of others. Spend time in God’s word rejoicing in the birth of Jesus. Thanking God for our Savior and all he has done for us. Time to plug into……Jesus!

Loren Vawser, elder

Advent 2017 – Wednesday, Dec 6

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!

Serve the Lord with gladness;

Come before His presence with singing.

Know that the Lord, He is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,

And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

For the Lord is good;

His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations. (Ps 100 KJV)

Once again at the time of this writing we are approaching Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays. As usual I look back on the year with a tremendous sense of gratitude to my Lord Jesus Christ, Father God and the Holy Spirit. What is it I’m so grateful for? All the usual things of course including but not limited to great kids, jobs, health, finances, a wonderful home, a fantastic church family, rewarding ministry involvement and a truck that is paid for. Some of these things are superficial and all are dependent on circumstances. I know that all of these things can vanish at any time if it is God’s will.

I am most grateful for and humbled by the fact that Jesus loves me and died for me in payment for my sins insuring my eternal relationship with him in heaven. Until then, my gratitude for all of the small and large gifts from God on a day-to-day basis are cherished and verbalized to him every day of the year.

Mike Kermode, food bank director

Advent 2017 – Tuesday, Dec 5

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:30-33)

As a young girl, I remember reading Scripture about Mary and thinking, “Really? You’ve got to be kidding! Wasn’t this just, well, a lot to expect of a teenaged girl? What about her parents, family, neighbors and friends? Won’t she live life as an outcast?”

As I’ve grown in years and faith, it is even more evident, the enormity of Mary’s situation. God expected Mary to sacrifice everything in her life to serve his purpose, and she did. He gave her the courage and grace to fulfill his purpose of bringing the most sacred child into the world. She was the sacred vessel.

Have I got the courage and grace to “bear” into the world, God’s purpose for me?
Mary was promised that her son would be The Son of the Most High, the Lord God.
And yes, I’m promised the gracious gift of a Savior who came into the world to redeem me.

Still asking God for the courage ….

Jude Mitchell, church lady