Extravagantly Christlike this Christmas

Merry Christmas, Church!

Few occasions offer us a more profound opportunity to demonstrate our identity in Christ as Christmastime. But, with every worldly and fleshly influence trying to derail our proclamation and worship of Christ, how can we win the battle? What does it look like in our homes when we win?

This brief Christianity Today article nicely diagnoses these common fleshly battles, and offers a biblical path towards becoming extravagantly Christlike at this time of year. I encourage you to read it and dream and plan for your best celebration ever of the greatest act of love in history (John 3:16).

Click to read article

Read this Christianity Today article here.

One Immediate Answer

There are myriads of ways to be extravagantly generous this Christmas. The Holy Spirit has already led us to one way – Lake City’s Giving Tree: buying requested gifts for the children of our Food Bank clients.

Many dozens of children will receive their only Christmas presents from the anonymous generosity of our church members. Will you be among them? This is the final week (gifts must be brought back wrapped this weekend!), and we still have over 20 tags on the tree. Come grab a tag and instruction sheet on the table next to the tree this week; or call the church office if you cannot come, 253-582-8040.

It may not change the world right away, but it will make a difference for one child – and in your own life.

Wishing an extravagantly Christlike Christmas season to you and yours,

Pastor Reg

Steps for Planning your Winter/Spring Semester, 2014

plan

Our groups are winding down the Fall, 2013 Semester. Finish well, beloved groups. This post is to help as you pray and plan for next semester.

Here are some helpful steps and resources for your effective planning.

TOOLKIT and Small Group Vital Signs Book

Vital Signs

These are our primary leadership resources. They emphasize (and reward) proactive leadership. One of the best preparations you can make before Winter/Spring kickoff is to flip through these great resources again to build up your vision and gather ideas, so you can better lead those entrusted to your care. 

Leaders, co-leaders and Inner Circles should have these two resources. If you do not, tell me and I will get you one ASAP.

How NOT to Start Your Next Semester

As we often clarify, small groups are more than Bible studies. Small groups are our glorious opportunity to live out ALL the New Testament’s design for the church, with each other, for Jesus’ purposes. (read Acts 2:42-47 again, for example).

The problem: Experience shows that if you start your group’s experience with a Bible study, you will be locked into the “Bible study” mold and mentality, no matter what you try to do later.

The solution: Wisdom suggests you start your semester with the other things that get crowded out:

  • Start with a worship/prayer night, seeking God’s guidance and setting a worshipful pattern for your year.
  • Start with a service/outreach project, or series of them, saying “We are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus!”
  • Start with sharing a few personal salvation testimonies, to celebrate God’s grace in our lives.
  • Start with having the kids involved in worship, seeing Jesus Christ proclaimed as the purpose for your existence.
  • Then, start your study. We have 16-20 weeks in the Winter/Spring Semester – plenty of time to do it all!

acts

NOW, Time to Choose a Study

Our foundation is always God’s Word, and a curriculum used well can be an effective tool.

As always, I have laid out our ever-expanding small group curriculum library on a table in my office, for you to come by and browse, or borrow a couple to check out.

curr, 2013

See our entire curriculum library list, here.

And, don’t forget that you can help us keep building up our curriculum library, with “the Lake City Offer”…

“The Lake City Offer”

If you are interested in using a curriculum we do not have, I will buy the leader book and DVD (if there is one) for you, if you will return it when finished, to add to our library. Your group members will just buy their own participant guides, if there is one. 

This offer helps future groups and eliminates any hesitation based on the cost of a study.

Important Leader Training and Kickoff Dates

Here are a few important dates to put on your calendar right now:

As always, there is one required January training session which will be offered twice, for your scheduling convenience: 

  1. First offering – Sunday, January 12, during 2nd service (10:50-12:10pm).
  2. Second offering – at the Church Family Summit, on Saturday, January 25, 9:00AM-1:00PM. Young Life Field Vice President, Bill Paige, will be our plenary speaker.

The full Church-Family Summit Schedule will be out soon. All training sessions are always open for walk-ins.

UPDATE

Phil Downer

Two exciting events have just been added. Author, speaker, and mentor of our small group leader Kevin Bouren, Phil Downer, is speaking to several thousand at JBLM, from January 13-17. We have just added two dates with him at LCCC:

1.  Monday, Jan. 13, 6:00-8:00pm – Speaking to small group leaders, ministry leaders, and all church leaders. TopicSpiritually Reproducing Your Life – Spiritual Multiplication. 

2.  Wednesday, Jan. 15, open dinner in Friendship Room, 5:30-6:15pm; Session for outreach and encouragement, from 6:30-8:00pm. Topic: Family – From Hell To Eternity: Strengthening Marriages through Men’s Mentorship/Discipleship

The Winter/Spring Semester kicks off the week of January 19, after a few weeks of signups. So, leaders, be prepared to welcome new people, if possible.  It runs through early June, so it’s a bit longer than the Fall Semester, leaving you room to do more things.

Continue to cast the vision that small groups are not merely Bible studies, but rather the “church scattered in communities, passionately living out Christlike love for God, one another and the world.”  The Winter/Spring Semester allows for a breadth of formative experiences for your group. 

May God be glorified in our ministry,

Pastor Reg

Top 10 Posts of 2011

Here are the ten most viewed posts of the past year. I am grateful to God for any usefulness these resources have provided our leaders and groups.  Enjoy!

10. How Can I Get My Members to Talk?

9. Leading Discussion – Basics and Advanced

8. Three Inspiring Testimonies of Lake City Small Group Growth

7. Golf, Fantasy Football, Guns: Men of God

6. Early Testimonies from Forgotten God Series, Fall 2011

5. Discipling Men in Small Groups, Part 2 – Getting and Keeping Them

4. Curriculum List for 2012

3. Small Group Leaders Bowling Party Recap (and What’s Upcoming this Fall!)

2. 2010-2011 Year In Review

And….Number 1 is a bit anti-climactic to view now because its purpose was to prepare us for a season which is already past. However, the Forgotten God series was a tremendous season, and you can hear and share the greatest praises from it THIS WEEKEND in church, in our Testimony & Praise Weekend!

1. Forgotten God, this Fall at LCCC!

I plan to give this growing blog a nice organizational and design overhaul next year, whenever I make time OR find a volunteer who is proficient in this area (hint hint).

Blessings on your homes, and Happy New Year!

Pastor Reg

Finding Christmas in the Gospel of John

We read the “Christmas Story” in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  You won’t find a narrative in the gospel of John, but you will find there the theology, purpose and riches of Christmas!

So, here is something different this year with your family and friends at Christmastime – Christmas through the eyes of John.

Before opening presents or starting that Christmas party, grab your Bible (maybe a good study Bible) and read and discuss these passages:

  • John 1:1 – The Trinity: Who and from where Christ was for eternity before the Christmas events.
  • John 1:14 – The Incarnation: The most succinct statement of the Christmas story.
  • John 1:16 – Without Christmas, Christ wouldn’t have flesh to sacrifice; and we wouldn’t have grace…only judgment!
  • John 3:16-17 – Christmas and Good Friday in one. These events should not, and cannot, be isolated.

  • John 6:42-51 – A common response to Jesus in the flesh (41-42), and our fitting reply (51).
  • John 18:36-37 – Jesus Christ came to bear witness to the Truth. (The purpose of the incarnation.)
  • John 8:31-32 – The effects of the Truth? SALVATION AND FREEDOM from sin (guilt of sin, power of sin), death, Satan, hell, meaninglessness, emptiness…
  • John 17:18 – And finally, our calling now — to continue the mission that Jesus began! (cf. 15:16;20:21)

And with that, have a MERRY CHRISTMAS by making it ALL ABOUT JESUS!

Blessings on your homes,

Pastor Reg

Halloween, 2011

I like to post constructive tools for edification in our small groups and homes during holidays throughout the year.  Halloween, 2011 is just days away.  Consider this year how might we might redeem it?

On my post from last Halloween I included thoughts from John MacArthur’s ministry.

But even better yet, I encourage you to read and discuss with your small group and family a new article on John Piper’s ministry’s blog: Sent into the Harvest: Halloween on Mission. 

Talk about redeeming Halloween! This is worth the several minutes it requires to digest. You will not be disapointed.

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What are YOU doing this Halloween to make Jesus known? It would be fun if you shared in the comments below!
Blessings on your homes, not cowering in fear on this Hallow’s Eve Weekend, but rather “serving notice on the threshold of evil.” (Matt. 16:18)
Pastor Reg

Easter Was Never Intended to be Just One Day

Don’t we all agree that “Easter” is NOT to be celebrated only once per year? If you carry on your reflection and celebration of gospel events beyond this weekend in your groups and families, then this Easter blog will provide a few helpful resources for you.

 

Celebrating the Easter Season—Ideas for All Ages

(Derived from the Focus on the Family article by the same name)

“According to author Kim Wier, co-director of Engaging Women Ministries, Easter was never intended to be just one day. “For most families, including Christians, God gets an hour on Sunday, and we get the rest of the day to hunt eggs and feast on sweets.”

“The shame isn’t that we are celebrating Easter Day; it is that we are missing Easter Season.

How about your family? Ready for some cake? Try these faith-filled activities that go beyond Sunday morning as you usher in this Easter season.

Ages 0-3

Help your little ones stuff hollow plastic eggs with one chocolate heart, because Jesus came to give us a new heart toward God. Then allow your little one to hand them out to friends, neighbors, or people you meet during the day. You might include a note inside with the passage from John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” – Jesus

Ages 4-7

Hold a neighborhood egg hunt, but award the large basket filled with candy for whoever finds the one empty egg, representing the empty tomb. When the child finds the empty egg he or she must call out, “He is not here he has risen, just as he said.” Be sure to conclude the hunt with an Easter story on the lawn. I’d recommend The Parable of the Lily, by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Ages 8-12

Sometimes the greatest joy is in the giving. Visit a nearby hospital or retirement home and greet one of the residents with a fresh Easter lily. You may want to attach a card with some encouraging words about the hope we have in our risen Lord.

Age 13-18

Children this age might enjoy a surprise field trip for a sunrise service at the park or a nearby lake. Be sure to bring a Bible, hymnbook or maybe even a guitar for a worshipful early morning celebration.

All Ages

Since there are many new visitors attending church for the Easter service, make a point to greet and invite someone to lunch afterwards. Then remember to make plans to sit together next Sunday at church.

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 The Story of Easter by Sand Animation

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Brief Easter Facts

The Date of Easter

Prior to A.D. 325, Easter was variously celebrated on different days of the week, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In that year, the Council of Nicaea was convened by emperor Constantine. It issued the Easter Rule which states that Easter shall be celebrated on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. However, a caveat must be introduced here. The “full moon” in the rule is the ecclesiastical full moon, which is defined as the fourteenth day of a tabular lunation, where day 1 corresponds to the ecclesiastical New Moon. It does not always occur on the same date as the astronomical full moon. The ecclesiastical “vernal equinox” is always on March 21. Therefore, Easter must be celebrated on a Sunday between the dates of March 22 and April 25.

When was Yeshua (Jesus) executed?

Passover was the most important feast of the Jewish calendar, celebrated at the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. (The Equinox typically occurs onMarch 20, 21or 22 according to our present calendar.)

The Synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) stated that Jesus’ last supper was a Seder – a Passover celebration at the start of 15th Nisan, just after sundown. (Jewish days begin at sundown and continue until the next sundown). Jesus was executed later that day.

The Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit.

The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit toAmerica. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War.

The Easter Egg

As with the Easter Bunny and the holiday itself, the Easter Egg predates the Christian holiday of Easter. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.

From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.

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A Recommended Easter Bible Study List, from Mark Driscoll

“The following list of Old and New Testament Scriptures regarding resurrection is by no means exhaustive but is offered in hope of helping preachers and teachers [small group leaders] find a section of Scripture in which to root their Easter sermon[/lessons/meditations]:”
* Genesis 22:13 and Hebrews 11:19 show how the story of Isaac is a type of the resurrection.
* 2 Samuel 7:7–16 contains the Davidic Covenant, which promises that Jesus will rule over an everlasting kingdom, and Romans 1:3–4 shows the fulfillment as God the Father anointed God the Son as Davidic king at his resurrection.
* Psalm 16:10 promises that Jesus would not be abandoned in the grave.
* Isaiah 26:19 promises that the dead will rise.
* Isaiah 52:13–53:12 is the entire prophetic promise of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection, with the resurrection emphasized in 53:10–12.
* Ezekiel 37:1–10 gives an illustration of the resurrection of the dead.
* Daniel 12:2 is one of the clearest Old Testament Scriptures on the bodily resurrection of believers and unbelievers.
* Hosea 13:14 speaks of resurrection victory over death and is quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.
* Jonah 1:17 and 2:10 and Matthew 12:40 speak of Jonah’s three days in the fish as a type of Jesus’ resurrection after three days in the grave.
* Matthew 9:18–26 records Jesus resuscitating a young girl from death (unlike resurrection, in which the risen never dies again, resuscitation is followed by a second physical death). This passage could be used to show how one day Jesus will also cause believers to rise from death, despite mockery from the world as Jesus experienced at that event.
* Matthew 11:1–6 records that, as evidence of his divinity for John the Baptizer, Jesus appealed to the fact that he could raise the dead.
* Matthew 12:38–40; Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:33–34; and John 2:18–22 all reveal Jesus prophesying his resurrection in advance.
* Matthew 22:23; Luke 20:27; and Acts 23:8 all report that the Sadducees denied the resurrection in arguments with Jesus.
* Matthew 28:9 and John 20:17, 20–28 all report that Jesus rose physically from death, not just spiritually.
* Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all close with large sections reporting the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from death, and any of them, or portions from them, could make a good Easter sermon.
* Luke 14:12–14 is a parable Jesus told about the repayment that will come to the just at the resurrection.
* John 5:19–29 records Jesus teaching that we will stand before him for final judgment and rise for eternal life or eternal death.
* John 11:1–44 records the death of Lazarus and Jesus resuscitating him from death. Jesus also declares himself to be the resurrection and the life who can also raise us from death.
* Twelve of the twenty-eight chapters in the book of Acts report that the continual refrain of the preaching in the early church was that Jesus had risen from death, and all or some of these sermon snippets could make a good Easter sermon.
* Acts 9 reports the dramatic conversion of Saul—who had overseen the murder of the early church deacon Stephen—when he was confronted with the risen Jesus.
* Acts 17:32, 23:6, and 24:11–15 report how belief in the resurrection can result in mockery and persecution.
* Romans 4:25 connects Jesus’ resurrection and our justification.
* Romans 6:5 says that we are united with Jesus by his resurrection.
* Romans 8:1–11 speaks of the new power we have, through the Holy Spirit, to say no to sin and yes to God because of Jesus’ resurrection.
* Romans 8:11 and 2 Corinthians 5:15 say that believers have the same power as Jesus did for his resurrection through God the Holy Spirit.
* Romans 10:5–13 speaks of how to be saved through Jesus’ resurrection.
* Romans 14:8–12 describes how Jesus is Lord of the dead and the living because he was dead and is now alive.
* 1 Corinthians 15 is arguably the most comprehensive treatment of resurrection in all of Scripture. While one sermon on the entire chapter would likely be impossible, there are innumerable options that could be emphasized in an Easter sermon.
* 2 Corinthians 5:1–10 teaches about the state between death and resurrection as well as the kind of body we will have after resurrection.
* In Galatians 1:1–2, Paul declares that the resurrected Jesus Christ gave Paul his apostolic authority.
* Ephesians 2:1–10 explains how we are dead in sin but made alive in Christ through his resurrection.
* In Philippians 3:1–11, Paul teaches that the resurrection is infinitely better than religion.
* Colossians 1:15–20 speaks of the preeminence of the risen Jesus over every created thing.
* Colossians 2:6–15 and 3:1 say that we have been raised with Christ.
* 1 Thessalonians 1:2–10 encourages Christians to wait patiently for the second coming of the risen Jesus.
* 1 Thessalonians 4:16 teaches us that at the second coming of Jesus Christ, the dead in Christ will rise like him to be with him.
* 2 Timothy 2:1–13 reveals Paul using the resurrection of Jesus Christ as motivation for a life of faithful ministry in the midst of suffering and trial.
* 2 Timothy 2:17–18 actually names false teachers who denied the resurrection, and Paul declares them to be heretics for doing so.
* Hebrews 6:1–2 lists the doctrine of the resurrection among the most elemental and essential of Christian truths to learn.
* Hebrews 13:20–21 reminds us that the same God who raised Jesus from death is faithful to keep his promises to his people as well.
* 1 Peter 1:3–9 speaks of the inheritance that Jesus has purchased for us through his resurrection and how our suffering in this life reminds us of him until we rise in his kingdom.
* 1 Peter 3:21–22 and Romans 6:5 explain how the Christian act of baptism shows us the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, which cleanses us from sin.
* 1 John 3:2 says that a Christian’s resurrection body will be like Jesus’ risen body.
* Revelation 1:17–18 reveals Jesus as the Alpha and Omega who was dead and is now alive.

ENLIGHTENING CHRISTMAS RESOURCES

I love uncovering the truth behind holiday traditions because it’s important to know what truths we should revere and celebrate, what embellishments we should  enjoy lightheartedly, and what heresies we should simply avoid altogether. And along the way of uncovering truth, you discover some fascinating details.  I’ve selected a few of the most enlightening and most useful Christmas resources to include on this year’s Christmas blog post. Give them a few moments of your time, and I think your small groups and families will find them edifying and enjoyable.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Reg

The MYTHS about the “MYTHS” of Christmas

These two videos are excellent! While I cannot vouch for the accuracy of 100% of every detail in them, their content is in line with what I’ve known and learned.  Being in video form makes them easy to absorb and to share with anyone, including kids.  Forward this blog post to everyone you think would enjoy knowledge about Christmas!

Video 1 answers the questions:

  1. Should we celebrate Christmas?
  2. How do we celebrate Christmas?
  3. When do we celebrate Christmas?
  4. What are the biblical understandings of Christmas?

Video 2 uncovers the historical truth behind:

  1. The Christmas Tree
  2. The Christmas Wreath
  3. Santa Clause
  4. The writings of the early church fathers about Christmas and Christ’s birth date
  5. The history of the early settlers in the U.S. and Christmas celebration.

John MacArthur’s Sermon: “Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem,” Part 1

While listening to sermons on my iPod, this one blew me away!  But not in the way sermons usually affect people. What blew me away was how eloquently Pastor John MacArthur relates his enormous amount of historical research on Christmas with the simplicity of the biblical message of Christmas.  Comparing the quintessential Christmas text, Luke 2:1-7, with the all the elaborate, complex traditions we have developed over the centuries, he  answers the intriguing question…“How can you take such a simple story as we’ve just read in seven verses and come up with such a complicated celebration?”

Part 1 is only 25 minutes long, and is well worth either listening to or reading.

You can listen to the audio or read the transcript for free at this link: http://www.gty.org/Shop/Audio+Lessons/42-22_Jesus-Birth-in-Bethlehem-Part-1

Videos Just for Fun

North Point Church’s “iBand” – Have you heard of the iPhone; the iPad? Do you know anything about their capabilities?  You will after watching this video of techy musicians…or are they musical technicians?  You decide!

Finally, this video is ubiquitous on-line, and you’ve probably already seen it – more than once! But JUST in case you have not, here it is…The Digital Nativity Story according to today’s social media.

Thanksgiving Ideas for Small Groups

You are probably planning at to spend at least a little time focusing on Thanksgiving in your next small group meeting. But what do you do?  Here are several ideas/resources for you!

Ice Breaker

Ice Breakers are a fun way to get everyone talking. Write something to be thankful for on a small sheet of paper and tape it to the back of everyone who comes in the door. They must ask yes or no questions from other guests to guess what is written on the paper.

Get the Whole Family Involved 

Age-specific ways to help your kids experience the meaning behind the celebration on Thanksgiving Day. by Lynne M. Thompson

Sometimes it’s a challenge to convince children that Thanksgiving Day is really not all about the food. Sure there’s turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, and pie. Oh yeah, don’t forget the pie! But hidden inside this palate-driven holiday is an opportunity to teach the meaning behind the celebration. It is, after all, a day to remember God and give thanks.

The scriptures are filled with passages calling us to maintain a thankful heart. From Psalm 106:1, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,” to Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians urging them to “give thanks in all circumstances” (5:18). It was this latter verse that sustained the Pilgrims, venturing to the New World, who ushered in the Thanksgiving Day celebration.

In the winter of 1620, Pilgrims, traveling by sea, settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts. They came for religious freedom — a desire to worship God and live according to Holy Scripture. But the country they found was bleak and uninviting, with several inches of snow already on the ground. Of the 102 passengers aboard the ship, the Mayflower, nearly half died during the first winter of the “great sickness.” Yet, according to settler Edward Winslow, they were grateful to God for his provision in their lives. A year later, the group celebrated with a feast of thanksgiving.

So, this year as the guests arrive, in addition to a bountiful meal, try these fun-filled age-appropriate activities that will direct children, and adults, back to the true meaning of the holiday, and also create Thanksgiving Day memories that will last a lifetime.

Ages 0-3

For the very young, holidays are about the nurturing and extra attention received from grandparents and other close family and friends. Try to provide time for fun interaction, with songs and hymns that celebrate the season. Provide toddlers with some crayons and color books, and invite grandparents to color along. Be sure to include The Pumpkin Patch Parable, a picture book by Liz Curtis Higgs, for an after supper story time.

Ages 4-7

Make your young guests feel special when Thanksgiving dinner is served atop a custom-made tablecloth they designed. Break out the color crayons, or markers, and allow each child to draw their own artwork depicting a thankful day. Later, play a game of “Alphabet Thanks,” where children draw from a bowl of letters, and then tell God thanks for something that begins with the letter they picked.

Ages 8-12

This age group is ready to put the spirit of thanksgiving into practice by canvassing their neighborhood, collecting canned food items for those in need. For fun on Thanksgiving Day, have this age group use a video camera to film their own home movie about giving thanks. Guests can be entertained as they view the finished work on the TV during dessert. Or, for the more musically minded, have the kids borrow the tune from their favorite pop or rap song and replace the lyrics with a seasonal message.

Age 13-18

This age is perfect for hands-on community service. Visit the local rescue mission or nearby retirement home, and have them pitch in by serving the holiday meal. Another fun idea is to invite these teens to compete in a pie-baking contest, with Gram and Gramps deciding the winning recipe.

ORIGINS OF THANKSGIVING 

Our Thanksgiving holiday began in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation calling for a national day of thanksgiving. It is simply awesome to reflect on the God-fearing Christian heritage of our country. Teach it to your children. Here is the text of that proclamation:

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

“In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

“Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore.

“Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

“And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”

THANKSGIVING HUMOR, #1 

A Thanksgiving Cookbook by Mrs. Geraghty’s Kindergarten Class
NOTE: Mrs. Geraghty will not be responsible for medical bills resulting from the use of this cookbook.
~Alan – Turkey
First you shoot it and then you cut it. And then you put it in the oven and cook it for 10 minutes and 20 degrees. You put it on plates and then you eat it.
~Jeremy – Turkey
You buy the turkey and take the paper off. Then you put it in the refrigerator and take it back out and cut it with a knife and make sure all the wires are out and take out the neck and heart. Then you put it in a big pan and cook it for half an hour at 80 degrees. Then you invite people over and eat.

~Andrew – Pizza
Buy some dough, some cheese and pepperoni. Then you cook it for 10 hours at 5 degrees. Then you eat it.

~Shelby – Applesauce
Go to the store and buy some apples, and then you squish them up. Then you put them in a jar that says, “Applesauce.” Then you eat it.

~Christopher – Pumpkin Pie
First you buy a pumpkin and smash it. Then it is all done. And you cook it in the oven for 12 minutes and 4 degrees. Then you eat it.

~Jennie – Corn
My mom buys it. Then you throw it. Then you cook it. Then you eat it.

~Joplyn – Apple Pie
Take some apples, mash them up. Take some bread and make a pie with it. Get some dough and squish it. Shape the dough into a pie shape. Put the apples in it. Then bake it at nine degrees for 15 minutes.

THANKSGIVING HUMOR, #2 

TEN REASONS TO BE THANKFUL YOU BURNT THE TURKEY!

10. Everyone will think your turkey is Cajun-blackened.

9. Uninvited guests will think twice next year.

8. Your cheese broccoli lima bean casserole will gain newfound appreciation.

7. Pets won’t bother to pester you for scraps.

6. No one will overeat.

5. The smoke alarm was due for a test.

4. Carving the bird will provide a good cardiovascular workout.

3. You’ll get to the desserts more quickly.

2. After dinner, the guys can take the bird to the yard and play football.

1. The less turkey Uncle You-Know-Who eats, the less likely he will be to walk around with his pants unbuttoned.

Halloween, 2010

Ah yes, it’s almost Halloween – the pagan, turned Roman Catholic, turned commercial American holiday.  Here’s a little resource that may be useful in small groups this year for your conversations about Halloween.

By clicking here you will find a great article on Halloween from John MacArthur’s ministry Grace to You.  Excerpts include:

  • Halloween will bring in approximately 3.3 billion dollars this year.  [an average of $41.77 per household in decorations, costumes, candy, and greeting cards.]
  • The question is, “How should Christians respond to Halloween?”  Is it irresponsible for parents to let their children trick-or-treat?…
  • The unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world lives in perpetual fear of death.
  • Other Christians will opt for Halloween alternatives called “Harvest Festivals” or “Reformation Festivals”
  • How should Christians respond to Halloween?

Which reminds me…See you at Lake City’s Harvest Carnival on October 31!  Small Groups meeting that Sunday are asked to postpone their regular meetings and attend the Harvest Carnival as a community outreach event!

I pray you are fearless in Christ from all that tries to haunt you in this life.

Pastor Reg