On the one hand, Sunday always follows Saturday. On the other hand, today is the first day of a new month and a new year. It’s hard not to notice taking down a calendar and starting a new one, or correcting our error when writing the date for a few days. We celebrate the new beginning and resolve to improve ourselves, or perhaps look with expectant hope that the next year will be different than the last.
God is always doing something new. His mercies are new every morning and he is always planning ahead… way ahead.
On Christmas Day I had the rare opportunity to light the center Christ candle in our Advent wreath. We don’t normally have a Christmas Eve service and this was the first time Christmas came on Sunday during my pastorate at Unity.
Why do we light candles to celebrate the birth of Christ? Why are there lights on the tree or Christmas lights at all for that matter? Join us as we look beyond the birth story to see who Jesus is and why he came into the world.
The angels proclaimed “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” The shepherds found the babe as the angels said, but is there peace on earth? Those who seek Christ can have peace even in a world that does not. He himself is our peace. -Ephesians 2:14
In 1918 the WMU Christmas Offering became the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Today the Foreign Mission Board goes by the name International Mission Board but the needs Lottie Moon wrote home about have not changed.
The national goal for the 2016 offering is $155 million. The goal for our local church is $350. Consider the need, consider the life-changing power of the Gospel, and prayerfully consider giving during this Christmas season.
Lottie Moon was 32 years old when she enter the mission field in China, and she stayed for 39 years. To learn more about her life and mission work, including her now famous letters home from the field, click this link.
Joy – noun, a source or cause of delight. Angels appeared to a group of shepherds and brought good tidings of great joy! The shepherds went to Bethlehem and found the baby Jesus just as the angels described, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. They heard about Jesus, sought after him, then shared the good news with others. And believers have been doing the same ever since.
On Sunday evening we considered the question “Why not shepherds?” which you can read on Pastor Clark’s blog The Master’s Table. click here to link Jesus is the Good Shepherd after all, and nothing in the Bible story just happens.
Today we light the Bethlehem candle and read about the faith of Joseph of Mary. I’ve said many times that faith is more than belief. Today’s sermon looks at faith in terms of trust, response and action.
Pray for rain – Dec. 4th at 3 pm on the steps of the Gordon County Courthouse. Christians from many churches and denominations will meet together and pray for actual rain and for showers of blessing. The forecast calls for rain Sunday afternoon so step out in faith, bring an umbrella, and join us in community prayer.
Christmas dinner – Dec. 10th at 5 pm in our fellowship hall. There is a signup sheet in the sanctuary for side dishes and desserts. Extended family members and friends of Unity Baptist are invited.
Christmas Day – Dec. 25th at 11 am. There will be no Sunday School and no evening services, but after the presents are opened and the stockings are unstuffed, join us for worship as celebrate Christ coming into the world.
If you’re new to the celebration of Advent, there is a brief introduction at the beginning of this sermon or read this article I wrote for the Calhoun Times last year to learn more. The season of Advent is about waiting for Christ to appear. If the hustle of bustle of season’s greetings, that stretch out from before Halloween to after New Year’s Day, seems a bit much then consider Advent a spiritually healthy alternative.
The first Sunday of Advent is Hope and we light the Prophets’ Candle. The Hebrews waited for hundreds of years for the realization of their hope in Emmanuel. Let’s look again at some of those prophesies, understanding that God has always been faithful concerning his promises and we can be certain in our future hope; he came as promised and will return as promised.
Join us Sunday, December 4th at 3 pm in front of the Gordon County Courthouse to pray for rain. We will pray for actual precipitation and for showers of spiritual blessings. It’s not just our association or even our denomination. We are asking for all Christians to come together for this public prayer event. Mark your calendar, share with your church and other churches. Please, thank you, and God bless.
UPDATE – About 40 or 50 met together from many different churches and denominations. It was actually raining as we thanked God for the rainfall and prayed for our community, nation and asked for revival.