Happy Christmas Time, FCC! As I write this, huge snowflakes are softly landing outside my window. It looks like I am sitting in a snow globe right now. I trust you are well, and I look forward to worshiping God together on Sunday!
God so loved the world that he gave his only son.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. I sinned against my grandfather, and I was caught. And I had to go and face him and tell him what I had done.
What did I do? I lied to him. I had gone to church on Sunday morning with my grandparents. Instead of going to help in the children’s ministry like I told him I was going to do, my friend and I walked down to Dunkin Donuts. Our plan should have worked. I don’t remember how, but someone found out about our deceit and told my grandparents.
Later that day, my dad told me we needed to go over to my grandparents, so I could talk with my grandfather about my lie. I really respected my grandfather, and on the short eight-minute drive to his house, I was terrified. I did not want to go and talk with him.
Fears entered my thoughts, as I felt the shame of my guilt. What would he say to me? How disappointed would he be? Would he still like me? Would he still love me? Would he ever want to talk with me again? Would things ever be the same between us? I wanted to hide.
Tim Keller writes, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear” (Source: “Meaning of Marriage”). That was my fear. I knew that my grandfather knew me as a liar, as a sinner. Would he still love me?
We have this fear, not only in our human relationships, but also in relationship with God. John tells us that one of the reasons our hearts resist Jesus is because he is the light, who exposes our wicked deeds (John 3.19). Because our deeds are wicked, we want to stay in the darkness. Why? Because we’re afraid. Our hearts are afraid that God might reject us, if he really knew us.
But the power of John 3.16 is that God already knows our sin, and he loves us still. The wonder of John 3.16 is that God loves a dark, wicked world. He loves the world to act to rescue it. He knows and loves you and he acts to rescue you. That’s why he sent Jesus, not to condemn us—we’re already condemned—but to save us.
When I went and confessed to my grandfather my sin, he forgave me. He was reassuring, he was welcoming, he was clear that I had lied, but he was clear that he loved me. In that moment, I was known and loved. In that moment, God was giving me a glimpse of what it’s like to be known and loved by him.
God knows everything about us. He knows all the sin, all the unlovable parts of our character, thoughts, and desires. But he loves us, not because we are so lovable, but to make us lovely.
Pastor Tim Prince continues our Christmas series, The Wonder of the One, this Sunday. He will be teaching about the wonder that Jesus is One with God. And then wonder of wonders, Jesus has come to bring us into relationship with God. With the introduction of social media has come an increase of the fear of missing out, as it makes us more and more aware of all the things we are missing out on. Jesus has come to bring us to God, so we won’t miss out on the greatest relationship we can have—a relationship with the God who made and loves us. Jesus has done all the work so we can know God.
It’s because Jesus has come that we know God. It’s because someone invited us that we know Jesus. Let’s turn the fear of missing out on its head. Because Jesus has brought us to God, let’s be concerned that no one miss out on knowing Jesus. Let’s do everything we can to help others meet, know and follow Jesus!
One thing you can do is invite friends and neighbors to our Christmas Eve services, Dec. 23 at 9 + 11am and Dec. 24 at 4 + 8 pm. Did you know that one study found that eight out of 10 people who don’t regularly attend a church would go if invited? We’ve created a couple ways to help you invite the people you know to our Christmas services.
Wonder of the One Series Resources
With this series,we have some great reading resources to focus your heart during this Christmas season. You can pick them up in the resource area on Sunday morning or by following the links below:
The mission of Faith Community is to make more and better disciples of Jesus Christ. We want to help everyone to meet, know and follow Jesus. Through our strategic plan, we have established five main initiatives to help us move toward this overall goal.
Sunday, Dec. 9, after both services in the Refuge Room
Led by Steve and Anne Butler
Our mission is to make more and better disciples of Jesus Christ. Part of discipleship is knowing Scripture and applying it to all of life. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of memorizing Scripture and tips on how todo so, you’ll want to check out the next As We Go Discipleship Workshop, Setting Your Mind on Christ. This workshop is for everyone, whether you’re just beginning to follow Jesus or you are mentoring others in their discipleship. Just head to the Refuge Room next Sunday after either one of the services. There’s no registration needed for the workshop! Find more info about the workshop at fcchudson.com.
SERVE INDIA - KWIK TRIP CARDS AVAILABLE THIS SUNDAY
Part of the vision of Faith Community is to empower global missional leaders. One way we live that out is through partnership with SERVE India, which supports the expanding missionary effort in India, specifically in Andhra Pradesh, a state in South East India. You can stop by their booth in the lobby on Sunday to learn more about SERVE India. This Sunday, in addition to KwikTrip cards being available to purchase in support of SERVE India, there will be clothing and accessory items from India, that will be available to purchase, too!
Renew the neighborhoods through bell ringing. The Salvation Army kettle drive is in full swing. Every penny given stays in St. Croix County with Grace Place being a key recipient. Volunteer at a time slot and place that works for you at registertoring.com. Thank you!
LEARN ABOUT FCC events and registrations at fcchudson.com.