"It's beginning to look at lot like Christmas!" I am sad for all the commuters, especially with the sink hole on I-694. But I am so grateful for the climatological reminder that though our sins be like scarlet, God will wash us whiter than snow (Isaiah 1.18). What grace! Who is like our God?! May our JOY increase as we know the all surpassing and steadfast love of our God.
And this is the will of him who sent me,
that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me,
but raise it up on the last day.
We are in the first week of advent. Advent is a from a Latin root that means “arrival.” And Advent is a season in the Church calendar, where we remember Jesus' first arrival and pray for his second arrival. The celebration of Jesus' first arrival begs the question, why did he come?
The core of Christmas is mission. Jesus came on a mission. You can see that in the text above. Jesus was sent. He was sent to accomplish a rescue. Jesus' first arrival was to deal a death blow to death and pay for our sins. He came that we would lose nothing that was given to him. Jesus came to rescue people from every tribe and people group in human history. Jesus came to reclaim the creation from the curse of sin. This is why we sing, “He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.” (Source: “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts)
Jesus’ second arrival will bring to conclusion all that he accomplished in his life, death and resurrection. On the last day, Jesus will bring his work to completion. Everything that Jesus died to purchase will be raised up.
Advent is about God's mission through Jesus to do for us what we could not do. We can't overcome death. We can't overcome our sin. God has done it for us.
Today, remind your heart that no matter what you face today, your greatest problems are already solved. Sin is dealt with and death is conquered. And then when faced with difficulties, bring into your heart that if God has taken care of your biggest problems—all because of grace and steadfast love for you—won't he be with you and help you in the midst of your daily cares and problems?
So, we follow Peter's instructions, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you..." (1 Peter 5.6).
This Christmas season we are focusing on Joy! And, learning more about how to experience the Joy we are made for. We can't create our Joy. Joy is a gift of God. We pursue Joy by adding elements in our lives that lead to experiencing Joy. This Sunday we will seek to add humility to our lives, because the happiest people are the humblest people. This Sunday we will learn from the first Christmas Carol ever sung, the song of the Mother of our Lord. Humble Joy (Luke 1.46-55).
We have two books for Advent available to purchase for $10 each in the resource area near the cafe:
Thank you for your participation in the vision meetings held last Sunday, outlining plans for 2018 and how they affect the budget. We really appreciate you taking the time to attend and letting us know your questions.
At FCC, our mission is to make more and better disciples, and we want to follow Jesus’ example. We want to make disciples who make disciples. For the past few months, we’ve been offering workshops to help equip FCC with practical, hands-on training to live out this mission.
The next As We Go Discipleship workshop will be held following both services in The Refuge Room on Sunday, Dec. 17. Two of FCC’s leaders, Jim Duffy and Josh Graham, will lead a discussion on the Five Stages of Growth in discipleship. The Five Stages were developed in response to the question: “How would I know what to study/work through with someone that I’m mentoring?” This has been a really helpful tool, and this workshop will help you learn how to apply the Five Stages in your mentoring relationships. The workshop is FREE and there’s no need to register!
Christmas Eve is on a Sunday this year, so we will have our regularly scheduled service times of 9 and 11 a.m. We will also offer a candlelight and carol service at 8 p.m. that night. You may already be thinking about a neighbor or friend that you’d like to invite. Did you know that one study found that 8 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 Eve services.
Thank you for helping us spread the word about our service times!
HEART FOR THE VALLEY is a student-led service event that seeks to provide a Christmas meal for those in need during the holidays, as well as giving extra food to stock their cupboards. Students will be packing and delivering meals on Wednesday, December 20. A $60 donation will provide a meal and additional pantry items for one family. Please DONATE online at fcchudson.com/hftv before November 30th! Thank you!