As 2019 draws to a close, we do have a couple of events that are upcoming and, since this is the final bulletin of the year (the office will be closed December 23-January 6), I thought I’d remind you of them.
First, remember that this Sunday night, December 22, is our final singing night of the year. If you haven’t been coming on singing nights, I would encourage you to give it a try...we always have a wonderful time praising God.
Next, remember that next Wednesday night, December 25, we will not be having services. Please enjoy this time of fellowship with your family and/or friends.
The next day, Thursday, December 26, is Boxing Day. Be sure to box up some presents for your household servants and remember to give them the day off.
Sunday, December 29 is an Agape Sunday. The sermon that morning will be on 20/20 Vision in 2020. Our morning service will be followed by a pot luck fellowship and we will dismiss for the day.
Tuesday, December 31, we will have a congregation game night and New Year’s Eve party. The fun starts at 6:00 PM and ends, well, whenever you want to go home.
Wednesday night, January 1, 2020 we will have a special devotional. As a part of that devotional, each of our shepherds will be sharing with you their vision for our congregation for 2020.
All of us have a lot things going on over the next couple of weeks...good things involving family and friends.
Don’t forget that God wants and expects to be #1 in you plans!
A few days ago, Monica and I did something we haven’t done in a long time...we went to see a movie. The movie we saw was “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
Of course most of us know that “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” was a TV show for younger children. He taught them about how to deal with, well, life.
The storyline of the movie focuses on the friendship between Mr. Rogers and a hard hitting journalist named Tom.
I highly recommend this movie to you. The only four-letter word I recall in the movie was “fame” (if you see the movie, you’ll understand).
There was one line in the movie, though, that I actually leaned over and told Monica, “I have to use that!”
While I don’t want to give away the plot of the movie, Mr. Rogers has helped Tom work through some issues. Tom has found Mr. Rogers to be about as genuinely a “good guy” as he has ever met.
When Tom’s father is dying, Mr. Rogers visits the family. After Mr. Rogers “introduces himself” to everyone and they eat the cake he brought, there is an awkward silence. Mr. Rogers breaks that silence by saying:
“To die is human, and anything human is mentionable. Anything mentionable is manageable.”
I’ve sat in that awkward silence many times. I’ve struggled with knowing what to say in that situation. I’ve even had small children sit on my lap in my office with their parents, trying to explain why their friend, parent, grandparent, etc. has passed away.
I guess that’s why this line stuck with me. While a small child may not understand, as an adult, it helps me get it.
It is not easy to lose someone we love. It hurts. We grieve. But it is a part of life...of being human.
But, as Christians, we can confidently say that even death is manageable...because death was defeated by Jesus!
Earlier today (Wednesday) I shared a post that a friend of mine on FaceBook had shared. It was a picture that says: “Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus.”
Traditionally, in the story of the birth of Jesus, the innkeeper is a heartless man who refuses to allow Joseph and Mary to stay in his inn...instead putting them in the stable, where later that very night, Jesus is born.
First of all, inns then and now were very different. There were no individual rooms, etc. it was something of a rest stop. Caravans would stop there and rest in, what was likely, a courtyard or large room.
Second, Luke 2:7 says Jesus was laid in a manger, “...because there was no place for them in the inn.” It doesn’t say a heartless innkeeper turned them out, just that the inn was full. An innkeeper isn’t even mentioned!
So because of tradition, modern thoughts about what an inn must have been at that time in Bethlehem, and, perhaps, the need for additional roles in nativity plays, the “Innkeeper” has been much maligned and criticized throughout the centuries.
But don’t let that detract from the point made by the picture. We all have to decide if we are going to make room for Jesus in our heart.
We all have to make a conscious decision to let Him into our heart.
Once we have let Him in, we have to let Him rule in our heart (which means we have to give up ruling our own lives).
And every moment of every hour of every day we have to make a decision to allow Him to stay on the throne of our heart.
If we never let Him into our heart; if we never let Him rule in our heart; if we try to limit His authority to a couple of hours on Sunday...well, who is being heartless now?