Well the year has literally flown by, we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving which means that Christmas is right around the corner. On Sunday November 29th, we will have celebrated the first Sunday of Advent beginning the anticipation of the celebration of our Savior’s birth. The Prophet Isaiah promised God’s people over 700 years before hand in 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel means “God with us”. God becoming man to be with us humans, for the express purpose of redeeming us back and providing a means for us to be in a right relationship with God through faith Jesus Christ. Contrary to our modern way of thinking of a first and last name, Jesus Christ is not the first and last name of our Savior. “Jesus” (Jehovah is Salvation) is the name God the Father named His Son born in the flesh who would be God’s provision for the salvation of mankind. “Christ” is his title from the Old Testament as the promised Messiah who would save His people from their sins. While the marketing agencies on Madison Avenue and retailers jockey for position to capitalize on gift buying dollars during this season of celebration, the politically correct crowd is going to do their best to shove Christ out of Christmas with the mantras of “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”; for Christians, we know that its “CHRISTmas” and that Jesus really is the reason for the season. Regardless of what pop culture or the politically correct talking heads think, do not be ashamed to respond to people “Merry Christmas” when they tell you “Happy Holidays”. Put a big smile on your face and reply “Merry Christmas to you too.” Christ can only be removed from Christmas if we sit by and say nothing when we have opportunity. Just be sweet, show the love of Jesus and honor the Lord as you go.
This is an exciting time of year as we are preparing for a wonderful celebration of our Savior’s birth. I want to remind you it is one of the two times a year people will respond and come to church if you invite them. Many people want to go to church at Christmas and have no idea where to go, but if you invite them, they’ll come. I need your help doing just that, inviting people. Saturday Dec.5th is our Christmas blitz where we’ll walk through a neighborhood near church and place a bag on door handles with our schedule of events, info on Calvary, a bag of popcorn with an invitation to “pop in and see us” and of course the gospel. We’ll have hundreds of these to pass out and we need people who will walk to distribute these. We’ll feed you lunch but plan now to help us on Saturday, Dec. 5th at 11:00 a.m. If it pours the rain, we’ll aim for Sat.12th. December 13 is our choir musical in both services, Ken and the choir have been working hard and I’ve heard pieces of their music and it is awesome. Invite people to come with you to hear this powerful musical. We’ll have Christmas carols in our worship services all through December and each service will be special.
We are also kicking off our Lottie Moon Christmas offering for international missions. Our church goal is $24,000.00 which is an incredible opportunity for us to invest in God’s kingdom. Our international mission board uses every dime of this money for missionary support on the field and we have missionaries who cannot go overseas because there is not enough money to support them. I made a determination with my family several years ago that we would not spend more on ourselves at Christmas than we would give to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering as a birthday present to Jesus. What this meant for the Greens is that instead of giving our 5 kids each four presents, we might give them each 2-3 and we took the difference and gave that money to Lottie Moon as a gift to our kids in their names. Even as youngsters, our children got excited they could be part of the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Let me challenge you to not spend more on yourselves than what you give to Jesus for the Lottie Moon offering. If we all made that commitment, we’ll not only meet our goal, we’ll exceed that goal. Of course I’m not living in a cave and I know it’s tough economically and there’s much uncertainty financially, but I do know that we can never out give God. He gave us the very best He had in the person of Jesus Christ, what a thrill to give so that others may know Him personally.
On a personal note, Cheryl and I pray that this Christmas will be a wonderful Christmas for you and your family. We thank God for you, we love you and we’re excited to see what the Lord will do through each of us this Christmas. From my little corner of the world to yours, it’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTmas…
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church