Wednesday, December 25, 2013

New Year Resolutions

Can you believe that 2014 is upon us!? Weren't we supposed to have flying cars by now? It feels strange as we go deeper into this millennium and leave the 20th century behind us. Who knows what the rest of the 2000s will hold for us as a nation, as a community, as the Church.

One thing I'm always reminded of as we celebrate the new year is Christ's promise to make all things new. Revelation 21:4-7 says:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

We know that this world is not the way it is supposed to be. Just reflect over the pain and suffering over the last year whether in your own life or in the life of our nation. We look forward not only to a new year, but a new world where the "old order of things has passed away." This new order doesn't come instantaneously but through process. Jesus says "I am making all things new". The earth was cleansed in the flood and made anew, this took time and was part of a process. The pattern in Scripture is of rebirth, not of instantaneous action. Jesus himself is resurrected and exists in a new way, yet he retains his body and even eats with his disciples. So also with us, we are made new through process, sometimes through cleansing waters, sometimes through cleansing fire. We don't, like many in our culture, try to completely forget the past year and our worries through excessive party making, but rather use our past as part of the process in being made new. We have the strength by the power of the Holy Spirit to be conquerors not forgetters and look forward to the day we are glorified when God in perfect fellowship with us says "I will be their God and they will be my children."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Activities!

This is a great time of year to engage with your community! There are many activities and opportunities to get out and join in with others as the natural rhythm of our culture intersects the sacred rhythm of our faith celebrations. Here are just a few that I know of, feel free to post below of other activities that our faith community may have interest in.

The Bethlehem Walk is a great event to go to, particularly if you have children. It's basically a short walk through characters, and displays that help tell the story of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. There are even some live animals that you can touch. Be careful the goat was a bit ornery last year! There isn't a charge for this and can help inspire conversations about the story of Jesus birth.

Candy Cane Lane, also known as the Satellite Beach cul-de sac Verbenia Court, does a wonderful light display every year. They even have a Santa come by on Christmas Eve. Again, there is no cost, this is just a neighborhood showing their Christmas cheer. There is a place where you can give donation to a Multiple Sclerosis non-profit. Here's a link to a Florida Today Article that highlights Candy Cane Lane.

Another free activity, is volunteering at a local mission partner like Daily Bread. Our God is a giving God and as we are created in his image, we actually are designed to give of ourselves to others. When you do give you follow in the steps of Jesus who gave himself for us. As in the past few years, Daily Bread is having a sign-up sheet and taking volunteers at large for the week of December 22nd through the 28th. They are encouraging all who would like to serve to sign up by calling Daily Bread, 723-9046, and let them know that you're wanting to sign up. They have all sorts of positions: food line servers, table busing, food prep, dish washers, and front door greeter. These positions are filled on a first come basis, so commit now to serving others this Christmas season.

If you see this blog in time, of course don't forget the free Christmas concert offered here at Trinity! Offered at both 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM on Sunday December 15th on our campus, the participants really go all out in preparing for this yearly event. Our choir as well as an orchestra do an incredible job with this. This year part of the proceeds will go towards our mission partner His Place Ministries which operates not only as a cold night shelter, but also offers a street life ministry, a chemical addiction program, classes open to the public, counseling, and Sunday morning worship services.

Pastor Michael wrote about the joy of caroling in his last blog post. Maybe you know of some caroling opportunties you could post below? Covenant Partners Robin and Clint Braswell are going caroling with others on Friday December 20th:

Robin and I are doing our annual Christmas caroling next Friday night (Dec 20th) and would love to have you join us!  If you haven’t done this in a while you are missing out on a lot of fun and a great way to take in some TRUE Christmas spirit.  We will meet at our house at 6:30.  After hitting a few houses in the neighborhood we will end up on Verbenia Court in Satellite Beach.  If you aren’t familiar with Verbenia Court it’s a lavishly decorated street and a very popular place during Christmas time. The past two years we have ended up here, in Sally Davis’ driveway (a  school teacher many of you may know) to help her raise money for MS.

And please bring your kids!  They are what makes this evening such a blessing!

If you wish to join us please let me know you will be coming so I can make sure I have enough song books.  If singing isn’t your thing, no worries.  We will have plenty of voices to cover for you :)

With God’s Blessings... Clint and Robin

Again, feel free to share more opportunities in the comments below as we celebrate the Advent, the Coming, of the One, the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus our Lord!