A late good morning to each of you! ‘been busy cleaning my workroom in the basement. What a job. I’m finding tools etc. that I forgot I had! Good stuff.
Well, the college football play-offs are just around the corner, along with the winding down of the NFL season, which of course lays the ground for the Super Bowl, which is on Sunday February 5 in Houston. In the town which had the first domed stadium – the Astrodome ( http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/ballparks/astrodome/ ) - the new NRG stadium is a domed field covered with? You guessed it. Astroturf. The nylon carpet that covers most new stadiums, because they also are domed. The surface itself? looks good indoors and is low maintenance, but a bane to most players as it causes more injuries than good old-fashioned grass.
When I think of sports, I think of grass. I hearken back to the good ol’ days where grass was the only surface to play on in football and baseball. The good news these days? The top 12 playing surfaces of the NFL are grass! ( http://www.si.com/nfl/2015/10/01/nfl-stadium-turf-grass-rankings ) You see, when you play on grass, it’s better for your knees and ankles, it helps reduce concussions, and it is just the surface to play ball on. And the best part? You get dirty! After an hour of playing football on grass, your body is covered in green and brown (except the kickers!). You can see that there was a lot of action going on. It’s evident that most players were heavily involved in the game and some were not.
This is a great analogy for what we’ll talk about this Sunday. It’s about getting serious in our faith walks. I think we’ve sanitized the outward appearance of our faith lives (see James 2:24 – 26). We’re leery of “getting dirty” when we’re outside of church. We’ve become rather complacent when it comes to living out our faith. Dirty knees are a good thing! First, it indicates that we’ve not been timid in our desire to share Jesus with others. Secondly, it shows the unbelievers that we’re serious and real about God and our desire to do life with them. I mean, how can we relate to others who have stained knees and we meet them with our pristine knees? It’s kind of like trying to fit in at a construction site with un-calloused hands. You just don’t get the credibility you’d like.
So yes, we’re going to talk about stained knees this Sunday. And we’ll be featuring this them in the coming year too. If you want to roll around in the grass and mud with me, I’ll see you at 10:00 on Sunday.
God’s strength and power and love to you all,
Good morning one and all – children of our living God, seen so very clearly especially at Christmas when we witness Jesus our Savior taking on our living flesh to save us!
Just yesterday, the world experienced its yearly winter solstice. This is the time when our days begin to get longer from their daylight decline that has been happening for six months now. Isn’t there a strange irony there? Our days got shorter as we enjoyed the warmth and sunshine of this past summer. And now, as the days get longer, we face three (or more?) months of winter. It just sort of sounds like God got things backwards, doesn’t it? Goes to show how much we know!
That’s “classic God”, though. He does things that so often don’t make sense to us. Why does a seed have to die before it can make a new plant from itself? Why is it that when almost all things cool off, they get smaller, yet water expands in size? Why is it that He gave us the Lions to root for, when they will surely let us down? Hmmm… Here’s why: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8 – 9
Like the seed, though, God came to us in a living and breathing human being, giving Jesus to us in flesh and bone to be our Savior, even though He could have done it in any way He chose. Why was Jesus borne from a virgin named Mary, even though it was sure to cause scandal in their small town? Why would this beautiful little baby grow up only to be brutally killed on the cross? Why? It just doesn’t make sense. To us. But to God, it was His amazing way of extending His love to each of us. Take all of these things that we don’t always understand and simply allow them to resonate in our hearts and souls this Christmas and meditate upon them as Jesus’ mother did so long ago: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
May God continue to bless you with an unending awareness of His love for you! See you Christmas Eve at 7:00 pm!
Yours in Christ our Savior,
Please note that we will not be having a worship service on Christmas Day. Together we will “raise the roof” on Christmas Eve!
This is where I'm supposed to say: "Cold enough 'fer ya?" That's just like us fickle human beings isn't it? We want just enough snow to make it look pretty, and that should only be on Christmas or maybe through New Year's day. And we'd like all of that beautiful snow without it being cold. That's why we all seem shocked when it does get cold! Hmmm... Just more of my ramblings.
Oh, and here's another one! "Ready 'fer Christmas?" I assume they're asking about food, presents, travel, etc. I just tell them "Ask Mitzi!" For me though, as your pastor, I can say that like you, I'm getting ready to celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus our Savior. On this side of heaven, we'll never be fully "ready." I think that's a good thing, though. Just when we think we're done with the task (?) of readying ourselves for Christmas, we will be woefully reminded that we aren't; spiritually speaking and probably in our earthly readying either, which is maybe why we so easily freak ourselves out over this time that is supposed to be truly heavenly.
Allowing ourselves to be prepared for this time - by immersing ourselves into the greatest love letter ever within the greatest love story ever, along with filling ourselves with the cool Christmas carols and songs that force us to focus our hearts and minds on God's love for us, and prayers of gratitude for Jesus' birth - will also prepare us to retain this Christmas message long after the Christmas trees are put away or by the curb. This allows the love of God - who is the very description, definition and embodiment through Jesus and His suffering and death for us - to remain in and on us and percolate within us throughout the rest of the year. We will live then, in a Christmas & Easter mindset every day of our lives!
We will be celebrating the birth of Jesus in just ten short days! Please adjust your full holiday schedules to experience what is truly the most wonderful time of the year, Saturday evening at 7:00 pm. If you have plans to worship at another church, that's cool! But if not, I pray earnestly that you will heed the Holy Spirit's tug on your heart to be with us that holy night as we declare with the angels on that first Christmas: "Glory to God in the highest! And on earth, peace and goodwill to all of the world!"
Lastly, if you have an Operation Christmas shoe box to return, please bring it on Sunday. May our Christmas God to flood us with a special awareness of His love and care for you,
Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which sparked the beginning of WWII, a battle that would be fought for four long years. The attack killed 2403 men and injured 1178. (This was the first attack on US soil, not to be exceeded in casualties until 9-11, in which killed over 3000 people and injured an additional 10,000.)
It’s an honorable thing to recognize the events of Pearl Harbor; we must continue to remember all the men who died there, reminding us of the resolve of the United States when provoked and its security is challenged. Remember that we fought the war in both the Pacific campaign and European campaigns. Pearl Harbor Day reminds us of the might and determination when our entire country came together for one common goal, that is the freedom and preservation of our great country.
One of the questions that has been asked in the years since Pearl Harbor is “How did this happen?”. After all, it was peacetime and we possessed the largest and greatest fighting nation in the world. As it turns out, there were signs that an attack was imminent: First, in January of that same year, a message was intercepted, telling of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. It was dismissed as a rumor. Then, on December 7th, early in the morning, a Japanese submarine was identified near the islands. This compounded the inactivity of the Navy when a large Japanese fleet was discovered leaving Asia a week before. Finally, when the attackers go closer and our radar saw the fleet of aircraft heading toward Pearl Harbor, it misidentified them as a group of US bombers that were on their way about the same time.
Think about that: Given this many signs of imminent danger, they were all ignored for various reasons. Ignoring signs places us in danger many times. Stop signs, mandatory use of protective wear signs, even exit signs can be ignored, to our injury or even death.
This Sunday, we’ll discuss the signs that God used to let the world know that He was doing something absolutely mind-boggling in the birth of our Savior Jesus, to save us from sin and eternal death apart from Him. The shepherds in the nearby fields took the sign God gave them of the birth of Jesus seriously and went to worship Him. Unfortunately, there were those in that time that chose to ignore the signs and reality of Jesus’ birth; after all, they were looking for some royal and regal and noble savior that was coming to save them from all their earthly issues.
Look around, my receivers of God's grace. The signs have been given to us also. We have the very Word of God to strengthen and comfort us on our earthly journeys, and more importantly, we have a glorious eternal life in God’s heaven one day! However, throughout history, and as Pearl Harbor shows, all the signs can be ignored, even though God presents these signs as indications of what He was going to do in the final battle and defeat of Satan – the liar, deceiver, our greatest enemy. Christmas is a time to embrace all the signs of God’s prophecy of our Messiah (the “anointed One” – His Kingly description), all of the immense joy it brings – “Good will toward men.”
Please join us on Sunday to hear more of God’s love for you. Peace in Jesus,
FISHERS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Pastor Joseph Doenges
WORSHIP SUNDAY 10:00 AM
301 N. 6th Street
St. Clair, MI 48079
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization