Monthly Archives: December 2009

Creator and Sustainer of this!

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Blow your mind by watching this!

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It is an awe-inspiring reminder of how great Christ is!

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He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

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When I consider your heavens,
? the work of your fingers,
? the moon and the stars,
? which you have set in place,

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what is man that you are mindful of him,
? the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4

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Peace,
?Dave

The Christmas Story

Merry Christmas!

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Luke 2
?The Birth of Jesus
? 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
? 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
? 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

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13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
? 14″Glory to God in the highest,
? and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

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15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let?s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
? 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

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I hope you enjoy time with friends and family today celebrating the birth of our Savior – the greatest gift of all time! Let us not forget the real meaning of today! God Bless.

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Chris

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Grateful for His Obedience!!!

Our response to God?s gift to us becomes our gift to God.

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Consider that as you read this passage from Hebrews 10. I read this this morning and it was one of those moments…I swear I never read these verses before…

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5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
? “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
? but a body you prepared for me;
? 6with burnt offerings and sin offerings
? you were not pleased.
? 7Then I said, ?Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
? I have come to do your will, O God.? ” 8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

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What a crystal clear explanation of why Christ took on human flesh.

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I am grateful Christ was obedient to the Father?s will. My response, with his help, is to be obedient to the Father as well.

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Our Advent readings for this week include:
?* Micah 5:2-5a
?* Psalm 80:1-7
?* Hebrews 10:5-10
?* Luke 1:39-55

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I hope and pray you and your family have a meaningful, fun and relaxed Christmas.
?Hopefully I?ll see you at one of our Christmas Eve services – 7PM or 11PM.
?Peace,
?Dave

Middle School Lock-In

Today is the day of our annual Middle School Lock-In. It?s one of our major youth ministry events of the school year. We?ll have anywhere from 15-50 middle school students at the church tonight. The event starts at 7pm and goes until 8am the next morning. Sleep is optional and realistically, most of the kids will stay up all night. We always have a blast with this event. Our hope is that this event brings in some new students. We ask our students to bring some friends that wouldn?t normally come for church or youth group. This year we laid out a challenge. The student that brings the most friends gets to put a pie in the face of an adult leader of his/her choosing. I hear a whipped cream facial is good for the complexion ;)

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We (the middle school ministry team and I) would appreciate your prayers for tonight. Please join us in praying for a good turn out, for a safe night, that relationships would be established, and that this event would be a catalyst to get more students involved with our middle school youth group.

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Grace,
?Chris

Moving Past Our Guilt

I have a friend who was convicted of a felony about 12 years ago. He blew it big time and he paid for it big time. My friend acknowledged his guilt – he never made any excuses or tried blaming anyone else – he took full ownership of his sin. He completed the sentence handed down by our judicial system. He was truly remorseful and ever since his life is changed. He is growing in his relationship with God, active in church and a very devoted husband and father. He is a good guy – an honest guy – I trust him in every way.

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Yet his criminal record still haunts him. He is struggling to find a job because his past keeps rearing its ugly head with every background check done by a prospective employer. Though he is fully qualified and would be a hard working employee – doors keep getting slammed in his face.

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It is very sad and discouraging for him.

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He has recently been granted a clemency hearing with the Illinois Review Board in hopes of clearing his record – truly giving him a fresh start. I pray he finds mercy there.

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As I’ve been thinking about him, I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am for the mercy of Christ in my life. I am guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt! I have sinned against him in thought, word and deed; by wicked things I have done and left undone.

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Yet I enjoy this truth: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… Romans 8:1.

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I also know this to be true: …as far as the east is from the west,
? so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12.

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And thank I God for this little truth nugget: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! II Corinthians 5:17.

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Advent brings us the hope of an Advocate, a Defender, a Savior who declares us innocent – with no record of wrong in our past to haunt our present or future. His coming gave each one of us clemency!

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Our Advent readings for this week include:
?•?Zephaniah 3:14-20
?•?Isaiah 12:2-6
?•?Philippians 4:4-7
?•?Luke 3:7-18

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I pray you have a great week enjoying the clean record and fresh start you have in Christ Jesus!

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Peace,
?Dave

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Christmas Killers

At youth group this week we talked about 3 things that can and will kill Christmas if we let them creep into our hearts and minds. Selfishness, Greed, and Jealousy. Definitely not words that I want to describe me, yet such easy traps to fall into.

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Selfishness. It?s so easy to get in the habit of thinking about me first, others second. That?s not the life God has called us to. Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

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Greed. Are you thinking Ebenezer Scrooge? That?s the easy example, but what about the little things? It?s gotta start somewhere. Proverbs 28:25 A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.

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Jealousy. Especially this time of year, its easy to play the comparison game. That?s a game that you never win. Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

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These Christmas killers take the focus off of Christ and put it on me. Christmas is not about ME, its about CHRIST. May God help all of us keep our hearts and minds set on Christ this Christmas season.

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Grace,
?Chris

Advent = Looking forward to Him!!!

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:1

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Advent is the season to prepare our hearts to receive anew the gift of Christ. We are to focus ourselves spiritually – intentionally develop a seeking heart, a desirous spirit, an anticipation that God is about to break through into our world. Advent calls us to center on Him!

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Check out these lyrics of the classic Christmas hymn by Charles Wesley:

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Come, thou long expected Jesus,
??born to set thy people free;
??from our fears and sins release us,
??let us find our rest in thee.
??Israel?s strength and consolation,
??hope of all the earth thou art;
??dear desire of every nation,
??joy of every longing heart.

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As you move to heighten your sense of anticipation – use these Advent readings this week:
?* Malachi 3:1-4
?* Luke 1:68-79
?* Philippians 1:3-11
?* Luke 3:1-6

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Let?s all be getting reading for a meaningful Advent season!

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Peace,
?Dave

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The Untrusting Hitchhiker

Question: How can you trust someone you don’t know?

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Answer: You can’t!

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Once, after spinning my car off into the ditch on an icy road, I hitched a ride from a young couple in a pick-up truck. I was slightly apprehensive; I was ready to bail out my door if anything weird started to happen. I was relieved when they dropped me off at the nearest gas station. I did not have any specific reason to not fully trust these do-gooders… other than – I did not know them. They were strangers. It is impossible to really trust a stranger (to trust a stranger really isn’t trust – its naivety and foolishness).

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Do you sometimes have trouble trusting God? I do.
?Is he really in control? Is he aware of the stress and chaos in my life? Does he care? Is he truly paying attention?

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This week I have been reading Psalm 25 over and over again; especially verse one:

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“To you O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God”

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That is awesome. I would love to present myself before God without any fear, or worry or doubts. I want to grow to be that kind of person. But how?

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Answer: Get to know him better. Spend time with him. I cannot trust a stranger or even a casual acquaintance. The people in my life that I trust implicitly are, without exception, people I have logged a lot of hours with. Through experience I know they are trustworthy. My trust in them is based upon what I have personally seen and experienced with them.

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Our trust in God is a dynamic, fluid, growing thing. To intentionally develop my trust in him I must spend time getting to know him better. The primary way this is done is to spend time in his word. He reveals himself to me there. As I meditate upon his character my faith grows because I understand more fully who God is and what he is like.

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The couple that gave me a ride might have been on par with Billy Graham and Mother Teresa but since I didn’t know them it was impossible for me to relax.

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I want to trust God more. Therefore I will spend time with him. To know him is to trust him – for he is trustworthy!

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Peace,
?Dave

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