Come to the Manger

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christmas ornaments and bowsI’d like to wish everyone a blessed Christmas. If you are in driving distance, I hope you will join us for Christmas Eve worship at 5, 7 or 10:00. We have worked to provide a refreshing moment of peace in the presence of Christ to highlight your celebrations.

There is something deeply peaceful about staring into a warm fire on a chilly night. The Bible says, The Lord is my light & my salvation. Later in Isaiah it describes a time when we who live with great conflict will experience great peace. There is nothing that can match the kind of peace Jesus brings.

When we come to the manger, we know we aren’t coming to a baby, we are coming to the risen one who deeply wants to bless us.

During our time together we will enjoy Christmas songs, Christmas scripture and quiet moments of reflection on the Prince of Peace. As we close our year in worship together, we will share the simple, powerful light of His peace.

When we come to the manger, we know we aren’t coming to a baby, we are coming to the risen one who deeply wants to bless us. For us the manger is not a pace but a person: Jesus, the Son of God. This Christmas Eve why not come to the manger… there is peace at the manger because of the cross.

May His peace anchor your life and overflow in your heart.

Luke 2:10 “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

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Jesus Path to the Manger

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come to the manger promo blankPhil 2:5-8 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Come to the Manger… This month we have been looking more closely at those who came to the manger: What brought them there. What obstacles they faced. What we can learn for our own journey to the presence of God. Joseph & Mary both had fears & confusion to overcome. Both came to trust God’s purpose for their lives.

There is another who came to the manger whose path was quite different. Only he could have taken it. His path is so unique that it is hard for us to identify with it. And yet, it should move our hearts most of all. It appears that he had no choice in the matter but in fact there were some very serious choices that led Him there. He was perhaps the most intentional of all who were there.

 John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In invite you to think deeply about Jesus’ path to the manger. Recognizing it is critical to understanding His identity, His heart & His purpose. My hope is that a deeper understanding of Him will lead to a deeper appreciation & response to Him.

Take time to slowly read John 1:1-18 and Hebrews 2:14-18. Ask yourself, What did it mean for Jesus to come to the Manger & what could it mean for us?

Jesus walked through barriers by taking on flesh to give true life to all who would receive Him by faith. His path to the manger opens our path to eternal life. Please join us this week as we let Him speak deeply to our hearts.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

 

Joyful Surrender

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holding a globeWe all have a sense of destiny even if it has dwindled to a low-grade longing for our lives to matter. The good news is that our Creator made us for a great purpose. He gives us abilities, gifts, personalities and opportunity to make an eternal impact as we take our place in His long story. How do we find out part? How will we recognize it when it comes?

Like Mary, I need to live in surrendered faith. Jesus is here. He is working for good.

If we are willing, Mary- the mother of Jesus- teaches by her example. Who was Mary? A humble God worshipper. Ponderer of God’s word. Aware of his promises. Seeking to simply honor him in her life in a small out of the way town. But ready to respond to His call with humble surrendered faith! Her example teaches us.

God sends word to Mary through an angel that her time has come. Her purpose is about to begin. As a student of His word, she realizes this purpose extends beyond herself into eternity itself. Her heart was prepared to listen and believe. What about yours?

Like His work in Mary, God works still. Jesus has come. He invites people to enter His kingdom even now. Our part is first to respond and be transformed. Then we are to extend His message to others. If we live in surrendered faith His grace will extend well beyond us into multiple generations that touch eternity itself. Our part is to be vessels of His kingdom grace.

Like Mary, I need to live in surrendered faith. Jesus is here. He is working for good. I must embrace His work in me, so that it might extend to others unpolluted by my agendas or selfish hopes.

Join us this Sunday was we explore together the lessons of Mary and learn to experience the joyful surrender of God’s purpose for us as well.

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Come to the Manger

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come to the manger 01      Another Christmas season is upon us. There is something valuable about the seasons in God’s creation. Holy-days like Christmas give us planned reminders of our Heavenly Father’s great affection for us. The world wishes for the peace Christmas represents while pushing the limits of stress to make the most of it. Sales, activities and celebrations encroach on every spare moment to the point of exhaustion. Even believers like us get pulled into the rush. It doesn’t have to be this way for the follower of Christ.

The world celebrates an idea. Christ followers celebrate a loving Redeemer. It should make a difference in every part of life including the holiday. For us it should be more about joy than junk. More about peace than products. This Christmas I invite you to return to the core of Christmas. Come to the Manger. In this month’s teaching series we will examine the biblical stories of those who came to the manger for one reason or another. Each overcame different challenge to become willing participants in manger history. The authenticity of their faith in response to God’s work in their lives will encourage us all. I hope their lessons will renew your joy, deepen your wonder and strengthen your faith.

The world celebrates an idea. Christ followers celebrate a loving Redeemer.

God has blessed us so incredibly as a church family this year. The mix of challenges and opportunities continue to transform us as a spiritual family and impact others in our community for eternity. I am very thankful for each of you and your part in our shared story. I look forward to worshipping with you through this Christmas season and seeing what our Lord has in mind for the year ahead. In the meantime, I hope you join us each Sunday as we Come to the Manger together.