Listen to this week's sermon here:
James offers some insightful, yet challenging statements which we heard again in worship today. Two in particular are when he says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." And "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows..." Using a dialogue format our Lead Minister, Dr. Daniel, and our Associate Minister, Jen Hibben, talked about how this applies to us as we enter the Advent Season and with Christmas around the corner. True religion is not surface-level or shallow; it's a life-changing force -- it's about Jesus. And exerts positive influence on our lives and on others' lives. What is Christmas all about...to you? Hopefully it's Jesus. With that in mind we're planning a different kind of Christmas because there's more than what we've acknowledged. We want to make it different for ourselves, for our families, for our community, and for our world. What will it look like? To help make it different, our Advent small group study will use of Mike Slaughter's well-written materials, "Christmas Is Not Your Birthday" and "A Different Kind of Christmas." We're going to ReFocus, and seek a closer relationship with Jesus. We're planning a different kind of initiative, and going on a mission for children who are the most vulnerable. We want to see more kids getting the food they need each day, both locally and globally, by partnering with the local agency, Children and Family Urban Ministries (CFUM), and StrongMissions located in Costa Rica. True religion springs from an inner spiritual reality, and expresses love for others -- to those on the margins of life -- children; the poor; the least; the lonely; widows. To accomplish this, our first-year challenge for ourselves church-wide is: whatever we spend for Christmas gifts this year, give at least 25% of that amount to this mission initiative for children. Might you join us and accept this challenge as well?
Gene Kelsey, Director of Christian Education