December 3, 2018

Mondays are often associated with a day when it’s OK to feel a little grumpy or irritable. Most people have just come off a 2 day weekend and its back to work so they might feel a little less than enthused this morning. Let me encourage you to be the hands and feet of love and joy today! Satan would love to see us cast a dark mood on everyone we come in contact with today but God is the God of hope! Be a light in someone’s life today!
Yesterday we began our service with a time of celebrating the Advent season. It didn’t go exactly as planned. Many people weren’t even tuned into the fact that we had started and something different was happening. But I also don’t think many people even knew what Advent means and why we’re celebrating it. 
“The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. It is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin, and yet who have hope of deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance!
It is that hope, however faint at times, and that God, however distant He sometimes seems, which brings to the world the anticipation of a King who will rule with truth and justice and righteousness over His people and in His creation. It is that hope that once anticipated, and now anticipates anew, the reign of an Anointed One, a Messiah, who will bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world.”
Over the next three Sundays we will continue to celebrate the Advent season as we anticipate the celebration of His coming at Christmas. We will conclude this celebration at our annual Christmas Eve Service. My prayer is that this month will be a time we set aside to do more than shop for gifts and hang Christmas lights and sing Christmas carols. Some traditions “fast” during the Advent season and some fast just from meat and dairy. Thankfully (ha) those are not a part of our tradition. But think about how your month can be different as you remember His coming!!
We are also in the middle of praying for our international missionaries and for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this week. I hope you had a chance to pick up a copy of the daily prayer guide as we specifically pray for our international missionaries during this week. We are also called to not only pray but also to give to help support them as they bring light to unreached people. And I would also remind you that we should not just pray and give but we must also GO! And as we think about international missions I want to remind you about how our church is involved in going internationally. Come join us as we go back to Greece to work with refugees there, most who have come out of a muslim background and now have the opportunity to hear the gospel message for the very first time. The dates are May 31-June 11. Call the church office or talk to me if you are interested. We are seeking to keep the cost at around $1000 + air fare. It’s not too late to ask your family to give to send you as this year’s Christmas present.
I always like to close out my blog with news about personal/family celebrations. Most of you already know this but I wanted to announce again that this past Saturday our youngest daughter, Olivia, was engaged to be married to Darrell Travis. Yes, Darrell did come and talk to me a few weeks ago. Ha. We are very excited and thankful that God has brought such a great guy into Olivia’s life. I hope you will join me in praying for them and praying that God will be the very center and core of their marriage together. Jennifer and I feel very blessed!
I also want to wish my son, Micah, a very Happy Birthday as he celebrates this Wednesday. He and his wife and family continue to be a great joy in our lives and we love them dearly. Be in prayer for his son, Eli, as he faces eye surgery this Friday as well.
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?