December 17, 2018
It’s the last Monday before Christmas Eve!! Have you finished your Christmas shopping? Word to the wise . . . don’t wait until this Saturday to go shopping . . . it will be a madhouse. Ha. Also, I wanted to let you know this will be the last blog of 2018 and the last one until Monday, January 14th. Some of you may get a few updates in between but no official blog until 4 weeks from now. Happy Monday!! As someone jokingly said yesterday, sometimes less of me is better so enjoy!!
As you might expect, with no blog for awhile, I have a number of dates I need to highlight today but I also want to share some words of inspiration. And since we are here right before Christmas you would expect it to be something from the Christmas story, right? Ah but you would be wrong. As we close out 2018 I want to revisit something familiar to some of you and new to others. I want to look at something from a study which greatly impacted many this year and that is “Experiencing God.” What an amazing study that was first written many years ago and yet is relevant even today. I want to emphasize two things here today.
The first is this: we must be On Mission! “He has ‘made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father’ (Rev. 1:6). In this relationship with Christ as King, you become involved in His mission to reconcile a lost world to God. To be related to Christ is to be on mission with Him. You cannot be in relationship with Jesus and not be on mission. Jesus said, ‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’ (John 20:21).” You will notice how I conclude my blog everyweek. Being on mission is who we are. I don’t want to bring this down to a negative slant but if you are not actively on mission with Christ then I would suggest you are not in a right relationship with Him. I look across, not just our church, but many churches and I see many people who are not on mission and who are not in a right relationship with Him. As Henry Blackaby says, it is really about becoming a Kingdom-oriented person. When we hear God speak and we respond in obedience then we begin to look for where God can use us as an individual and as a church.
Secondly, in this same section of Experiencing God he talks Koinonia in a way that goes beyond what we think of when we think of this word which we commonly translate as fellowship. We tend to think of Koinonia as pot-luck lunch or drinking coffee and talking. He says it this way: “You must act on faith in Him. You must make major adjustments to Him. You must obey Him. When you respond to God’s initiative, you come to know Him intimately by experience. Living in faithful obedience to Him allows you to experience His presence. This is Koinonia with God.” And then he lists 4 essentials to keep from breaking this Koinonia with God. He mentions that we must love God with our total being. “If you love God you will obey Him. If you love Him, you will also love your brother. If your fellowship with God is right – if you love Him with your total being – you will even be able to love your enemies.” Secondly he reminds us that we must submit to God. “When a person refuses to deny self and follow Christ, fellowship with God is broken.” We cannot allow self to take over in our personal lives and in the life of the church. He reminds us that Christ is to be the head of the church. “Fellowship is broken not only when an individual tries to be the head of the church but also when the church expects its pastor or another individual or group to rule the church. No individual or group can function as the head of the body if that church is to be a healthy body.” The third essential element he talks about is that our experience with God must be real and personal. Each of us must experience God for ourselves. We cannot rely on our spouse to do it for us. We cannot expect the pastor to make us encounter God. It is up to us as individuals. He reminds us that programs and plans and methods can never take the place of the Holy Spirit’s personal guidance. And then finally he reminds us that we must trust God completely. He says: “The Holy Spirit manifests Himself through believers and empowers them to accomplish God-sized tasks. God grows His church. The Holy Spirit produces unity. Christ brings forth spiritual fruit. You and your church must depend on God to accomplish His purposes in His ways through you. Completely depend on God.” May that be our desire as we begin 2019 very soon. May God be in control of our lives and may we have perfect Koinonia with Him so we may see Him working!!
And now some reminders!
Join us December 24th for our annual Christmas Eve Service. We will begin at 6:00 PM with a medley of Christmas worship songs and a candlelight lighting at the end. Invite your neighbor to come celebrate with us!!
Mark January 13th on your calendar. Gary Crowell from Tarrant Baptist Association will be with us that Sunday in our morning worship and we will follow this up with “The Legacy Dialogue.” We will meet from 12:30 p.m.—2:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. It will be a unique opportunity for those who wish to make current decisions about their resources that can bless generations now and yet to come. There will be a presentation of the 5 critical legal documents that each individual should have in place. Additionally, there will be an overview of Kingdom investment options that will be informative and beneficial. Discover steps for potentially saving thousands of dollars in current and future income taxes. Expect to leave with answers to your questions and a plan to take decisive action in this critical area of life stewardship. Gary Crowell is a CPA and Chief Financial Officer of Tarrant Baptist Association. Lunch will be provided for all participants immediately following morning worship!!
In January we will begin our 90 Days of Prayer emphasis. Stay tuned for more details about what that will look like. This is all part of our year-long plan as we seek to be On Mission as a church!! I pray you will join us!!
Much more to come!
Be in prayer for my daughter-in-law, Olivia Katherine Hixon, as she is expecting our ninth grandchild this week! Pray that God will be with her and our son, Caleb, and our grandson-in-the-womb, Henry David Hixon!
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?
P.S. Thanks to all for making yesterday an amazing worship service and a great time of fellowship at our home. A special thanks to Andy Hutchison for the massive amount of work and coordination in planning yesterday's worship. Thanks Miriam for translating for me! And an extra special thanks to my wife, Jennifer, for so, so much hard work in preparation for the Open House!!