The God of Christmas

1-1-2023
C. Hayden
 
 
The Apostle Paul never seemed to miss an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with those
around him. After stirring up the population, along with evil men purposefully inciting the crowds in
Berea (Northern Greece), Paul is sent to Athens. There he waits for Silas and Timothy to join him.
During his “wait,” Paul notices the many idols he finds there and he, as is Paul’s way, is stirred to bring
forth the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Jews and Gentiles in the synagogue and the marketplace,
eventually ending up at the Areopagus (a council of men responsible for the education and governance
of Athens). In the very midst of this group of powerful men, Paul declares to them, “ Men of Athens, I
perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the
objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
 
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you…” In the following Scriptures, Paul
not only delegitimizes the false idols in the room, but then declares that it is Jesus as the one they need to seek, for it is He who was raised from the dead and will judge the world in righteousness. I wonder, when looking at the baby Jesus in a manger sitting on our fireplace mantle or displayed under the Christmas tree, or some other prominent place this season, we realize that we are viewing, in those simple Christmas decorations, a representation of the Divine Creator and Governor of all things. The wise men were not just seeking a beautiful Christmas display they could add to their many sight-seeing memories.
 
They were seeking the foretold one true Messiah of whom all glory, honor and praise in heaven and
earth belongs to. The One who would deliver all mankind from their sin, once and for all.
The Apostle John wrote this of Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and
was God. He (Jesus) was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him , and without Him
nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3). Colossians 1:17 says, “ 16 For by Him were all things
created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or
dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: 17 And He is before
all things, and by Him all things consist.” Sort of makes you look at the Nativity scene a little different,
doesn’t it?!
 
Be blessed even more!!
Pastor Chris

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Slow Down & Enjoy

12-15-2022
J. Fields
 
Where has the year gone? I cannot believe it’s almost Christmas! One of my favorite
things to do is to throw some earbuds in and listen to some instrumental Christmas music, the
sound of the piano, saxophone, guitars, and violins are beautiful. There are times my mind starts
thinking back to when I was a kid, the anticipation of Christmas day, presents under the tree,
time with family, and the hope that it may even snow, I love this season. Now that I’m older,
and a father I love watching the excitement that I once had as a kid now being relived through
my children.
 
Not only is Christmas a great time to enjoy the beautiful sights, sounds, yummy food, and
presents but it’s a great time to slow down and reflect on the miracle of Jesus Christ. These past
several weeks we have been reflecting on the advent themes of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Advent is about reflection and anticipation, reflecting on what God has blessed and done in our
lives, the greatest gift of all being His precious Son, Jesus Christ, and then the anticipation of
when He comes back (His return). The great anticipation of His return will take place in a
moment that no one is aware of, are you ready? “ For as the lightning comes from the east and
shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:27)
 
My prayer is that each of you will slow down, pump the brakes, reflect, pray, and thank
Him for the gift of eternal life. Jesus Christ is the most amazing gift that any of us will ever
receive. Have hope, live in peace, be joyful, and spread the love of Christ to a lost, dark, and
confusing world. Cherish the gift of Jesus, get to know your gift, spend time with the gift, and
become one with the gift, after all, this gift saved you and me from having to endure death.
Enjoy this Christmas and remember, He truly is the reason for this season.
 
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his
shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Pastor Jason

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God Is the Great Designer

12-1-2022
C. Hayden
 
For years we have been amazed by the images we were able to capture of space’s beauty and wonder
through the lens of the Hubble Space Telescope. This marvel of NASA engineering allowed scientists to
see further into space then we could have ever imagined, capturing pictures of God’s unending
wonders. Well, this champion optical technology has fallen to an even stronger telescope known as the
James Webb Space Telescope. The James Webb Telescope was launched in 2021 and can now view
space in greater detail not capable by the Hubble. We now see even farther into the expanse of our
Lord’s created universe, far beyond what the Hubble was able to do. The landscape below of
“mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young,
star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. It is one of the first images captured by
the Webb. Pictures from the Webb Telescope have put into question previously believed, yet
unproven, theories surrounding the universe’s supposed “Big Bang.” Scientists are now “not quite sure”
what they thought they knew due to the Webb telescope.
 
What the Webb has revealed to me, like its predecessor, the Hubble, before it, is that the
universe has undoubtedly been formed by a “Grand Designer” and “Precision Planner.” If God can
create a universe filled with stars, planets, and moons, all organized into
systematic galaxies with one being home to our Earth, a home that
is created so precisely that we can thrive from season to season,
year to year and century to century, He can certainly take care of
our own individual needs.
 
According to the Bible, God declares that He has even
planned out and designed our own lives. And as is His way, it is a
good plan. Psalm 139:16 says that all of our days were planned out and written in His book before we
were even born! Before you were conceived, God new you and loved you. And if you are nervous about
His intention regarding you, Jeremiah 29 puts our trepidation toward Him to rest. “’I know what I have
planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you
hope and a good future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
 
This does not mean we will not have bad days and even seasons of extreme difficulty. But each
struggle we have, God will use it to make us more like Him, strengthening our faith with patience,
making us complete and whole, needing nothing (James 1). When in a season of difficulty or feeling lost
at times, remember that the Lord is our Shepherd as well as the designer and planner of the entire
universe, we can put our trust in Him.
 
Be blessed even more!!​
Pastor Chris

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