The world may indeed fall apart. We don’t have to crumble with it. But holding it together is going to involve letting go of the things of the world that we have come to love.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. I John 2:15
You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Rev. 2: 3-5
As I face the New Year and prepare my heart for the time of dedication our church is heading into I am making a list of the things God would have me release this year. How would God have you simplify your life in 2013 to release yourself from the burdens of the world…the love of the world?
Sometimes the best way to launch a new venture is by capitalizing on the victories of the past. I am determined to believe great things of 2013 in spite of the significant challenges I see ahead. For the God who did such great things in 2012 is still the God of this moment and of all the moments that lie ahead. His power is not diminished by our national debt, or by the threat of winter storm G—– coming soon to a state near you. In the face of future tragedies his love will not pale or lose its potency. He is God, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End. He is the same yesterday today and forever! Let’s believe Him for big things in 2013 as we thank Him for what He did in 2012.
Here is a brief list of my Thanksgivings for 2012:
1. I am thankful that God met my sister’s budgetary needs so she could move to The Netherlands for the work of missions.
Brenda and Leqad Missionary Judy Mensch
2. I am thankful that God supernaturally healed Brenda from a terrible sinus infection in one minute with no medication just before the Easter play was scheduled to go up!
3. I am thankful that God provided an eight week internship for my daughter to Thailand for $700.00.
A trip down the river, Thailand
4. I am thankful God provided for a thirteen week internship for my son in Myanmar.
Joe in the air control tower at Yangon. He has been helping air traffic controllers with their English.
5. I am so thankfu God gave me time to visit relatives in both Maine and The Netherlands.
I visit Maine
St. Bavo’s sits in the center of Haarlem Sqare.
6. I am thankful for the opportunity to minister in music at Special Touch Camp in Connecticut with my daughter.
My first year working at Special Touch
7. I am thankful that after being hospitalized four times last year my daughter Amanda’s migraines are under control.
8. I am thankful that the grammatical edits on my book are done!
9. I am thankful that after a bad tomato harvest in my own garden someone gave me a enough tomatoes to make a gallon of sauce!
10. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit has been showing up in service when our church gathers. I am so blessed that our church is alive with His presence!
11. I am thankful that our lead pastor took the staff this fall to the Cape for a ministers retreat with Mark Batterson
Sunset DIamonds by JE Lillie Cape Cod
11. I am thankful that our artists community has continued to meet.
second annual art show
12. I am thankful for the wonderful team of people God has allowed me to work with all these years.
Praise God for the big and the little in 2012. It will cast a better glow on 2013.
I am preparing myself for a funeral this morning. Not three days ago I was celebrating the birth of the newest member of our congregation along with the birth of the world’s Savior, Jesus.
What is the message as we approach 2013? In this world darkness and light will continue to vie against each other. Darkness may grow but as long as the church is in the world…as long as the church trusts in the strength of the only hope then light will be overcome the darkness however strong it may appear.
Every year we sing “The First Noel”. We are so far beyond that now. We are tonight celebrating the 2012th Noel (give or take). It amazes me that being so far separated from the event we yet celebrate it. That fact alone speaks to the importance of the act, God coming to dwell among us! How blessed are we that the Creator chose to take on the form of man…to become one of us…to bear our sin and so liberate the entire creation from the bondage to decay!
Merry Christmas friends! Never forget what God did for us!
Well winter has finally arrived folks! It has come to New England just in time to leave. At least it put in an appearance! 🙂
For New Englanders used to the harsh winters of the North East, this year has been a little disconcerting. Even so the snow while sort of comforting was the typical heavy wet spring stuff. It Looks pretty on the trees but is sort of like shoveling mud. Shoveling aside, the countryside of Massachusetts looks so pretty in its seasonal color. Who said white doesn’t work after labor day?Be blessed! JE
Christmas 2011 is now upon us, dear reader. Therefore, I thought it appropriate to take a few moments to share some pastoral points about how to have the perfect Christmas tomorrow.
1. Give yourself grace: As a culture we put too much pressure on ourselves to get it right. We expect that we are going to be able to produce the Norman Rockwell Christmas that even Norman Rockwell couldn’t create. It’s time to realize, the “perfect” Christmas doesn’t exist. You can not create it; So relax and receive Christmas as it comes. It can be wonderful without being “perfect”.
2. Give others grace: If you can’t create the perfect Christmas neither can your spouse or your kids. Release them from impossible expectations and let them be themselves.
3. Thank God Tomorrow: By releasing unrealistic expectations you will be able to stop looking at what Christmas is not and praise God for what it is. So many of us are in less than perfect situations this year. That doesn’t mean there aren’t blessings to be found in the day. Take some time to thank God for every good thing in your life.
4. Make the day about Christ: We talk a lot about how commercialized Christmas has become. Let’s stop talking about it and do something about it. Take some time to make Christ the focus.
5. Take a Break: For God’s sake (and I really mean that) sit down sometime during the day. Take a load off. Shut up and rest!
6. Take Heart: In the end it is only one day…twenty four hours. Even if the sucker totally tanks anyone can make it through twenty-four hours! So rejoice the twenty-sixth is boxing day. You can bag up any bad memories and just return them to the store. Next year will be better.
7. Remember Pastor Wrinkles loves you. That alone should make for a perfect holiday 🙂
I know it’s last-minute; But it is never too late to jump on the computer and make a donation in that special someone’s name. Consider giving the gift of giving this year. After all, the person you are thinking about probably already has everything he/she needs… right? That’s why you’re having such a hard time finding a gift.
Here are some giving suggestions if you are at a loss:
1. Donate Bibles from the Gideons in your loved one’s name.
3. Make a one time donation to your favorite missionary. These folks give their all year-round. Many of them are short or underfunded as churches in the U.S. cut budgets.
4. Speed-The-Light is one of my favorite missions outreach. This agency provides tools for missionaries to get their jobs done effectively. They provide cars, vans, buses, sound equipment,and anything else a missionary might need to “get’er done”.