I Thank God for You! Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!!!

“I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

I pray and trust you are doing well and staying healthy.

When I began writing these daily devotionals I had no idea that I would be doing so for months!

The reason why I began writing these devotionals is because we made the decision early March that we would be going to online worship until there was a vaccine for Covid. In conjunction with this decision, the session and the pastoral staff made a commitment to equip the saints to not only endure this season but to thrive because we are convinced that’s what God expects of the saints. There is never a season when God doesn’t desire for his church and saints to thrive.

We believe there are three components to disciples thriving:

  1. Commitment to worship
  2. Commitment to community and service
  3. Commitment to daily encounter with God’s word

The staff have worked hard on your behalf to make these things possible.

  1. We have gone to online worship and worked to make our online worship as excellent as possible
  2. We have moved all our members and regulars to neighborhood groups where we can serve one another
  3. We have been emailing daily devotionals to encourage and equip the saints for growth and maturity

Little Church and Lakewoodgrace, I thank God for you. You have made some very difficult shifts during this season.

  • Even though we have not met in person as a congregation since the first week of March, your engagement in worship has not declined. In fact, the numbers of people who are worshiping with us online is much greater than the average attendance prior to covid
  • The children’s ministry team has continued to engage our children and families with crafts and weekly video messages
  • You have been faithful to support the ministry through your finances and tithes
  • The ministry impact and reach of the Little Church and Lakewoodgrace has increased during this season!
  • You have made the shift to neighborhood groups where you’ve taken on the primary responsibility to stay in touch and serve one another
  • You have been faithful to read and engage with these daily devotionals

It’s been quite a year, but it’s a year which I thank God for his faithfulness to the Little Church and Lakewoodgrace. God has been faithful through your faithful support and engagement. I thank God for you and in all my prayers for you, I always pray with joy.

Thank you Little Church and Lakewoodgrace!

I will be taking a break until January 4th from the daily devotionals for Christmas and New Year.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year Little Church and Lakewoodgrace!

Father, Here’s Another One

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

“Those little arms in the manger will one day grapple with the monster ‘death’ and will destroy it.” – Charles Spurgeon

“How proper it is that Christmas should follow Advent. For him who looks toward the future, the manger is situated on Golgotha, and the cross is already been raised in Bethlehem.” – Dag Hammarskjold, the second Secretary General of the United Nations

The name “Jesus” is the Greek form of Joshua, which means the LORD saves.

Christmas is not the beginning. In order to understand the meaning of Christmas you have to go back to the beginning. You have to go back to Genesis.

To capture the full meaning of Christmas, you have to go to Good Friday and Easter.

Christmas is not the complete story of God’s saving work. For that, you have to go to Revelation.

  • God created the world and declared it good
  • But sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve
  • Sin ushered in death for all
  • God could not imagine an eternity without you in it
  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in him will have everlasting life” (John 3:16)

The purpose of Christmas is fulfilled in Easter.

Have you ever wondered what Jesus’ final thoughts were before he drew his last breath on the cross? The final thought that Jesus had on the cross was you. You! You are the reason for Christmas and Easter. You were the last thing Jesus had in mind before he drew his last breath on the cross.

“Father, look. I present to you James, Brad, Bill, Nichole, Patsy, etc. Here’s another one.”

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Thank you, Jesus!

Merry Christmas!

God Never Asked Us to Like 2020…But Asks Us to be Faithful

“For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Questions matter.

  • Does this make me feel good?
  • Is this true?

These are very different questions.

If the main question you ask in facing difficult decisions is, “How does this make me feel?”, you will never accomplish anything great. For great things require great sacrifice.

At some point in our history, the main question in life transitioned from “Is this true?” to “How does this make me feel?” And our families, communities, and countries have been paying the price.

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a difficult year. But God never asked us if we “liked” 2020. What God does ask of us is that we remain steadfast and faithful to God. You don’t have to love 2020. But don’t overlook this season either. God doesn’t require perfect conditions to create beauty and purpose.

The reality is that God is at work right now. Yes. Even in 2020. There’s not been a single moment of 2020 when God has not been at work. In fact, God has equipped you, the Little Church, and Lakewoodgrace for fruitful ministry for this season.

Some are going through a really difficult season right now. I encourage you to pray that God opens your eyes to see how God is at work. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19).

Because 2020 has been such a difficult year, God chose you and me to be his church in such a time as this.

God is at work. God doesn’t need perfect conditions to accomplish his purposes. In fact difficult situations are the very ingredient needed for God to do what only God can do.

Friends, keep walking. Keep the faith. Keep obeying. “For we live by faith, not by sight.”