"Praise Be To God For His Greatest Gift"
I genuinely love this time of the year. November ends with a holiday geared especially towards the giving of thanks for all of the blessings we have in our lives. And being honest with ourselves, regardless of how tough times may be, we have so many things to be thankful for! The greatest of those blessings is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the salvation those who have called upon His name experience and enjoy. Then, just as quickly as Thanksgiving passes, we move right into the celebration of the advent of our Lord! We are reminded afresh and anew of God the Father’s great love for mankind in His sending of His very own Son, the Word made Flesh, the King born a servant, God become a man, to be the Savior of sinful man. And as we have been studying most recently on Sunday mornings, the Father didn't just send the Son so that we could be forgiven. He sent Jesus that we might be adopted into His family as sons! What a powerful thought that despite the sinfulness and brokenness of our lives the Father sought us, came for us, and has received us unto Himself. I have to echo the words of the apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 9:15 where he exclaims, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
As you celebrate Christmas this year, avoid the temptation of getting overwhelmed with the commercial end of it. While I am not instructing you to forgo buying any gifts for your parents, spouse, children, family members or friends or to take in and enjoy all of the sights and sounds of the season, I am encouraging you to make sure you focus as much of your attention as possible on the reason this season is celebrated in the first place! A number of years back my mom asked each member of our family to give one thing we were thankful for as we prepared to say blessing for our Thanksgiving meal. While we are often quick to respond with our family or our health, my mom replied that she was most thankful for Jesus Christ. The perfect answer!! Without Christ in our lives, Thanksgiving Day (or any other day for that matter) would be meaningless. Make sure, daily, that you are telling the Lord how much you love Him and how much He means to you (because in doing so, you are reminding yourself!). Look for opportunities to share Christ’s love with others, and be so bold as to ask the Lord to give you opportunities to do so!
As we focus our hearts and eyes on the Messiah this season, be quick to praise Him for having held us all so tightly throughout this past year. So many have had difficult life experiences, job losses, and the home going of loved ones and friends, but our God has sustained us through them all! For the Community Chapel church family, the past twelve months have been like a whirlwind. Thanks be unto God for giving us the strength to continue weathering the storms of this life. But as only God is able to do, He has provided blessing after blessing even in the midst of these storms! One of those blessings is the fact that we have had the privilege of being in our new church facility. While it remains yet to be seen all that this building and ministry is capable of, we have seen an expansion in the size and kinds of ministries that we are able to facilitate and be a part of. In fact, we can all be in prayer now as we look forward to hosting Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames here at the Chapel in October 2020! In light of this and more, join with me, again, in continuing to praise God for His guiding hand, His generous provision, and His gracious giving of wisdom and strength as we continue to seek and to serve Him faithfully through the ministries of the Community Chapel.
In closing, we are now well on our way to a fantastic celebration of our Lord and Savior’s birth! Christmas dinners, Children’s Programs, Live Nativities, and the Christmas Eve service are all on the horizon. Let us be quick to make sure that our festivities and celebrations are centered around Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, that babe born in Bethlehem now exalted at the right hand of the Father! Indeed, praise God for this unspeakable gift! Praising God for His faithfulness, your partnership in the ministry, and our unity in Christ! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
For His Glory,
Pastor Decker and family