MIDWEEK MESSAGE #87
Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #87. Thanks for giving me some time during your busy holiday preparations. Alas, I will be “out of your hair” (no comments please) J for the next couple of weeks. My plan is for this to be the last MM for 2021 to give you a break, give Diana a break from her editing and sending, and you a break from me bothering you. J So I hope you will take some time to really read this and check out what it is in it.
The big item on the agenda is a huge reminder to you. Please remember that we will have one service on the 26th, the day after Christmas. The service will be at 10:00 and, as always, will be live streamed just in case you have those “after Christmas blues” i.e. fatigue and are not able to make it. If you do the live stream, may I encourage you to make it a family affair? I promise I won’t preach longer than 2 hours. Say what? I can assure you that won’t happen under any scenario. J Besides, Jo, Tami and I are planning on leaving after the service to spend Christmas in Ohio so I’m guessing if I preached that long they would leave me behind. Again…one service at 10:00 on December 26th.
I also want to remind you about our inclement weather plans. I know looking out the window it doesn’t look anything like bad weather, but we live in Indiana and you know that can change on a dime. Here is the inclement weather information:
- We will send a mass email about any changes.
- We will post the info to our Facebook group (if you are not a member of the group, search Owen Valley Christian Fellowship and request to join) and page (you can follow it at Owen Valley Christian Fellowship-Spencer, IN).
- We have a group of volunteers who will call or text you!
- If in person services are not possible, we will plan to offer a live stream service at 10 AM via Facebook and YouTube.
- Please be sure we have current contact info (email/phone) for you if you want to be notified! Please call the church office at 812.828.9840 or email Diana at email@example.com
Most of all we want you to stay safe and not get out in bad weather. There are some of us who live in town (some of the worship team, Pastor Ryan and myself) who will do all we can to make sure the live stream happens. In fact, we would prefer you stay home and stay safe than try to venture out.
The church office will be closed from December 24th (Friday) through December 27th (Monday). The church office be closed but we will still have worship on the 26th. Have I told you it will be at 10:00 that Sunday? Just making sure. You know how old people’s memories can be. (Mine not yours).
When I asked Pastor Ryan if there is anything he wanted me to include in the MM he said, “Nothing really, except to remind the youth of the Christmas party/final ROOTS of the semester this coming Sunday.” So you have been reminded. And since I am guessing most of the youth don’t read this, I hope you parents who do will remind your Jr/Sr High students of the party. He has something good on the docket for them. Any questions? Please contact Pastor Ryan.
This past week I read an article entitled 4 Christmas Killers for Ministry Leaders. I thought it was a very pointed article for ministry leaders but as I read it I also thought it would be good for all to read. I am not going to reprint it in its entirety but I thought I would share some of the main thoughts with you. Pete Scazzero, the author, is writing from a ministry leader standpoint. He contends that for years he preached the incredible message of the incarnation, but was spiritually dry inside. He says we can blame the culture or the expectations of people around us, but the trap of dryness is an easy trap to fall into. Here are the four “Christmas killers” he mentions:
- Rushing. Pete writes, “As we are rushing, our family and friends get the leftovers because we are depleted physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” That really hits all of us doesn’t it? How often have you found yourself just depleted at the end of the day and by the time Christmas day rolls around you have had enough? Slow down this Christmas season.
- I know for me, I was always told Christmas and Easter were perfect times to see the church grow. So special events were planned to help that along. But along with that mindset comes anxiety. What happens if it doesn’t work? What happens if the church doesn’t see new people? I have to agree with Pete on this: “Things aren’t going to be perfect this Christmas.” I am not a perfectionist, but I do like things to go well. Relax. God’s got this.
- Ignoring God’s limits. There are only so many hours in a day: 24. We get weary and spend an enormous amount of energy, money and time in getting things done. We can get so tired that we aren’t any good to anyone. Listen to the Father. Ask Him to give you the strength to do what needs to be done and to help you know when to stop.
- Pete writes to the pastor and says, “It’s easy to forget our most important priority in ministry: to remain deeply connected with the Father, those close to you, and yourself, amidst all the pressure swirling around us.” For me, it is easy to forget what is most important during this season. Sermons to prepare. People to visit. Notes to write. Things to attend. They can all serve to “unfocus” me on what is really important. I’d like to think we all struggle with that. Let’s not forget to stop and spend time with Jesus. It is, after all, His special day and this season is to be all about Him.
Well…hope those help you this Christmas season. People are fond of saying during this season that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” I know what they are trying to say but I think differently. I like to say, “Jesus is the Meaning of the Season; we are the reason.” He came as a baby for me and you to save us from our sin because we were unable to do so. That makes us the reason. He gives the meaning to the season. I pray you will have a meaningful and joy-filled Christmas. I love you and if I never received another gift I would be totally content. God gave me a great gift 16 years ago when He gave me you. Merry Christmas from me and Jo (and Tami). We don’t send cards so please accept this as our card to you.