As we head into December, we are briefly taking a break from Daniel for this coming Sunday, while Tom is on break, and I am preaching through Philemon. We are going to read the letter, as Tom has done with Ephesians and Colossians in the past, and have it help us prepare for the Lord’s Table tomorrow.
One of the things that has stood out to me as I have been preparing is verse 9, “ yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you.” Paul could play the authoritative card, but he plays the love card. N.T. Wright writes in light of this verse: “No Christian should grumble at extra demands of love. They are golden opportunities to draw on the reserves of divine love, and in so doing to become more fully oneself in Christ, more completely in the image of God, more authentically human.”
In Christ, we are free to draw upon copious amounts of love from the reservoirs of love not bound by anything. Motivation not from simply authority, or compulsion, but love. We can make appeals like this to brothers and sisters in Christ.
Another example that has come to my mind is how we parent. I have been convicted of this, even though I would deem myself a “facilitator of heart change,” I don’t parent that way. As Proverbs points us to the reality that God has placed us as authorities over our children, it also tells us that we really want our kids to give us their hearts (Prov.23:26). A quote from an article I read recently: “ If we are to have significant influence of our children we must have their hearts. Winning their hearts means gaining the opportunity to influence who they are, not just what they do.” In other words, an appeal of love. A proper authority doesn’t just control, but facilitates in love life-giving choices.
This is frightening because it gives us no control. We have to trust. We trust the Lord who is over the chaos, and creates out of chaos. This the gospel– appealing to us in love to love from the Savior who loved us.
Emmanuel E-Free’s Children’s Choir on December 22nd during the service for Sunday Worship. Practice every Sunday from 9-10 AM until December 22nd (so practice tomorrow at 9:00 AM). Talk to Keely Pettijohn or Laura Maddox for more info.
Seedling Christmas Party on Wednesday December 4th from 6:00-7:30 PM. Pizza, the Grinch, Christmas Boxes, and games! More info talk to either myself or Lindsey Engemann.
JAM/Overflow regular meeting on Wednesday December 11th from 6:00-8:00 PM.
Overflow Christmas Party on Friday December 20 5:00-10:00 PM. Caroling, Christmas Cookies, White Elephant, Elf, and a lot of other awesomeness! For more info talk with either myself, the Gauses, or Shoemakers.
Our JAMers are preparing for Winter Blast upcoming on February 21-23. They will be continuing to fundraise for the next couple of months. Connect with either Darrel and Leesa Boyer or Matt and Katie Heaney to discuss ways that you can help many of these kids experience a great weekend where their faith can be challenged and encouraged.
Ignite Groups have been starting up. These are our small groups for our different youth ministries. Becky Aldrich and Pastor Tom have started groups for our JAM aged girls and boys respectively. Should have groups starting within the high school as well. These are groups dedicated to discipleship for our youth. Opportunities to grow and further their relationship with the Lord, and a bond with their peers as well in the Lord. Times of informal fun, but also growth in basic doctrine, and bible knowledge, and strategic life application. If interested in having your child in a group, or would like to help in someway, please contact me.
Also, parents don’t forget that within the Engage worship journals there are pages that not only invite kids to be “engaged” within the worship service on Sunday mornings but also help facilitate discussion as a family and worship throughout the week. For more info talk to Allison Roth.