“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.” Psalm 65:8
If I’m honest, sometimes during the holiday season I can easily lose the wonder of the Christmas season. So many parties, commitments, financial needs…the list is endless. And it’s easy to get lost in all of it. Sometimes I think I just need to stop and reassess.
And as happens every year, in a frantic frenzy Christmas is finally upon us. So let me take a minute to re-examine this celebration of Jesus’ birth and my level of wonder at its coming. On the eve of this celebration, I can say that I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude. Gratitude for gifts already given and received, for time to spend with family and friends, and for the overwhelming blessings God continually pours out upon me and my family. I’m grateful for those who encourage me to celebrate even in the midst of the busyness of life.
But I think my greatest sense of gratitude is for a great and mighty God. One Who, although I have spurned all His affections toward me and though I have rejected His love time and time again, chose to humble Himself and come as a fragile baby, born in a manger. I am in awe of His never ending, never giving up, never failing love. And I wonder, why He chose to come at all? Why would He choose to love that which does not love Him back?
And there it is…I have rediscovered the wonder of Christmas! And I am amazed once again by God’s great love for me. This Christmas, in the midst of the frenetic pulse of life, may you be full of wonder and continually amazed by God’s love, grace and mercy in the Person of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas! Signs of the season are everywhere, Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Giving Tuesday! Best discount of the season, we’ll match your donation…the list goes on and on.
I’m reminded today that when God chose to give humanity a sign of His glory and power, a sign of His love and mercy, a sign of His gift of the Gospel of Salvation…He chose no splashy billboards, no glitzy ads, no fanfare, pomp or circumstance…but rather, a young girl – a virgin, no less – and a baby, helpless and frail.
How very different God is from us! The Bible puts it this way:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV)
Immanuel means “God with us.” To evidence His presence, God gave us a sign of His own humility to show us His power and glory:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 NIV (Emphasis mine)
Where are the places this season where we can model the same humility as Christ? How can we make ourselves nothing, becoming a servant to the least, the lost and the lonely? When we model the humility and servanthood of Christ, we become a sign to all people of God’s love, mercy and grace. We become a beautiful picture in stark contrast to the crass commercialism of our world. When we do this, people will see Jesus through us.
Therefore the Lord himself gave them a sign: you.
May God bless you as you bless others this holiday season, Merry Christmas.
Fall has finally fallen! The temperatures have dropped and a new season is upon us. I love the chill in the morning, the lower humidity and the crunch of leaves under foot. As a church, we have entered into a new season as well…we’ve seen new people joining, healthy growth in our members and we’re ready to begin a growth project for our facilities. All this as we enter into one of the busier seasons of the church. It’s exciting and daunting all at the same time. Sometimes it feels as if things could “fall” apart at any moment. I’m reminded of Paul when he writes:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
It could all “fall” apart at any moment, because living a life following God puts us in a place of constant danger…in a position of possible “falling” or failing at any moment…a place of “always being given over to death for Christ’s sake.” And yet Paul goes on to write:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
We don’t have to lose heart because of our circumstances. Though we are surrounded by death at every turn, danger around every corner, potential “fall” and “fallenness” everywhere we look. God renews us inwardly everyday…and besides this is only temporary…light and momentary. But we are heading toward something eternal.
So be encouraged in this season of busy-ness and change, of trial and sometimes painful growth. Let’s fix our eyes, not on what we can see, but rather on the unseen beauty of Jesus our Hope and Salvation!
We just a few days away from our annual Fall Festival!
Join us this Saturday at 11am to 4pm for games, food, bounce houses, face painting and more!
Please join us on October 31st at 6pm for our community trunk-or-treat. This is an awesome, safe, family friendly way to enjoy some awesome candy and costumes!
The word kingdom may stir up various images in your mind. Maybe you think about Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, King Arthur and his round table, or maybe you just think about your last binge watch of Game of Thrones. Whatever the case may be, when we look into God’s Word we find the Kingdom of Israel united as one, that then becomes divided into a northern and southern kingdom.
Many other kingdoms come and go, even enslaving God’s people from time to time, until we reach the New Testament where Jesus begins to preach and teach about the Kingdom of God. What is this Kingdom that Jesus speaks about? And how does our understanding of it have relevance in our day and age? In our upcoming 6-week series we will learn more about The Kingdom of God, what it is, why it matters, and how we can be a part of it. Hope to see you at the Creek for this important series!
Jon us starting Sunday September 30th as we start a 6 week series studying the unending Kingdom of God.
Wondering who or what to expect at Shoal Creek? Allow Pastor Scott to give you a quick introduction to our church. Please be sure to visit us at http://cometothecreek.com/what-to-expect to learn more about our church including service times, helpful hints on what to expect, and more.
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Shoal Creek invites children ages 4 to 18 to join us starting Monday July 9th at 6:30PM for Game ON! Our 2018 Vacation Bible School. VBS will be Monday-Friday 6:30PM to 8:30PM daily.
What: Shoal Creek 2018 Vacation Bible School – Game ON!
When: Starting Monday July 9th at 6:30PM. Continuing daily from 6:30PM to 8:30PM (Monday-Friday) – Family fun night is Friday July 13th!
Where: 4967 Fincher Rd, Canton, GA 30114
Who: Kids ages 4 to 18
LifeWay’s 2018 VBS invites kids to grab their megaphones, lace up their cleats, and tune up their instruments. As they fill up the offensive line, sideline, and drumline, your players, cheerleaders, and band members will realize God has given them His ultimate playbook. He wants them to join His team, train hard, celebrate salvation, and encourage one another. Get in the spirit today with Game On! VBS.
We now have the Passion week in our rear view mirror – the celebration has given way once again to the everyday realities of life. But should the Passion be a rear view event, or should it be front and center of our everyday lives? I know every year we say it, “We celebrate Easter every day…”; but is that true in reality? We live in a culture that enjoys when people get enflamed with passion for many different things, sports, hobbies, eating, fishing, learning…you name it people can get fired up and passionate about it. But the world also loves to see an ardent, “on fire” person go up in flames…as Lokey in Thor Ragnarok says, “Easier to let it burn.” When someone flames out, it reassures us that we have made the right choice in remaining passionless, in order not to burn out.
But God has given us a Passion, His Holy Spirit, that empowers us, motivates and moves us…consumes us, “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29) That Passion, when kept in the proper place…front and center, orders and directs all other passions. The center driving Passion for us? I think it just made it to our rear view mirror.
“You have to start somewhere,” or so the saying goes. Everything has to have a beginning. The perfect example? This is my first blog post. It exists now (or will when I finish writing it), because you’re reading it (hopefully). But in order for it to exist, it had to be thought about, written, then posted (with a whole lot of behind the scenes computer script working in the background!). Maybe you are ready to start a new job, or to begin “a new phase of life,” or to “turn over a new leaf.” Maybe, you are searching for hope, or looking for answers…
For whatever reason, you find yourself reading a blog on a church website from someone you may have never even met. Maybe the thing you need to hear is just this, “start somewhere.” When I look back for a starting point, the place I inevitably wind up is: “In the beginning, God…” The gospel writer John, picks up on this idea when he wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This “Word” (God) spoke the universe into existence. This “God” revealed Himself to us in words that we know today as the Holy Bible.
Need a place to begin? Start somewhere.