Tag Archives: celebration

A Prayer for More Christmas Hush, Less Christmas Rush

23 Dec
luke

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Proverbs 17:1

“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.“ Luke 10:41-42

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the eve of Christmas Eve—arguably, one of the most pressure-laden, detail-heavy, preparation-peaking, relationship-stressing, and traffic-snarly days of the year. We are so thankful that you are the Prince of Peace, and that you’ve come to make peace, in the chaos of our world and hearts.

As this day unfolds, grant us wisdom to discern the difference between the many Martha-like-details that really don’t matter; and the “one good thing” you commended in Mary. Jesus, be our treasure and pleasure; the focus of our gaze and the joy of our hearts; not just, the “reason-for-the-season”, but, the very center of our existence.

May your welcoming, kind, gracious heart be the most notable reality in our homes this Christmas. Bring your centering peace to bear in profound and sensate ways. Grant us copious amounts of your mercy for our prodigals; your grace for our brokenness; and your compassion, for one and all alike.

To the degree our traditions have become idols; our expectations have grown unrealistic, our busyness reveals our barrenness, and our gift giving is more about face saving, forgive us and free us, Jesus.

May the silent night of your birth bring its gentling presence in our homes. May the “good news of great joy,” the angel’s declared, trump any other storyline we would write for this week. May your peace, that passes all understanding, reign in our hearts like an irresistible force. May the hope of the Day when “all will be put right,” free us to wait patiently and love boldly in this day.

Lord Jesus, as you have come to serve us—from your manger to the cross, so may we find our greatest joy this week in serving one another. Free us from any need for anybody to be any different than they are. So very Amen we pray, in your tender and triumphant name.

Reprinted from: A Prayer for More Christmas Hush, Less Christmas Rush – Heavenward by Scotty Smith.

Additionally, click here to view a related post: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Harried, Hurried? | Finding Rest in the Merry-Thon

10,000 Reasons to Give Thanks|Bless the Lord

28 Nov

10000“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” –1 Thessalonians 5:18

The commonly painted portrait of the first Thanksgiving depicts the Native Americans and Plymouth settlers casting aside their divergences to break bread together in a celebration of thanks that surmounted their mutual suspicion. These early hunters and foragers were thankful for the autumn harvest that would potentially see them through the harsh East Coast winter. They were truly grateful for God’s provision.

Today many of us will gather with family over a meal and reflect on the things we are thankful for. Break out of the perfunctory mold and reach deep. 

“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” –2 Corinthians 4:15

  • God is glorified more fully when we feel thankfulness, not when we only say, “Thank you.”
  • Authentic heart-feelings are not in our control. We can’t make ourselves feel thankfulness. If our hearts are not moved by God’s goodness, we are ungrateful. Thankfeelings are a work of grace.
  • Therefore, as fallen sinners whose hearts are often dull, we should regularly pray for God to overcome our sinful hardness, and cause us to see his goodness and feel thankful.

–John Piper Thanksgiving, Thanksfeeling, and the Glory of God – Desiring God

 

10,000 Reasons to Give Thanks

“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” Nahum 1:7

“You, Lord, are enthroned forever; Your throne endures from generation to generation.” Lamentations 5:19

“God, be exalted above the heavens; let Your glory be over the whole earth.” Psalm 57:11

Excerpt from: 10,000 Reasons to Give Thanks – Mentoring Moments

Additional links:

Five Truths About Thanksgiving – Desiring God

What Does It Mean to Bless God? – Desiring God

Missional Ideas For Your Family Thanksgiving | Gather and Share

25 Nov

thanks2“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” –2 Corinthians 9:11

Consider the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, do you picture family sitting at the table together breaking bread, connecting, sharing, reflecting? Maybe your Thanksgiving gathering will be football focused or a time when barely suppressed familial animosity simmers rather than the gravy.

No matter what tablescape you picture odds are someone at the table, no matter the emotional ambiance, will not be a believer. They may grasp the Pilgrim story and Black Friday deals but the deeper meaning of offering up thanksgiving and praise for God’s call and provision may be a challenge. Incorporate them into thanksgiving during this time when the opportunity exists to be publicly, outwardly, and vocally thankful. 

“One of the best things we can do for our family is to help them enjoy giving thanks..,” writes Alex Absalom in the article that follows…

10 MISSIONAL IDEAS FOR YOUR FAMILY THANKSGIVING

“Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” 1 Timothy 4:4

Thankfulness is a spiritual matter because it ultimately produces trust in God.

As I take my eyes off my complaints about what I don’t have, I start to count the many blessings that I do have. This in turn causes me to stop and ponder the source of all that goodness – is it purely random ‘luck’, or is God personally at work in my life? And if Jesus is the source, how does that change my perspective on my future needs and challenges?

That’s why thanksgiving is a wonderful gateway for those who are far from God. As someone recognizes that Jesus is the source of all that is good – which is what happens in giving thanks – so that person learns to acknowledge Him and His goodness.

For the remainder of the article: 10 Missional Ideas For Your Family Thanksgiving | Verge Network.

Save the Date!|Upcoming Women’s Ministries Events

26 Oct

save-the-date-step 002

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

  • Friday, November 15, 7-9pm

Oasis Worship Night

  • Saturday, December 7, 1-4pm 

“It’s About the Presence” Christmas Event

Stop by the women’s ministries cart in the courtyard for more information.

Joy for Every Season of Motherhood | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

12 May

mother's

On this Mother’s Day we celebrate all women; mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and pray whatever season of life you are in you are counting all as joy!

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,” Philippians 1:3-5

Joy for Every Season of Motherhood

“Honey, one day it will be quiet and you will miss the noise, the messes, the chaos. Before you know it, they will all be grown. So for now, knowing there is rest ahead, find joy today.” But it was one of those days where I didn’t feel joy. I wasn’t even fighting for it. I was like Peter walking on the water to meet Jesus, looking around at the waves, and I was sinking. God used my mom that morning to make me think, lead me to His Word, and redirect my gaze upon Him, and there I found joy despite the waves.

In faith, I look ahead, and I’m encouraged to press on and embrace this calling and these fleeting days. Yes, there is a joyful satisfaction and even rest ahead one day, but God has joy for me now. The writer of Hebrews compares a life of faith to a runner in a race. It’s a long race, one that requires endurance and most definitely faith. The call is to throw off any weight that hinders, to run with endurance, and here is the key, to fix our eyes on the finished line, the prize–Jesus.  And get this, He runs with us giving us faith and perfecting it along the way (Hebrews 12:2)!  Then, God has given us the most beautiful picture and example to follow. Jesus himself, for the joy set before him, endured opposition, ran his race to the cross, took the wrath of God upon himself, and gave his life for us. He now sits at the right hand of the throne of God in the satisfied joy of His Father. When I consider these glorious things, I can have joy because: My joy is present because it is fixed in the past work of Christ, sustained in the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, and set before me in the future glory and presence of my Heavenly Father.

The article in its entirety: Joy for Every Season of Motherhood | CBMW | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Whether I Live or Die, God Wins – The Gospel Coalition Blog

2 May

Many of you are planning  on attending the “My Life God’s Story” event at TACC on Saturday. Have you thought about your own pages in God’s narrative? Personal testimony is a powerful way to tell others how God has authored your story.

Revelation 12:11a, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”

story2

Whether I Live or Die, God Wins

The Storyframes Collective is a collaborative effort between The Gospel Coalition and the Austin Stone Church for the purpose of celebrating the extraordinary work of God in the lives of ordinary people. Through excellence in the art of storytelling (film, photojournalism, spoken word, and writing), this project aims to recount God’s redemptive, transforming work in the lives of our brothers and sisters. In form, this website collects encouraging stories about God’s grace. In function, we want these stories to inspire you to praise God.

As a collective, we hope that people from around the world will join us in collecting and telling the amazing stories of God’s grace and the power of the gospel. We hope this project will increase your faith, encourage your spirit, and open your eyes to the extraordinary work of God every day in your life and in the lives of others around you.

While these stories differ in characters, formats, and locations, they share the same hero: God. Whether highlighting addiction recovery, healing, renewal, transformation, or any other form of good news, they testify to God’s power and grace, made available to us through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

We hope you not only enjoy reading, hearing, and seeing these stories, but also take time to observe the stories of those around you. Tell others the story of what God has done for the world in Jesus Christ, and tell us your story—what God has done in you.

The following article links to a website collection that artistically binds the stories of people who praise the sovereign work of God in their lives: Whether I Live or Die, God Wins – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

Thankfulness is Something to Practice — Life As Mom

8 Nov

Thankfulness is Something to Practice

OCTOBER 30, 2011

When I was growing up, my mom would typically prompt Thanksgiving table conversation along the lines of, “Let’s go around the table and share something we’re each thankful for.”

Cringe. Shudder. Sticks out tongue. I hated that. (Sorry, Mom.)

Not only was I put on the spot, often “getting” to go first, but I felt embarrassed and awkward to voice aloud something that someone else might think was dumb or corny. Know-it-alls do not like to be perceived as dumb or corny. And I was most definitely a know-it-all.

Nowadays, I also realize that I just wasn’t a very thankful kid.

I always wanted something more. What we had certainly wasn’t as nice as what someone else had. I was the one crouching down in the backseat of the car when my mom stopped at garage sales or hiding in the racks at Kmart if I saw a kid from school.

Forget the fact that they were in Kmart, too! I perceived my parents’ frugality as a sign that we lacked something.

In reality, I didn’t know how good we had it.

Click here to read the rest of this post:   Thankfulness is Something to Practice — Life As Mom.

Seeds of the Miraculous

5 Nov

God is purposeful and all-powerful. He has a plan for the history of the universe, and in executing it he governs and controls all created realities. Without violating the nature of things, and without at any stage infringing upon human free will, God acts in, with, and through his creatures to do everything that he wishes to do exactly as he wishes to do it. By this sovereign, overruling action he achieves his goals.

– J.I.Packer – Great Power

Click here to read “Seeds of the Miraculous”, a devotional post by Diane M. Hale at Mentoring Moments for Christian Women

“It is not happy people who are thankful…” :: Money Saving Mom®

5 Nov

“It is not happy people who are thankful…”

by CRYSTAL on NOVEMBER 4, 2011

photo credit

via “It is not happy people who are thankful…” :: Money Saving Mom®.

Kyria Blog: The Neglected Spiritual Practice

12 Oct

The Neglected Spiritual Practice

Why do we so often forget the importance and power of celebration?

I was a typical new mom, meticulously recording milestones, photographing every possible facial expression and pose, and religiously recording it all in a scrapbook for my bouncing baby boy. That, of course, was baby number one.

Now I glance with guilt at my poor, neglected baby number three. Okay, she’s not actuallyneglected, but in the scrapbook arena all that exists so far is a literal scrap of paper on which I’ve hurriedly scrawled her weight and length from her first four doctors appointments. Yup, that’s it. I’ve let life’s busyness and demands completely shove aside any time for baby-booking.

I share this example because I think it reflects what many of us do in our spiritual lives.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

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