Merry Christmas Saints of newhope,
Well, to say this is going to be a BIG weekend would be the understatement of 2012! I am as excited as a kid running to the Christmas tree on the morning of December 25! I can NOT wait until Sunday! Scroll down a little for a devotional about Christmas!
First, here is some very important information that you need to keep in mind for this weekend:
We will NOT be having church on Sunday morning. Yes, you read that correctly. Use that time to snuggle up and/or build redemptive relationships with your unchurched neighbors or friends. Our Christmas Eve services this year, will be in the afternoons, on Sunday, December 23rd and Monday, December 24th! Here is how it breaks down for each campus!
- Sunday, December 23rd 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, and 6:00 pm
- Monday, December 24th 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, and 6:00 pm
- Sunday, December 23rd 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm
- Monday, December 24th 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm
- Sunday, December 23rd 6:00 pm
- Monday, December 24th 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm
- Sunday, December 23rd 2:00 pm
Internet Campus (In case you happen to be traveling over the holidays)
- Sunday, December 23rd 8:00 pm with live chat
- Monday, December 24th 8:00 am, 10:00 am, Noon, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm & 8:00 pm
- Tuesday, December 25th 8:00 am, 10:00 am, Noon, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm & 8:00 pm
One last important reminder – please remember to bring a friend and your FREE Christmas Eve Service Tickets! The ushers will be collecting those at the door. If you have not been to church in some time, or you did not get a chance to grab a ticket during December, please do not let that stop you! YOU ARE MORE THAN WELCOME!
Christmas Week Devotional by Pastor Benji – Empty So We Can be Filled!
We often learn the most from our children. There is an old story about a man who punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy”.
The father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction once he realized the gift was for him. He opened the gift, but his anger flared again when he found that the box was empty. He yelled at her, “Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside of it?”
The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy it’s not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy”. The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged her forgiveness. He kept that gold box by his bed for years. Whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, each of us has been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses, if you will, from Almighty God! Through the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s, “One and only Son”, we have access to salvation, authentic community, transformation, and eternal life!
While there are those times when it seems as if He has left us to make it on our own, and there are those times when it appears as if we cannot go any further in life, there is no more precious possession anyone could hold than the gold box filled with the love of God. It might be empty, beloved, but that is so you can be filled with Jesus and His love! I actually had this in my sermon last week, but the Lord did not give me the green light to share it. Maybe that is because it fits best right here!
The manger is empty now.
The cross is empty now.
The tomb is also empty now.
IT’S ALL EMPTY, SO THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE!
I pray this finds you filled with nothing less than Jesus, and therefore overflowing with His love! If not, that is more of a reason to join us this weekend!
Merry Christmas! I can’t wait to celebrate and experience Worship and the Word with you on Sunday and/or Monday evenings!
Because of Jesus,
Yesterday was the official start of our Christmas Series for 2012 with You Got Christmas’D – Part 1: Wonderful Counselor. If you missed it, check out the worship experience on newhope iCampus at multiple showings today and throughout the week!
I encourage you to dial in this holiday season and join us each Sunday for this special series! We will explore Jesus as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace! This series is all about the love of God and our call to spread that love!