If you missed out on joining us at newhope Sunday, you can see the entire message here on our church website, here on my blog or here on iCampus! However, I wanted to share a video of a newhoper, Bobbi Stogner, who was gracious enough to share her story with all of us. Yesterday when we wrapped up our Joyride series we discussed that living joyfully is an intentional and daily choice! If you didn’t experience Bobbi’s story, or if you did and need to see it again, check this out:
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,
Dear Saints of newhope,
I sure hope this finds you doing well and ready to celebrate Thanksgiving! Most of you have heard me say before that this is, by far, one of my favorite holidays of the year. There is something beautiful, wholesome, biblical, and healthy about giving thanks. In fact, I believe Thanksgiving should be practiced year around by the child of God. The greatest, most effective, and anointed believers in all the world are almost always men and women who overflow with gratitude 365 days a year!
The Bible says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1) Today, I would like to simply share with you my Thanksgiving list. As I read that verse this morning, and started giving thanks as Psalm 107 instructs, I felt the Lord whisper to me that I should share my list with those for whom I am most grateful. Therefore, without any further ado, here is a quick overview of the things for which I am most thankful:
–God has been so good to me through His mercy, which the verse says, endures forever! Beloved, forever is a long time! Think about that for a moment. Regardless of how much we blow it from time to time, for those who are in Christ, the Bible says His mercy endures forever!
–One of the ways in which God has been so merciful to me is by giving me my wife, for life, and blessing us both with five healthy children. I am eternally grateful for Amy Lynn, Anna Grace, Benjamin Cole, Wesley Jacob, Caleb Timothy, and Joshua Hunter Kelley! You guys are the wind beneath my sails and you make coming home the best part of my day. I thank God for each of you!
–I am also most grateful for you and everyone, for that matter, who make up the movement of newhope church! I have visited churches all over the world and truly believe that God has enabled me to pastor one of the most beautiful congregations on the face of the planet. I know I say that from time to time, yet today I want to drill down more specifically and share various and sundry things for which I am most grateful about our church.
–I am grateful for the spiritual growth taking place around newhope these days! We are not only reaching people, but the church is growing in her hunger for the Lord and His Word. Moreover, newhopers are actually starting to apply and live out the Word like never before! The Turkey Drop and You Got Christmas’d are two prime examples! Way to go, church!
–I am grateful that newhopers will do whatever it takes to open up seats and space for people God is calling us to reach. The shift from three Sunday morning Worship Celebrations to four, with two being in the evening, has been yet another example of the way in which you are not afraid to change for the sake of the vision! I love that about our church.
–I am grateful for the world class pastors and staff at our church! Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I cannot believe that I get to serve the church, let alone beside these men and women of God! Our pastors and staff really have become the Dream Team!
–I am grateful for the socio-economic and racial diversity of our church. Entire denominations, Christian leaders across the United States of America, and certain publications are actually talking about the newhope movement in Central North Carolina and our diversity. I am so thankful that our church fully represents God’s created order!
–I am grateful to Jesus, who makes all of the above possible and remains the Head of the Church! (Ephesians 1:22)
Because of Jesus,