Renew and Revive

by

 
picketfence2017
 

A new beginning usually signals a committed or forced ending. They are inseparably related. Being born again implies a death first. Transformation implies a diminishing or dying that gives birth to newness or life — a metamorphosis. It is no surprise that in many of the epistles, the Apostle Paul mentions dying about as much as living (Romans 6:1–11; Colossians 3:3–10). He understood that you cannot really have one without the other.

That inferential linking of “death first before living” is too often forgotten. The sequence is clear in the mind and words of Jesus. We lose ourselves before we are found. We deny ourselves and take up our cross before we follow Jesus in a liberating way. We humble ourselves first before we are exalted. We become poor in spirit before we become rich in God and inherit His kingdom. We start last to end up first. This is not only the process of Jesus thinking and speaking, but is the model of His life: He died and rose. The rising didn’t come without the dying.


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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

What a wonderful time of year! It’s a great season of giving and we see much of that all around. And if you look around, you can find Christmas music in any style you care to listen to. Plus many of us will have a little bit of extra time to spend with family. 
 
So it really is a wonderful time of year. We want to encourage you to keep all of the hustle and bustle of this season in its proper perspective. This is a fantastic time to turn our focus to Jesus; how He came to Earth, why He did so, and what it means for us. It’s also a great time to invite those around you to join in the seeking of Jesus. 
 
With that in mind, check out the invite below to our Christmas Day Birthday Party Service.
 
birthday-party-invite-2016-3rd-draft
 
You can check out all of the details on our Facebook Event Page or our Christmas Page
 
We will also be having a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service; Saturday, December 24 at 6 p.m.
 
As for this blog, we’re going to take a holiday break. We’ll begin posting regularly again in January. 


A New Thing

by

 
createdec2016
 

Three Psalms begin with “Sing to the Lord a new song” (96, 98, and 149). A new song! How exciting is that?

We are capable of seeing that which is around us, delving into that which is within us, and proclaiming the great works of God in our lives. He gave us voices to speak into the world and hands to do His work. We are creative beings serving the great Creator.

To speak of God as the Creator evokes Genesis in our minds. We go to “In the beginning” and “God saw that it was good” as our Creator verses. Here is one that we don’t often think of: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).


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Who Needs Truth?

Jonathan McKee and David R. Smith

For the past 13 years, the experts at Oxford Dictionary have anointed one word as the “Word of the Year.” 2013’s WOTY was “selfie.” In 2015, the word was… not “actually” a word.

They’ve just crowned 2016’s most significant term. Sadly, it has a definition, but not much meaning.

When Truth Ends
Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2016 is “post-truth” and the linguists from across the pond define it as “the circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief” (which sounds a lot like Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness”).

Take just a moment to re-read that definition and contemplate its implications. In essence, a post-truth world puts more credence on “feelings” than “facts.”

Oxford’s experts chose “post-truth” as their WOTY, not because it’s a new term, but because the frequency of its use increased by 2,000% from 2015 to 2016 (with all the talk about international events such as the American presidential election and Brexit). But let’s push American politics and European problems aside. Is the lure of a “post-truth” world really that appealing to young people?


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A Creative Gift

by

 
creativegift2016
 

My 8-year-old son loves to give gifts. He’ll often run to his room and return a few minutes later with a container full of some of his favorite things. He hides it behind his back and says, “I have a present for you! Close your eyes and hold out your hands.”

As I follow his instructions, he carefully places the container in my hands, and he watches with anticipation while I open the gift to reveal the special treasure he has created just for me. His gift may be a picture he’s drawn or a treasured trinket he wants to share. It may be a small Lego structure he’s built, or it could be something he repurposed from the trash bin. Each gift brings me joy, not because of what the container holds, but because of the care he used in creating it.


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Action Solutions For the Planet

by

 
actionfortheplanet2016
 

Free Methodists have long known the importance of taking action when it comes time to care for the poor. We have historically thrived in embracing pragmatic steps to aid the poor and oppressed.

The Holy Spirit is on the move within the Free Methodist Church as new kingdom opportunities present themselves. One opportunity the Spirit is bringing to our attention in these challenging times relates to creation care. Yes, environmental messaging is often negative and guilt-prone. Yes, the subject of climate change has contributed to the political divide plaguing our nation. However, negativity doesn’t have to define our responses as Christ-followers. After all, we are “born again” — not “born against.” So, if you’re ready for a simple way to proactively practice caring for the poor and creation in one simple package, then I’ve got good “born again” news for you. The action steps listed below offer real-world dividends in a manner consistent with our biblically oriented value systems.


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Making The Most of Your Family’s Christmas

By Jim Burns

Teen Christmas
 

It’s Christmastime and it’s time to celebrate! But for many parents, just the thought of the season makes them want to scream “Bah hum-bug!” Why? It’s because the holidays can be hectic, heartbreaking, harrowing, and just plain hard to deal with. In short, the holidays can be a hassle! Even though we’re celebrating the birth of our Savior and our gratefulness to God for His many blessings, the thought of Christmas shopping, school and church “holiday pageants,” and the various Christmas festivities can cause us a lot of stress!

But here’s the good news — there is a remedy for getting beyond the “Bah hum-bug!” By reducing your family’s stress levels, you can make the most of your family’s Christmas this year! I call this remedy the “Four R’s” and I hope you’ll find them helpful!


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2 Questions Every Christian Should Ask

by

 
2questions
 

It began with two simple questions.

Fifteen years ago, my husband was a well-respected physician at the top of his career. He loved taking care of patients, and I loved caring for our two children, Clark and Emma. But something was missing. We had all the nice things that were supposed to make us happy, yet we still felt empty inside.

Then, while on a family vacation, just after putting our kids to bed, I asked two questions that would change our lives forever.

“What do you think is the biggest problem facing the world today?”


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Made In His Image

by

 
bishopnov2016
 

We are made in God’s image. Genesis 1:26–27 contains this in clear language, not once or twice, but four times.

“Let us make mankind in our image. . .” (v.26). “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (v.27). Verse 26 is a divine dialogue of the Trinity. Verse 27 include descriptions of God’s activity. Though verse 27 is elongated, all four of these expressions contain the same three basic grammatical elements found in a simple sentence (subject, verb, object) in these three words — “God” “created” “mankind.” And part of this creation involved God implanting His image in humanity. That conveyed image is enjoyed by no other part of His creation — only humanity.


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Five Keys to a Good Marriage

By Jim Burns

Modern society assumes that all problems are bad. In reality, most difficult times and struggles present opportunities to improve our quality of life – especially when it comes to the area of marriage. If your marriage reflects five key characteristics: responsibility, hope, empathy, forgiveness, and commitment, you will have a good marriage! It will grow stronger and you’ll enjoy a deeper connection with your spouse. Then, when problems come, you’ll be able to use them to strengthen—rather than weaken—your marriage.

Responsibility.

Here’s a news flash: there are no perfect people, and so there are no perfect couples. Okay, maybe that’s not really breaking news, but the truth of this is important to remember. We are all flawed individuals, and at times we make poor decisions, say hurtful things to our spouse, mix up our priorities, and the list goes on. Taking ownership of our faults and dealing with our mistakes—in other words, being responsible—goes a long way toward making our marriage healthy and good.

Hope

. Hope is the superglue of a a good marriage. It is incredibly powerful. It helps us see beyond the challenges we face in our marriage in the present moment. Hope helps us see the benefits of facing challenges together, whether they are challenges in raising a family, challenges at work, or challenges in the relationship with our spouse. And hope helps us picture the increased intimacy, friendship, love, and unity that are in store for your marriage on the other side of the challenges.


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