Excerpt from December, 2017 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

A blessed Advent season and Merry Christmas to you all. As I write this I am preparing for the Thanksgiving Eve service and working on our service for the last Sunday of the church year. Then on the 30th of November we will start Advent and a new church year followed quickly by Christmas and then New Years...
 
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December 2017 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
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A blessed Advent season and Merry Christmas to you all. As I write this I am preparing for the Thanksgiving Eve service and working on our service for the last Sunday of the church year. Then on the 30th of November we will start Advent and a new church year followed quickly by Christmas and then New Years. It all happens so fast, we barely have time to soak it all in, to take a breath and relax. I don't know about you, but as I think back when I was a child it seemed like that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas took forever, it simply dragged by, each day seemed like a month because of the anticipation. Perhaps part of that was in that time you didn't even start thinking or hearing about Christmas and Christmas sales until after Thanksgiving. It seems that the desire of the world to have us spend our money as soon as possible has made the pre-Christmas season longer and longer. It is not at all unusually to see the Christmas stuff coming out after Halloween, or even before in some cases.

So, as I thought about this, two things came to mind; first what if we treated the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus, the same way that merchants try to have more and more time to pedal their wares. I think we should look into the world of merchandising and advertising and learn their lessons of convincing the world of what they need. The biggest difference of course is they are convincing them to spend their money in an attempt to satisfy their worldly desires. We, on the other hand, would be showing them how to achieve their eternal salvation. You would think that it would be an easy sell, right? You can have what the world has to offer for 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, years or you can have what God has to offer forever. Alas, the world has all the visual glitz and glamor, you can see all the fun and excitement your neighbors are having, the here and the now. When it comes to salvation, you have to visualize, you have to trust, you have to have faith to see the treasures of eternal peace with God. The world makes it so easy, it floods the senses, the sights, the sounds, it has all the commercials, the paid spokes people, trying to lure you into that next car, or snowmobile, or ATV, that better body, the makeup, the clothes. You can have everything you want, right here, right now. What do we have to counter with? The book, the promise, and the power of the Holy Spirit. It doesn't seem like a fair fight, does it? Guess what it's not, the world cannot and will not win! It is indeed the message that we are to share, while at times it may seem like we are not making any headway, remember we are the seed planters, the Holy Spirt makes them grow, we simply keep on planting. And we do that planting through our words and through our witness. And now is the best time of the year to show that witness in the way that we live our lives and share the message of our Savior and we prepare both for his first coming and his second coming.

Which leads me to my second thought. The older I get the faster it seems that time goes. As I said, as a child the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas seemed to take forever, now it seems like the blink of an eye. Someone once told me "life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end the faster it goes". I am finding that to be a truism. And as I find that to be true I also find that I tend to think more not of Christ's first coming at Christmas but of His second coming that we have been hearing about as our church year ends. While both Advents are indeed wonderful events and reasons for praise and prayer, you can't have one without the other. So, as you prepare to celebrate our Lord humbling himself and becoming man this Christmas season in that manger in Bethlehem, remember also, that manger led to the cross, and to his coming again to bring us all to be with him forever.

Jesus is the reason for the season, keep him always at the forefront of your thoughts, as you live your lives, as you share your lives, and as you prepare for His coming, both then in that manger in Bethlehem and His coming again; when? Soon!

Merry Christmas to you all, and as Paul wrote to the Philippians: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

God Bless, Pastor Rick
excerpt from...
December 2017 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter