Archive for November, 2012
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The conference is a measly $30, and special rates are available. But that price will go up at the end of January, so make plans now to come, and register online. To learn more about this year’s conference, visit the Clarus site.
Russell Moore raises a great topic in his article, “How to Deal with Holiday Family Tensions.” Here’s his introduction:
We tend to idealize holidays, but human depravity doesn’t go into hibernation between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. One thing that will hit most Christians, sooner or later, are tensions within extended families at holiday time. Some of you will be visiting family members who are contemptuous of the Christian faith and downright hostile to the whole thing.
Others are empty nest couples who now have sons- or daughters-in-law to get adjusted to, maybe even grandchildren who are being reared, well, not exactly the way the grandparents would do it. Still others are young couples who are figuring out how to keep from offending family members who are watching the calendar, to see which side of the family gets more time on the ledger.
Click here for Moore’s advice to Christians around the holidays, and especially those with difficult family situations.
Two additional articles are worth checking out as well. In, “Family Feuds and Tensions over the Holidays,” Justin Taylor summarizes a helpful booklet by Timothy Lane, Family Feuds, available at the Resource Center and here for free. Then, at The Gospel Coalition Blog, Kathleen Nielson offers, “5 Aims for Holiday Family Gatherings.”
In Sunday’s sermon, “From Restlessness to Contentment,” Ryan preached from Psalms 130-131. Together, these two psalms that take us from crying to calm, from restlessness to rest, and from pride to trust. These are timely psalms for an age of busyness, noise, and self-promotion.
Here are a few resources on this psalm, the theme of contentment, and preaching God’s Word to ourselves:
- “‘Peace, be still’: Learning Psalm 131 by Heart,” David Powlison
- “Contentment,” Timothy Keller
- “Forgiveness: the Foundation for Fear (Psalm 130:3-4),” Sam Storms
- “How to Really Talk to Yourself,” Ryan Kelly
Ryan quoted part of Powlison’s article that is worth including here. In what he calls an, “anti-Psalm 131,” Powlison clarifies the meaning of Psalm 131:
My heart is proud (I’m absorbed in myself),
and my eyes are haughty (I look down on other people),
and I chase after things too great and too difficult for me.
So of course I’m noisy and restless inside, it comes naturally,
like a hungry infant fussing on his mother’s lap,
like a hungry infant, I’m restless with my demands and worries.
I scatter my hopes onto anything and everybody all the time.
On Sunday we announced details for this year’s Christmas Store, DSC’s largest annual local outreach. By helping children and parents provide gifts for one another on Christmas, we are praying for conversations about Christ in order to share about the free gift of God’s grace in the gospel.
Watch this video for a brief introduction to the heart of this ministry, and click here to learn more.
Here are details from the Christmas Store page about how each of us can be involved:
We have approximately 3,500 items to purchase as a church body. Christmas trees are up with tags listing needed items. Please consider taking 8-10 tags per family unit. Most of the items can be purchased at the dollar store, or for under $10.00. Bring the item back, unwrapped and with the tag on it, so we will know which ministry/church it is to go to. Deposit the item in the box that matches the tag by Sunday, December 9. If you would like to serve at a Christmas store, you can sign up at one of the kiosks in the foyer. For more information, please contact Carolyn Rush at 505.797.8700.
Examples of Christmas tree tags include sports balls, baby dolls, legos, children’s books, school supplies, winter clothing items, tools, wallets, diapers, baby toys, and jewelry.
Christmas provides us with unique opportunities for inviting friends and family to church and for sharing the gospel. Let’s pray, each of us, with the Apostle Paul, “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.”
In his book, Power Preaching for Church Growth, David Eby includes an appendix, “Prepare and Participate: Practical Suggestions on Your Role in Worship at North City Presbyterian Church.” This is a document used at the church where David serves to encourage the congregation with practical suggestions for making the most of Sunday morning for the glory of God. The document includes suggestions for individual and family preparation ahead of Sunday and participation during Sunday’s worship services.
Here’s an example of suggestions for physical preparations ahead of Sunday morning:
- Get a good night’s sleep on Saturday night so that you can be sharp and energetic for worship on Sunday morning.
- Prepare ahead for the Sunday morning pressures and the rush to get ready. Use Saturday afternoon and/or evening to get things organized.
- Plan to arrive at the church meeting place five minutes early, not five minutes late. This will require planning ahead.
- Plan a special Lord’s Day Eve meal, with time for Scripture reading, prayer and family worship.
Who can’t be helped by suggestions like these! My only suggestion for David’s suggestions, at least for families with small children, would be to aim for ten or fifteen minutes early instead of just five minutes. There are plenty of obstacles to slow us down in the morning, and even if we land here ten or fifteen minutes early, that’s ten or fifteen minutes to get acquainted with others, to rest your mind, and to pray ahead of the start of the service.
With permission, we’ve typed up this appendix of practical suggestions to make it available for you in pdf form. From time to time we will share small suggestions from this document with the hopes of encouraging greater preparation for and participation in our Sunday worship services.
As you know, Hurricane Sandy has made a devastating impact on the Northeastern part of the U.S. Relief is already being mobilized by organizations like Red Cross and World Vision, and we would encourage folks in our body to contribute to those organizations as you are willing and able.
However, when it comes to DSC Missions funds, the elders have decided to focus designated funds given to DSC to sister churches in the immediate area impacted by this natural disaster. Our hope and prayer is that as these churches, who likely won’t have denominational support to help them out, will be able to minister to their own body of believers, as well as those in their area who are in need. We are already working to contact churches we know about in the area to see how they have been impacted.
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10 ESV)
If you feel compelled to give, please do so using a missions envelope at the church and designating it “Disaster Relief.” Or, you can also give via the church’s online giving here listed under “Disaster Relief.”
Please especially be in prayer for believers in this area that God will use them and the church to rise up after this disaster with hope amid certain despair. May the believers cry out with Paul as he says:
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)