From the Pastor's Pen
Personal: Merry Christmas to you from Carol and me! It has been a year of many blessings and changes. God has been good to us and we praise Him for His love and grace! One of the changes this year was in February when we brought Carol’s step-mom, Bettie, to live with us around the time that her sister, whom she had been living with, passed away. Bettie is a good Christian lady and a 95 year old who would put many of us to shame in her ability to adapt to changes in life. My mother, Charlotte, has been adjusting to a major decline in her health over the last couple of years, but continues to find ways to minister to others and pray for them.
Our family grew in a different way on October 11th when our daughter, Melissa, married Adam Uzzo. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception and I was privileged to perform the ceremony after I “gave her away.” A few weeks after the wedding they moved across country from Arlington, VA to Foster City, CA (just south of San Francisco). Adam was transferred as a US Secret Service agent and Melissa was able to continue working for The Training Connection, but from the other coast. Carol and I are trying to adjust to them living more than a one-day drive away.
Carol continues to work as a public health nurse for Erie County Department of Health, where she has been for 21 years. I have had the privilege of pastoring the Albion Church of the Nazarene for 23 years. I am thankful to God and the people there for giving me this opportunity to fulfill His calling on my life.
Albion Nazarene: A couple of Sundays ago I was on the platform looking out across the congregation at all those who were there who were not there a year ago, or even a few months ago. God has been blessing us in many ways, but especially in the children and teen departments. We have many people who have returned to church or have started coming to church. We have seen people accept Christ and get excited about being disciples of Jesus. New people continue to come and we continue to have a fantastic ministry team made up of ministry intern Connie Young, Associate Phil Gilmore, and all of our lay ministers!
Devotional Thought: The Christians across America have been pleading with our society to put Christ back in Christmas, to remember the “Reason for the Season.” My concern is that too many who want Christ to be in Christmas may not be allowing Christ to be in them! We may do a good job at being a Christian on Christmas, but what about the other 364 days of the year. If we put Christ in Christmas, but not in us, we will act like a Christian in some circumstances and in some situations of our lives, but not in all of life. If He is not in us, that is all we will be able to do...., ACT the part of a Christian. For us to BE a Christian consistently, in all circumstances and situations, we must have Christ is us so that He just naturally comes through. As we mature in Him we continue to find those areas in our lives that need correcting such that we are more and more purely reflecting Him to those around us. Are you just putting Christ into Christmas, or are you allowing Christ to be IN You? In Romans 8:8-11, Paul refers to a life lived according to that which is sinful versus the life that is filled and empowered by the Spirit of God. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (New International Version)
In Colossians 1:27 Paul tells us that Christ living in us is “the hope of glory.” We cannot bring hope to our world for Him if He is not living IN us! Let Him be In you (CHRISTian), not just in CHRISTmas.
In Christ’s Love,
Tithes & Offerings
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