Christmas Gifts That Won’t Break

“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” – Luke 2:10-11

How many of us have received a Christmas gift, that didn’t even last through Christmas Day? You get the new iPhone and drop it on the pavement, or your new sweater turns out to be the wrong size or has a tear in it. We know material gifts aren’t permanent, they wear out or break.

Bishop Kenneth Shambllin shares a story about his 5 year old son, who more than anything wanted a red toy truck for Christmas. He talked about it constantly, pointed the truck out every time they were in the store. He wrote to Santa, and told the mall Santa how much he wanted that red truck for Christmas. He even prayed about it. Sure enough Christmas morning it was under the tree. The little boy was overjoyed! He received many other presents but hardly noticed. All his attention was riveted on that bright, shiny red truck that he had dreamed about receiving. He played with it all morning. Shortly after Christmas dinner, the bishop heard his son crying. When he saw his son, he held the red toy truck in one hand and the wheels in his other hand. The little boy said, “Daddy my Christmas is broken already!” (adapted from Christmas Gifts That Won’t Break, by James Moore.) Read more Christmas Gifts That Won’t Break

Attitude Check

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Have you ever noticed how complaining seems to come naturally? I find it difficult to go through a whole day without complaining about something.

When I was leading Vacation Bible School in Baraboo, each morning we would do an “attitude check”. In the midst of our opening or in the middle of teaching I would shout: “Attitude Check”. And the kids would respond as loudly as possible…”Praise the Lord!”

Psalm 100 reminds us to: “Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to God and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”( Verse 4) Read more Attitude Check

Fan or Follower?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

I suspect we have some die-hard Packer fans in our congregation. OK there are probably a few Bears Fans sitting in the pews as well. And I know there are some die hard Badger fans reading this newsletter. No matter how the team is doing, you continue to cheer them on. You watch as many games as possible. You probably know something about the players and the coach. You are true fans. You’ve got your title towel and your green & gold sweatshirt or the Red and white T shirt. Maybe some of you are not into sports, so maybe you are a fan of “Dancing with the Stars” or a particular band or a TV or Movie star. Read more Fan or Follower?

Defying Gravity

“Since you excel in so many ways-in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us-I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 NLT

When I was a youth worker, I remember taking youth to Sr. Hi Convo at the Marriott in Middleton. That hotel had glass elevators. The youth thought it was great fun to jump up, as the elevator descended. It was an attempt to defy gravity…which did not really work because escaping gravity is not easy. Gravity is a consistent and unfailing force in our lives. Read more Defying Gravity

Let’s Connect and Grow!!

“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” – Acts 2:42 NLT

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.” – Colossians 3:16a NLT

Intentional faith development is one of the areas that we have embraced in our ministry plan because we believe it is important for every Christian to grow more Christlike. You see spiritual growth does not happen automatically. Intentional Faith Development begins with a deliberate choice to do what is needed to grow our faith. In Acts 2:42 we find the Christians devoted themselves to the apostles teaching (today found in the Scriptures), and to fellowship, (not just idle chit chat about the weather, but sharing our lives and spiritual gifts with one another so we grow as disciples), breaking of bread (sharing food & communion) and prayer. As we practice all of these spiritual disciplines, we are putting ourselves in a place where God can work on us. It is one of the best ways in which the Spirit can work to renew our thoughts and attitudes. Read more Let’s Connect and Grow!!

Fruitful People

“This is what the Lord says…But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 New Living Bible

The verses above contain a wonderful promise from God that as we put our trust and confidence in God, we will continue to be fruitful people, no matter what the circumstances around us. Even in the face of “drought” and the “storms” of life, God will bring refreshment, supply our needs as His people, and help us to be a fruitful congregation. As we put our hope and trust in God, we can be God’s people in Antigo who practice passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk taking mission and service, extravagant generosity, and radical hospitality. (The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Robert Schanse) Read more Fruitful People