December 7 Reminds Us of Adversity to Overcome

December 7 is the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, an attack upon our sailors that stirred the soul of America. As many observed, it woke a sleeping giant.

On December 7, 2020, we face a different enemy, as the coronavirus is stretching our healthcare system and economic vitality. I pray tonight, the best of America will come forward through our love and service to humanity. With God’s help, our nation can overcome this virus, save lives, innovate, cooperate, and become a greater society through this adversity. May God continue to raise leaders and heroes.

Participating in Worship Matters

Whether you attend a church physically or carve time out of your day to worship online, your participation makes a difference in our world. Plus, it makes a difference in you.

This is one of my favorite Scriptures:

How can I repay the Lordfor all the good he has done for me?I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.I will fulfill my vows to the Lordin the presence of all his people. – Psalm 116:12-14

God Likes You

Most people believe God loves them. He has to, right? Isn’t that God’s job description?

But, does God like me?

When you believe God likes you, you will live in confidence that He is for you!

“… but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” – Psalm 18:18-19

You are a Saint

Years ago, a book by Beth Moore titled “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” was released. I eventually read the book – and it was good – but I was initially encouraged simply by the title. I was not alone!

We are image-bearers of God, so we are not created to sin. Shake off your mistakes and missteps, and step into your God-given identity. Through Christ, you are a saint.

Find the Goodness of God in Your Life

These words by Dallas Willard really help me, and I am being reminded of them today. I hope they bring you comfort and focus:

“Your life is not something from which you can stand aside and consider what it would have been like had you had a different one. There is no “you” apart from your actual life. You are not separate from your life, and in that life you must find the goodness of God. Otherwise, you will not believe that he has done well by you, and you will not truly be at peace with him. You must find the goodness of God and the fellowship of Jesus in who you are, or your love for the Father and his unique Son cannot become the foundation for a life of abundance/obedience.”

Hope on a tough Monday

I was encouraged in the sermon yesterday by Aubrey McGowan to “be diligent in filling up your well with hope.” This week of Advent reminds us that enduring hope only comes through Jesus.

The Monday after Thanksgiving is a tough day to get back into rhythm, so we need to pay attention to our emotions to remain in hope. Move slow and steady, and focus on Jesus the best way you can. Better days are ahead!

Thanksgiving Article in Hendersonville Standard

In this digital revolution, it is still exciting to see an article you wrote in the paper. I am honored the Hendersonville Standard included my Thanksgiving message in Wednesday’s edition. The irony for this post, the article is not posted on line, yet. :-). But, I put it in this blog for those who want to read on a holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

This year may be the most significant Thanksgiving you have ever experienced. Like many observers of culture, I have been alarmed how the original intent of the Thanksgiving holiday has digressed in recent decades. The consumerism of Black Friday has demanded fathers, grandmothers, teenagers, and all types of people work retail on Thanksgiving night.   Movie theatres debuted holiday blockbusters that packed theatres. Sports continue to fill up television each hour of the holiday. While I admit that I have participated in these activities and enjoyed the freedom to do so, too much of these indulgences felt untrue to the holiday’s purpose.  

Thanksgiving holiday originated out of terrible pain. The Pilgrims left England on August 5, 1620. After one ship malfunctioned and others changed their mind, 102 Pilgrims crowded on one ship, the Mayflower. After several delays in England, they had seven weeks of difficult sailing.  November 9, 1620, they first spotted land, which is now Cape Cod. The exploration crew found abandoned corn (even though they had never eaten corn before). This corn would sustain them that first winter. God had providentially provided this corn to help the Pilgrims survive.  Still, it was a brutal winter. When the worst was over, 47 had died, almost half the original number. Our American Thanksgiving is a story of survival, provision, destiny, loss, grace and miracles.   

From that group of pilgrims, the American Experiment’s genesis began, and we are still benefiting from this ideal today. Over the decades, the prosperity of our nation gave options for travel, entertainment, and leisure. This pursuit of happiness is a way of life we enjoy and indulge in on Thanksgiving. Then, 2020 occurred.

Thanksgiving is different this year than any in recent memory. Theatres are closed, retail stores are pick-up only, and sports stadiums have vastly empty spaces – if any fans are allowed at all.  Who would have imagined we would consider mitigation protocols when planning a family dinner?  

Amidst our current national challenge, this is an appropriate time to give thanks to God.   Being thankful does not mean your life is ideal. You may have experienced an unexpected loss this year. You may have altered holiday plans that have left you feeling discouraged and disappointed. Still, we do not give thanks to circumstances; we give thanks to someone. We give thanks to our God, who gives us the strength to endure any grief or trial. We thank our friends and family who stand with us on tough days to get us to better days.  Remember the Pilgrims and reflect on God’s plan for your life. This may be a hard Thanksgiving in 2020, but a heart of gratitude will point us to better days.

Dr. Aaron Allison
CIL Church (Hendersonville)

You will laugh again

I recognize discouragement is not far from any of us. When that shadow starts to lurk, try to take a step into the light of something life-giving. Often a nudge in a different direction can keep us from sliding into the murk of discouragement. These are tough days, but the goodness of God is still all around us. We will see Him when we look for Him. And on the darkest days, remember that you will laugh again.

No Youth Service on November 18

Many of you are aware the spread of COVID 19 has increased locally. In response to this, Sumner County Schools has decided to return our students to a hybrid schedule. We believe it is important to support our local schools and families in their efforts to minimize the spread of this virus. We want our students to return to a traditional schedule as quickly as possible, which can only be done by taking steps to reduce the spread.

That being said, we will not be meeting Wednesday, November 18th, for our youth service. Additionally, we do not have youth service November 25th because it is Thanksgiving week. We will resume service on December 2nd while reevaluating along with the school board.

We will miss gathering for these next couple of weeks, but we are acting toward, and praying for, the safety of our students and their families.

With respect and appreciation,

Pastor Aaron Allison
Pastor Josh Sakis