Advent: An invitation to connect with Jesus

You may have been like me, not growing up around the concept of Advent.  Advent designates a period before Christmas when Christians prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. If you choose to follow the traditional church calendar like we often do at CIL, Advent started on December 1 and culminates on Christmas Eve. 

This organization of times extends our holiday. Advent prepares us for Christmas, which is celebrated for 12 days by the church, beginning on December 25. Christmas is a time of joy, wonder, awe, and feasting!

So, lean in with the rest of the world-wide church into this heavenly focus. This time is an invitation to connect with Jesus.  At whatever point you want to acknowledge Advent, I think it will be good for your soul.

One way you may benefit from Advent is some additional Bible reading that revolves around Advent themes. Attached is a plan provided by CIL that you may find helpful.  

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The leadership we need

The most effective leaders in my life have been people who tell me things I did not want to hear. Why? They do not just want me to feel good; they want me to be good.

It is rare to be in a relationship with someone you trust, who encourages you consistently, and who is still honest with you when necessary. Be that type of person to someone else, and all the good stuff you need will come back to you.

You Create Momentum

Whatever you participate in, creates momentum.
 
Devotion brings momentum
Momentum brings MORE momentum.
In the spiritual realm, more momentum brings more glory to God.
 
Be DEVOTED to Him.
Be DEVOTED to each other.
 
Romans 12:10 (NIV) states: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

New signs. Continued renovation.

 

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Earlier this week, I enjoyed the overwhelming support for the new CIL signs. It was a “digital victory lap” on social media. The picture above is the outdoor sign at night.  The picture below is the before and after of the external remodel at CIL.

Renovation is exciting – especially when you can see it so clearly. The renovation of the heart is less obvious, but is of supreme importance. Keep allowing God to form your heart. Join me at CIL this Sunday at 9 am, or 10:45 am to allow the potter to mold your life as clay.

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It is OK to be Sad in Christianity

Do you ever feel like there is pressure in Christianity to project happiness all the time? Isn’t that a lot of weight?

These words from Will Willimon in his commentary on the book of Lamentations helped me:

“Israel loved God enough, felt close enough to God, to be able, in times of tragedy, to clench its fits and cry out to God, to complain, to accuse, and to weep. Some may believe, that as Christians, we must always feel joy, must always have smiles on our faces. Lamentations, however, is the literature of those who have a much deeper, more honest experience of our relationship with God. Its laments know that there is no way alway to be happy…” – Renovare Study Bible

So if as a Christian, you are not always bubbly and in a great mood, you are still in the Kingdom of God. Rest in the knowledge that you will smile again.

Love means we live forever

I am missing my Dad, as yesterday was 16 years since his passing. But, you are missing someone you love, too.
 
These words from the late Dallas Willard touched my soul recently, and they will fill you with hope:
 
“Those who love and are loved by God are not allowed to cease to exist, because they are God’s treasures. He delights in them and intends to hold onto them. He has even prepared for them an individualized eternal work in his vast universe.” – Dallas Willard