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)

Remembering Don George and Lynn Hancock

On Thursday, I went to Dallas for Pastor J. Don George‘s funeral. It was a hard but beautiful day. I saw old friends, many that I did not even have the chance for a conversation. I am blessed to be part of the company of pastors who descend from Pastor George’s ministry.

This picture is a treasure to me. Pastor George and Jaroy Carpenter are anointing me with oil before a mission trip in 1990. Behind us is Calvary’s long-time worship leader Lynn Hancock, extending his hand in prayer towards us. Lynn also passed away just a few weeks ago. He was such a good friend to my family and me in my formative years. I learned how to worship in Lynn’s ministry.

I am sad Pastor George and Lynn Hancock have passed away, but I know I will see them again.

The Three Streams Chart

We had such a powerful worship experience last night. We took that evening to lean into the “Spirit stream” and found refreshing in the Lord.

Last Sunday, I started our vision series CIL Forward and shared our identity as a Three Streams church. Here is the chart that we shared during the sermon about the Biblical-basis for a Three Streams identity. Pastor Dan Scott introduced this chart to me a few years ago, and it has been a great way to put in words how God has formed us.

Roe vs. Wade is not the end

AbortionProtest-SupremeCourt

On January 22, we recognize the somber anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision to federally legalize abortion in 1973.  Though this is an important and consequential occurrence that should be acknowledged, it is not the linchpin of the pro-life movement like I once believed.

If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, as I hope it will be, abortions will still be legal in many states, and a vast portion of the United States population will yet have the choice to participate in an abortion.  While legal wrangling in our future will continue to go back and forth, one state at a time, it is the hearts of Americans that are in balance.

Abortion must be eliminated one heart at a time.  God, turn our hearts to the children.

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.  

AdventBibleReadin-2019

“Day of Atonement” Service this Wednesday

YomKippur-2019

Many years ago, I discovered what respect and appreciation Christians should have towards the Jewish faith. Christianity sprung from Judaism, yet we live out our faith oblivious to that reality.

This irony explains my enthusiasm that Pastor Chris Muti will lead us in a Day of Atonement prayer time on Wednesday, October 9 (12 pm) at CIL.

Yom Kippur is a way to remember our heritage and to glorify Jesus Christ.

I’ll be there, and I hope you will join us!

Walk on the Moon

Apolllo11I’ve been amazed this summer when learning details about the United States sending an astronaut to the moon fifty years ago. It was indeed a remarkable accomplishment of scientific skill, resolve, human cooperation, courage, and love of country.
It is just mind-boggling to consider what NASA accomplished with what we now consider primitive technology. I’m proud of my country!