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PASTOR’S PAGE DECEMBER 2022 MESSENGER

 

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  Matthew 2:4-5

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There’s a familiar Christmas song made popular by Perry Como:

 

                                                Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays

                                                ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam

                                                If you want to be happy in a million ways

                                                For the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home

 

Christmas is traditionally a time people associate with being at home:  images of a wreath on the front door, gifts under a richly decorated tree, animated chatter around a food-laden table while Christmas carols play softly in the background.  Returning to the home of your parents to catch up with family you seldom see, or opening your home to those who are far away are all a part of Christmas. This all makes perfect sense, since the birth of Jesus began with Joseph and Mary returning to their ancestral home of Bethlehem, the city of David.

Home is God’s idea right from the start. When He brought Adam and Eve together in marriage it was for them to create a home. And in forming the church, God intended for all of His people to have a home where they feel loved and secure. Due to health concerns, the pandemic kept many believers from being able to gather together in worship at their home church. However, this fall, the Covid variants have dropped down to a normal winter flu season. Therefore, it is once again safe for everyone to come back to your church home here at Champion Presbyterian Church.  

So during this Advent season, I hope everyone from our congregation will return to worship because “there’s no place like home for the holidays.”

 

In Christ’s love,                                                          

Pastor Steve 

 Pastor's Page 11-01-2022

 

“After Paul urged the men on the boat to eat, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all.” Then he broke it, and began to eat. They were all encouraged.”

Acts 27:35-36

            A Russian man recalled his youth saying, “As a teenager, I enjoyed going to our neighborhood grocery store. There my friends and I would get a roll of bread and a few slices of cheese for a snack. An elderly lady who worked at the store would always say some kind and encouraging words to us, as she carefully sliced our cheese.

            A few years later, the USSA collapsed. Because of major economic disruptions, all cheese disappeared from the grocery stores. Most other food items became scarce too.  The store was still open, but it sold only bread. My memories of a kind lady who sliced cheese for us seemed almost unreal, but they still warmed my heart in those difficult times.”

            Similarly, the men on Paul’s ship faced a very difficult situation. In the middle of a terrible storm, their boat running aground, unsure where they were, they faced the possibility of drowning at sea. Yet in the midst of their terrifying circumstances, Paul took what little food they had, lifted it toward heaven and thanked God for it. And his words brought encouragement to everyone on the ship.  

            We all face difficult circumstances, such as an impending surgery, loss of job, or a lingering disease. Yet Paul’s act reminds us that when we pause to give thanks for what we have (even when it’s little) our gratitude brings encouragement. This month, most people will celebrate Thanksgiving to thank God for the feast they eat, for their families gathered around the table and their many other blessings. Yet even if this has been a hard year for you, be sure to thank God for your blessings as an encouragement to others.

 

In Christ’s Love, 

Pastor Steve

 

 

Pastor's Page 09-01-2022

          Survivor is a very successful television reality series for CBS that is hosted by Jeff Probst.   Millions of people have watched the 42 seasons since it began. The program places a group of strangers in an isolated location, where they must provide food, fire, and shelter for themselves. The contestants compete in challenges that test the contestants' physical abilities such as running and swimming as well as their mental abilities with puzzles. These challenges offer rewards or immunity from elimination. The contestants are progressively voted off the show by their fellow contestants until only one remains as the "Sole Survivor" and wins one million dollars.

             One reason for the show’s success is that it parallels our lives. Although you were never stranded on an island, your life is filled with a variety of challenges as you seek to provide food, warmth and shelter for yourself and your family. And although you may never win a million dollars, each of you does want to survive the problems, tests, and trials you encounter all through your life. And God’s Word offers guidance and direction so you don’t get eliminated from the competition. My fall sermon series: “Survivor” will examine some of your common challenges and offer God’s wisdom for your lives. 

My sermons this fall will be:

 Sept 11            How to Survive in a Hostile Workplace 

 Sept 18            How to Survive Parenthood 

 Sept 25            How to Survive When Bad Things Happen to God’s People

 Oct 2                How to Survive Failure

 Oct 9                How to Survive Criticism

 Oct 16              How to Survive Conflict

             I hope you can join us each week for worship this fall.

 Inside your Messenger is a Flyer highlighting my Fall Sermon Series. Please share it with a friend or neighbor and invite them to worship with you. There are more flyers outside the sanctuary so you can invite your whole neighborhood.

 

             In Christ’s love, Pastor Steve