As you know, if there’s one time a year when things might not go as planned…it’s December.
Crawling into the attic for decorations
Waiting in line
Relatives out of a horror flick
What to buy Aunt Edith
Credit card Judgment Day
Fall-asleep office parties
Dinner without the kids
Dinner with the in-laws
Spending Christmas alone
Unreturnable “you-shouldn’t-have” gifts
A BETTER DECEMBER is a book by Steven Estes. Above is a part of the introduction. This is one of the best “Christmas books” I have ever read! It is based on Proverbs. What does Solomon have to say about December?
Think about it.
Any writer who pens: “the coolness of snow… refreshes the spirit” (25:13), is all about December.
Any poet with an eye for “an ornament of fine gold” (25:12) understands readers willing to wrestle an evergreen into the living room.
Any author waxing lyrical that “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart” (27:9) would surely savor the whiff of yuletide candles named Spruce Forest or Vermont Sugar Cookie. (pp. 9-11)
This is just a taste of a short, pity, jewel of a book that is great a gift to friends and neighbors who are perhaps far from God this December. I am giving a couple of them away. It is also great for personal reflection. We will have some copies at the Resource Center this Sunday. If they are in stock, you can also find them at Amazon, etc. They are in great demand. Enjoy!
Looking forward to a better December!
See you Sunday.
Grace and peace,
"Chain Reaction: The Glorious Obsession" Philippians 1:12-18a
We admire those who give their lives to something bigger than themselves. Paul joyfully sacrificed his freedom and his life for the greatest cause of all – the good news of Jesus, the Savior and King. Today you and I rejoice in the good news because of the chain reaction Paul participated in. It goes on and on, from generation to generation across our globe, transforming the world as it transforms human beings one life at a time. By giving our time, energy, and resources to this cause we find (to our surprise) deep joy – and we assume our part in the chain reaction for the glory of Christ and His gospel.
THINKING IT THROUGH
Keep in mind that you are always saying "no" to something. If it isn't to the apparent, urgent things in your life, it is probably to the most fundamental, highly important things.
If the gospel can transform the world and holds in its powerful reach the promise of eternal life, certainly it can transform you this very day, and day by day, until that ultimate day you join with the saints to receive the supply of all your needs according to God's riches in glory with Christ Jesus.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
LIVING IT OUT
1. Is there anything in your life you would be willing to suffer greatly for? Why is that thing so important to you?
2. What is your understanding of the “good news” of Jesus? What emotional response does it create in you?
3. Was Paul crazy to sacrifice everything for this good news? Why or why not? What about you?
4. What comes to your mind when you think about the idea of giving your life for the sake of the gospel? (Evangelism? Global missions? Poverty? Martyrdom?) What might it look like in your everyday “real world?”
"Chain Reaction: Living on the Ragged Edge" Philippians 1:18b-26
Life can be…how can we put it? Rough. Unexplainable. Frustrating. Futile. How about ragged? How do we do “it?” How do we make it through in a way that at the end we ourselves are better off, as are those around us, and that God is honored and pleased? Let’s learn from one how “lived it” well.
LOOKING IT UP
1. Make a list of all the things you can that Paul is dealing with in his life at the time he is writing to the Philippians. You can find many of them in the first chapter and in Acts 16: 11-40.
2. On what basis can Paul rejoice in these circumstances? (v.18b) What does he have going for him according to v.19?
3. What is his major expectation of himself and why according to vs. 20-21?
4. Where does Paul “land” regarding his current circumstances according to vs. 22-26? At what level can you begin to identify with Paul and how relevant might his approach be to you?
Posted on Mon, December 2, 2013
by Tom Oyler