Happy New Year! #2017

We hope you have a safe New Years Eve tonight, and pray for a great start to your new year tomorrow.

Here are some things upcoming for Adrian First Baptist in 2017:

First, we kickoff the new year in our Worship Gathering at 1045 on Sunday. We get to celebrate new life, spiritually, with a baptism, and then we will have a special time of worship dedicated to prayer and praising God. Come and join us as we center our Gathering around the ACTS prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. As always, small groups / Sunday School will meet beforehand at 945.

Second, Pastor Mike has a new series of messages planned. We have completed our 2015-16 Bible reading plan with sermons drawn from the weekly reading. If you are interested in a one-year reading plan for 2017, you might try the one offered at: thebibleproject.com. Our planned message series are: Titus (January), John 13-20 (February-April, with the resurrection account in John 20 on Easter Sunday), either Jonah or Habakkuk (May), and Romans (beginning in June).

Third, Awana starts back after the holiday break on 1/4 @630pm. Each Wednesday night, we also offer adults our prayer meeting and Bible study @7pm. On 1/4, we’ll begin looking through the book of Revelation for adult Bible study. Then on Sunday evenings @6pm, beginning 1/8, we start a study on the attributes of God.

Fourth, for the month of January, be on the lookout for a daily series of devotionals from the book of Proverbs here on the website.

2017

Good Reads 12.28.16 (on: family devotions, infertility, and more)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On doing family devotions in 2017: 10 Ideas and 10 Tips for Family Devotions by Tim Challies

Sometimes it’s best for mom and dad to do the reading from their own Bible, and especially so when children are young. But as children get older and more adept at reading, it may be best to get each child a Bible so they can follow along. When you do this, you can have each person take a turn reading aloud. It may be too clunky to read one verse per person, but perhaps each person can read a few verses at a time. Or perhaps you can have one person read each day’s entire passage. This gets children comfortable with reading (and perhaps praying) in front of others while also pushing for deeper engagement with the text. (click here to read more)

On facing infertility: Infertility in the Arms of the Church by Liz Wann

While barren women bearing children is a cause for rejoicing, long-term or permanent infertility is also a cause for grieving. These are the stories that we don’t like to tell. They bear the marks of hard truths about God. It is good to rejoice in answered prayer, but how do we rejoice when prayers go unanswered? We can trust the God who calms our storms, but can we trust the God who sends them to us?

Those struggling with infertility are like the saints of old who didn’t see the immediate earthly fruits of their faith, but who clung to the promises of God regardless of earthly circumstances (Hebrews 11:39). Our hope is not in the happy ending of a miracle baby, but in the eternal happy ending of all God’s children when they are fully and finally united as one with Christ. (click here to read more)

On family: Do Something Awesome and Build a Family by Owen Strachan

The common life-script among a good number of my peers (both Christian and non-Christian, surprisingly) is basically this:

Have fun now (20s and 30s).
Have as many relationships as you want; keep them as minimally defined as possible.
Make lots of money, pursue your career with super-intensity; alternately, goof off and avoid pursuing anything hard.
Eventually, in your late 30s and 40s, think about settling down. Then, maybe have a few children.

From my little pocket of the Internet, I would like to register a different opinion: Building a family is awesome. Besides the gift of a husband or wife, children are a great gift of God to humanity. Like Adam shouting for joy over the discovery of Eve, the Psalmist shouts praise to God for the blessing of little ones… (click here to read more)

On prayer: Does God Get Your Leftovers? by Bonnie McKernan

Does prayer require so little of us that we’re content to give God our careless leftovers, when there’s nothing particularly pressing at work or interesting on Facebook? If we want to revive our families, and our church, and our nation, then we must revive prayer — and it must begin with us. (click here to read more)

 

Christmas Eve / Christmas Day 2016

You have opportunities to join with us in worship of Jesus, our Savior, tonight at our Christmas Eve service and tomorrow at our Christmas day worship gathering. Check out the details below, and we hope to see you there!

Christmas Eve ~ 12/24 @6:30pm
We will remember the anticipation of the birth of Jesus and celebrate his birth at our annual candle lighting service. The service will be held in the auditorium with snacks and hot chocolate to follow in the gym.

Christmas Eve Music Selection
Special Music by Rick Thompson
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O Holy Night
Joy Has Dawned (special by Raelynn Kershner)
How Great Our Joy
Go Tell It on the Mountain
Candle light closing: Silent Night

Christmas Eve Devotional
“The Coming King” ~ Luke 1:26-33

  • Jesus is the God-Man King (1:31-32)
  • Jesus is the Savior-King (1:31)
  • Jesus is the Forever King (1:32-33)
  • Therefore, this Christmas season:
    • Know Jesus–trust him and follow him
    • Rest in Jesus’ grace, power, and love
    • Celebrate Jesus tonight, tomorrow, through this year, and through your life

Christmas Morning Worship Gathering ~ 12/25 @1045am
We will remember the birth of Jesus and ponder what it means now that Jesus, our King, has arrived.

Christmas Morning Music Selection
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (special by Jeremy Bridges)
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
The First Noel
Emmanuel
Joy has Dawned
O Come All Ye Faithful

Christmas Morning Sermon Notes
“The King Has Arrived” ~ Luke 2:1-21

  • King Jesus is our end to fear (2:9-10)
  • King Jesus is our great joy (2:10)
  • King Jesus is our peace (2:13-14)
  • King Jesus is our Savior-King (2:11)
    • Our faith must be in him
    • Our righteousness comes from him
    • Our lives belong to him

Good Reads 12.21.16 (the Christmas edition)

Here is a collection of good reads on Christmas. Enjoy!

Why are Jesus’s Genealogies in Matthew and Luke Different? by Mark Strauss

The Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would come from the line of David. Both Matthew and Luke provide genealogies of Jesus that confirm he was a descendant of David—therefore, a legitimate Messiah. He was a legitimate claimant to the throne of Israel.

But they differ in an important way: Matthew follows the line of David’s son Solomon, while Luke follows the line of Nathan, another Son of David. The end result is two distinct genealogies. How do we account for this? (click here to read more)

Are You Bored with Christ at Christmas? by Stephen Witmer

If this is true of any of us, it’s a sure sign we don’t really know him. At least we don’t know him nearly enough. Knowing Jesus is like knowing Mount Everest. For those who know it, Everest increasingly thrills, confounds, delights, eludes, and exhilarates. If people are bored of Everest, it’s because they’re learning facts about it in their living room, not climbing it.

Familiarity need not breed contempt. Instead, it can breed faith. (click here to read more)

Don’t Spiritualize Christmas by Jared C. Wilson

Don’t “spiritualize” Christmas. It isn’t a theory. It’s not a vague virtue or warm fuzzy. It smells like sawdust and straw and manure, and like myrrh and newborn baby skin. Christmas is a real thing that really happened. And it’s really good news. Take it personally. (click here to read more)

Waiting for More than Christmas by Betsy Childs Howard

Advent is about more than waiting for Christmas. The word means “coming.” During Advent, we not only remember that Jesus came to earth as a man; we also prepare our hearts for his second coming. When we sing, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” we are not role-playing what the ancient Israelites must have prayed before the coming of the Messiah. No, we are praying that Emmanuel would return and make right all that is wrong with the world. When we sing, “Let every heart prepare him room,” we are not retroactively chastising the innkeepers of Bethlehem; we are preaching to all souls within earshot to be ready to meet their Judge and Maker unafraid. (click here to read more)

Christmas for the Weary by Trish Hedger

Christmas is for you, weary Christian. It’s for the parts of us that still feel the chill of the shadow of death.

May Christmas be our sacred reminder of God’s tender mercy that sent his Son from on high to give light to all who sit in darkness. Christ has come and his mercies rise with the sun each day to guide our blistered feet into the way of peace. (click here to read more)

 

 

 

What Child Is This? (an advent meditation)

What Child is this
Who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet
With anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ, the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring Him laud
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

The Christmas song What Child Is This? asks as question that the world has pondered since the birth of Jesus. Who is this child-turn-man that claims to be Lord and Savior of the world?

Jesus once asked his first disciples what others said about him. They answered: “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Then Jesus asked, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, speaking for the group: “You are the Christ [Savior-King], the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16).

In his book Mere Christianity, CS Lewis said that when a person looks at the claims of Jesus in Scripture, one must conclude he is either Lord, liar, or a lunatic. Some may go a step further and say that the Jesus of the Bible does not exist; but if we start with the historical existence of Jesus as detailed in Scripture, then only those three options remained.

Jesus claimed to forgive sins (Matthew 9:1-8); accepted Peter’s claim to be the Messiah/Christ, Son-of-God King (Matthew 16:13-19); claimed to preexist Abraham and at the same time took for himself the name of God (John 8:56-58).

With what he claimed, Jesus was no mere good teacher or religious prophet. He either lied about himself, had delusions about himself, or was the Lord he claimed to be. The Christian faith is built on the latter, as the song affirms: This, this is Christ the King!

So, this Christmas, who do you say that Jesus is? May you celebrate, worship, and follow him as your Savior-King!

Christmas Week 2016

A reminder for your week:

Children’s Christmas Program, Wednesday 12/21 @7pm (if you have children in the program, please have them to the auditorium by 6pm for costumes and a final dress rehearsal). This date is the rescheduled date due to weather conditions.

Christmas Eve Service, Saturday 12/24 @6:30pm. Join us for our annual candle-light service, with snacks and hot chocolate to follow.

Christmas Day Service, Sunday 12/25 @10:45am. We will gather at our normal time on Christmas morning to celebrate Jesus. Sunday School will also be at 9:45am for those able to make it. There will be no evening church activities on 12/25, 12/28, or 1/1.

christmas-05

Sunday 12.18.16 (the end is the beginning)

With morning temperatures expected to be near zero and wind chills below zero, use your best judgment on whether or not you get out on Sunday morning. But for those of you who can make it, we’ll be wrapping up our 2-year through the Bible series The Story of God with a look at what Revelation 21&22 says about eternity. At the moment, we’re still planning on having the Children’s Christmas Program that evening, but stay tuned for updates.

Sunday Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Children’s Christmas Program, snacks to follow

Sermon Notes
The End is the Beginning ~ Revelation 21-22

  • Eternity is a place…
    • Where judgment has ceased (21:2)
    • Where we experience perfect glory and beauty (21:2, 9-21)
    • Where we fully experience the glory and presence of God (21:3, 22-27; 22:3-4)
    • Where we experience full and lasting healing (21:4, 22:1-2)
    • Where we rule alongside Jesus (21:7, 22:3-5)
  • In light of eternity…
    • Beware the judgment coming for those who have chosen sin over Jesus (21:8; 22:3, 12-15)
    • Drink freely from the “water of life” (21:6, 22:14-17)
    • Obey the word of God, living a repentant life (21:7, 22:7-19)
    • Worship only God, letting him be the great focus and motivation of all that you do (22:8-9)
    • Long for Jesus to return (22:20-21)