21
Dec

Christmas 2017

Dear family,

As we celebrate Christmas and New Years, I wish you above all things peace of heart and strength of mind.  Each of us has some item in life that seems to work against our joy in Christ.  Don’t let the evil and confusion of this world rob you of your joy.  I am fighting for you in prayer that this Christmas is a great joy to your heart.

Matthew 25:31-40 comes to my mind as we close the year.  Jesus said in verse 40 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

As many of you know over the last few weeks I spent Sunday morning at Tabitha Baptist and Fairview Baptist and spoke this last week at Tabernaculo De Fe.  The picture  is from that place of life and light, Tabernaculo De Fe.

Having returned from Mexico in five different neighborhoods and five churches that include a home for the homeless children, images bounce through my head of many that have nothing. Some live in an environment of pain daily.  We have so much and groan.  They have so little and rejoice.  They have a faith in God that transcends things.  I pray for this faith to erupt all around. May this faith erupt in me more every day. These are friends in Christ.  Hundreds of kids and parents rejoiced with the message of Christ, a celebration meal, and new toys.  You let them know the love of Christ.  It is because of you that this is possible.  Thank you.

This week I visited three of our family in jail.  They will be there for Christmas.  How hard that must be.  One has not had anyone else visit them since they were jailed a month ago.  When you send me, it goes to your account in heaven.  This is the promise of the Bible.

Some of the most precious offerings came to me and Hope Connection in this season.  Tabernaculo was able to give a gift from their heart.  A friend from Oklahoma gave extra in the holidays. One of our members came to me.  I know she has little, but she sent offering to share in the Mexico trip.  Then there was the elderly woman in Mexico.  She gave her widow’s mite.  With great greatfulness for the move of God’s presence she handed me $3.00.  In Mexico that is $18 pesos.  I am sure it was all she had at the moment.  Around her was plenty.  The people in this church looked well tended.  She was an elderly woman living on little, yet she gave all she had.  Her $3.00 is a precious gift, as valuable as the wise men.  I treasure that moment. Magdiel means ‘knowing God’.  In Templo Magdiel, this woman knows God.

Matthew 25:31-40 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

This Christmas make a decision to give grace to someone who needs it.

Who could use a word of encouragement, a visit in a hard place, a smile and a hug?

May the Lord remember all your sacrifices.  Dig deep into the wells of prosperity into which He has blessed you.  Remember the house of the Lord as you close your year that we may continue to reach out to the unreached.  They are not unreachable.  They need you. They need your support.

As Christmas and New Year’s fall on Sundays.  We will not meet on Christmas Day.  Spend it with your family. Settle in on that day and rejoice in your blessings.  Do the same on New Years.  This is not our tradition.  Both of these days are great days of celebrating as a church.  This year we are breaking our tradition and doing something different.  This is a time to prepare for the NEXT.

Get ready for a great year in 2017.  It is our “Age of Adventure”  Fixing Family Fracture is our heart at Hope.  We are here to build families into a better life forward.

Life Skills starts Jan 9th with a preenrollment of 30.

Parenting starts in February.

Teen Life Skills will be starting in February.

Pioneer Clubs for Kids starts Jan 15th

Trackers Camp for teens, singles, couples, parents and grandparents starts Jan 15th.

Dad’s University is under development.

Men’s Advance, Women’s Advance, Youth Camp, Kids Camp and more is all scheduled through the year.   Keep in touch with the calendar.  We hope to sponsor another Family Day Camp in June.  I’ll keep you update.

All of this is about taking from the well of wisdom and prosperity into which God has placed us and giving out what we have.  Hope Connection is a mission.  We are supported from others.  This year is our year to become self sufficient.  Would it not be a blessing to the heart of God to see those who are receiving the ministry to be the ones to support the ministry?  Surely, the ones that come to the workshops have been faithful to support the ministry.  Surely, the people, who have come for services have supported the ministry.  Yet, we still live on outside support.  I pray God raises you and others up to be the foundation of a fountain of great blessing, springs of waters in a dry and thirsty land.

God is building.  The Age of Adventure is with us.

 

I love each of you and all of you.

 

Pastor Phil

 

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