Advent 2 By Pastor Joe
We are now less than 5 days away from our next Candlelight Communion Christmas Eve Service. I hope you will all plan on attending. Invite a friend and don’t forget you can come as you are dressed: jeans, sweatpants, ugly Christmas sweater, combat boots, camouflage, Green Bay Packer spirit-wear, you get the idea! Everything starts at 5pm and 1 hour later we will be wishing each other a Merry Christmas! Everything I just wrote was exactly the same from last week’s article except for the amount of time before the service begins this week! Time is passing by so quickly, and whatever we can do to get our loved ones, our neighbors, our work associates, anyone who needs to hear the good news, to join us is worth everything! Let’s have a real sense of urgency. I have to be very transparent about part of my reason for using the word “urgency”. Most of you know I was in Germany recently, three times now in the last six years. Prior to that, I had not been with any of my mother’s side of the family for over 37 years, except for a couple of visits from a few family members who visited my mother. So, I missed a lot of years; celebrating Christmas, special events, weddings, birthdays and even funerals with the majority of my cousins and relatives who live thousands of miles away. So, I have a sense of urgency in my own life to be with them. Five years ago, I had found out my closest cousin Sepp was dealing with cancer. He had been battling prostate cancer for nearly 2 years prior to that, and it was something he had not told anyone until he was no longer attending family gatherings. No one who is 53 years old wants to think they are dying from some disease, especially when that same individual had been a regional triathlete champion in Bavaria Germany. It just goes to show us how fragile we really are, how our lives are truly a vapor; the scripture tells us, here today and gone tomorrow. During my Europe mission trip presentation, I showed you the gravestone of Sepp; I witnessed to him before he died and Missionary Steve Dunn shared the good news also, we are trusting he opened his heart to the Savior.
There are individuals within our own congregation who have loved ones who are struggling, who are ill, (especially now with the world battling Covid) who are lonely, who are far from God. We should do whatever we can to extend the love, grace and mercy of God to these individuals, knowing that their souls matter. That’s how I feel about my relatives in Germany. Their souls matter to God, so they matter to me. More importantly the opportunity we have “together” here in Douglas County to reach people matters greatly to me. I know I will do my part to present the gospel to your loved ones. Rest assured you won’t hear me preaching some cotton candy messages just to get people in the door. Proof positive is the message shared during our recent Christmas Café. We are here to fill heaven with souls, and if they become part of our local fellowship, I see it as a bonus. So, if you wonder why I go to Germany more often now, my family matters to me, just like yours do to you. So, with redundancy in my words, the 1-hour service on Friday could be the only time your loved one hears the gospel message during the next 12 months.