Lots of witnessing going on!

Jesus instructs His followers, at the very beginning of the Book of Acts in the New Testament, to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). A witness is someone who tells the good news about Jesus and his love or shares how Jesus and His love have changed your life forever. At New Venture Christian Church we have devoted ourselves to studying the teachings of Acts during the fall of 2012 in a series we have called “Witnesses”.

As we wrapped up the series on “Witnesses” and moved into the month of December we have “witnessed” five people baptized into Christ in December alone. That alone is cause for tremendous rejoicing. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. It is even more thrilling to see all five of these people baptized by the one person in their life that has had the strongest influence on their coming to Christ. That means I, as the church Pastor, have not baptized any of the five. That is exciting.

So, I am delighted to leave you with pictures of the five baptisms in December. They are;

Miranda Harmon, baptized by her dad, Chris Harmon

Jenny Wightman, baptized by her neighbor and friend, Tasha Blake

Andrew Szabo, baptized by his friend and KidVenture Director, Misti Binns

Holly Cooper, baptized by her former cheerleading coach and friend, Margie Kelly

Britney Cooper baptized by her sister Holly Cooper right after being baptized by Margie.

There’s a whole lot of witnessing going on. All I can say is keep it up.

Chris baptizing Minah IMG_1232 IMG_1238

 

holly, britney

Who’s the “star” in your life?

star-wise menSome of the characters in the original Christmas story are wise men, or as some would prefer to call them, wise guys. They traveled from afar to find the Christ child. Their travel guide was a star, a very special star.  It was no mere, normal star.  A lot of people say that maybe the star they were following was some comet or supernova or asteroid.  But there’s no star that ever preformed like this star.  The Bible says it led them from the east directly to Jerusalem.  It led them east.  Then it turned south and went south to Bethlehem.  No star does that.  Then it settled right over the home where Jesus, Mary and Joseph were.  I’ve never seen a star like that. 

On top of that, we don’t have any indication from the Bible that anybody else ever saw the star.  It doesn’t say that Herod or the people in Jerusalem saw the star.  The only people, to our knowledge, that actually saw the star were the wise men.  It was a special star, custom made.  God often does this.  All throughout history, God has used different kinds of instruments to get people’s attention.  Whether it was opening the Red Sea, bring down manna from heaven, a pillar of fire by night or cloud by day.  God has always done different kinds of signs.  He always rewards genuine seekers with clues with a travel guide, a star. 

Chances are, you have a star in your life.  You may have just never recognized it.  God put it there to bring you to Him.  That star may be a book you’ve read or a person you know or an experience you’ve had or a TV show or a movie.  It may be some event.  It may be a church.  I have no doubt that God has brought people across your path in order to be a travel guide to bring you to Him.  It may be a believing parent or a believing wife or star 2husband who is a believer, or a neighbor or friend or somebody at work or even a child.  But God does not leave genuine seekers without a travel guide.  He brings these people into our lives so we can see where He wants us to be headed. 

So who’s  the star in your life?

There are three possible reactions when God starts to guide your life and you start to realize, “Maybe God is talking to me and trying to guide me through this person, this book, whatever.”  You can react like Herod did which was fear.  He was afraid of being guided by God.  Or you can react like the religious leaders did, be indifferent, be apathetic, be skeptical.  Or you can react like the wise men did and that was celebrate.  They rejoiced.  They experienced the joy of being led by God.

Matthew 2:10 “And when they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”  The original word literally means they jumped up and down with joy.  They were ecstatic.  They were joyful beyond belief.  They couldn’t contain themselves.  They were overwhelmed with joy. 

starIf you’re a Christian, I want to challenge you sometime this Christmas season to thank God for the stars in your life.  The travel guides, the clues.  They may be people or they may be events.  But thank God for the people or events that caused you to find Christ, that led you to the Savior.  And rejoice with exceeding great joy for those people. 

If you’re not a Christian, if you’re a seeker, you’re still on the way, I want to say to you, use the star, take advantage of it.  Don’t just let it be there.  Let it lead you to God to find the basic questions of life answered in your life.  Use that star.

THE ANIMAL SCHOOL

The animals hanimal school 4ad a school where the curriculum consisted of running, climbing, flying and swimming.  All the animals took all the subjects.       

The duck was good at swimming and flying, but he was terrible in running.  So he was made to drop his swimming class and stay after school and practice running.  He kept this up until he was only average in swimming, which was acceptable.  The others, including the teacher, were no longer threatened by the duck’s swimming abilities and everyone felt more comfortable – except the duck.

The eagle was considered to be a problem student.  For instance, in the climbing class he could beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own method of getting there.  He had to be severely disciplined and finally because of his non-cooperation in swimming he was expelled for insubordination.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but obviously was inadequate in other areas.  Because of so much make-up work in swimming, he had a nervous breakdown and had to drop out of school.

The turtle was a failure in almost every course offered.  His shell was considered to be the leading cause of his failure, so it was removed.  This did help his running a bit, but he became the first casualty when he was stepped on by the horse

Here’s the summation.  The faculty was disappointed, but all in all it was a good school on humility.  There were no real successes.  None seemed to measure up to thanimal school 3e others, but they did concentrate on their weak points and soanimal school2me progress was made. 

Get the point?  Everybody doesn’t fit the same mold, and in the church we don’t want to zero in on what you’re not good at but on what you are good at.  Everybody is a 10 in some area. 

If you’re in a ministry where it’s not working out, there is a way to know, you’re under stress. It’s a very stressful thing to do.  There’s not something wrong with you.  It means you’re in the wrong ministry area. So find the right one!  Get it?

(Copied from somewhere but I have no idea where)