"Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." - Hebrews 10:19-25

I simply want you to look at this paragraph and see how God distinctly and purposefully gave you the family that you have in Christ to encourage and uplift you. In many places today, there are people working to try and "keep everyone humble" by breaking them down and keeping them held back. It ought not be so in the Lord's church! I hope as you read these words today, you are reminded of times when the church family has stood next to you and held you up. In the same breath, I also hope that if there are moments that come to mind where you felt the church family was not there for you, that you will find it in your heart to forgive us and allow us to be there for you moving forward. If we are not considering ways to stir one another up to love and good works, then we are failing as the children of God. Let's begin this new year with an eye towards encouragement and a desire to be present in the good works being done through love by this wonderful family.

May God continue to bless you!

- Scott 

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light
we see light (Ps 36.9).
If you knew the gift of God and who it is that
asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and
he would have given you living water (Jn 4.10).
Two passages are one idea. From the only true
source of light we are able to see light. If we are
not seeking that light, then we are in the
darkness, but it is also true that when we seek
the light, we are able to then experience the light
in a way that we never understood, while living in
darkness. From the only true source of living
water we are able to enjoy it. If we are not
seeking the living water, then we are unaware of
how thirsty we are, spiritually, but when we seek
the living water, from the true source, "the water
I give him will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life” (Jn 4.14).
You can see light when you are in the darkness,
but you should be able to see the light ALL the
more now that you are in the light. You can see
the offer to your thirst when you are not thirsty,
but it is when you admit that you are thirsty that
waters well up to eternal life.
- Alex
"If anyone imagines that he knows something, he
does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone
loves God, he is known by God." - 1 Corinthians 8:2-3
How are you known? Are you known as someone
who can be trusted? Are you known as someone who
is loved? Are you known simply due to your job? Are
you known as a family man, a workaholic, a
shopaholic, or maybe as one who is a "good person"?
Many of these things are good identifiers but each
one lacks the only true identity that matters. Are you
known by God?
This morning as we study together from the book of
2nd Corinthians, I implore you to debate that
question in your mind... And if you cannot answer
that question with a resounding yes, then study with
us this morning how you can go from having an
identity that is based on foolishness to having an
identity that is overflowing with grace, mercy,
forgiveness, and love.
"And we have seen and testify that the Father has
sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. So we
have come to know and to believe the love that God
has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love
abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love
perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for
the day of judgment... There is no fear in love, but
perfect love drives out fear." - 1 John 4:14, 16-18
I vowed to make Christmas a calm and
peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential
obligations, extensive card writing, endless baking,
decoration, and even overspending. Yet still I found myself
exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family
moments, and of course the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an
exciting season for a six-year-old. For weeks, he’d been
memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of
the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke
with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal
the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend
that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately,
Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes
early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down.
Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly
scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led
into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat
cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose
to perform their song.
Because the public-school system had long stopped referring
to the holiday as “Christmas” I didn’t expect anything other
than fun, commercial entertainment- songs of reindeer,
Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son’s
class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback
by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his
classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and
bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row,
center stage, held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the
class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter “C”. Then, “H is
for Happy,” and so on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the
complete message, “Christmas Love.”
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet
girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down – totally unaware her letter
“M” appeared as a “W”.
The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at the little one’s mistake. But she
had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the
last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and
eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why
we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was purpose
for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and
And I believe He still is
"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." - 1 Timothy 6:6-10
As you know, it has never been the money itself that is the problem... Just like it has never been what you get your kids or what car you drive or what you house you live in that is the problem... It is, simply put, when those things try to take the place of God. I know, I know, you think this is another message about giving, but it is not. It is a message about the word contentment. This does not come easy as Paul told us it is something that has to be learned (Philippians 4:11) and something that has to be continually managed and updated. This week, I challenge you to find ways to learn contentment, whether that be in the way you look, the way you dress, the way you see your spouse, the way you see your children's achievements/grades, the way you see your neighbor's new car or house, or even in the way you see God's blessings. Seek out contentment as righteous children of God and you will be blown away at the great gain God bestows upon you. 
In Him,