Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jan-March 2010 Newsletter Article

I am posting a preview of my article for our first quarter newsletter. Enjoy.

To the Church at Hickory Grove,

I can’t believe that 2009 is already gone. It doesn’t seem like enough time has passed for another year to be over, but it is and as you are reading this, it is 2010. It’s a new year, and many people approach this time with a sense of renewal and hope. We make New Year’s resolutions, we plan and we dream about how the New Year will be a different year. The sad part is that those many people seldom implement a strategy that will help them accomplish their dreams and plans for that year.

Tim, Jeth and I have been dreaming big for HGBC for 2010. We have been praying, talking and listening to the Lord and you, the body, concerning our church and we feel like we have something that will bring excitement, joy, worship and ministry to our church in the coming year. We have a theme for 2010. I mentioned it on December 13 in the morning service. The theme for 2010 at HGBC is “Being the Church.”

It is time we change the way we think about and approach church. Church is not somewhere we go; it is WHO WE ARE! We are the church. When a Christian approaches church as a place to go he is able to set aside and compartmentalize “church” into a specific place and time. Scripture tells us that we are the church, always. There is never a time when we set it aside or take it off. As a staff we are excited about the potential of this time of change in the life of the church.

I am going to be preaching a series of sermons on “Being the Church” in January and February. The series will take Acts 2:42-47 and examine the five purposes of the church. And we will, hopefully, see how we can incorporate these ministries more effectively into the life and ministry of our lives as the church. We have also settled on theme verse for 2010, I Corinthians 10:31, and even a theme song. I am so excited.

We have also begun planning four (4) days during the year where we will gather to do servant evangelism ministry projects. We will do one each quarter throughout 2010, and we will do this so that we can “Share the love of Jesus in a practical way.” I know God will bless us as we live out this year “Being the Church.”

We are also going to make a slight schedule change on Sunday evenings. Beginning in February we will be having a regular Sunday evening worship time every Sunday night. I know that this will be a welcome return to the familiar for some. In conjunction with that worship time we will also be adjusting GROW to function as it was originally intended. Each Sunday night during the worship time we will offer GROW to those who wish to participate. We will have one team each Sunday night worshipping the Lord through outreach and ministry. The staff believes that this will bring excitement and continuity to our Sunday evening worship experience. We will be putting a schedule of which GROW team will be ministering on any given Sunday night. I can’t wait to see how God blesses us as we seek out new ways to glorify Him through our acts of obedience to His word.

Serving Him,

Pastor Mike
Rom. 15:13

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Dave Ramsey on Christmas

No matter what your budget is this Christmas, remember to be thankful. Take a deep breath in the middle of all this craziness.
You might have a lot. You might have a little. If you are driving a beater, be thankful for that beater. You would rather drive that than walk, wouldn't you? There is always something to be thankful for.
That's what contentment is all about. When you understand and really grasp contentment, it becomes easier to save money and invest. Stress slowly disappears. Budgeting is easier. Relationships improve.
Be happy with what you have. More than three billion people, almost half the world, live on $2.50 a day. Sometimes we need a little perspective to become content with our current situation.
Without contentment, it's easy to be bitter and apathetic. Happiness is sold to us, especially during this time of year. We think if we can just get one more piece of stuff that "true" happiness will be right around the corner.
We say things like, "I'll be happy when I get that house!" or "I'll be happy when I get that new car!" But happiness cannot be bought. Sure fun—in the form of a house, a car, a new LCD television—can be bought, but fun is temporary. True happiness, or contentment, is lasting.
You can get out of debt, save money, and get on a budget, but until you realize that stuff doesn’t bring contentment, you will always feel stressed and unhappy. Contentment brings peace. And isn’t this time of year about bringing "peace on earth and good will toward men"?
Remember what this deal is all about. It's not about trees, lights, gifts, baked hams, and shopping malls. It’s about a little child who was born in a manger and grew up to die on a cross. It’s about peace on earth and good will toward men.
So if the Christmas frenzy is wearing you out, you've missed the point of Christmas. Make a plan with your money, and make a plan to get back in touch with the true meaning of this special day.
You are invited to Dave's Give Like No One Else Christmas at Daily giveaways and great articles will make you want to check back every day to see what's new.