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D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1 - J a n u a r y 2 0 1 2
Experience Gods Word Express Gods Love Equip Gods People
P e o p lP e o p lP e o p l eee
T h e N e w s l e t t e r o f F a i t h C h r i s t i a n R e f o r m e d C h u r c h
A DVEN T Thoughts on Advent It is here again The days are shorter, the air is colder, soon snow will be a regular item on the weather forecast. Advent season is upon us. Our first reaction to early signs of Christmas may be very negative as we see shopping malls and department stores trying to get an earlier and earlier jump on luring us to buy more of what we dont really need. Commercialism, materialism and superficiality threaten to take over this sacred Christian season of reflection and celebration. Dont let it happen to you. Start now. Be intentional. Do everything you can to minimize the gift buying, card writing, commercial chaos that attaches itself to the birth of Christ like parasites to an unsuspecting host. For if we can accomplish the necessary holiday tasks without draining our physical, emotional, financial and spiritual reserves we might just find ourselves in a place to enjoy Advent with all its soul satisfying, awe-and- wonder invoking mystery--the way we once did as a giddy 5 year old wak-ing up to find Santa has come. At the heart of Advent is a reality so much greater than any man in a red suit could ever deliver. God in his infinite love and infinite wisdom jumps in to his creation. Temporarily stripping himself of much of his divinity, Jesus became nothing taking the very nature of a servant. Entering the world in the weakness and fragility of a newborn baby, he goes on to disarm the powers and authorities set up against God and our ability to know and enjoy God. In the poverty and weakness of human flesh, Jesus shows us Gods incredible grace and truth. Showing us a different way: a way of love, a way of mercy mixed with a way of suffering and sacrifice that triumphs over all the pettiness, shallowness, and selfishness that enslaves the human race. Love for rage, humility for ego, compassion for apathy, passion for boredom, community for loneliness, beauty for ashes all of these and more are the gifts that are ready for us to open every day all because Unto us is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. As we head into Advent, dont let the madness and materialism the season brings with it cause you to miss this incredible occasion to reflect on and enjoy the gift of Jesus. Find ways to make this sole reason for the season meaningful and memorable to you, your family, your neighbors, and your co-workers. Merry Christmas. --Pastor Mike Laird
Advent Readings Nov. 27--Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Advent Devotional Helps --The Journey, A Season of Reflections: Walking the Road to Bethlehem, by Adam Hamilton --Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Change the World? by Rick McKinley --Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, various authors (Books available from Amazon..com)
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:10, 11, 14
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Dec. 4--John 1:4-5 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Dec. 11--Isaiah 40:3, 5 A voice of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. . . . And the glory of the Lord will be re-vealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Dec. 18--Luke 2:10, 17-18 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. . . . When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Dec. 25--John1: 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. --Philippians2:5-7 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Thanks to Niki Tazelaar for The Heavenly Choir
Inside: Getty Concert, p2; Missionaries, Life Issues, Evangelism Committee, p3; Deacons Corner, p3; Member News, Service Project, p. 4
Having the Gettys play at our
church was quite special. I en-
joyed hearing their original music.
The carols were my favorite.
I attended the Getty Music event with my
family--was pleased to see many people I knew
and many I did not. . . . Wonderful musicians:
Patricks use of the variety of [wind] instruments
was quite amazing (I dont think Ive ever seen
or heard someone play Irish bagpipes); Bonnie
found Deborahs violin playing of particular
interest. I have always appreciated Keith and
Kristyn Gettys music, but I most appreciate the
lyrics . . . often taken directly from scripture; the
songs lined up very well with our reformed
tradition. Singing some of these in Faiths
Sunday worship services made them familiar to
me and many others there. Keith and Kristyn
Getty connected very well with the audience; in
particular, Keith Getty knew his audience--[they
may have been] briefed in advance [about the]
Dutch and reformed background. From a techni-
cal standpoint, it seemed that adjustments to the
sound mix after the intermission allowed us to
better hear Kristyn Gettys vocals. My sense was
that everyone attending appreciated the music
and the time of worship. --Brent VanDyk
I took my neighbor to the Getty concert. We both enjoyed it and the fact that we could worship together. The Gettys were sincere and their lyrics beautiful. The musicians were great-- especially loved the violinist! It was awesome singing In Christ Alone
and The Power of the Cross with the people who wrote them. --Linda Stodola
Hosting 3rd Thursdays for quite some time, our church has expanded its repertoire of non-Psalter cracking, keyboard tapping, guitar jamming, violin swinging, praise and worship singing music. This method of praising our Lord has a different rhythm than what the CRC has historically boasted, yet retains the Biblical messages that the great hymns bring to our worship and knowledge of God. Enter Rev. Schuringa with an out-of-the-box idea. We have sung Keith and Kristyn Getty songs, a Christian couple from Ireland, in our church services. Why not try to retain the band for a 3rd Thursday night of worship? Getty music blends Irish, folk, and Christian contemporary sounds into modern hymns that reach beyond denominational lines allowing us to experience, express, and get equipped for His service. With such a perfect fit for our church, Rev. Schuringa contemplated this past spring whether it would be possible to bring these big time Christian artists to our church. After making a call and stealthily negotiating a
concert for less than half the normal $30k fee, the giant motza ball was dropped right smack dab into Traci and my laps. When approached in May with the concert planning request, Traci and I had two very different reactions. Traci, the realist, felt concerned that we wouldnt have time. As a head in the clouds optimist, I said no problem. So after getting a dose of what it would require from Traci, it was wisely suggested that the now known as Justin and Traci's small group take on this 1st of its kind event for our church. In spite of the nagging realization that we might not speak to each other at the outset, our gracious small group said Getty up to this Apprentice-like opportunity. So at this point, I need to apologize to our groupies as they actually have names and did a ton of work. But before naming them, you should have an idea of the necessary lifting to pull off this headliner night of worship. It required massive amounts of technical expertise, extra equipment, full use of our sound system, internet ticket sales, church member buy-in, significant donations covering over half the tab for reasonable ticket prices, parking coordination, shuttle services, green room setups, radio interviews and advertising, church usage obstacles, volunteers for CD sales, ticket collections, ushers, box movers, piano movers, a/v, drivers and dinner coordinators for the band; and so much more (deep breath). With that, a thank you to some of the folks that made it happen:
Steve and Jen David, along with the other audiophiles (Steve DeBoer, Todd
Lindemulder, Mike Printz, Matt Bulthuis, etc.), for keeping on top of everything technical and working some 14 hour days to get the church ready
Heidi and Matt Koster for not giving up on the radio idea, even after many
dead end phone calls, and for organizing the ticket sales
Kevin and Dawn Plowman for the parking duties and professional green