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The Christmas Story from our Christmas Eve Eve Gathering.

Special readings from Bryce, Cory and Kylar.

The wrap up video of the project that Emily had on her heart to help the homeless in our area. She worked with multiple groups within  our church at The Shepherd’s Fellowship to put it all together.

Simeon’s Blessing

Our study on 12/25 was much more than a Christmas only message. As we explore the moment that Simeon, a common jewish man first saw Jesus as He was brought to dedicated in the temple, we find truths about holding on to God’s promises. There are seasons in our lives where it feels like we missed the boat, things aren’t going right, or maybe even that God has forgotten us. Simeon is a wonderful testimony of not giving up while you are waiting on the promise!

Enemy of Revival

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(If you have gone through this study, please skip to the bold print as you don’t need to introduction recap.)

Over the month of December, our studies at the church reflected on how to find revival in your spiritual life. By walking through the book of Nehemiah, we found several areas that matched up with the Advent season to assist us in our goal.

We defined revival as any area in our life or church life that was falling short of the fullness of what God has for us and restoring things back to His plan. For instance, if we are lonely and we know that God has designed us for relationships, how do we restore community back in our lives. This is one of multiple possible areas that we need revival in.

The general findings of our study is that revival takes hope, peace, joy and love.

Hope – Hope comes when you look at any area that is falling short of God’s best and you say “It’s not ok.” Many of us have defined our lives that are not God’s fullness as “normal” and gave up hope of moving forward. However, revival takes a conscious choice that we are going to do something about it and lean in.

Peace – Real peace is not determined by your circumstances. It’s choosing to push fear aside and replace it with the knowledge that God is good and awesome. Then you can move forward in spite of the circumstances.

Joy – Joy comes from seeing the bigger picture, giving, and putting God’s Word first with thanksgiving and letting it bring change.

Love – Revival is achieved by loving God by living His Word and we stay there when we, as a community, love each other to reach out to one another when we see someone else slipping from that revival.

Now, here’s where I pick everyone back up…..

When we have these kinds of studies, there are two extremes that you can find in the listeners. Several heed the study and make new steps towards revival in humbleness and submission to God. Yet others, get annoyed. Some think they are tired of hearing these things, feel resentful, or ignore any implications in their personal life calling for change.

This is the enemy of hope. This is the enemy of peace. This is the enemy of joy and love. This is the enemy trying to keep you from God’s fullness.

I pray for revival for God’s people (including myself). Having less than God’s best in our life is devastating and we have more control over it than we sometimes think we do. We just need to decide it’s God’s best for me and hope, choose peace, live joy, and act in love.

You can find the audio and video podcasts for this series at our church podcast page.

Blessings,

Pastor Tom Hypes
tsflife.com

“A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out the spirit of worldliness and selfishness, and making God and His love triumph in the heart and life.” – Andrew Murray

In this study, we will finish up the book of Nehemiah by bringing hope, peace, and joy together with love in a way that moves us to revival. If you have been spiritualy struggling and need to find a way to move forward, we invite you to join us to dig in as we recap the steps so far and bring it all together.

Why did God Allow This?

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Reminder: Not everything that happens is God’s will. Since we have been given free will (the power to choose to act in God’s ways or the world’s ways), many things happen that are not God’s will.

I say this because often times I will hear people attribute divorces, financial struggles, broken friendships, loneliness, or other challenging situations to God’s planning. However, often times we see that their own decisions or the free will choices of others have caused the hardship or pain. At times, we slap God’s name on it to make us feel better or to avoid personal responsibility.

The good news is that any situation given back to God can go back under His will. He can and does takes the worst that we have to give and turns it into something beautiful. He will break, reshape, and breath new life into any life that leans into Him.

I love grace.

“Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross”

At the Foot of the Cross (Ashes to Beauty) by Kathryn Scott

tsflife.com

When we talk about joy at Christmas time, what comes to mind? Memories of a past Christmas with presents, families, and fun? Expectations of being off work or school for a little while to enjoy some down time? A skeptical feeling because you have hurt, loneliness, or a busy schedule during the Christmas holiday?

This week we continue our building towards having revival in our lives by looking at the sources of joy. What brings joy? How do we have joy in the midst of struggle? What is true joy verses temporary relief?

tsflife.com