DUE to the COVID-19 pandemic
WELCOME TO OUR VISITORS: Like everyone else, we are trying to avoid COVID-19 among all of us. Some of us are more vulnerable than others. We ask everyone to keep six feet from others and wear a mask so that no one becomes ill by attending worship. Some of us will be participating virtually through Zoom at home and others will be in the building. If in the future you wish to participate on Zoom at home contact Karl Marcussen and he will help you join us.
FOOD BANK REPORT: We have had a food bank giveaway for many years. It takes some expense from our church treasury to run this, which we are pleased to do. On December 7, we had our monthly scheduled food giveaway; but, we have unscheduled giveaways anytime we come in contact with people in need. If you have been following the news, you know that the pandemic has caused so many people to be out of work that food shortages exist all over the country. This month we serviced 83 people among 21 households. We have been getting a reputation in our community and because of this we have been getting access to some special events with the resources from Feeding America. During December C. Wimberley Automotive Group in Dowagiac sponsors bringing a truck to Dowagiac from Feeding America to supply food banks in the Cass County area. The Feed America food truck restocked us on the 18th, so we still have food for people in need. We also have several church building neighbors who have contributed by giving us cans for recycling, food, and money. If you know of a need, contact Richard Hoyt or the Gibsons. God is blessing us as we serve the community, and we praise him for that, and thank him for giving us this way to glorify him.
HAROLD AND PAULINE MATHIS celebrated their 70th anniversary this past Wednesday, December 23. They are a wonderful example to all of us of what a truly Christian marriage is like.
INTRODUCTION — Matthew 13:44-50
A. Matthew 13:44 — Treasure in a field: Buys into something with promise, hidden.I. WE CHOOSE THINGS THAT HAVE A HIGH PRIORITY.
B. Matthew 13:45-46 — Treasure in a pearl — something special:
Makes an investment in the future.C. Matthew 13:47-48 — Fisherman culling his catch.
Throws away the bad, keeps the good.
A. New Years is a good time to look at our priorities:II. GOD TELLS US WHERE OUR PRIORITIES TAKE US.
James 4:13 — Is God in your planning? (See the Does God Exist? Today entry for December 27, 2020, “Help to Keep Us Humble.” )B. Psalm 84:10 — Where do you live?
C. Matthew 6:19-21 — Where is your heart?
1. The pandemic has affected where our hearts are.
2. The election has affected where our hearts are.
3. The economy has affected where our hearts are.
A. 1 Timothy 6:6III. PRACTICAL GUIDANCE TO MAKING 2021 GREAT:
1. Is contentment a priority for me?B. Are the rich automatically happy?
2. What does contentment depend upon?
1. Note: “… they that want to be rich … .”C. What does the “love of money” do to us? How does this bring sorrow?
2. Matthew 19:16-22 — What made him sorrowful.
3. How many rich people are part of Jesus' work?
D. How does doing it God's way do any better?
A. Make two lists — one physical and one spiritual
1. Physical includes health, jobs to do, money matters,things at work, recreation, etc.B. Prioritize the items on each list — Demonstration.
2. Spiritual — reading the Bible, attendance, sending cards, phone calls, visits, involvement in church projects, spiritual books, TV shows, prayer habits, thanksgiving
C. Pray about both lists.
John referred to our concluding song: “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.”
THE BACK PAGE
HAPPY NEW YEAR
This should be a good week! This past Monday marked the winter solstice. That means that the shortest day of the year was this past Monday, and from now on the days are getting longer.
In addition to the longer days and the promise of spring, 2020 is finally behind us and we now have a new and promising new year. The medical scientists have finally gotten a vaccine that will eventually make COVID-19 a bad memory of the past. That not only means we can eventually throw our masks away, hug each other, and meet together for worship; but the economy should resume its progress and we will have fewer people laid off, be able to eat in a sit-down restaurant, have a congregational potluck, and go to a movie or a theater production.
What all this means is that we have to start planning for the new year. For one thing, we need to plan to get together and re-establish fellowship with each other. With that in mind, Cynthia and I want to invite you to a Christmas party which we are calling “Christmas in July.” We normally have a Christmas party with a full meal, a devotional, and a white elephant gift exchange. As soon as the health authorities say it is safe, we will set a date for our “Christmas” party. So hang on to that white elephant gift. You will be sent an invitation when we know the date.
On a more serious level, we all need to plan for what we will do during this new year. The pandemic should have impressed on us the need to be active in planning what we will do, both as a congregation and personally. Our lesson this morning is designed to help do that. There have been lots of jokes about New Years resolutions; but, as this new year begins on Friday of this week, we need to think about what happened in 2020 and allow the past to help us make intelligent, informed decisions about the future.
As a congregation we need to plan our classes both in terms of content and organization. We need to look at an area-wide singing and perhaps a gospel meeting of some kind. Our building has been worked on during the pandemic, and we need to use it and reset our teaching program. Pray about it, and think about your involvement in it. Make this a new beginning, and plan to get involved in God's work your number one priority.
— John Clayton
Our sign by the street!
Sign saying from Revelation 21:5 via www.sayingsforchurchsigns.com.
Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.