Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Although it's been said many times, many ways:
A Ku Odun Keresimesi! Merry Christmas!

This Christmas, I have thought a lot about the greeting,"Merry Christmas." As I wrote Christmas cards this year, and as I responded to seasons greetings from cashiers, and friends, and Salvation Army ring-a-bell-ers, I couldn't help wonder what exactly what we mean when we say "Merry Christmas." The words conjure up red and green, candy canes and a pot-bellied Santa.

The angels who heralded the first Christmas used these words:

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger . . . Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

(Luke 2:10-14)

I have decided to memorize this greeting and use it in lieu of "Merry Christmas" from now on. Okay, maybe not. But I do pray for myself and for all of you that as we share Christmas greetings, we may be filled with joy by the incredible Gift of a Savior; and we may look beyond the manger and marvel at the cross on which the gift was completed.

"Merry Christmas," "Joyeux Noel," "E ku Odun,"--whichever way you say it or hear it said, I pray the words bring you joy, fill your heart with peace, and cause you to glorify God by proclaiming the gift of His Son to the world.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

December "Mini" Update

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died." 2 Corinthians 5:14

It's been a busy, busy, busy month! But, praise God, it's also been a very fruitful month. We got a new Bible study off the ground. Last Friday, I sat down with four students invlolved in orchestra and co-led a Bible study for them with Brent, one of the students. (I was excited to observe his understanding of God's Word and His love).

I also had the joy of following up with six girls who attended the orchestra outreach last month. I had lunch with them at separate times; I learned a little bit about their current spiritual stance and where they want to go, spiritually. They were all at different levels--a couple of them still not sure if they want to follow Christ, one a new Christian (she received Christ at the outreach), and a couple of them presently struggling in their walk with God. Please pray that God would give me and other Student Venture laborers the wisdom and discernment to guide these students in their walk with Him.

God took me this past week to revisit 2 Corinthians 3:12-5:21. These were passages of Scripture that God placed on my heart two years ago when I first recognized He was calling me to ministry. It was so encouraging to be reminded that it is GOD'S LOVE compelling us to bring his gospel to the lost, and it is GOD working through us as His ministers--clay vessels though we may be.

I will send another newsletter this month--God willing--to recap the end-of-year events and share with you testimonies of God's work at Newman Smith High School and in Carrollton. Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare for my finals!! Also, pray for our leadership students as God continues to lead them to invite their friends for our January conference (FastBreak). They prayed to God to fill a whole bus with their friends/classmates (that would be 50 students) and they have 28 students signed up so far!

Thank you for your continued prayers--they are working! I'm also grateful to those of you who gave additional financial gifts this past month. God bless you all, and I'll write again soon. For now, I'm going to study! :)