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December 4, 2014

The River Community Church
  

Thoughts From the Elders

From Mark Jessop

I remember a time in college when I was asked in a small group setting what my favorite holiday was.  I said it was Easter and went on to explain why celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ was so important to me as a Christian.  The sad part is that I was not being completely truthful at the time.  What I really wanted to say was Christmas, but internally I was wrestling with why I liked it (Christmas) so much.  Was it the celebration of the birth of Christ – or was it the decorations, music, presents, etc.?  After a few years of reflection, I can now be totally honest and say I love Christmas for ALL those things.  I love the decorations, the songs (so many great ones) and even buying and receiving gifts … but if it were not for the birth of Christ it would be just another “fun” holiday and not something really worth celebrating.

I tend to not get very political, but I must admit that it really bugs me when people avoid saying “Merry Christmas” this time of year so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings or religious beliefs.  As a nation, we celebrate many historical people with holidays:  Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. to name a few.  You do not have to like or agree with any of these people – but that does not stop the fact that they existed and impacted history.  Unfortunately not everyone believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God, but even secular history books and other religions acknowledge that he was born and influenced the world (more than other person).  If that was all Jesus was/did – it would be more than worth celebrating and saying “Merry Christmas” to all those we meet, but for those of us who call Jesus our Lord and Savior – we know the whole beautiful redemptive story that began even before the human birth of Jesus.  This Christmas season, I pray that we can individually and as a church body truly celebrate all the wonders of Christmas, especially the miraculous birth of the son of the one true God.  Let us boldly say “MERRY CHRISTMAS” this year as we celebrate the joyous advent season.      


Gather & Grow...River Community News

Women's Christmas Tea
Saturday December 6
7:00 - 9:00 pm 

Join us for the start of the Christmas holiday season!  We'll enjoy fellowship and Christmas delights together with special music.  Invite your friends to share in the fun. Please bring one dozen cookies to share during the tea and three dozen for the exchange.  If you have questions or want to sponsor a table as a hostess, please see Julie Jessop.

Christmas Dinner
Sunday, December 14th
11:45 am

Sign up at the Welcome Center at The River for the annual Christmas Dinner event sponsered by the Prime Timers.  For only $8, you will enjoy a catered ham dinner with all the trimmings. Come enjoy the season with friends in the fellowship hall on the 14th. Please pay Marv Bailey by this Sunday, December 7th. Questions, ask Shirley Adolph.

The Fumbly Bumbly Angels, a Christmas Pagent
Sunday, December 21
10:30 am

Sunday, December 21st, the Kids' Church children will be performing a Christmas Pagent as part of the worship service to Celebrate Christmas. There will be lots of angels and others, bring your camera and friends and family to worship this day.Dress rehearsal will be the day before on Saturday, the 20th at 10:00 am. Talk to Jen Kruse if you have questions.

Wednesday, December 24
Christmas Eve Service
5:00 pm

Join us on Christmas Eve as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, God in flesh. This will be a family event for everyone so please join us for this special worship service.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14


Go...Serving in the Name of Jesus

December Missions Focus: Pine Lake Camp

It looks like snow! And that means Winter Retreats at Pine Lake Camps are almost here!! We are excited to announce that online registrations is NOW OPEN!! Here are the dates to mark on your calendar. You can register at www.pinelakecamps.org.

  Sr. High Retreat (grades 9-12): January 16-18

  Juniors Retreat (grades 2-5):  January 23-25

  Young Teens Retreat (grades 6-8):  February 6-8

Pine Lake officially opened in 1957 and since then thousands of people have experienced this "meeting place with God." The camp sits on 49 acres adjacent to Pine Lake State Park, and offers incredi- ble experiences, from summer camp fun to weekend retreats for youth and adults. The camp’s mission is:

To engage children, youth and adults with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ by creating unique camp communities and learning experiences in which our words, our service and our personal rela- tionships capture and communicate the essence of the gospel.

We encourage you to contact others serving elsewhere to say hello and let them know you are praying for them, they appreciate it. Prayer letters may also be picked up from the Resource Room at The River along with current info including River family prayer requests in "Prayer Matters". If you would like to be included on our Prayer Team, send us an email. We will send out requests, usually once a week for you to pray for. If you have a story of someone serving in Jesus' name, send it our way and we will pass it on!

Around the Neighborhood

Midday Connection Luncheon
Wednesday, December 10
I University Club, 1360 Melrose 

In the hustle and bustle of the season, come away for awhile and enjoy some humor and honesty about the Christmas season and the reason we celebrate. There will also be music and lunch. Wear your favorite holiday sweater. RSVP to 358-7016 by 11 am on Mondya the 8th to attend. $15 for lunch.

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