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December 18, 2014

The River Community Church
  

Thoughts From the Elders

From Jim Broffitt

Christmas – the season of giving!   We were given the perfect gift from our heavenly Father when Jesus was born in a stable 2000 years ago.  Christmas is a time when we reflect on how blessed we are, and how we can bless others.  It was great to see how our church responded to the program of buying gifts for needy children who attend Lucas Elementary.  You are to be commended.  I also applaud Pastor Joshua and Ann for taking the initiative to make this happen.  Individually, we get many requests to make financial donations to organizations that help people in need – it seems that these requests arrive just about every day in the mail. I’m sure many of you contribute to these charities, but it is especially nice to bless people who live in our neighborhood.  

Our “angel tree” was modeled after the Angel Tree Ministry founded by Mary Kay Beard.  She had an abusive, alcoholic father but a Christian mother who took her to church.  Mary Kay’s second husband was a bank robber and together they were involved in several armed robberies.  At age 27 she was on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. There was also a mafia contract on her life. She was captured and sentenced to 21 years.  One day she picked up a Gideon Bible in her cell and was thumbing through it when her eyes were drawn to two verses that changed her life:

Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NIV)
26  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
27  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

On her knees in her prison cell, Mary Kay surrendered her life to Jesus.  She was released after serving 5.5 years, and in 1982 she started Angel Tree.  Mary Kay subsequently married Don Beard who was a convicted felon and went from being a homeless alcoholic derelict to an ordained minister. (I believe this was the third marriage for both.)  Theirs is an amazing story of the transforming power of God’s mercy and grace. 

Wishing you a merry Christmas as we worship and serve together!


Gather & Grow...River Community News

The Fumbly Bumbly Angels, a Christmas Pageant
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. there will be some invites in your program this Sunday. Just cut them apart and give to a few who you would like to invite to join us to celebrate! Have a blessed Christmas.

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

Family Matters Potluck and Meeting
January 11
11:30 am 

Let's get together and try to warm up the winter by having a potluck! We'll provide the meat and the vegetables, you bring a salad or a dessert to go with it. We'll enjoy some fellowship together and have a short update and discussion about what's new at church. It's a great way to stay updated, keeping informed and give some input about your church and family. 


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.

Merry Christmas From:

The Johnsons - Cru/Minneapolis

Kirk and LouAnn both continue in their ongoing roles of coaching new staff but also had the joy of speaking at fall retreats where the mission of turning lost students into Christ-centered laboreres plays out. They also just got back from East Asia to come alongside staff serving there. Thank you for your prayer and financial partnership. It is our great privilege to be an extension of our heart to reach the world for Christ. kirk.johnson@cru.org.

The McCoskeys - Navigators/IC

After reading several chapters of Mark’s Gospel over a number of weeks, my Asian friend asked, “Having seen Jesus do so many miracles, why didn’t his disciples believe he was the Son of God?”

 “Let’s keep reading and see,” I responded.  

 Merry Christmas!                               

 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

 Thank you for your interest in our work.  Your encouragement is a continual motivation.

Larry and Cheryl
ldmcam@msn.com 

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

Holiday Events in Iowa City

Looking for things to do over Christmas Break? Here's one link with several family friendly events to give you some options.

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