God speaks so clearly, doesn't He? I noted this week in my sermon that for three weeks the message of the Gospel has fixed on priorities. Over and over the message has been: God first, people over possessions, giving our best to those things that are most important, and eliminating about fifty percent of what we think we “have” to do.
So, here we are already in September. This is the time that most churches are beginning to prepare for the Advent season. I'm bombarded with bulletin covers, bible study options, study guides, videos, the list goes on and on. Everyday there is an email from some publisher telling me what is available to enhance the life of my congregation.
I look at the busy people that fill the seats on Sunday morning and I know that the last thing they need is more things to fill their time. School has just begun and the activities are piling on. Yet, at the same time I know how committed they are and how much they covet time that is focused on God alone. And, the truth is, time focused on God should be at the top of our priority list!
Rather than just randomly reduce activity, I took some time to pray this week and I specifically asked God how the church could properly prioritize and how I could best serve these busy families. How could we keep God first, and focus on what was important in the midst of all the distractions that make up modern family life?
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God spoke and New Hope is going to follow a slightly different path this year; a path that will be different than most of our sister churches. Instead of the usual Advent studies filled with Jesse Tree ornaments and packed into the busiest of times, we are going to do our group spiritual preparation early and save those precious weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas for family devotions, giving of our time to service projects and personal scriptural study. My hope is that this will help all of us to relax, fix our priorities and focus on the Morning Star, Christ.