Friday, November 22, 2013

Welcome To Our World

Advent is the Christian holiday to welcome and celebrate the coming of Jesus into our world. Advent means coming or arrival. Our Lord, the one who was and is and is to come, came first as a babe in Bethlehem on a holy mission to proclaim the Kingdom of God and save us from sin and death. He is with us now, dwelling among us by the presence of the Holy Spirit. And he will come again to our world at the end of time to make all things right. John the Baptist came with a message saying, “Prepare the way of the Lord”. God told John that, even though the people had the prophecies and promises and were waiting, their hearts and souls were not ready for His arrival. John called the people to repent, consecrate themselves and make straight the crooked and wild places in their lives because the King was coming – in fact He was already at the door. That was over 2000 years ago. Every year Advent causes us to ask again: Are we ready for the coming of the True King? Are we prepared to welcome him to our world? This Advent, let’s welcome Jesus and prepare for his advent in our world. Welcome to Our World by Chris Rice Tears are falling Hearts are breaking How we need to hear from God You've been promised We've been waiting Welcome holy Child Welcome holy Child Hope that You don't mind our manger How I wish we would have known But long-awaited holy Stranger Make Yourself at home Please make Yourself at home Bring Your peace Into our violence Bid our hungry souls be filled Word now breaking heaven's silence Welcome to our world Welcome to our world Fragile finger sent to heal us Tender brow prepared for thorn Tiny heart whose blood will save us Unto us is born Unto us is born So wrap our injured flesh around You Breathe our air and walk our sod Rob our sin and make us holy Perfect Son of God Perfect Son of God Welcome to our world CCLI Song # 2317391 CCLI License # 751712 Chris Rice © 1995 Clumsy Fly Music (Admin. by Word Music Group, Inc.)

What is a relational covenant?

After the Relational Covenant Workshop, the Vitality Team began working on the writing of our Relational Covenant. A Relational Covenant is guide for how to deal with conflict and hard conversations in our church family. Relational Covenants are not new. They are found all through scripture from the Garden of Eden to Mount Sinai and in Paul’s letters to the early church. Actually every family and every church already has a relational covenant. But they might not know it! We all have ways that we “agree” to handle issues and conflicts. Only we might have never actually spoken about these ways to handle conflict or even discussed how we view the role of conflict in our lives. In most of our families and churches we “agree” by simply slip into these ways and habits over the years. Problems arise when the ways that we deal with issues and conflicts have never really been explained or even discussed. Sometimes the accepted ways we deal with issues and conflicts are neither healthy nor Biblical. Sometimes issues and conflicts are not resolved and linger hidden under the surface coloring all we do. Sometimes important differences are never realized, truth is not spoken in love, and growth does not take place because conflict is feared. A Relational Covenant is not a law, but a lifestyle. A Relational Covenant is just as much about process as it is about outcome. It is also something that we need to talk about and understand and practice as we seek to grow in Christ and serve Him together. On Sunday January 12, 2014, we will have a special Service of Consecration. This will be a time to set ourselves apart for God’s use, let go of the past, commit ourselves to follow him today and also follow Him into the new future He has prepared for us. It will also be a day to lift up our Relational Covenant and agree to use it as way of dealing with the conflicts and issues that naturally face us as we walk with Jesus together. Please be in prayer for our church family as we continue to boldly step into God’s new future. Make an effort to attend worship on January 12 and encourage others to attend. Following the Service of Consecration, we will have two weeks for each friend and member of New Hope to complete a brief on-line survey, Pulse, that will help guide our strategic ministry planning.