Church Family Newsletter | January 12, 2024
From the YouVersion Bible App:
Don't Lose Heart
As we start getting older, our bodies begin to change.
Muscles might ache. Hair might gradually turn gray. Vision and hearing might eventually get less sharp. And we, or someone we love, might even struggle with significant or devastating health challenges.
The apostle Paul once offered some ageless wisdom to the believers in Corinth, Greece, which can still be helpful for us today:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV
Paul knew what it was like to face hard things; he’d been beaten, shipwrecked, snake bitten, and imprisoned.
Earlier in the letter, he’d said, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV)
The ripple effects of sin’s existence in the world might frustrate us physically, but it cannot touch us spiritually.
Whether you’re dealing with a serious diagnosis, physical shame, or are simply exhausted by the weight of everyday responsibilities, don’t give up. Your body might be aching, but God can still renew your spirit—day after day after day.
All time will pass into Eternity and man must venture on a life unknown
Journey alone, each to his own destiny
In life or death amidst uncertainty,
In the struggle of right against wrong,
Somewhere amidst the confusion,
There will be love, There will be peace,
THERE WILL BE GOD — Joy Webb
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 NLT
Our world spins, often at a dizzying pace. Our news feeds are overflowing with turmoil, deadlines loom, and worries whisper in our ears. In this constant churn, a verse rings out like a beacon of calm: "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
These simple words hold profound wisdom. "Be still," it urges, not with the rigidity of a statue, but with the gentle release of breath and the quieting of our racing thoughts. It's an invitation to step off the hamster wheel of our anxieties and enter a sanctuary within.
But how do we truly "know" God in this stillness?
It's certainly not about forcing intellectual understanding, but it’s about opening our hearts to His presence.
It's in the hushed moments of prayer, the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, the quiet whispers of kindness we share with others that we discover knowledge of Him. It's in the realization that amidst the chaos, there is a constant anchor, a steady hand guiding us through the storm.
I encourage you to read all of Psalm 46 and consider its imagery. Mountains crumble, waters roar, kingdoms tremble, yet God remains a mighty refuge. Just as the earth won't stop spinning because we pause, His presence doesn't fluctuate with our anxieties. He is the calm eye of the storm. He wants to be the unshakeable foundation beneath our ever-shifting lives.
Finding stillness doesn't mean ignoring our problems. It's about acknowledging them, then surrendering them to the One who holds the universe in His hands. It's about trusting that even when we don't have the answers, He does.
In that stillness, we may not find a solution to every problem, but we will find something far more valuable: peace. A peace that transcends circumstance and human understanding, a quiet confidence that whispers, "Even here, even now, God is with me."
And from that place of peace, we can face the world anew, our steps sure, our hearts firmly anchored in Him who promises, "Be still, and know that I am God."
"Knowing" God is a multifaceted concept, far richer than simply accumulating knowledge about Him. It's a journey of connection, an unfolding tapestry woven from various threads:
1. Intellectual Understanding:
- This involves studying scripture and theological teachings to grasp God's attributes, character, and actions. It's like reading a map, gaining a theoretical understanding of the landscape.
2. Experiential Encounter:
- This is about encountering God's presence in our lives, through moments of awe in nature, acts of kindness, answered prayers, or even in the midst of suffering. It's like stepping onto the map, feeling the sun on your skin, the wind in your hair.
3. Relationship and Communion:
- This is the heart of "knowing" God. It's about cultivating a personal connection with Him through prayer, worship, and living according to His principles. It's like building a house on the map, a place where you can be fully yourself and commune with the Divine.
4. Transformation and Growth:
- As we come to truly know God, He transforms us. His love shapes our character, His wisdom guides our choices, His grace softens our hearts. It's like the map itself changing, reflecting the journey we're taking with God.
Remember, "knowing" God is not a destination, but a continuous journey. It's about constantly deepening our understanding, embracing His presence, nurturing our relationship, and allowing Him to transform us.
Ultimately, "knowing" God is an invitation to live a life filled with wonder, meaning, and purpose. It's about stepping onto the map, embracing the adventure, and discovering the incredible depths of the Divine waiting to be explored.
In this New Year may your journey be filled with grace, light, and love.
Blessings on you and yours,
P.S. If you’d like to read previous ruminations of mine they can be found at https://www.salvationarmyconcordca.org/chronicle/?category=Bible%20Study
LAST WEEK IN PICTORIAL REVIEW
CAMEO's Chair Exercises Program
Staff After-Christmas Luncheon
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
- 4:30 PM - Craft Class - Library
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 6:00 PM - "One At A Time" Bible Study - Library
- 7:00 PM - Songsters Rehearsal - Chapel
- 8:00 PM - Senior Band Rehearsal - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Hidden Treasures - Fireside Room
Young Adult Retreat delegates leave for Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center.
- 9:00 AM - Praise Team Rehearsal - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - Discipleship Classes: Adult Sunday School, Corps Cadets, and College Age Study
- 10:30 AM - Prayer Time - Prayer Room
- 11:00 AM - Worship Service - Chapel
- 12:15 PM - Food & Fellowship - Fireside Room
- 12:30 PM - Beginning Band Rehearsal - Chapel
- 1:00 PM - Youth Chorus Rehearsal - Chapel
Virtual Night of Worship
Date: Friday, January 19
Time: 4:00 - 5:30 PM
In two weeks, CFOT will be hosting a virtual night of worship that will be livestreamed on the TSA West Video YouTube channel as well as the Crestmont Facebook page. All donations raised from this event will be put into our World Service, which is used to fund The Salvation Army's ministry in Brazil.
Attached is the flyer for the event with streaming links and donation QR code.
Future Officers' Fellowship
The Future Officers’ Fellowship retreat is a time for individuals considering full-time ministry as officers in The Salvation Army to come away for the weekend to prepare their heart, mind and soul for this calling.
This will be a valuable time together as God speaks and confirms in their hearts His calling on their lives. The schedule will include opportunities for classes, interaction with CFOT staff and cadets, and time for discovering what officership looks like.
Dates: February 9-11, 2024 (check in starting at 4pm and the event will conclude at 1:00 on Sunday)
Location: College for Officer Training at Crestmont (CFOT). Lodging will be at CFOT and possibly a nearby hotel if we have a lot of people registered.
The Divisional Youth Secretaries will coordinate a carpool down to the College for Officers' Training for those who are needing transportation.
- Age: at least 18 years of age to early 50’s (age of eligibility for officership).
- Regularly attends and participates in corps programs
- Strongly considering future officership
- Endorsed by their corps officer and division
Registration Fee: $45 per person (paid by the delegate at registration) on events.usawest.org
Registration closes February 1.
Divisional Marriage Retreat
Live Married For A Purpose!
Dates: February 23-25
Special Guests: Greg and Julie Gorman
Theme: Live Married with a Purpose
Location: Camp Del Oro
Cost: $50 per person
This retreat is an amazing opportunity for both newlywed couples interested in building a strong foundation for the future and for those who have been married for years looking to reboot and reconnect. We will have special guests Greg and Julie Gorman joining us, who love teaching and presenting a unique message that has helped thousands of couples move from good to great.
Our guests will present the following topics:
- Live in the fulness God intended for your marriage.
- Create new habits of thought to enjoy every aspect of marriage.
- Celebrate one another physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
Spaces are limited. Registration due by February 11.
International Prayer Focus
This initiative of turning our thoughts and prayers towards the same part of the world at some point in the same week is a beautiful way to unite us as a global Army family and I thank you for the commitment you each give to this.
Territorial Leaders: Lt Colonel Alexander Kharkov
Territorial President of Women's Ministries: Major Inna Khurina
Chief Secretary: Major Svetlana Sharova
Please pray for:
- Physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of our officers and soldiers.
- Wisdom in finding way forward to continue the mission of The Salvation Army in Russia.
- New ways of reaching out to people.
- New ways of self-support and sustainability.
GREETINGS FROM OUR GENERAL
Testify Congress 2024
This will be an opportunity for Salvationists from across the territory to join in times of corporate worship, celebration and fellowship.
On accepting the invite to the Congress, The General said, “We are thrilled that we are able to accept this invitation. We love the theme, Testify. We want a Salvation Army where people feel confident to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Never underestimate the power of a Testimony!”
Commissioner Douglas Riley says, “We are praying that the events that take place not only Glorify God, but challenge each one of us to tell the story of Jesus more often, and to more people, through words and actions.
During the Congress delegates will:
- Attend four main meetings featuring the preaching of The General and Commissioner Buckingham.
- Share in five family-wide meals.
- Have the opportunity to learn more about “sharing your own story”.
- Attend workshops and training seminars on holiness, bible study, and evangelism.
- Celebrate our creativity through music and worship arts concerts.
- Witness our youth participate in Encore and Bible Bowl.
- Experience the joy of Commissioning events.
- Witness The General enroll new soldiers.
The weekend will be centered around the challenge found in 1 Peter 3:15:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Where? (Where America's Got Talent is filmed!)
Pasadena Convention Center
300 E. Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91101
When? June 14-16
Officers' Councils (including Retired Officers) will be held on Thursday, June 13, with The General.
Registration Information - ONLY $100
Registration INCLUDES all the main meetings or child care AND five congress meals.
Register here: https://events.usawest.org/
Please let Majors Gwyn or AnnMarguerite know if you are interested in going. We need to book hotel rooms VERY SOON! The Corps will help subsidize some of the expenses. We would like to have a large delegation or representation of the Concord Corps.