Concord Chronicle

Church Family Newsletter | December 3, 2022

Major's Minute

Christmastime is always a busy time, especially in The Salvation Army. Honestly, all throughout the year, it is a struggle trying to find the right balance between family and work. And I don't think of "work" as "work" because it is my calling, my vocation. God and "others" is what we do in The Salvation Army.


And in order to help others, we need the resources to do that - food, money, personnel, partnerships, etc. Therefore, the red kettle campaign, the virtual red kettle, and the mail appeal are some of the ways we try and raise funds. Some of the ways we try to show love to others during this season are by providing gifts and food. It may not seem like much but I have one testimony from one of our donors (with permission I can share this):


My family has picked an Angel from the tree since I was a child. I remember in the early 80’s going in stores and picking a child from the tree and being so excited to buy gifts for someone. Our [Girl Scout] troop just finished fall product sales and wanted to give back for Christmas. They were very excited when I suggested this option. When I got divorced years ago, that Christmas was rough. I actually applied for the Angel Tree program and had it not been for this program my kids would not have gotten any gifts that year. It’s always been a wonderful program to me. I’ve been able to give back and also be a recipient of this program. It really does make a difference. I also love that the parents are able to wrap the gifts. I can honestly say it gave me a little feeling of dignity the year I was a recipient. Even though I knew I didn’t buy the gifts, wrapping them helped me feel more active in the experience.


This made my heart melt. This is only part of the reason we do what we do. My prayer is that she knows the reason behind our giving - the love of God. "We love because He first loved us." - 1 John 4:19


My prayer requests are that:


  • Our recipient families will not only feel the love through the gifts provided by donors, packed by volunteers, and organized by the staff but that they will feel God's love and know the TRUE meaning of CHRISTmas - God with us. Each family will receive a candy cane with a brief message. Let's hope that they seek the Savior if they don't already know Him.
  • Our bell ringers and volunteers will also feel the love of God as they work amongst us. That they will feel part of this greater mission of The Salvation Army.
  • God will continue to provide the right partnerships that will help us in fulfilling His good works.
  • He will protect us and give us strength and good health as we serve Him.
  • We will all be able to create time for our families because they need to know that they are loved too.


Pictured are the cookies our family decorated last night. It was hard to get everyone to the table after such a long and hectic day, but once we did, we had fun being together. After our advent reading and sharing time, we laughed, talked, and drank a cup of tea while we decorated the cookies. We haven't always been able to do this in years past, but I will treasure this memory in years to come.


“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15


AnnMarguerite Jones

Accountability (Covenants, Part 6)

As a confirmed procrastinator, I never put off today what I can put off tomorrow.


But then I find myself making promises to myself to do better and get it at least started if not finished. It doesn’t really matter what the “it” is! As you can imagine, these promises to myself tend to be a bit “squishy” and almost infinitely justifiable in their malleability. I always have an unending catalog of projects to get started at some time, things that I’m interested in exploring, or goals to be achieved at some point in the future. As you can imagine, it would be very easy to wander through life aimlessly without ever achieving anything without some mechanism to push intention into productive action.


Psychologists tell us that any worthwhile goal has a much better chance of being realized if we allow it to be expressed publicly as a commitment. For me, the deadline to produce this column in time for you to read it has caused it to be written (but I have been “thinking about it” for several weeks, though!) For you, it may be to train and run a half-marathon in the next year and a full marathon in the following year, or maybe just give a shut-in a ride to or from church!


Most of these promises take the form of “resolutions” and the start of a year sees them bursting forth in flowery profusion, although most of them seem to wither and die before February gets its turn on the calendar. Apart from the blows to our egos and self-esteem, not fulfilling these resolutions are often categorized as “no harm, no foul”.


Other promises or commitments are important enough and carry consequences such that we need to keep a record of them - these are usually referred to as “contracts”. Often the “fine print” will spell out the curses of the covenant while the “large print” will extol the blessings! You provide your signature as witness that you understand the terms. But indeed, contracts are a form of covenant with stipulations, witnesses, blessings, and curses, just like the covenants we have explored in previous columns.


Other covenants are so impactful that we feel the need to solemnize them in a way that shows how seriously we take them. You are probably familiar with, “…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part…”. Now that’s a really serious covenant, spoken before witnesses in a solemn setting and with life-long implications!


It was the practice of the Greeks and Romans to show they were serious about a commitment by invoking or swearing by the name of one of their gods: “By Jupiter!” (In English: “By Jove!"). The idea was that you could get a god to be a co-signer of your pledge.


As you can imagine, when the Israelites started doing the same thing, Yahweh gave them explicit instructions:


“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.” Exodus 20:7 NLT


Jesus was not a fan of hyping our promises either:


“Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37 NLT


The most solemn and serious form of covenant that we can make is called a “vow”, which is a promise made directly to God.


It is not conditional, there is no bargaining involved, and we have no power to influence God’s actions because of our vow. In much the same way as the marriage vows expressed to our loved one, a vow to God must simply be a pure form of love, devotion, and respect for who He is. God has already recognized that circumstances may arise because of our foolishness or circumstances which make us unable to fulfill our vows, but simply changing our minds doesn’t count!


Space prohibits me from quoting at length God’s instructions to the Israelites about vows, but I urge you to check out Leviticus 22 to get a flavor of them.


“Or suppose you make a foolish vow of any kind, whether its purpose is for good or for bad. When you realize its foolishness, you must admit your guilt.” Leviticus 5:4 NLT


God does not require us to make covenants or promises with Him. His covenants to us are all we need to be able to worship and serve Him. God does not need anything you have! All he wants is your love and respect, freely given. But if you are overwhelmed with gratitude and wish to make a public declaration of it, He will accept your covenantal living as evidence of your sincerity. I am sure it makes Him smile!


Whether or not the word “covenant” is used, let us be serious and thoughtful when expressing our intentions and making promises to others, but especially when asking God to be a co-signer of our transactions. We are not to use His name in a frivolous or unserious way!


I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back!


Blessings on you and yours,


Jim Black

Link to Archived Articles

This will take you to Jim Black's collection of articles since starting the newsletter.

This Week's Schedule

SUNDAY

  • 9:00 AM - Praise Team Rehearsal - Chapel
  • 10:00 AM - Adult Sunday School - Library
  • 10:00 AM - Corps Cadets - Cadet Sean's Office
  • 10:15 AM - Time of Prayer - Prayer Room
  • 11:00 AM - Worship Service - Chapel
  • 12:30 PM - Youth Music Rehearsals - Chapel


TUESDAY

  • 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
  • 7:00 PM - Songsters Rehearsal - Chapel
  • 8:00 PM - Senior Band Rehearsal - Chapel


WEDNESDAY

  • 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Christmas Hallmark Movie - Library


SATURDAY

  • 8:00 AM - Packing Christmas Food Boxes - Food Pantry Parking Lot


NEXT SUNDAY - Community Care Ministry

We are scheduled to visit 5 Senior Care Homes. The senior and junior musicians will be going out in teams. If you would like to go along and help pass out gifts, please sign up on the form in the foyer.

Christmas Concert Streaming - Tomorrow!

Click here to watch the concert if you are unable to join us in person.

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CAMEO Thanksgiving-Christmas Mash-Up Party

Music Rehearsals

Fun & Festive Bell Ringer

McDonald's: Year-Long Donor

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Giving Tuesday

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Angel Tree Program

First Advent Sunday

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Volunteer Opportunities

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THERE ARE STILL ANGELS TO ADOPT!

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Angel Tree Adoption Page

Will go LIVE on Monday, October 24. Check regularly for updates.

Virtual Red Kettle

To donate to the red kettle, click here.

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 that you each give to this.


The Prayer Focus requests for December 2022. We will be praying for the following territories:


28 November – 04 December 2022 | Middle East Region

05 – 11 December 2022 | The Philippines Territory

12 – 18 December 2022 | Nigeria Territory

19 – 25 December 2022 | USA Western Territory


THE PHILIPPINES TERRITORY


Regional leaders: Colonels David and Elsa Oalang


Prayer requests:


  • The Territorial Theme is: “God is able to superabundantly bless, beyond our greatest prayers, hopes and dreams." (AMP Ephesians 3:20) This theme embraces every aspect of the Territory’s ministry. In particular, please pray for all the trainings and initiatives on evangelism and discipleship so we can become faithful partakers in the great harvest of souls.


  • For more young people to respond to the call to Officership and for the training of ministry volunteers - those who are willing to offer a certain number of years for service. Afterward, they may eventually decide to enter the Officers' Training College or return to service as local officers.


  • For the greater impact of community-based social programs that focus on developing disaster preparedness, empowerment, and resilience.


  • That our Social Services Inc. will be able to renew its accreditation as a donee institution so we can get better and bigger donations from the public.


  • For property concerns as we grow in number both in soldiership and number of corps.


  • For the Educational Services (learning centers/schools), they will be able to cope with the challenges caused by the Pandemic.
Prayer Requests

Click here to share your requests. Requests will be prayed for in our Prayer Room and distributed through our Prayer Chain. Requests can be made anonymously.

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Click Here To Get to the Tith.ly App

You can make a tithe payment, give an offering, or donate towards the World Services fund.

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