Church Family Newsletter | January 5, 2024
Tomorrow, Jan 7th, is Potluck Sunday!
The family was quite busy with the events of last week, the Holiday Bowl (Balloon) Parade in San Diego, the Rose Parade in Pasadena, and all the other events and rehearsals in between. I was able to spend some time with my brother (and his family) and my sister (and her family) while Gwyn had time to visit with his brother and the other members of the Bromley Temple Corps Band, guest/featured band for the weekend.
It was during that visit and conversation between Gwyn and his brother that sealed the idea that we will need to make a trip to England and Wales to visit his extended family. His two remaining aunts are nearly 90 and we haven't had a chance to visit them since before the pandemic. We want to make the most of every opportunity while we can. Family is important and so we need to make this visit a priority.
As we begin researching available flights and dates that will squeeze in between the corps and divisional commitments, we believe we have found dates that will work. Fortunately, Gwyn checked on the status of our passports only to find that mine would expire within that time frame. (That's unfortunate!) I filled out an renewal application last night, took my passport photos this morning, and mailed everything off today (PRIORITY rate!). Let's pray that the "expedite" fee gets the job done!
The one thing I highly dislike is getting the passport photo done. It is a mugshot. According to Wikipedia:
"A mug shot or mugshot (an informal term for police photograph or booking photograph) is a photographic portrait of a person from the shoulders up, typically taken after a person is arrested. The original purpose of the mug shot was to allow law enforcement to have a photographic record of an arrested individual to allow for identification by victims, the public and investigators."
No smiling allowed! No high angle shot! No retakes! UGH! As the photographer said, it's not supposed to be a glamour shot. It is for identification purposes only and so that ones face can easily be identified. I know the young people nowadays like to take "no smiling" pictures - and the look cool! Not me!
Which got me thinking, smiles go a long way.
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love." 1 John 4:7-8
Jim Burns in his devotional writings said:
One of the greatest ways to love someone is to give them your smile. I have long forgotten where I found this profound thought, but I share it with you and challenge you to share your smile with someone else today.
A smile costs nothing, but gives much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor but that he can be made rich by it. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.
"May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations." Psalm 67:1-2, NIV
SMILE! (Oh - and please pray that my passport gets here on time! Thanks!)
A "New" Year?
I always remember being quite disappointed the day after my birthday, because on that day I didn’t feel any different than I did the day before!
You, like me, probably have felt let down after all the hype up to a “special” day only to discover that everything proceeded just as before. Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, etc., etc. are all promoted and hyped by the advertising companies and the media we consume to set unreasonable expectations for what we should experience when the day arrives.
I’m sure you realize that these “special” days are in realty just an accounting device. They are just a way to slap a mnemonic label on a day to assist our memories when we wish to recall them.
Ever since our earliest ancestors, looking at the night sky, discovered that after about 360 days the stars they could see when they looked straight up repeated their positions, and they could predict what kind of weather would follow — Spring, Summer, Autumn (Fall), or Winter — the idea of a “year” became useful. When your existence depends on knowing when to plant crops and when to harvest them, it is very important to have some idea of where you are in the yearly cycle. For the Jewish people, after the harvest came the festivals of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). In our calendar these days fall toward the end of September.
We know today that this celestial timekeeping is because our planet has made a full orbit around the sun and come back to (almost) the same position in space.
Other time-keeping devices were also available in the heavens. Sunrise to sunset became a “day”, sunset to sunrise defined a “night”, a full cycle of the moon’s phases became a “month”.
Today we are able to divide time into mind-bogglingly small intervals that allow us to read these words on a computing device or set the GPS in your car to take you to a destination.
These repetitions of time seem to be both inevitable and entirely predictable, so much so that in the 16th and 17th centuries scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers were sure that God had created a great “clockwork” in the heavens that He had wound up, started, and left to run indefinitely without intervention. This was called “scientific determinism” and ruled philosophical thought for the next three centuries. It seemed that creation was a “one and done” (or is that “is and done”?) event not needing further enhancement.
I won’t bore or baffle you with the details of how modern science's quantum theory and relativity theory still put the explanations of how God did what He did beyond our understanding, but that’s where we are now.
It seems that the more we understand, the more we understand that we really don’t understand! How did the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of the universe bring it into existence and tune it so precisely that the slightest variation in a few fundamental parameters would have inevitably resulted in chaos rather than the beautiful handiwork that so inspires us?
And if we examine the scriptures, we discover that far from winding up a clockwork and sitting back, God is most definitely not done, but is continually creating! For example:
“When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104:30 NLT
I encourage you to read all of Psalm 104 for a picture of God’s continuous creation. Here is a link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+104&version=NLT
God continues to create. We see the evidence all around us in plants and animals, fields and mountains, and even volcanoes and earthquakes. But more importantly we see it in the transformation of God’s ultimate creation — us!
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
God continually creates on our behalf:
‘The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”’ Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT
Jesus himself confirmed that God diligently continues the work of creation:
"But Jesus replied, 'My Father is always working, and so am I.'" John 5:17 NLT
So as we slap a different numeric label on this coming orbit of the sun (2024), let us not just see an opportunity to renew our gym membership, or join WeightWatchers, or discontinue a bad habit, or start a good habit, worthy as all those may be. Let us realize that at every moment God has created, and is creating, something new and wonderful for our lives. There is always something new to be discovered about God’s grace and mercy that will further our understanding of his majesty and glory and enrich our lives.
“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT
So, the past is truly prolog for the newness of God’s creation in us. While it is good to recognize it’s newness on January 1st, it is equally true on any and every day of the year! Let’s wake up each morning expecting God to show up and show off!
Happy New Year!
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
San Diego, Disneyland, Tustin Ranch & Pasadena
CAMEO's Worship Program
This Week's Schedule
- 5:00 PM - Craft Class - Classroom 2
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 6:00 PM - Major Ann's Bible Study - Classroom 3
- 7:00 PM - Songsters Rehearsal - Chapel
- 8:00 PM - Senior Band Rehearsal - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Chair Exercises - Fireside Room
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO Planning Meeting - Library
SATURDAY - Divisional Music Rehearsals - Suisun Kroc Center
- 9:30 AM - Del Oro Chorus Rehearsal
- 11:00 AM - Del Oro Brass Rehearsal
- 1:15 PM - Divisional Youth Chorus Rehearsal
- 2:30 PM - Divisional Youth Electives Rehearsal
- 4:00 PM - Return to Corps
- 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.
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.
USA Eastern Territory
Territorial Leaders: Commissioner Ralph and Susan Bukiewicz
USA states included in the territory:
Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont
Other countries included in the territory:
Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
Languages in which the gospel is preached:
Creole, English, Korean, Laotian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
Registration is NOW open!
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.