Church Family Newsletter | December 4, 2021
It has been quite busy as we have been preparing for this weekend - receiving toy donations, getting food and packing supplies for the volunteer event, decorating and staging the rooms for the concert, and so much more. The steps leading up to an occasion are just as important as the occasion itself. The details that get us to the end result.
My prayer for you this week is that you take the moment to enjoy the details. There is a plan and purpose behind the minutiae. Things just don't magically appear - even for magicians! From the placement of an ornament on a Christmas tree to the choice of ribbon in a wreath to the objects in a centerpiece to the colors in a palette to the songs in a playlist to the fabric in a piece of clothing ... you get where I am going.
God delights in the details. There is a purpose behind everything He does.
I am really looking forward to the fellowship and music for tomorrow. And yet, in the same way, I pray that you are preparing your heart and mind as you come to worship Him. Bring your offerings of praise.
Major AnnMarguerite Jones
Pics from the Week
The early church flourished at an astonishing rate. People who embraced the meaning and intent of God’s grace were flocking together and spreading the good news wherever they lived and travelled. The Messiah, the Christ, The Son of God had been given to the world so that anyone who believed in Him shouldn’t perish but have everlasting life! He didn’t come in condemnation, but rather that we should be saved by Him. (Cf John 3:16-17)
It is understandable that liberating so many lives would be seen as an existential threat to those who owed their privileged positions to keeping the masses either physically, mentally, or emotionally enslaved. And so opposition arose.
The Apostle Paul was on a murderous mission to Damascus as part of that opposition when he was confronted by the reality of the power of the risen saviour, so it is safe to say that he understood the forces trying to undermine this new faith that was sweeping the Middle East.
The initial tactic employed by those seeking to wipe out Christianity was plain unvarnished terrorism; murder and mayhem in the guise of religious orthodoxy. But ironically that only led to increasing numbers of converts to “The Way”. The teachings of Jesus only emboldened his followers and made them brave and joyful in the face of death, because He had already proved that it held no sway or terror over the redeemed.
The follow-on approach was a little more subtle in that it tried to confine the freedom of belief of Christians and especially non-Jewish believers — “gentiles” — to the strictures of the man-made laws that were choking the very life out of Judaism, the Talmud. This made some progress until Peter and Paul both were explicitly instructed by the Holy Spirit that life in Christ was one of grace and not law.
The next wave involved the Gnostics (from the greek “gnosis” or “knowledge”) who claimed to have special knowledge that would guarantee a seeker’s entrance into a state of grace, but for a fee of some kind. It was inherently discriminatory and only those favored by the hierarchy, or rich and powerful enough, could be invited to join the circle of the cognoscenti. Considering the words of Jesus that “whosoever” and “all” could be saved it’s amazing that so many could be fooled by this. It is reminiscent of the numerous stories of imposters collecting parking fees for cars entering a car park which is clearly advertised as “free”!
The most insidious attacks, however, gained power when those within the church started just making things up about what the gospel really meant. It was stuff which “sounded good” but had no basis in the teachings of Jesus even while using the same words.
This was the problem Paul was confronting in the Galatian Church.
New “doctrines” were being adopted because they allowed people to behave outside the ethical and moral lines that Jesus had established. It was a story as old as the Garden of Eden. When told not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because it would kill her, Eve’s reply was “Nah! Doesn’t mean that!”
Didn’t end well. But people still think they can twist the gospel to suit their own ends.
Paul takes an approach with the Galatian church which appears to be harsh, but is the only viable alternative, when he says,
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
As we have already said, so now I say again:
If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” Galatians 1:8-9 NIV
His meaning is perfectly plain, the gospel needs no revision, addition, subtraction or extension and any doctrine which seeks to do so is not of God.
Sadly much of this still goes on today. It is particularly rife in so-called TV evangelists, and preachers of prosperity, and proponents of various “-isms” — marxism, communism, nativism, feminism, racism, individualism, humanism, progressivism, evangelicalism, Calvinism — to name a few, which purport to “improve” or “enhance" our christian thinking.
Jesus made it quite clear what he expected of his disciples:
Love God above all and with all you’ve got;
Love each other;
Love your neighbor like you would yourself;
Go and make disciples.
It’s a short but powerful set of commands which are hard enough to implement on their own without embellishing them with man-made qualifications.
If you find yourself hearing teaching which doesn’t wholeheartedly conform to these commands of Jesus, be like Paul and reject them out of hand.
It’s a distraction from the truth and it’s not in God’s will, no matter how enticing or logical or emotional it sounds!
“We have no other argument,
We want no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.”
Charles Wesley SASB # 84
Back to the basics!
Blessings on you and yours,
This Week's Schedule
- 9:00 AM - Youth Chorus Uniform Check - Chapel
- 9:30 AM - Praise Team Rehearsal
- 10:00 AM - Corps Cadets & Sunday School - Library & Prayer Room
- 11:00 AM - Second Advent Service - In-Person and Streaming on The Salvation Army Concord Corps Family Facebook Page (not the general page)
- 1:00 PM - Youth Chorus Rehearsal (after lunch break)
- 2:30 PM - Del Oro Praise Team Sound Check
- 3:00 PM - Del Oro Brass Sound Check
- 3:00 PM - Food Prep for Christmas Concert
- 3:45 PM - Del Oro Chorus Sound Check
- 5:00 PM - Celebrate Christmas Concert - Live and streaming on the Del Oro Music & Worship Arts Facebook Page (Free ornament to those that attend in person only.)
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 7:00 PM - Songsters Rehearsal - Chapel
- 8:00 PM - Senior Band Rehearsal - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Service Project - Library
FRIDAY: Adopt-A-Family Gifts Due or Monday, December 13th
SATURDAY: Corps Volunteer Day at the Red Kettles
- See Major Gwyn for details.
SUNDAY, December 12th: CCM Ministry & Caroling/Volunteer Day at the Red Kettles
- Our Divisional Commanders, Majors John and Pamilla Brackenbury will be leading our services.
- We will be dropping off gifts or visiting a few places this year. The list will be in the Chapel Foyer. If you would like to help with this, please sign your name on the sheet.
- We hope to bring the junior musicians to one of the senior homes, but anyone is welcome.
- See Major Gwyn if you would like to volunteer at a red kettle.
Community Care Ministry - Dec 12th
We were unable to visit senior residences last year due to the pandemic. This year, however, we will have an opportunity to visit a few places. If you would like to help drop off or distribute gifts at any of these locations, please write your name on the sheet in the Chapel Foyer. Your presence will be a blessing to those residents.
- Concord Royale, Concord - Drop-Off of Gifts Only
- Legacy Care Center, Martinez - 1:30 PM with Service
- Diamond Terrance, Clayton - Drop-Off of Gifts Only
- Pleasant Hill Oases, Pleasant Hill - After 1:00 PM, In-Person Distribution of Gifts
Windows on Christmas: Advent Series
Life is all about perspective, and our own perceptions can be clarified and enriched by seeing life’s events through a number of different windows. A fresh look, a different angle can revolutionize our appreciation of truths that might be in danger of growing stale and tired. This Advent we will be looking through new windows gaining a fresh perspective provided by those who were there, allowing us to see and feel what they saw and felt, and to learn from their responses to these wonderful and powerful events of Christmas.
May we, with grateful hearts, join in the exaltation of the Christ, God’s glorious gift to us! Come and worship…worship Christ, the newborn King! (Windows on Christmas, pp. 11-12, 32)
We hope that you can join us on Sundays at 11:00 AM or on Facebook (The Salvation Army Concord Corps Family Facebook Page).
Here are the themes and speakers/meeting leaders for the day:
11/28 - The Window of Exaltation - Angels (Cadet Cody Trimmer)
12/05 - The Window of Wonder - Mary (Major AnnMarguerite Jones)
12/12 - The Window of Obedience - Joseph (Majors John & Pamilla Brackenbury)
12/19 - The Window of Worship - Shepherds (Major Gwyn Edward Jones)
12/26 - The Window of Witness - Anna (Major AnnMarguerite Jones)