Church Family Newsletter | December 12, 2021
If you missed last week's Christmas Concert, here it is!
I have to admit that after all the build-up towards the Christmas Concert, Monday felt as if I had exhausted all of my energy. Not good timing especially as this is the time when activity ramps up more. Time doesn't really allow for one to stop. It's just the season. So I am so grateful to be surrounded by family, staff, and an amazing team of volunteers that help us to accomplish our goals and to carry out the mission.
On one particular day as I was running around the building, I noticed that my FitBit was not on my wrist as usual. I was truly concerned that I had lost my FitBit (step counter) OR that it had fallen into a bag! I retraced my steps. I opened every door, cupboard, program room, office, and (yes!) bathroom stall I had been to that day. Nothing.
I told myself not to worry about it, but I was disappointed in myself. I asked God to help me find it. And even if I wouldn't find it, I told myself that I would be okay without it. To my surprise - it was on the inside of my car, by the driver's door! What a relief! Sure, I felt silly, but I was thrilled most of all!
Who would've thought? Go back to the beginning! In this busy time of the year, we will feel pulled in so many directions. Take the time to go back to the beginning. Remember what this season is all about.
God bless you!
Major AnnMarguerite Jones
A smoke detector started beeping and woke me at 2 am. I am a “night owl” and had just gone to bed 30 mins previously.
I knew there wasn’t a fire because it was not producing the piercing shriek that wakes everyone in the neighborhood, but rather it was just a loud, obnoxious “beep” once every three minutes. Unfortunately, I’ve had experience with this before and once it got me awake I knew there was no sleep for me unless and until I got out of bed and did something about it. Arghh!
Our building codes and regulations require that we have smoke detectors, as well as carbon monoxide detectors at strategic points in our house. The CO detectors are easy to get to since they are installed at floor level, but the smoke detectors, all six of them, are on the ceilings and the highest is eighteen feet (5.5 meters for readers in Europe) above the floor! They all make exactly the same beep! I had to check them all.
So, after getting out of bed and retrieving my trusty step ladder, I was relieved to find the culprit was only ten feet (3.1 m) above my head. I removed it from its mount, opened it up and removed the batteries. Peace at last! Back to bed!
However in the morning when I went to replace the batteries I noticed the warning on the inside. It said to use only a specific make, brand and size of battery as they would not guarantee proper functioning otherwise.
A quick search on Amazon produced a three-page listing of cheaper substitutes, but alas none of them would bring the guarantee that the required battery would entail.
I recount this narrative because at that moment it struck me that, especially at Christmas time, this world is insistently and persistently offering just about every substitute imaginable. We are awash in alternative products and philosophies. Satisfaction, peace, contentment, and happiness are promised in all shapes and sizes, types and conditions, in any color you’d like to choose. “Joy!” proclaims my neighbor’s Christmas decoration on his front lawn. “Happy Holidays!” is playing on Spotify and the radio. Santa Claus is making a list and checking it twice! Frosty the Snowman will delight us with his antics (before melting away when the sun shines). Rudolph still doesn’t need GPS to find his way to your rooftop (even if you no longer have a chimney!). Our houses are festively decorated with enough lights to be seen from outer space!
I think it’s because at the onset of winter we are desperate for relief from the darkness. We instinctively know we need hope and happiness. We need warmth and light. We want joy! But unfortunately, all these substitutes can actually produce is dyspepsia, credit card bills, and inordinate invoices from our utility providers. Any guarantees of satisfaction, joy, and happiness are illusionary and empty. The substitutes won’t, can’t, and don’t fulfill their promises!
Shortly after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, Peter and John were required to give a defense of proclaiming Jesus as Messiah before the Supreme Court in Israel. There had just been a spectacular demonstration of spiritual power in the healing of a man unable to walk for the forty years of his life. Ordinary people were ecstatic and praising God exuberantly — always worrying for these spiritual “leaders”. The Judges on the bench included Annas and Caiaphas who were responsible for handing Jesus over to the Romans for crucifixion. Peter and John, undeterred and filled with the Holy Spirit, told the judges what they most definitely did NOT want to hear:
“Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed…” [Acts 4:8-12 NIV]
And then Peter spells out the terms of the guarantee:
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12 NIV]
The judges of the court desperately wanted a substitute Messiah, a cheaper Messiah, a less demanding Messiah, a Messiah who would conform to their cherished notions of what God should do for them and their plans. But Peter pointed out the truth: substitute messiahs are all inferior and doomed to fail — only Jesus offers a guarantee of salvation from the horrors of darkness, oppression, and injustice in this world. Although the world will try to offer up substitutes, there is no viable alternative. We have to accept or reject the love offered by the Son of God. Only He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! No other Name guarantees salvation!
You too may be looking for a substitute Messiah. You may be enticed or seduced by the lies of this world for an easier life. But ultimately that is an exercise in futility. You are worth far too much to settle for inferior substitutes! Instead, power up your life with the real thing, the Holy Spirit is giving you a guarantee! Accept no substitutes!
That was your spiritual detector giving you a warning to check your power source! No sleep for you until you do something about it!
Blessings on you and yours!
People Getting Ready
for the next challenge?
For big change?
Or maybe I'm just preparing for the feast?
There's more to life than the feast.
Are we getting ready for Jesus?
Because Jesus has been faithful.
He's given us wisdom
to chart stormy seas.
So I'll clear the way in my life...
... I'm looking for where he is.
... I've decided.
On this life's journey...
I'm following Him.
I am His.
Stuart Gray, engageworship.org
This Week's Schedule
- 9:30 AM - Praise Team Rehearsal
- 10:00 AM - Corps Cadets & Sunday School - Library & Prayer Room
- 11:00 AM - Third Advent Service - In-Person and Streaming on The Salvation Army Concord Corps Family Facebook Page (not the general page)
- 1:00 PM - Community Care Ministries (For those who volunteered to visit the senior homes, please find your materials and gifts in the Chapel Foyer.)
- 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM - Adopt-A-Family Donations will be received; organized and staged for distribution
- 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Adopt-A-Family Distribution Day
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 7:00 PM - Songsters Rehearsal - Chapel
- 8:00 PM - Senior Band Rehearsal - Chapel
- 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM - Christmas Angel Tree Distribution Day
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Christmas is in the Air Program by Connie Haltermann - Zoom only
- 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Christmas Food Box Giveaway - Concord
- 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Silvercrest Gifts Distribution - El Sobrante
- 1:00 - 4:00 PM - Resetting the Corps
SATURDAY: Corps Volunteer Day at the Red Kettles
- See Major Gwyn for details.
SUNDAY, December 19th: Christmas Sunday
- This will be Cadet Cody Trimmer's last Sunday with us.
- If you would like to bring Christmas cards to exchange, this will be the Sunday to do it. We won't organize mailboxes, but feel free to share.
- There will not be a Christmas Eve Service this year, so bring cookies or treats to share during our fellowship time.
Pics from the Week
Door Decorating Fun. We need your votes!
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)