As I write you this morning I am sitting in front of our cheery fire, chasing the morning chill away. I am also surrounded by two little grandsons, age 3 and 1, who are interested in everything I do. So pardon me for my frequent breaks so that I may play with my grandchildren!
I surely love this festive week between Christmas and New Years. Before this day is over, 26 Pierces will descend upon our home and most will stay overnight! My dad and Julie, Todd and most of his 3 generation family, Kimberly and her family - including one college freshman - will make our home on Butternut Court their home for a day. I am so excited.
For those of you who worked so hard on our children's play two weeks ago, I am really looking forward to playing the one part about my brother Todd. He will get such a kick out of the fact that you thought of him when you were writing it!
Sunday - New Years Eve. Come sing with me! Sunday morning we will sing some favorite songs together. These are the four songs you always really have fun singing: "You Are The Way," "Day By Day," "Let The People Praise Him," and "Only A God Like You." If you'd like to sing with me, just show up any 9:45 so we can practice once together. I'll set you up with your own mic and music stands with the words on it. Just bring your willing heart and smiling face. (Good singing voice entirely optional!) What a great way to kick off the new year!
Fred will bring our announcements. Kyle and Sean will collect our offerings. Roger will continue his painting!!! And Roger will lead us in our prayer time too! Paul Scott and Brett Angel have volunteered to serve in the tech booth. Marci is bringing snacks for all of us. (She's even dropping them off a day early in case she can't make it Sunday morning. Love it! Chris and Tamara are driving all the way back from Wisconsin to set up our communion tables for us! Wow! Talk about dedication!
I am planning to finish our Advent series talking about the gift of peace. I've really enjoyed my study in preparation for Sunday. I've learned that the gift of peace is one which must be unwrapped every day. Jesus spent quite a bit of time talking to us about peace on the least peaceful day of his life. I'm hoping this is a talk that will send you into 2018 with new tools to deal with your difficult days.
Start a New Bible Plan. We have enjoyed our bible studies together this Christmas season. Let's not stop it now, but push hard ahead into 2018! Are you on the Bible app yet? Joining me on the Bible app so far is Mary Kay, Marci, Brandi, Chris, Tamara, Brian, Shelli, Brett, Sean, Kyle, and Rachel. Have I forgotten anyone?
Want to join us? Open up your Bible app and look for us as friends. Then let's begin some weekly studies together. Or you could decide this is the year you read the entire Bible! Another option this year is to tell the Bible app your current emotion and it will suggest Bible verses or Bible plans for you! Feeling sad? Joyful? Angry? In love? Betrayed? There is a Bible study now for every emotion you're feeling! Make 2018 the year that you get into the Bible and the year the Bible gets into you!
Marty Party in January. We have planned a new social and fun fellowship event for us all in January. We're calling it the Marty Party. Actually there will be two parties - Saturday night January 13th and January 20th at 6:30 pm in the Chome (Church + Home = where Paul lives at the back of the church.) Paul is inviting his two churches and, of course, Church Requel, to share in this event together.
We'll all bring snacks to share and enjoy fellowship for a half hour or so. Then we'll watch a one-hour special PBS show about the life of Martin Luther and the impact his life is still having on our society 500 years later. We'll enjoy more talk and good times after the show. We will be splitting up this special show over two Saturday nights - the 13th and 20th.
Partnering with Red Cross Next 5 Nights. With the cold nights now below 0 degrees, we have decided to partner with the Red Cross and make our church available for those who are homeless and looking for a warm place to spend the night. The Red Cross did not have any shelter available in Richland County from tonight until next Tuesday. So we will step up and offer a warm place to sleep. It's possible you will see some new faces Sunday morning. Please welcome them with the love of Christ.
Love you all much! Happy New Year! Pastor Mark