Archive for December, 2011

Family Traditions

December 28, 2011

Contributed by Angie Scott, wife of Mike Scott, Elder Overseer of Web/Graphic Arts/Media at Image Church

Traveling to Mom-mom and Pa-Paws for Thanksgiving, decorating the Christmas trees the Sunday after Thanksgiving, nagging Mike to put up the outside Christmas lights, clam chowder on Christmas Eve, baking a birthday cake for Jesus,  & black eyed peas (for good luck) on New Years Day. These are all part of The Scott family traditions.

My kids look forward to ALL of these activities. If I forget or change the way we do things, I am quickly reminded about our traditions. This year I set up our family Christmas tree in the basement and mindlessly started to decorate it. When my kids got home, my youngest daughter, Cailyn, was very disappointed that I had decorated the tree by myself. She told me that we always decorate the family tree while watching a Christmas movie. I told her that I forgot, and we would definitely decorate it together next year.  Cailyn looked so sad that after I put her to bed, I undecorated the whole thing and planned to re-decorate with my family.  Sometimes I get so caught up on my plans and my agenda that I forget what is really important.

Mike and I are making memories and forming holiday traditions that I hope my kids will carry on with their kids.  We have always incorporated Jesus and Santa at Christmas. Santa brings three gifts to our children the way the wise men brought the 3 gifts to Jesus. This is one of the traditions that has made Christmas fun for our family.

Whatever your traditions are, I hope you take this time to remember to treasure them. Treasure Jesus and the precious gift that He was for all of us, treasure your family and the time that you have with them. God is the treasure of our lives. The greatest gift we, as Christians, can give another human being is to teach them about Jesus and lead them to Him by example.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Transformed

December 20, 2011

Contributed by Mike Scott, Elder Overseer of Web/Graphic Arts/Media at Image Church

Recently, my oldest daughter Courtney came into the family room with something that was troubling her. I asked her what was wrong, and she sat down next to me with her laptop and sighed. She opened it up and showed me a picture of the Bible on a document that had nothing but profanity and false sayings about everything we as Christians believe. She told me it was from a friend’s Facebook page. She explained how she contacted him and told him it was offensive, and through some back and forth conversations, he summed-up that he was an atheist and didn’t believe the Bible or God, so it didn’t bother him at all. I had the opportunity to share with her that this is unfortunately how a lot of people in the world are – the “Walking Dead” that don’t have the Holy Spirit in their lives to help guide them. I also shared that she just needed to continue to be the witness that she has been. At the end of the conversation, she said something that really stuck with me. Courtney said that it just really hurts my heart and troubles my spirit to read that and think that other people believe that. At that moment, it hit me hard. I thought about how de-sensitized we as Christians really are sometimes, especially we who work around people every day and hear and see this played out. When we hear someone use the Lord’s Name in vain, does it make us cringe, or do we just brush it off and ignore it? When we see people for who they really are without the Holy Spirit, do we pray for them to accept what God did for them and to receive salvation?

Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. [ESV]

We are transformed when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives. We are made a new creature, and old things are passed away. We are fortunate enough as Christians to serve a living God who sent His Son Jesus to die for us and cleanse us of all our wretched sins. We are blessed to have the Holy Spirit living in us to help convict and guide us and encourage us to not be conformed to the wicked ways of the world. What things are in our lives right now that are not pleasing to God or that would cause us to be desensitized? If we reflect, I am sure that there are things we all could eliminate watching, listening, or participating in on a routine basis. Now is the time to clear-out all the junk in our minds or lives that are holding us back from being what God wants us to be.

Busy, Busy, Busy

December 12, 2011

Contributed by Christi Hellmund, wife of John Hellmund, Elder Overseer of Finance at Image Church

I am sitting in front of my Christmas tree, going through a mental check list of all the things that must be accomplished by this time next week – shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, decorating, cleaning, partying, studying, and that is only half the list.  Many times this past week, I have found myself stressed out and short with those closest to me.  It’s so frustrating that at the most “joyous” time of year, we are so consumed with all of our “to do” lists that we are far from joyous.  I was at the Aldi near our house not long ago trying to do some Christmas shopping, when a yelling match broke out between 2 people who were old enough to know better, and it was all over who was in line first.  Fuses are shorter and tension runs higher this time of year.

With all of the busyness and stress, I lose focus on what is really important.  Christmas is not about cookies and packages.  It is about our Savior who came wrapped in skin and was laid in a manger.  I have been reading Luke 2 this week and verse 19 has hit me hard.  It is a short little verse that follows  the busyness of travel, the birth of Jesus, and the visitation of the shepherds.  “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  The word “ponder” is what strikes me.  It is not a word that I use often.  It means “to weigh in mind or to reflect on” according to Webster.  I do not take a lot of time to ponder this time of year. Part of my stress and frustration is directly related to this lack of pondering. If I would take more time to reflect on what God did for us so long ago in sending His Son, then maybe I would not get overwhelmed with what needs to be baked and what needs to be bought.  Maybe I would realize that those things are not worth focusing on and be more gracious when fights break out in front of me or someone cuts in line. Please take a few moments with me and ponder how amazing that night so long ago must have been! I am sure that Mary was overwhelmed and exhausted, but she took the time to ponder the events of the day and treasured them. She wanted to remember and reflect on their meaning.  I am committing myself to ponder the birth of my Savior, His many blessings, and His call on my life.  I challenge you to take some time to do the same.  Maybe we can become more joyous this time of year by focusing on what really matters and change how others view Christmas in the process.

The Perfect Gift

December 6, 2011

Contributed by John Hellmund, Elder Overseer of Finance at Image Church

The end of the year is fast approaching, and many of us are more stressed out than ever.  There are the holiday parties, gifts to buy, traveling or getting ready for guests to visit, and what seems to be an endless list of other things to take care of.  I know as I was praying and thinking about what to write, all these things kept floating through my head. 

One thing that brought me back to reality was hearing my kids say the Christmas story.  It is always great to hear my 6 and 4 year olds telling me about the first Christmas, as we use our Christmas countdown calendar to count down to Christmas.  Yes, they may only be doing it because they want to get the piece of candy each day, but at least the truth is being ingrained in them.  They know that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus being born.  They can tell you where He was born and who came to visit Him.  They know an angel announced to the shepherds that the Christ was born and that all of a sudden a multitude of the heavenly host was there praising God.   They will tell you about the wise men that came to visit the new King and the gifts that they brought.  They know that when King Herod heard about a new King, he was mad and tried to kill all the male children under the age of two.  They know that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt.  Most importantly, they know why Jesus had to be born and how He would one day die on the cross as the perfect Lamb. 

Even though my kids know all these things, they still get wrapped up in the commercialism of Christmas.  I don’t mean Santa, but the excitement of new toys and games and whatever else they may want.  We have taught them that the reason we give and receive gifts is because God gave us the perfect gift in His Son, Jesus.  This is what I hope we as Christians really reflect on this year.  Let us take the focus off of the material gift and place it on the reason we are giving gifts at all.  We are all sinners and in need for salvation.  Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  The penalty for sin is death as stated in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus is the perfect gift and our only way to experience salvation.  This Christmas season, please take the time to share with your family and those that you come across the true reason for the season.