Busyness and Budget! These are two things on my mind – among many others. I trust that in the midst of the busyness that you have not been so busy that you have failed to remember the real reason for the season. In my quiet time, I have been reminded over and over of how Christmas came to be all because of my need for a Savior. My need and God’s overwhelming love brought about Christmas! It isn’t about a tree or a gift but about God’s love. Joseph was told, “You shall call his name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21)
Of course, the reason that “budget”is on my mind is because we are in the process of approving the MBC budget for the upcoming 2013 year. I trust you recognize that one of the reasons we do this is to enable every member of the church to see how the tithes and offerings are being used in order to benefit the Kingdom of God. We have faced some challenges financially but the ministry is going strong – and for that we rejoice. Now we look with anticipation towards the future and God’s continued work among us. Come and be a part of the discussion tonight at 6:10 p.m. – and ask those questions that are on your minds. On Sunday, we will vote without discussion. The vote will be followed by an opportunity to put actions to our vote as we commit to give towards the budget in the upcoming year. I have had several ask if we are going to ask of you to indicate an amount that you are planning on giving. In all honesty, the amount is secondary to the commitment to tithe and to give – and it is this commitment that we are going to be asking for on Sunday. Will you be willing with God’s help to give of your tithes and offerings to support the ministries of MBC for the upcoming year?
A special thanks to all who came to the December 2012 Church Council meeting this past Sunday night. As always, the time is a great opportunity to hear from others and from the staff about the direction that we all feel God is leading us towards for the upcoming year. I love the interaction that takes place during the discussions. Some goals were laid out for 2013 including an emphasis upon Discipleship (particularly on Wednesday night), implementation of a revised Outreach plan, and an emphasis upon “fixing up” the children’s wing to mention just a few. You will hear more about these in the future. We are also going to start our new year of 2013 with a 21 day emphasis on prayer for the church and for our country.
Have you been planning for Christmas? Don’t forget the following:
*.The Adult Choir will lead us in worship on December 16 as they present “Meet Him at the Manger.” In addition to the adult choir, the preschool and children’s choir will be leading us on that day. The service will start at 10:30 a.m. but make plans to come early for Sunday School at 9:15 a.m.
*.The MBC Christmas Fellowship will take place on Sunday, December 23, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. This will be an opportunity to enjoy time as a church family – and to enjoy treats as well!
*.Immediately following the Fellowship, our annual Christmas Candlelight service will be at 6:00 p.m. on December 23rd. We will use this time to slow down once again and remember the gift of our Savior – as we truly consider the meaning of Christmas.
One of the challenges, and sorrows, of ministry is the transitioning of individuals. We are in the process of saying “Good-bye” to Josh Stewart. Josh has served as the custodian for MBC for the past years. He has accepted a position in Atlanta and will be leaving MBC (and New Orleans) in the weeks ahead. As a result, the Personnel Committee has made plans to honor Josh during the Fellowship Meal on Wednesday, December 12.You will want to join us as we express our appreciation for Josh’s help during the years and pray for his continued work.
I know you have heard me before on this matter, but let me re-emphasize another time – we need your help in Sunday School. This past Sunday we had to combine children’s classes due to a need for additional teachers. Would you be willing to help? Please carefully pray about God’s leadership in this area and if God is encouraging you to help, then please let us know. At the present time, this is the greatest need we have in Sunday School!
Don’t forget to bring your offering for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering! And more importantly don’t forget to pray for our missionaries scattered all over the world who are telling others the Good News discovered in Jesus!
Two additional opportunities to support missions in our city are listed below:
‐‐”What better way to share the Gospel message than to share the real meaning of Christmas?” That is the question presented by the missionaries at Global Maritime Ministries, along with the opportunity for you to be a part of the answer. Each year they give gifts to seafarers from around the world that present the Christmas story and the greatest gift given ‐ Jesus! If you would like to help provide these gifts, please send $7 with a signed Christmas card (do NOT seal envelope). There is a basket to place your cards in on the Women’s Mission and Ministry table located in the Orion foyer across from the Lottie Moon Post Office. They are also in need of cookies to bring to the port workers, another mission field of their ministry. If you are a Christmas baker or candy maker they would love your treats. Please pray about these opportunities and how you and your family can share in Christmas giving.
‐‐The Friendship House is also in the midst of providing for those in need throughout the city and could use your help in loving those less fortunate than ourselves. While out shopping, please remember them and pick up something extra ‐ food, toys, warm clothes, or gift cards for them to be able to purchase these things. Place your gifts on the WM&M table or give to Pat Trembley for delivery. Pray for the missionaries, as the need is great, and that those receiving their love will see Jesus this Christmas like never before.
I look forward to seeing you tonight for the budget discussion, for Bible study, and for prayer time.
On the journey,