I have a confession to make - I really don't like this time of the year in at least one aspect: I really struggle with the first Sunday afternoon in November when darkness sets in about 5pm! I love to be outside and even when biking is no longer part of my routine, I love to walk or hike - but darkness is NOT my friend when it comes to outside activities. At least in my world, darkness is depressing; darkness is discouraging; darkness can change everything.
Spiritually speaking, we live in a world that is increasingly darker all the time. Yet another tragic shooting happened yesterday - a small Texas church experienced the unimaginable and dozens were killed and dozens more wounded. Darkness. We continue to be so divided in our country. Darkness. All over the world, we see Christian brothers and sisters struggling with oppression and persecution. Darkness. Talk about discouraging and depressing?
The answer of course is Jesus - the Light of the World. Many responded to yesterday's tragic shooting with calls to cease "thoughts and prayers" and instead begin legislating solutions to this problem. I won't tackle this second suggestion but can I say we need to pray like we have never prayed before? Pray without ceasing. Pray with passion. Pray for the ONLY answer to darkness - JESUS! Let me give you five Prayer Points to tap into from my heart:
#1 - PRAY for families and friends who have experienced tragic and senseless loss, whether in Las Vegas or New York City or Sutherland Springs or elsewhere. You may not know their names, but God does.
#2 - PRAY for our oppressed brothers and sisters in Christ who minister in difficult and increasingly hostile environments. Pray specifically for the Christians in Northeast India leading the Kuki Christian Church Mission. It is tougher than it has ever been to be a follower of Jesus in India. And in Nepal. And in Myanmar. And In Bangladesh. And yet so many with the love of Jesus continue on despite such obstacles. Praise the Lord!
#3 - PRAY for our country - pray for peace and unity instead of division and wrath. Pray that WE as followers of Jesus can set this standard.
#4 - PRAY for increased opportunities right here in the 61727 to be the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World through our Neighborhood Care Center and outreach ministries like our food pantry.
#5 - PRAY personally for courage to share Jesus with friends, family and those you do life with who are living outside the grace of God.
"The greatest tragedy in life is not unanswered prayer for unoffered prayer" - Preacher F.B. Meyer
Keep the following in mind please:
** Discover FCC - THIS Sunday morning at 9:30am in the Family Life Center Alcove
** ICOM (Missionary Convention) in Peoria - November 16-19 - you can go for FREE - call the church office to find out how!
** Mobile Food Pantry - Saturday November 18 at the American Legion building - FCC is in charge and I need 30 who can assist - are you in?
** Annual MAP meeting - 9:30am on Sunday November 19 in the Family Life Center
** CAMA Thanksgiving service at 6pm on Sunday November 19 at the Clinton United Methodist Church.
** FCC Thanksgiving offering will go to the local Angel Tree program this year.
** Bi-annual Congregational Meeting - Sunday December 3 at the end of each service
** ONE Service Sundays on December 24 and December 31 at 9:30am
Finally, thanks so much to all who attended the 9:30am gathering yesterday with Dr T Lunkim and his daughter Kimcha - we collected a special offering for the KCCM and their efforts in Northeast India and $613 was given. We want to give others an opportunity to contribute to this excellent ministry, so feel free to bring in checks (made out to KCCM) or cash to the office and give to either Jen or Mandi this week. I love so much these Christian servants who are changing the world for Christ!
Have a great week and read Matthew 6:19-24 before worship on Sunday!