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Origins: Genesis 1.1-2.2

One great question we all ponder is how did everything begin?Most of us question this many times in our lives.Even Star Wars asks this question.This question appeals to the creative nature we have.What gives meaning to everything in life?Is Pluto really a planet or not?We have great questions that hang over our lives.Why?It tells us who we are.How do we live as a result of knowing the answer to these questions? Romans 1 gives us the reasons people struggle.We worship the creature instead of the Creator.What’s the true origin?We have a God of grace and power that gives meaning to everything.Genesis tells us who we are.Genesis gives us foundation.It tells us who we have been and who we will be.
God gives meaning to everything.All questions come back to this core: it is God who gives meaning.
1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water…
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Hope of Nations: Luke 2.25-35

Welcome!  It’s January and it’s wonderful to celebrate a new year but sad to take down decorations, so I haven’t taken mine down yet.  We have one more Sunday of Christmas today.  What happens after the birth of Jesus?  Today’s passage is about 40 days after Jesus’ birth.  It’s about why Jesus came, why he was born and why it matters. 
A mother would go to the temple and offer a sacrifice for purification.Mary and Joseph lived outside of Jerusalem so they went to the temple.They were close.Mary will make a sacrifice and Jesus will be presented in the temple.Mary and Joseph are trying to raise Jesus in the way they were called to do.In the middle of this there’s a big surprise!What we have in Luke 2 are stories about people who were part of Jesus’ coming to earth.We are reminded why this story matters and what God was doing in people’s hearts in that day.
Simeon heard from God.How significant it is to hear from God.If God is speaking in your life you’re greatly blessed.Simeon is doing s…

Birth of the King: Luke 2.1-7

Luke is telling us a tremendous story.We are being brought into this story, the birth of Jesus.He tells us the whole story in just seven verses.There’s been a lot building up to this and Luke is trying to bring us up to speed.Have you ever been watching a movie when someone else comes into the room and asks you to update you on what’s happening?What did I miss?Luke gives us the background here.Luke 2 is the story of the birth of Jesus, how Jesus was born and how God walks with us.This helps us understand life and Christmas.
God’s plan emerges from the chaos of life.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Luke 2.4-5 (ESV)
Joseph and Mary’s traveling will all make sense in the end.The government decreed that all people needed to be registered.This could not have come at a worse time for Mary an…

Surprising the Neighbors: Luke 1.57-66

God has been speaking to the angel Gabriel.Anticipation is growing.Here we have the results of what the angel has been promising.It will surprise quite a few people.Maybe you’ll surprise your neighbors this year with your dazzling Christmas lights?Excitement is growing.There’s a merger that happens this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving and we merge right into Christmas.How do these holidays relate to each other?Thanksgiving and Christmas go together.They complement each other.Thanksgiving prepares our hearts for the joy in Christmas.
Elizabeth is promised a son and is waiting.It’s time for these promises to be realized.Our faith is often personal.Many people around the world are more community oriented.When one person celebrates the whole community celebrates!For example, we’ll have a community Thanksgiving meal here this week for those who may not have a place to celebrate.In 1621 the colonists landed at Plymouth and one colonist wrote about what happened.He said, “because of the goo…

Congratulations to Growing Place Employee Natalie Cottrell

We are proud to announce and celebrate The Growing Place's employee Natalie Cottrell's achievements.  
"The Randolph County Advisory Council for Disability Awareness is proud to present the Employee of the Year Award for 2019. This year we had 2 applicates that was nominated this is very important award and there was no employer nominated so our committee voted on giving 2 employee of the year awards. The Randolph County Advisory Council for Disability Awareness is honored to present the Audrey and Jim Harriman Employment Awards. The Outstanding Employee with a Disability Award is given in recognition of an employee with a disability who has provided encouragement and inspiration to others and has proven to be an asset to the workforce and our community. This employee must also work in Randolph County.
This year’s employee of the year is dedicated to the early childhood program in pursing teaching in overcoming their own physical obstacles. This person has cerebral palsy, ye…

A Song from the Heart: Luke 1.46-56

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head?Here at Christmastime some crazy songs can get stuck in our heads like, “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas…”Music can speak to us like nothing else does.Aristotle taught how music heals our emotions.We can communicate through song when we cannot communicate any other way.Mary puts into song what’s in her heart.This is Mary’s response.Mary invites us in and speaks from her perspective.Where are we in this song?What would we speak to God?
God gives us reasons to celebrate.
46And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
These are words from a teenager.God speaks to us at all different stages of life.Mary’s song begins with, “my soul magnifies the Lord.”She is singing from the depths of her being.She wants to make large and increase the glory of the Lord.This is what it means to magnify, to make God large.This is a habitual act, not just a one-time song.Mary cannot stop praising God.At what point does a …