Archive for December, 2010

Livin’ The Mission

I hope each of you had a great Christmas and look forward to a great new year!
 Looking back on 2010 it is always good to stop and reflect on what we have done and what God has done in our lives.
 When were the times you didn’t know how you were going to make it and God showed up and gave you some unexpected, help, hope, strength or changed your situation?
 It is good to look back and acknowledge the work of God and what He has done in our lives.  It is also a good time to look forward and begin to think about how we want to live in 2011.
 What do we really want to accomplish in 2011?  What do we want to look back next year and say we have done?  It is also a good time to renew our commitment to Christ and His Kingdom.
 Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you."  Let us put first things first this year and put the kingdom number one.
Let us put a higher priority on prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, serving the community, spending time with our families, tithing, saving and being good managers of the resources God has given us.  There is no greater thing going than the kingdom of God.  Let us put that first this year.
Our series is called, :"Livin’ The Mission" from the book of 1 John about our mission statement as a church:  "White Branch exists to make Jesus Christ, known, loved and obeyed."  This series will call us to put that as our number one priority this year and live that out.  We started yesterday with 1 John 1:1-4 and will pick it up this week with 1 John 1:5-2:2.  I will be focusing our attention on trusting and getting secure in Jesus’ work for us on the cross.
Upcoming events include:  Bible Study on Genesis 4, Wednesday January 5 (special date, then back to Thursdays) at 7 pm.
Church Forum Meeting (all are welcome):  Thursday January 6 at 7 pm.
Life Seminar Series (First in a series of special free seminars I plan to put on for life development): "How To Set Goals and Achieve Them," Saturday Jan. 15 from 9a-12 noon.
As you can see we have a lot coming up.
Enjoy the last week of 2010 and we can look forward to a great 2011!
God Bless,
Brian Mackie
White Branch COB

Merry Christmas Week

Merry Christmas Week!
Let us remember the great words from the book of Luke 2:4-14
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for a baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be to all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
This is the good news of Christmas!  I recommend you spend some time this week reading and meditating on this section of Scripture and considering what God did in this act that we celebrate at Christmas.
This Friday night is Christmas Eve!  We will be having Christmas Eve service at 10pm.  Hope you can join us and bring a friend or family member.
Sunday we will also have service and we will begin a new series called, "Livin’ the Mission" from the book of 1 John and we will talk about the mission we share at White Branch to make Jesus Christ known, loved and obeyed.
Have a great Christmas season.
God Bless,
Brian Mackie
White Branch COB

We Three Kings

It continues to look like Christmas.
This past weekend brought more snow and the temps are low enough for it to stay on the ground.
As I write, it is white. :)
I wanted to let you know that we are continuing our series through Christmas songs this Sunday with "We Three Kings of Orient Are."
I will be looking at the coming of the Magi and the myth, legend, truth and relevance of this for us today.
This past Sunday I talked about "Joy to the World" and how God has made us to express emotion and positive noise toward Him.
We will be happiest when we our expressing our joy and gratitude to our King Jesus.
We changed the date from December 12 to Friday December 10 for our Young Adult gathering. If you consider yourself a young adult or know someone who does, we will be gathering at my house (the parsonage) this Friday night from 6-9pm for games, fun and some snacks.  If you would like to help provide childcare we could use a couple of volunteers to be with the children during that time.  Please let me know asap if you would like to volunteer of if you are planning on coming so we know how many to plan for.
Also, Tuesday December 21 at 7 pm is a community-wide service of hope and remembrance for any who may be grieving or hurting in any way during this season.  The service is put on by the Nettle Creek Ministerial Association and will be hosted at the United Methodist church in Hagerstown.
Christmas Eve is also fast approaching.  We did hand out some invitations this past Sunday.  We will be having a candlelight service at 10pm.  Hope you can join us and invite friends and family.
Bible Study will continue with Genesis 2 this Thursday at the church.  You are invited to join in at any time.
God Bless,
Brian Mackie
White Branch COB

Joy To The World

Happy December!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in East Central Indiana with the snown on the ground.
This Sunday’s message will be on the song "Joy To The World."  We will take a further look at what that song tells us about the coming of Christ.
We are currently on a series for Advent, which means "coming," looking at Christmas songs.
This past Sunday we did "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."
The two main Scriptures were Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:21-23 which bring out the prophesy that Emmanuel would come, which means "God with us."
I want to take some time to really ponder that thought this Christmas.  God came to dwell with us.  Remember who God is, and all the power and holiness He contains and how He stooped down and came to be with us in the lowliest of forms as a baby born in a barn.  He lived as a common person, among common people and died a cruel death, perceived as a phony and a criminal by those in power.
Then He resurrected and would give new life and joy to all who would believe.  Wow!  That is quite a story.  That is what Christmas is all about.
Emmanuel.  God came to dwell with us and still does.
We have His Holy Spirit now with us who believe and God is with us.
Our four images of Jesus from Sunday are:
#1  Emmanuel (God with us)
#2  Rod of Jesses (Messiah/deliverer/Savior)
#3  Dayspring (Rising Sun, Light, Hope)
#4  Key of David (One with authority to open and close doors)
Remember to pray for our friends and loved ones who need Jesus as one of those this season and to invite them to our Christmas Eve service.
Our Bible Study on Genesis begins tonight (Thursday December 2) here at White Branch.
Also we are planning on having a young adult gathering soon, maybe Sunday December 12, and would like a few helpers to watch the children so those without children can mingle and feel comfortable with those who do.  The date is still being determined but if you would be interested in helping at this or a future young adult gathering to be with the children please let us know.
May God Bless you this Holiday season,
Brian Mackie
White Branch COB