Articles | December 2020

  • Voices of Encouragement

    Devotionals | December 30, 2020

    If you’ve ever been part of a newborn baby’s life, you know the twenty-four/seven care that a newborn requires. Just as the joy and excitement of Jesus’ birth was fading, when Mary and Joseph were overcome with the reality of caring for a newborn child, God arranged for the new parents to come into contact with Anna and Simeon (Luke 2:22-38). He knew Mary and Joseph needed people to reaffirm that He was at work in their lives, people to assure them that this child truly was sent from God. Anna and Simeon, too, were encouraged by meeting Mary and Joseph and God’s Promised One.

  • Christ-like Humility

    Devotionals | December 28, 2020

    Jesus modeled a humility that stood in contrast to the religious leaders of His day. Humility fueled His incarnation and ministry as He joined us in our human condition and in this broken world. Learning our challenges firsthand, meeting us where we are, He invited us to share His life, to enter His world and work. He didn’t hoard the blessing of fellowship with God for Himself but invited us to join Him and learn from Him. What an example of how humility powers leadership that empowers others. Will you lead like Jesus?

  • He’s Here

    Devotionals | December 25, 2020

    Mary had waited for nine long months, carrying the child whose conception had been announced to her by the angel Gabriel. She had overcome countless obstacles—the stigma of being an unwed mother, the shock of family and friends, the judgment of the community, the fear of losing Joseph, the long trip to Bethlehem. And now it was time. Mary faced the birth of her firstborn with faith that the One who had carried her through her pregnancy would see her through. And God did. Jesus, the long-promised Anointed One of God, the Son of God, was born.

  • It’s Almost Time

    Devotionals | December 23, 2020

    Anticipation brings us to our toes. Like children peeking into a package, like brides and grooms waiting for their wedding day, like waiting for a birthday . . . like waiting for Christmas. Preparations are underway: cooking, cleaning, choosing gifts. In the last-minute hustle and bustle, let’s not forget to prepare ourselves to welcome the One whose birth we celebrate. Receptive hearts, minds focused on the gift of God with us, and hands ready to extend the gifts of love and grace and reconciliation to all. Are you ready for Christmas?

  • Waiting with Love

    Devotionals | December 21, 2020

    Worry overwhelms thoughts and emotions, clouding judgment and priorities, and stirring up anxiety and irritability. It draws a person’s focus away from God, allowing worry to replace the assurance of His presence and love. Abiding in God’s love displaces worry from the center of our hearts and minds, overshadowed by the reality the love of Christ. We are freed to experience the ongoing, overwhelming, and life-changing love that transforms even times of waiting into times of worship, trust, and love-in-action.

  • For Us

    Devotionals | December 18, 2020

    God is for us. This simple truth is one that many find difficult to believe. Even those of us called by His name may find it hard to believe at times. Moses did. One of the greatest of God’s servants struggled with feelings of inadequacy, disillusionment, and discouragement. And when he did, he wasn’t afraid to call out to God. God responded to Moses at his point of need. He will respond to us, too, speaking the words He knows we need to hear. Pour out your heart to Him. Then listen to what He has to say next.

  • Grieving and Getting Through the Holidays

    Blog | Sheryl Giesbrecht | December 16, 2020

    Is there an empty place at your table this Christmas? For many, this will be their first holiday season without their loved one. It’s okay to remember them. This year, my dad is celebrating his third Christmas in heaven. We recently visited dad’s grave at the beautifully decorated Central Valley veteran’s cemetery; a moving experience to see hundreds of natural pine wreaths with their bright red bows placed lovingly in front of each white marble headstone. Dad would have loved it.

  • No One Wants to Fail

    Devotionals | December 16, 2020

    No one actually sets out to fail. We try our best, give it our all, wanting and hoping that what we have to offer will be enough. Still, we fail at times. The question isn’t ‘if’ we will fail, but when . . . and how . . . and what happens next. Peter’s relationship with Jesus points the way. Think of how often Peter thought he knew better than Jesus. And time and again, he was proved wrong. But Jesus didn’t discard Peter because of failure. He taught him. He corrected him. He sought him out. Jesus does the same with us. And He wants us to do the same with those we lead.