I LOVE CHRISTMAS
I love Christmas - but not for the reason you think! Kiwi kids love Christmas because they get plenty of presents. Some adults are the same!
What I love about Christmas is what God did. God gave an awesome gift. God our Creator gave his only son as a gift to our world; as a rescue package for a lost, hurting humanity that was headed for destruction. It was a costly gift but a gift that made a huge difference. What would the world be like today if Jesus had not come?
Ive become more interested in giving gifts at Christmas than in receiving gifts; giving gifts that make a difference to those who wont receive any gifts or to those that don't even know its Christmas. So often we struggle to find suitable Christmas gifts because the people we give to have everything they need.
Each Christmas St Albans has a Christmas Appeal when we encourage you to give a significant cash gift - something equivalent to what you would spend on a gift for a loved one. Please talk about it as a family. This could be the most significant Christmas gift that you give this year.
Our elders have decided to share our 2011 Christmas Appeal between two of our overseas mission partners. An insert is included in today's newsletter which highlights Beit Immanuel Congregation in Israel and Murray & Ruth Salisbury in England.
Beit Immanuel Congregation has been a sister church of St Albans since 1996, following a connection our previous minister,
Rob Yule, made with Pastors David & Michaella Lazarus on a visit to Israel. David & Michaella visited St Albans in 2002 and Rob, Anne Higgins and I have visited Beit Immanuel a number of times. They were one of the earliest congregations in modern Israel, of Jewish people who believed in Jesus (Yeshua) as their Messiah. They have a passion to share the gospel with their own people. Our appeal is especially to support the children of their congregation.
Murray & Ruth Salisbury are Kiwis who have belonged to Wycliffe Bible Translators since 1985, and are based in England. Murray is a gifted linguist and has become a translation consultant involved in checking translations and training translators throughout the world. They are also actively involved with Christian Prayer Ministries in England and Israel and their local church in Guildford. Its always exciting to hear of the blessing and impact for a new people group who get the Bible in their own heart language! We often dont appreciate the privilege we have.
Last year we gave $5,000 to the Christmas Appeal, $4,000 (2009) and $5,400 (2008). Can we better those totals this Christmas? Please reflect upon how thankful you are that Jesus came into our world and into your life - and how much you want others to know the love and hope that Jesus brings.