Christmas Hope

 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

As is recorded in Luke 2:25-38, Luke gives us the account of Jesus’ earthly parents bringing Him to the Temple for an ordained time of consecration. His parents are doing for Him all that “was customary under the law.” This would have been some 40 days after His birth. While at the Temple, a man named Simeon and a woman named Anna give further revelation as to who Jesus is. In other words, both of these, fully aware of the Prophets’ message of the coming of Messiah, longed to one day be alive to see the Messiah.

What kept Simeon and Anna going to the Temple looking for Messiah? The last prophet, Malachi, had spoken over 400 years before this day in the Temple.

I think we find our answer in one word: Hope.

What’s the difference between hope and faith? I do believe there is a difference, because of what the writer of Hebrews said, but I also believe that Biblical hope is more than just wishful thinking. So what is the difference between hope and faith?

Hope is faith in waiting. So, what do we do while we wait? Simeon and Anna give us a great example. First, we trust God’s Word. Then, we trust God’s timing.

I don’t know why you have to wait for whatever today finds you hoping in God for, but I know that it will come at the right time—in God’s time.

What’s Happening this Week at FBC?

Last Sunday, members and regular attenders were invited to turn in a commitment card indicating a commitment to “do something for God” in 2015. If you have not turned in your “Do Something” Commitment Card, we invite you turn in your card throughout the month of December.

An Evening in December—Please join us this Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. for a special night of worship presented by our Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra. You do not need tickets. Invite a guest!

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering Update—“It is impossible not to speak when we have the words of eternal life.” These words are attributed to Lottie Moon for whom our offering for International Missions is named. We are certainly not giving in order to meet a goal; we are giving because we have words of eternal life to speak. If you have not yet given your special offering, please consider giving today. Thus far, we have received $83,000.

12 Days of Christmas at Parc Sans Souci—Each night from Dec. 12-Dec. 23 a local church is providing music and refreshments from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. On Monday night, December 15, our church is providing the program. This is a great opportunity to be a witness in downtown Lafayette. Please join us.

Several of our staff members were recognized for milestone employment anniversaries this year at a luncheon held in their honor this week. These individuals are:

    Mary Harrison—Maintenance Department—35 years

    Darrell Boudreaux—Maintenance Department—20 years

    Margie Thibeaux—Maintenance Department—20 years

    Isabel Wren—Ministry Assistant—20 years

    Carlos Camacho—Maintenance Department—15 years

    Wendy Davis—Ministry Assistant—15 years

    Gary Ruffin—Minister of Education and Outreach—15 years

Tell these individuals how much you appreciate them.

A New Perspective on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Global Missions

Last Monday, I wrote about our annual time of giving for the purposes of our Global Missions offering as Southern Baptists. The crux of what I wrote was to inspire giving and to give suggestions for giving. For review, here was my list of suggestions.

  • $25-If you are a new Christian or a new Southern Baptist who has never heard of Lottie Moon, this may be a place to start. I always say “start where you are.” Start with this initial gift representing the days between now and Christmas day.
  • $139-The average amount to support a missionary per day.
  • $365-Some may consider this gift representing $1 a day for the entire year.
  • $977-The average amount to support a missionary per week.
  • $4,223-The average amount to support a missionary per month.
  • $50,800-The average amount to support a missionary per year. (Hey, that’s a lot, but it may be what someone wanted to hear.)
  • Empty out that change jar and give it to the Lottie Moon offering.
  • Give an amount equal to the average amount that you will spend on a Christmas gift.

Last night, our church hosted an International Mission Board speaker to speak to us about his work and the importance of giving to this year’s offering. As I introduced him, I challenged our church with this list and challenged us to erase whatever we thought we were going to give and be receptive to hearing from God.

At the very end of his talk, our missionary speaker made a startling statement that should cause all of us to rethink our giving. The missionary told about being in a meeting not long ago with about 220 missionary families. In this gathering, the missionaries themselves were asked to make a sacrificial gift to the Lottie Moon offering. These 220 missionary families gave in excess of $300,000.

Southern Baptists, how can we ask our missionaries who are already sacrificing so much “out-sacrifice” the rest of us in this season of giving? Be as generous and sacrificial as you can be this year.

Last week I closed with this thought: Our church’s goal is $175,000. If you are a member, give in such a way that will help us to reach our goal. If you are not a member of our church, pray with us in such a way that will help us to reach our goal.

Let me change one word! Let me change the word “reach” to “shatter.”