Waiting

Pat Kelly- Lead Pastor

When April was pregnant with our first child, Asher, we were filled with a lot of emotions. While April was rightfully hormonal, I was highly emotional. This child was our first baby and first son. Before Asher was actually born, we paid several false alarm visits to the hospital, only to be assured and reassured that it was not time yet for the birth of our son. And so the waiting continued. At the time, I despised the word ‘wait’, but now I look back and see God’s sovereign hand and perfect timing on everything.  


As we approach Christmas, the word ‘advent’ gets put into the mix within church conversations. While the word ‘advent’ is often used in terms of the coming of Christ, it has also significant meaning in the waiting of Christ. Mary had to wait as a mom. Joseph had to wait as a dad. The wise men (possibly several and a few years later after Jesus’ birth) had to wait to bless Jesus. King Herod the Great had to wait, and wait and wait on Jesus, yet would never see him. The Prophets of the Old Testament waited and died before Jesus was born. But then it happened, Jesus was born and the wait was over, or was it? 


Jesus changed everything, and the wait was worth it. But Jesus is still changing everything and calls us to still wait on Him. We are not waiting on Jesus birth, and we are not just waiting for His return, we are waiting for Him to work in and through us each day. This new season of waiting is accompanied by hope. The hope we have in Jesus is the hope that ‘anchors our soul’ (Hebrews 6:19). This new season of waiting is worth it.Psalm 130:5-6 says “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, 

and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”  


While many were waiting expectantly of Jesus’ birth in the Bible, we now wait expectantly on the work of the Jesus here on earth, now. We wait expectantly on the return of Jesus. This waiting is worth it.


Approach these days ahead in the Advent season marveling at the beauty and work of the Lord on display, each and every day.  


Come Lord Jesus, we wait…


Pastor Pat

Worship is our response

Blake Russell - Worship Pastor

We are called to worship our Creator. It is a fundamental aspect of our faith, however, many times there seems to be some confusion on what biblical worship actually is. Some would say it’s songs, others would say it is a service. The reality is that it’s neither. Over the next several months we’ll take a look at what biblical worship really is, as well as what it is not. 


"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him."  - John 4:23


There are a many definitions out there that "define" worship, and most of them are very good. However, one of my favorites was written by Chris Collins, the Director of Worship at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX. Chris explains that, “Biblical worship is the full-life response-head, heart, and hands- to who God is and what He has done.”


We’ll dissect this definition a little more in depth later, but for today, let’s look at the word response


Before the fall of man, we know that God walked with Man in the Garden. Man had a inherent relationship with the Creator. God was naturally recognized as provider and the giver of love. As a result everything Man did was in response to what God had done. After the fall there was a shift. Man desired the response. Any action man took was in hopes of a response from someone or something. We still do this today. We look for recognition, thanks, power, and countless other things. The pursuit of these things is evidence of our desire to be worshipped, not to be the worshipper. 


Why do we respond? We respond in worship because our God is the only one or thing that is actually deserving of worship and praise. Worship comes from the awareness of God’s goodness and love. Worship comes from the realization of God’s glory. 


"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” - Isaiah 6:1-3


We must shift our focus and turn our response in worship towards Him. If the lenses of our lives are focused solely on our own personal gain, then we completely miss the glory of God that is around us. The result is far from biblical worship. 



Blake.

Christmas Dinners

Kendall Mcdonald - University Pastor

Greetings Fredonia Hill Family,


I want to take the time to thank you for how wonderfully generous you have been in opening up your homes to our students for our annual Christmas Dinners. Three years ago we started the Christmas Dinners because we realized that many of our students do not go home to an environment where Christ is the center of the Christmas season and we wanted them to have a time celebrating Christ in an environment of family with their church.


Over the last three years this event has grown in both student participation and in the participation of host homes. Every year we have students come away from Christmas dinners talking about how impactful the time with family has been for them.


Family is such an important thing.


If Christmas dinners reminds me of anything it’s that God intended for the church to operate as a family with Christ as the head and the groom. The Christmas season is a difficult time for many. Family can be a challenging topic or for some where there is little family connection at all. What a beautiful opportunity we have as a church to surround each other with the warmth and the love of a true family. We are bound deeper than merely human familial relations. We are bound together by the eternal blood of Jesus Christ. Again, thank you for extending that love of family to our students and I encourage you to seek out others in our midst who would be blessed through that same expression of love.


I also want to remind you that for the next several weeks our college students will be out of Nacogdoches on their Christmas break. During that time, we will also have several of our students who will going on mission trips.


As they are absent from our fellowship I would like to remind you to pray for our students. God has given us such a tremendous gift in allowing us to invest in the next generation and the people of Fredonia Hill do it with such enthusiasm. Thank you for your constant support of our college ministry and be praying for our students on their break and as they make their way back to Nacogdoches.


Shalom,

Kendall McDonald

Four Questions to ask about Social Media (Part 2 of 4)

Matt mUrray - Student Ministry Pastor

In the last months post, we learned to ask the question, 


“How are you using social media right now?”


Now, let’s dive into the second question we can ask about social media: 


What do your devices do?


When I was a kid, if I wanted to play NBA Jam on my Sega Genesis with my friend Jerrad, he would have to actually come over to my house. Now through the power of the internet and online gaming, if your teenager wants to play Call of Duty with someone in Japan, they can.


We live in the age of the connected device, but sometimes we parents forget that. We forget that you can play Minecraft with complete strangers. We forget that an iPod Touch might not be a phone but it can still be used for social media. 


Before you allow your students to fully engage in all the social media realms, you may need to stop and ask the question, “What do my kids’ devices do?” 


Spend a little time researching to get a better sense of what’s really going on with the fun devices your family has. 


The reality is, we live in the age of connectivity. If you want to find out how your students are connecting to others through social media, start by connecting with them.


Stay tuned next month for question #3.



MATT.

Operation Christmas Child

Heather Lazarine - Children's Interim

Christmas is time of Celebration. As with any celebration, gifts are necessary. Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus, the greatest Gift that has ever been given. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus teaches us many gifts that we can share with others. As parents this is the perfect time of year to equip our kids with some of the greatest gifts that can be used throughout their life. 


Love- “Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 Jesus teaches us to love unselfishly and unconditionally. Any gift that we give with love is a reflection of our Creator who first gave to us. 


Kindness – Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” This is something we should teach our kids as Christians to practice all year round to friends and strangers alike. We should make kindness evident in our lives all the time.


Faith- “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 Our faith and Hope in Jesus, is the greatest of gifts to give and receive in our lives. Teach your kids our hope is a confidence that something will come to pass because God has promised it will come to pass.


HIS WORD- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Teaching and praying His word over your kid will give them the greatest tool to help them navigate this world. They will be able to call upon His word in any circumstance and find their way. 


Take this time of year to remember the meaning of Christmas and why we give. Because God gave His Son to pay our debt. Because God loved us, we should Love others. Because God shows kindness to all sinners. Because as Christian parents it is our job to raise our children to seek Him. Proverbs 22:6 gives us clear instructions “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” 


I leave you with words of wisdom that we should follow this season and all the days to come. From Charles Dickens’ classic tale, “A Christmas Carol,” “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”




For His Glory,

Heather