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December 26, 2014, 9:40 AM

Sharing God's Love

Introducing a Year of Sharing God's Love
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is
born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is
love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the
world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that
he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God
loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we
love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:7-12
I'm looking forward to 2015. Our church has adopted “A Year of Sharing God's Love” as a theme for
the year. As themes go, this is a pretty good one. It's hard to do better than to emphasize love. Everyone
loves to be loved. It is one of the essentials that makes us human. And, according to the New
Testament, love is our connection with God, who is Love.
But, for all the talk about love, all the songs about love, I don't see much love in the world. Here's what
I see. More cruelty and carnage and manifest evil in the Middle East than I've known my entire life.
More human trafficking and slavery in the world than I ever realized was happening in our time. And
not only in other parts of the world, but in our own country! Children in many parts of the world who
are orphaned and hungry and unwanted as refugees. There is an ever-increasing level of poverty worldwide
and in the United States. I could go on with this list, as you could too.
Here is what I believe: for all the suffering and alienation and hopelessness that is experienced in the
world, there is still something more. It is still God's world. As it says in Hebrews, “Yet at present we do
not see everything in subject to him. But we see Jesus....” (Hebrews 2:8-9) In Jesus we see the heart of
God. He has compassion. He has broken into our imperfect human condition and, while we were still
sinners, still “unlovable”, he loved us. We didn't love him. He loved us. With all our selfishness,
complacency, fear, anger, frustration, despair, and failure, he loves us. That's what I dare to believe.
I have three questions for you:
1. How can I feel closer to God?
2. How can I be sure that God loves me?
3. What is love?
The answer to all three is found in the scripture at the beginning of this little article. To feel loved, to
know God, and to know what love really is can only be experienced by loving. By loving someone. By
loving someone even if they aren't all that lovable. John goes on to say how can you (claim to) love
God whom you haven't seen if you can't even love your brother whom you have seen—and who, by the
way, is another child of God?
So that is our challenge as members and friends of First Christian Church, San Marcos, for the year
2015. We are going to try to share God's love, not only with one another, but also with people who may
not love us back, but who still need to be loved by someone. By you, and me. We are going to start
with the basics of simple acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. Not by impulse, but by deliberate
planning and personal commitment. If we are willing to love someone else, even for no apparent
reason, we give to everyone something different, something very attractive, something hopeful. And we
give to ourselves something that could change our lives forever.

October 9, 2014, 9:08 AM

Coming Home

“Home” is a good word to most of us. It is filled with images of childhood, support, warmth, and love. It is the place where we all belong.

In the fall of the year we enter the season of coming home. It is marked by special events in each of the next three months:
At First Christian Church in San Marcos we have begun to celebrate a Homecoming in October. It is a time for us to experience reunion with old friends and new, to remember who we were and celebrate who we are becoming. Our first Homecoming was last October, and it was a memorable event. Rev Jimmy Cobb, former pastor of our church, was our keynote speaker. At our fellowship lunch he officiated at the opening of the 25-year time capsule. This year another former pastor, Rev Rod Coleman, will keynote our Homecoming. And we will have a group photo taken, to commemorate this milestone in our church life. We will also collect items for a 2nd time capsule, to be opened in 2039.
Then, in November, we have another homecoming experience as we celebrate with our entire nation the season of Thanksgiving. It is another time of remembrance of who we are as a nation and people. It's also an event that brings families together for a day or a week—for good food, good conversation, OK, maybe for viewing some football, and for love. Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us to remember where we have come from with gratitude for blessings we know we have received. But in our hectic and sometimes too stressful lives we can lose the sense of well being that is ours. Sharing thanksgiving with people we love reminds us that we really can come home.
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Finally, in Christmas we remember again the love of God expressed in the first advent—the “coming”-- of his Son. And it's a time to look forward to a final advent/coming in the future. Christmas fills me with mixed emotions. It has become of time of budgeting and buying gifts and spending time and money that adds to our already over-filled schedules and commitments. On the other hand, it can be a wonderful experience of sharing and joy and thinking about the hope that God has visited us and will do so again.
Coming home should be a continual state of mind. It speaks of a journey, and it speaks of a destination. It describes a quality of life. Coming home is the promise Jesus has made to his disciples. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3 (NIV)

So here it is: Your invitation to come home!

July 3, 2014, 3:00 PM

Mission Trip Youth Blogs

Lilly's blog

Today was the first full day of our mission trip in Oklahoma. We all woke up this morning grateful for having actual beds this year. The sunrise was beautiful and the sunset was even better, but what we did between those two was what counted the most. Cleaning, chipping, and painting walls of houses is tedious and taxing work, especially when it's not for your own benefit. But today /was/ for our own benefit. We got the satisfaction of knowing that we helped someone in a way that they couldn't help themselves. Mission trips always bring my thoughts back to the movie Pay It Forward. The concept is: someone helps three people do something that they can't do on their own and those three people each help three other people and so on. Even little acts of kindness, when built up, make a difference.


Derek's blog

Today we spent the day meeting the owners of the house, and experienced our first portion of helping for the week. It was a great day, full of hard work and blessings from God! Can't wait for the rest of the week with this amazing group of youth and adults.


Desiree's blog

We learned a new message to chip away (sad angry feelings like the past) & paint a new coat of paint. like your new attitude. like how u look at the world or yourself. To start over with a new attitude.


Traci's blog

This years mission has taught me the value of togetherness. Our group scraped and painted our assigned house in two days and has now started working on another house with a church from Abilene because we became a team and worked together. I love meeting new people and bonding with the other youth in our group as well as others.

Every night we have a small worship ceremony where we learn the different steps in letting things go and moving on from your past. We are taught how that relates to what we are doing here. The first night we learned you have to scrap off all the stuff that is holding you back and leave the chips behind. Tonight they explained to us how important it is to start painting yourself with a new fresh coat and that with Gods help that is always possible. I can't wait to see what the rest of this trip has to offer for me. Soon our houses will be pretty and brand new as well a our attitudes, mind sets, and the fire burning inside of us to serve The Lord.

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