December 2008 Issue THE MESSENGER THE COMING OF CHRIST Sometimes called the Advent Season, Christmas is all about Christ’s coming to begin the work of restoring the relation- IN THIS ISSUE ship between God and fallen humanity. One of the most common of Christmas • A Note From Pastor traditions is the exchanging of gifts. This reminds us that God gave His very best gift, His Son, so we could have eternal Mark, pg. 1 life. I hope this Christmas season as we celebrate Christ’s coming that when we exchange gifts with family and friends we will remember God’s wonderful • Homecoming High- gift to us. lights Christmas is one of two times of the year that our unchurched friends, • Prayer List, pg. 2 neighbors and co-workers are more open to coming to church and hearing about God’s love to them. I want to encourage you to take advantage of this season of “openness” and invite an unchurched friend to one of our services • Woman To Woman, throughout the month. pg. 3 One special service is on Sunday evening, Dec. 14th, our Children’s Christmas • Church Calendar, Program. This service begins at 6 pm and highlights our children singing pg. 4 Christmas songs and doing a drama about that first Christmas night. Immedi- ately after the program, we will enjoy a Christmas. • Birthdays & Another is our Candlelight Christmas Eve service, 7 pm on Wednesday, Dec. Anniversaries, pg. 4 24th. On that night, we will hear wonderful music specials, sing Christmas carols and a short Bible message about Jesus’ birth. We will conclude with a • Youth Corner, pg. 4 candlelight singing of “Silent Night.” Please bring family and friends with you for this special occasion. • Packages For Our May God richly bless you, Troops, pg. 4 - Pastor Mark The Messenger is a monthly publication of Westside Baptist Church 33931 State Road 54 W Zephyrhills, FL 33543 813.782.0325 www.westsidebc.info Homecoming Highlights Prayer Requests Pastor Mark & Family Howard & Joan Morales Jim & Yvonne Allegood Allen & Laurie Aultman Herb Blackwell Al & Linda Chao Greg & Kim Allegood David & Magen Schlechter Tony & Shelly Wilson & Family Larry & Sharon Hale Betty Bryant The Jones Family Joe Hotchkiss Joe, Teresa’s Husband Jeremy Lee Mildred Williams MaryAnn Ely & Family Scott & Rhonda Register Muriel Jackson & Family Lynn Hale, Mary Ann Ely’s Brother Andrea Hawkins, Joan Morales’ Sister Rebekah Hawkins, Joan Morales’ Niece Our Shut Ins Audrey Adams Stayton & Alice Bradish Vernie Chao Evelyn Currier Ruth DeArmin Marian Dickerson Evelyn Kinser & Family Wyonna Lambert Ruth Rebar Bob McCormack Woodrow & Mary Maples Lilly Stanley Our Troops Darren Cooksey Our Youth Our Nation’s Leaders President Bush President - Elect Obama To add a prayer request to the prayer chain please contact BETTY BRYANT 782-6875 2 Woman to Woman “And they brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh…” Christ, the boy child received presents fit for a king, as indeed He was and is! All of these items were rare, precious and expensive. The Magi gave their best to honor the One they believed to be the King, the Messiah. As we draw closer to Christmas, whether we are dreading this season of gift-giving or looking forward to it with eager an- ticipation, it will be on our minds. Are you doing handmade? Glitz and glamour from the store? Are you like some of us who purchase gifts from June? Last- minute? I think I will be doing a bit of all of the above, except maybe for the latter. Christmas just isn’t the same for me without presents. Or, more correctly, not the same for the kids without presents! Gold needs no explanation!! It is the purest of all metals, and a currency used across the ages. It is the metal most presented to royalty, symbolic for the title that Christ holds, as the King of Kings. Peter tells us in the book that bears his name, that though we be tested as gold, and be refined, that it is the testing of our faith by trials, hardships, pain, difficulties and the like, that will last through eternity. Frankincense is a milk-colored gum that comes from the Boswellia tree, typically found in parts of Arabia, India and Persia. The bark is cut and the gum oozes out in the form of tears. Its fragrant nature makes it perfect for use as in- cense, and the Old Testament priests burned frankincense before God, believing its aroma carried our prayers up to Heaven. This gift was symbolic of Christ’s role as our great High Priest, whose life and death enable us to approach the throne of God directly. Frankincense reminds us that our worship should be pleasing to God. When we can worship God in the midst of our sorrow, our brokenness, then it is a sweet smelling offering. That's why David said, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." (Psalms 51:17) Myrrh (meaning bitter) is a resin produced by a small, tough, scraggly tree that grows in semi-desert regions of North Africa and the Red Sea. This pre- cious spice, which, like frankincense, had extensive medicinal properties, was most notably used to embalm the bodies of rulers and kings. Shortly after this child’s birth, He was given a gift to celebrate His life that signified His death. He was born to die. He submitted to the will of the Father and accepted the suffering that was His payment for our sins. May His action give us courage and strength to press on, and not give in or give up. May we, too, yield to the purification process, presenting our faith (gold) as a gift to our King. Let us worship Him even in the midst of our pain, and bro- kenness (frankincense); recognizing that even as He drunk from the cup of bit- terness and suffering, so too must we die to this world (myrrh) and live forever in Eternity with the One who gave All He was, for all we are! As the Christ Child was presented with perishable gifts by the Magi, let us offer Him the imperishable gifts of our faith, our brokenness, and our obedience. Merry Christmas, and Bless- ings!! Shelly Wilson 3 December 2008 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat 1 2 3 6:15pm-Family 4 5 6 Night Supper 7:00pm-Bible Study For All Ages 7 Pearl Harbor 8 9 10 6:15pm-Family 11 12 13 Day Night Supper 7:00pm - 3 - 5pm - 1st Annual 7:00pm-Bible Deacons Meeting Ladies’ Cookie Study For All Ages Exchange 14 6:00pm - 15 16 17 18 19 20 Children’s 7:00pm - 6:15pm-Family Christmas Leadership Coun- Night Supper Program & cil Meet. 7:00pm - Business Reception Meeting 21 Dinner On 22 23 24 7:00pm - 25 Christmas 26 27 The Grounds Candlelight Day Christmas Eve Svc. 28 29 30 31 New Years Eve YOUTH CORNER December Anniversaries December Birthdays Bob & Betty Phillips Greg Allegood 26th Youth Praise Band Practice And the angel said unto them “Do not Packages For be afraid; for behold, I bring you good Sunday Afternoons at 4:00pm Our Troops tidings of a great joy which shall be Fuel Bible Study for all people; for today in the city of Please have all supplies into the church Sunday Evenings at 6:00pm for the troop packages by Sunday, David has been born for you a Savior, December 7th. All packages must be Youth Bible Study who is Christ the Lord.” mailed by Tuesday, December 9th to Wednesday Nights 7:00pm Luke 2:10-11 arrive to our soldiers by Christmas. If you wish to send home baked goodies please send them in “crush “Glory to God in the resistant “ Glad or Zip Loc containers. Please bring baked goods either on highest, And on earth Wednesday, December 3rd or peace among me with Sunday, December 7th so that they arrive as fresh as possible. whom He is pleased.” Thank you for your assistance in this Luke 2:14 ministry to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan this holiday season.