Message Supplement for 24 December 2016–“Renewal Birth”

Do you have a [spiritual] life? Christmas is the time when we often focus on birth, including the manger scene with the baby Jesus and all the pastoral trappings of that ancient first-family of faith. Even more so in the here-and-now, God wants us to embrace the wonders of spiritual life that Jesus’ birth symbolically represents. Are you ready for a spiritual renewal? What better time than now to embrace the child of rebirth and restoration.
We are reminded that Jesus’ birth is not merely some passive, historical event that we indulge with rampant materialism and super-sized holiday dinners. The Christmas Spirit beckons us to overcome the glitter of distractions and the trappings of wrappings. God’s presence remains in the world through the power and promise represented by Jesus’ coming into the world, an ongoing reminder of renewed life and light. Welcome God in a powerful, pervasive manner. God promises that personal renewal is yours if only you earnestly seek it.
We are privileged to embrace more than commercial enthusiasm over the seasonal imagery. Living an authentic spiritual life means nothing less than our desire to represent God to the world. We can DO it! The mission of the church involves partnering with God to help existing Christians become stronger Disciples (the “D”) and then to partner with God to produce new Christians through Outreach (the “O”). We therefore proclaim that we have received the ultimate present: a new life in Christ through spiritual rebirth. Are you ready? With an epidemic of addiction and dysfunctional relationships the world needs the power of God more than ever. Come and let us help you to achieve the best possible life.
We demonstrate the legitimacy of our spiritual calling as we live the gospel. That is, we match our words with our behavior and our talk with our walk. The sincerity of our Christian faith attends closely with how we think and live, with our attitudes and actions. If we call ourselves Christians then we need to make a positive difference in the world. So, here we are on Christmas Eve filled with good cheer and the best of intentions. Even better, however, is embracing authentic transformation through the power of God in Jesus. Are you embracing the promise and possibility of the Christ child?
We realize that many of you are here because of the special nature of Christmas Eve. That’s great. Even better is joining us more throughout the entire year. We need you! There are some exciting ministries at St. John and we want you to be a part of the miracle of personal spiritual renewal. The Renew Celebration ministry happens every Sunday morning at 9:00 AM in the fellowship hall, where we have a mini-service of sharing & caring along with a PowerPoint faith lesson. Also, join us Thursday evenings starting 12 January at 6:00 PM, when the Renew Seminar starts again. In this venue we have a faith fellowship and a lively lesson that will help us attain spiritual renewal. And if you’re available Tuesday mornings at 11:00 AM we have the Renew Review, a great time of sharing and blessings as we strategize and discuss our transforming ministries.
Aside from the heavy-hitting spiritual insights, I have something quite basic to share with you. On behalf of my wife Cynthia and son Sean, I wish all of you the most blessed Christmas possible. I pray that this season of spiritual renewal will lead you to accomplish wonderful acts of compassion in the name of our Lord. May your faith be empowered through Jesus’ gift of spiritual life. Let us therefore enter a covenant of prayer, one with another, such that our overwhelming spiritual joy extends into 2017 and beyond. God bless you all, and . . . Merry Christmas! –Reverend Hoxey

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