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After attending three memorials in eight days, death has been on my mind - but not in a weird way, in a good way. I’ve seen faith passed down from father to son to grandkids, and heard some amazing testimonies of lives well lived. It helped me remember an old truth.
 
God determines the dates on your tombstone, but your family writes your epitaph. 
 
Here are five of my favorites, some good, some just fun:
 
1. From Nova Scotia: Here lies Ezekiel Aikle. Age 102. The good die young. So much for kind Canadians.
2. From England: The children of Israel wanted bread, and the Lord sent them manna. Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, and the Devil sent him Anna. Ouch.
3. Another from England, probably the saddest: Tom Smith is dead, and here he lies; nobody laughs and nobody cries; where his soul’s gone, or how it fares; nobody knows, and nobody cares. 
4. Can you guess who this one was written for? Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m free at last. Beautiful. Martin Luther King Jr. 
5. Can you guess who this one was written for? Jesus Mercy. Al Capone
 
I hope you can join us Sunday as we focus on AnchorPoint’s second Distinctive, Devoted to the Family. It’s time to start living with our epitaph is mind.
 
Dan
 

1 – A New Class. We are having a child dedication class at 8:30 in Dan’s office this Sunday, Jan 7. Not for you? No problem…

2 – A New Series for the New Year. It’s called OUR DNA: God’s Vision For Our Hearts. I’m excited about this Sunday as we learn about God’s grace to us, and how it changes how we relate to others. Not for you? Well, since grace is about giving, I’ll be gracious and suggest…

3 – A New Author. I came across a poem written by Meredith Steinfeldt this week, and wanted to share it with you.

 

The Timeless Clocksmith 

You are the creator of time, yet you transcend time

Is your presence not a covering for yesterday, today, and tomorrow?

Do I need to fear the future, for you foreknew it before m first breath?

I have pondered, does it really make a difference to get through another day?

Yet, you restored my hope and are restoring my hope

You have revealed to me your perfect purpose at the perfect moment

Will you not carry me through tomorrow?

Does everything really not hold together through you?

Will my eternal holy God really not keep His promise?

You will not leave me at times l need you most

When I have tried to do everything in my own strength again and failed, 

Are you not present gently reminding me to turn to you?

Will you not part my Red Sea and guide me safely through?

Why do I plunge into the unknown, when you have not called me there?

Still you cause me to return to you

You bring forth what I must have, when I must have it 

When I am overwhelmed by the blackness of night let me be overwhelmed by you and your light

Your timing is perfect, your tempo is not too fast or slow

I am the one who cannot stay on the pulse of this unique, wonderful hymn you are making of me

When my thoughts run ahead or lag behind you are still there

You will never walk out on me

Happy New Year, Meredith

And Dan

I’ve tried reading the Bible through in a year before. It’s always been for one of two reasons.
 
1. I was in school and my grade depended on it. I did it. I didn’t learn much, but I did it.
2. I was guilted into it. I didn’t finish.
 
Reading the Bible in a year becomes a chore to me, I feel like I’m flying through and don’t remember much. Then life happens and things get worse.
 
I get sick, company comes, vacation hits, or Leviticus strikes. Have you ever tried to read straight through Leviticus?
 
But, I know I need to be reading the Bible. And, I know I need to read all of it. So, what’s the answer?
 
Well, for 2018, here is the answer I’d like to try, and I hope you can join me. It was developed by Margie Haack, and it’s called….
 
The Bible Reading Program for Slackers & Shirkers. What an awesome name!–  here
 
This plan does three things I like.
 
1. It removes the guilt and pressure to get through the Bible in one year. Who said we have to finish in a year anyway? So, this helps us develop discipline in our Bible reading, while still giving grace.
2. It provides some variety by alternating genres during the week. Who wants to read through Leviticus in one setting?
3. It still gives some continuity by reading the same genre each day of the week.
 
Here is the general plan. For a more detailed download, that gives the specific books for each category/day click here.   
 
⦁ Sundays: Poetry
⦁ Mondays: Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
⦁ Tuesdays: Old Testament history
⦁ Wednesdays: Old Testament history
⦁ Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
⦁ Fridays: New Testament history
⦁ Saturdays: New Testament epistles (letters)
 
We will put this general overview in the bottom of the Newsletter each week. But again, for specific book for each day, click the above link – or come on Sunday, when we will have a print-out of the link in the bulletin.   
 
I hope and pray that this is a help to all of us! I like what John Stott has to say about Bible reading. 
"Christians who neglect the Bible simply do not mature. When Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy to the effect that human beings do not live by bread only but by God’s Word, he was asserting that the Word of God is just as necessary for spiritual health as food is for bodily health. I am not now thinking of remote Christian tribes people into whose language the Bible has not yet been translated, nor of illiterate people… I am thinking rather about ourselves. Our problem is not that the Bible is unavailable to us, but that we do not take advantage of its availability. We need to read and meditate on it daily, to study it in a fellowship group and to hear it expounded during Sunday Worship. Otherwise we shall not grow. Growth into maturity in Christ depends upon a close acquaintance with, and a believing response to, the Bible".
[Source: God’s Book For God’s People, John Stott, IVP p. 76]
 
I’d like to give 3 Christmas War Quotes from the Advent reading book that we gave away at church. This reading is from last Thursday, written by Russell Moore. I thought it excellent, but you be the judge…
He is bringing the story into focus from that first prophecy, when God tells the serpent after Adam and Eve eat the fruit; Gen 3:15 (ESV)  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 
 
3 QUOTES
 
1: The Virgin Birth is not simply a sweet Christmas story. . . The Virgin Birth is scary, because if we understand what is going on here, we will see that in the uterus of this little Nazarene virgin girl, God is declaring war.
 
2: God is saying to you exactly what God said in the Virgin Birth to the entire human race: You cannot fix this.
 
3: Perhaps what all of us need this holiday season is to cry out with gratitude to a God who fought our Enemy for us. Perhaps we need to say, “All I want for Christmas is a crushed snake skull.” That is the gospel.
 
 Blessings, see you Sunday, maybe twice! 
 
10:00am normal service, And He Will Be Called, Prince of Peace.
 
6:30pm Christmas Eve Service – candles and carols.
 
Dan
Let’s face it, its crunch time. As I write this on Wednesday morning, there are only 11 days, 13 hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds left till Christmas. 
 
Not that I’m counting.
 
Wouldn’t it be great if we could give more relationally while spending less financially? What our family really wants is us. Well, us and a horse maybe, but primarily us. 
 
Below are 20 relational giving ideas to help you this Christmas. Our kids gave us gift #1 a few years ago. That is a gift I’ve never forgotten, and it still sits in our living room. 
 
OK, here they are, stolen directly from a great online resource called Advent Conspiracy
 
 1.  Spend some time contacting a loved one’s friends, co-workers, and family members, and have them provide photos, memories, wishes, affirmations, or thoughts, and collect in a scrapbook.
 2.  52 packets of gourmet hot chocolate with a personalized mug and a note saying you’d like to share a special time together once a week.
 3.  Dance lessons.
 4.  For a couple with children: a book of babysitting coupons so they can schedule regular date nights.
 5.  For a child: a bag of supplies for kitchen science experiments you’ll do together.
 6.  Provide an experience, like a fishing trip, hunting trip, or a cooking class you take together.
 7.  Offer a service that relieves a burden: oil changes, yard work, etc.
 8.  Two copies of a meaningful book you’ll read together and discuss.
 9.  Scrapbook or photo collage filled with memories, photos, and thoughts.
10.  Massage.
11.  A road-trip adventure together.
12.  Gear for a sport you’ll play together.
13.  Offer to teach music lessons, or share some other skill.
14.  Supplies for making kites together.
15.  A day hike together, you drive, and bring lunch.
16.  Puzzles you will only work on together, creating space to connect and talk.
17.  Tickets to an event you’ll attend together.
18.  For a family: agree that instead of giving each other gifts, you will take one big trip together.
19.  A journal filled with one thoughtful note, encouragement, prayer, affirmation, or wish for the recipient for every day in Advent.
20.  For groups of any sort: Rather than everyone buying each other gifts, each member gives only one gift, but it is something the group can do/use/eat/play/experience together.