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Do you do Christmas Letters? We try, but they end up coming out late. This week, instead of giving you a heads up about our upcoming sermon, I thought I’d give you an early copy of our 2016 Cooley Christmas letter. Yes, we are really late this year!

Mama and Papa Cooley: After seven years of being portable, the church has a building! This is exciting for many reasons, not the least of which is that neither JO or Dan have to yell at their children to get up early to set up or stay late to tear down--which might be more exciting for Micah and Caleb than it is for anyone else. We merged with another church, not called Anchor Point. It’s oddly like what I’d assume a blended marriage to be like. So far, so great. JO is still working for Presbyterian Hospital as a Patient / Family Advocate. After 30+ years living with Dan, she knows how to keep stressed mental people content.

Megan and Jon: They had a baby, and we know it’s theirs because it likes to stay home, shuns people, and loves sleep. They are getting along very well, and it’s pretty much everything they could have hoped for. His name is Memphis, but everyone just calls him Muffins. Megan is working at Presbyterian Hospital when not with Memphis. Jon graduated with a degree in Communications from UNM in May, and continues to work in the sound industry. We thought there might be an opening taking over the DNC emails or Trump twitter accounts, but they are still waiting for the call. Whose loss?

Amanda and Jake: After a year of figuring out life with epilepsy, Amanda can drive again! This is yet another great thing for Caleb and Micah, as it means that they’re not chaperoning Amanda and her toddlers around. Emerson is now 2, Oliver 3, and they are a ton of fun when not breaking things. Also, Amanda is about to have another baby (July 2017), because you know, why not, it’s a new year. They also bought a house close to the new church with a great view for Balloon Fiesta.

Micah: graduated from UNM with a degree in English, then spent a summer at Camp Peniel, and then a couple months teaching English in Haiti. He decided not to retire in Port-au-Prince, and instead is on orders with the Air Guard for the next six months. After that, God knows. The saddest part of 2016 for Micah was when Dad borrowed his limited-edition Miata, only to be rear-ended by a drunk driver just a half-mile away and have the beautiful car totaled. We kept the gear-shift knob. Not much else was left.

and Caleb: finished at the community college, and is now at Moody Bible College in Chicago. His Christmas wish list was a coat, and mitts, and boots, and long underwear, and a hat, and…. Dan bribed his way to a Masters there in 2000, and Caleb’s grandma Cooley graduated from Moody in 1945, which was, I believe, a very good year.

Hoping and praying 2017 is a great year for you as well.

2017 thought: "Look for Christ and you will find him. And with him, everything else." – CS Lewis

 

 

mom at moody

  ReNew Committment – GOD FIRST

As you read this, I should be on my way to or from Chicago. Caleb is going to Moody Bible Institute this semester, and I have the fun of going with him. My mom graduated from Moody in 1945—she met my dad in the Administration Building elevators. I’m keeping Caleb away from those.

The picture is of my mom (sitting on our right) with her friends at Moody. My moms’ mom wasn’t a believer that I know of, so she didn’t want her going to a Bible school. So, mom graduated High School and traveled from Connecticut to Chicago on train. Alone. Then she passed down her faith to her kids.

This week Jonathan is speaking for me from the book of Esther. The book may be named for her, but it was her cousin Mordecai that really saved the day. He walked with God, and passed that faith down to Esther.

You and I can do the same. For the sake of our kids, for own legacy and country, we must do the same. Would you make a New Year’s Resolution with me? Will you commit with me-or ReNew your commitment with me--to put God first in three key areas in 2017?

1.  I will give God the 1st of my time. 

 

Daily, let’s spend time in God’s Word before heading out the door. I remember watching my parents having their devotions, and that example stuck. Weekends and vacations are when I cheat. Now you can ask me how I did when I get back from Chicago!

 

2.  I will give God the 1st of my week. 

Worship isn’t optional. My parents NEVER missed - we went on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night too. OK, that was a bit much and it made us kids resent church some, but I want my family to know that corporate worship is more important than anything else we could be doing on Sunday morning. I hope Sunday can be your day of rest. Friday is mine, as Sunday is a work day for me. It’s a rhythm of life I think, this giving God the first. He knows what we need, and we need rest.

3.  I will give God the 1st of my money. 

I assumed my parents gave 10% or more, but didn’t really see it. As a result it was years after we were married before JoLynn and I became regular givers. I regret not tithing when we were younger. It’s a missed blessing.      Now we make certain God gets the 1st of our money through direct debit, so JoLynn’s husband doesn’t spend it before we give it.

Mom went home to heaven on Dec 30, 2013. If she is watching, I hope she still likes Moody.

Dan

 

 

Dear AnchorPoint

What did you get for Christmas last year? Per The Onion, last year we wasted our money on:

Star Wars Battlefront - usually purchased by well-meaning moms for the wrong device.

A 6-foot "couples" ladder - that’s just weird, I can change lightbulbs alone.

America Pharaoh Meat – you could order five pounds of the Triple Crown-winning horse shipped overnight to your dinner plate. Really.

A Brookstone Foot Something – it pulsed or ionized or otherwise blasted your feet and even came with a blue light on it to make you feel like it’s doing something worthwhile.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son." John 3:16

God gave His Son, and we give each other horsemeat. This year let’s celebrate by giving to each other more presence and less presents. Then, let’s give our largest, most extravagant gifts to Jesus. It’s His birthday, after all.

It’s our prayer that every family at AnchorPoint will give something to Jesus this Christmas. Will you join us in this goal and give a special gift above your regular giving?

3 Possible Christmas Gifts for Jesus

International Help: Operation Christmas Child: We will be praying over our shoeboxes this Sunday November 20. The amazing story of the difference the shoeboxes make around the world can be found here

Local Help: Walk to the Manger: We are partnering with Care Net to help eight families who can’t afford Christmas without our help. On November 17 we will have little paper mangers you can pick up with a family need written on the back (i.e. boys pants size 10, girls shoes size 5, Reinaldo’s Ferrari color red – maybe not). We will have just two weeks to pick up and wrap our gifts. Then we bring our gifts to the service on December 11, when we will pray over them and give them to Care Net to present to the families.  more

Closer-than-local Help: It’s not glamorous or cool, but we need a bit over $20,000 to repair our parking lot. The longer we let it go, the more it will cost to repair. If you can give over and above your regular giving to the Christmas Fund, we will put it to that use. We will have Christmas giving envelopes available next week, but in the meantime you can designate, "parking lot" in the memo section of your check. If every family participates we can easily reach our goal. That’s because our goal is for every family to participate! Will you join us in giving to Jesus this Christmas?

Sincerely,

Dan

Why Sing?

 

This week our service title is Worship Through Music. Worship is our response to God’s revelation. But, since we can respond in lots of different ways, why sing? Doesn’t it bring conflict? Some people like rock, some like hymns, some even like country. But, this blog is about music, so country is another topic. 

One of the best sermons I’ve heard on the topic is by Bob Kauflin, who wrote, “Worship Matters.” He oversees the worship for Sovereign Grace Ministries. You can watch or read his sermon “What Happens When We Sing?” here Enjoy! 

Here are a few quotes from his sermon. 

“God is still worthy of our highest, purest, strongest emotions. Singing helps express and ignite them. Passionless singing is an oxymoron. John Wesley said it this way in an introduction to a hymnal: ‘Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half-dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.’” (John Wesley, Preface to Select Hymns [1761]) 

“People sing together in the strangest places. At sporting events, fans sing enthusiastically about their desire to crush the opponent. People sing at New Year’s Eve parties, Christmastime, rock concerts, weddings, and even funerals. When eating out we often have to endure well-meaning but musically challenged servers in restaurants attempt to sing some form of “Happy Birthday” to an embarrassed individual. I always ask myself, “Why do we do this?” It’s not as though anyone thinks this is enjoyable. Do they? 

While these events aren’t equally significant, something similar is happening . . .” 

Hit the link above to read or watch it all. Expect a different format this Sunday, hope to see you here! 

Dan

 

Thank You – and preaching on voting

Thank you so much for the wonderful Pastor Appreciation Sunday! The song - I don’t know what to say – that was amazing! The gift, and the love of the congregation for us, is something special. The end of Hebrews 13 asks us to live a certain way, so that our leaders will lead "with joy and not with groaning," you sure did that on Sunday. Thank you!

Tuesday is a big day– some believe it to be the most important vote in the history of our country. I’ve been given advice on how to preach on politics this year. But I’d rather have that discussion at Starbucks.

Here’s the thing. I love politics – well, I did before this election campaign – but I don’t see it as the purpose of Sunday morning worship. Worship is our response to God’s revelation. I believe certain things because of the revelation of God (like life beginning in the womb, caring for the poor, freedom of religion), and that influences my vote. But, on Sunday morning, we need a break from the yelling and shouting of life so we can refocus and respond to the revelation of God.

We will focus on what can change our broken world. It’s not the leader of America.

The church is the hope of the world. It’s the power of God pulsing through our veins, passed on to our friends and family, that can bring heaven to earth and hope to the world. That’s why child dedications are more important than what box you check on Tuesday.

This Sunday we plan to have the FIRST Child Dedications at AnchorPoint Church.

3 families

4 children

1 church

Hope you can join us.

Ways Outreach is Worship

Growing up my family "went to worship" every Sunday. I endured it. Going to church wasn't worship for me. The truth is, worship isn't going to a building or singing songs, or volunteering, or giving. Those may be forms of worship - but maybe not. Worship is our response to God's revelation. We can respond to God alone or in a crowd, with singing or silence, in a church building, or in a Ford. This month we want to encourage worship in some distinct ways.

I believe outreach is one of the supreme expressions of worship.

I believe outreach is one of the highest possible responses we can have to God’s revelation.

In Romans 15:16 Paul writes, "I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God." (NLT)  

Note the connection between outreach - bringing the Good News, with worship - presenting an offering to God. Bringing the good news is worship.

Here are five ways outreach becomes worship.

When we share our faith, we are worshipping God - whether people respond or not.

When others accept this faith as their own, they are worshipping God.

When we pray for others to recognize the grace of God, we are worshipping God.

When we help those in need, whether it is buying Christmas shoeboxes, or TP for Buena Vista, or peanut butter for Haiti, we are worshipping God.

When we invite unchurched friends to our backyard BBQ to mix with our church friends, we are worshipping God.

I could have worshipped as a kid in church, I’m sure my parents did, but I missed out. This week I hope you join us for worship on Sunday, but maybe even more importantly I pray you can worship through outreach this week. It’s an extreme expression of our response to God’s revelation. Don’t miss out on either one.

Dan