Free in Jesus

Because of Jesus ... I Am Free

MESSAGE. In the spiritual battle there is no neutral zone. We are either filled with the Spirit of God or controlled by evil spirits. From the Gospel of Mark we learn about the man who was possessed with the “impure spirit”. His cave imprisonment was the result of a greater problem – the spiritual bondage. Often we concentrate on improving our pitiful circumstances instead of running to Jesus to be freed from the enslaving spirits of darkness. Enough living in the graves of hatred, madness and bitterness. Ask Jesus to send your “impure spirits” into the herd of pigs.

This Sabbath morning I’ll continue my series on the Miracles of Jesus. Please read Mark 5.

MINISTRY.

Last weekend our Community Ministry team headed downtown to feed the homeless. Below is Lucas’ report. I share it here not to boast about our “good deeds,” but hopefully to inspire others to be more active in our ministry to the individuals  in the community around us.

local-cck“We had another great experience serving breakfast to approximately 200 people at Chattanooga Community Kitchen on December 8. Which feels weird to say. How can such a somber need (homelessness) be experienced in a positive light? By witnessing the hearts and hands of church members who gift their early-morning hours in support of the homeless — that’s one big way.

Our church had 15 volunteers for this project last week. Some of them got up as early as 4 a.m. to get ready and drive from Cleveland all the way downtown. It’s not something many sane people would do of their own accord, so clearly this desire to serve others comes from God. And that’s exciting news … God is using us for His work!

HomelessBreakfastVolunteers meet at the Community Kitchen at 6 a.m., cook until 7 a.m., serve until 8 a.m., and then help clean up before heading back home where members squeeze in a quick shower so we can get to church. We encourage participants to remember that our volunteer service doesn’t replace our worship service. Instead, they make wonderful companions! I know that’s true for me.

We’re a well-oiled machine when it comes to buying the food for these breakfasts. A 30-minute trip among the aisles at Sam’s Club gets us $325 worth of pancakes, eggs, turkey sausage, fruit, and granola bars to feed 200 people. That’s a bargain for our church: $1.60 per plate of food that we give away to those in need. If you feel impressed to help offset our expenses, please mark you contributions for “homeless breakfast.”

Thank you to all who contribute through participation, donations, and prayers”


Last Sabbath afternoon the Earliteen SS class presented a Christmas program at Garden Plaza nursing home. Here are a couple of pictures from there:


Lucas Patterson, our Community Services director is inviting the church to do more Christmas caroling. The Community Services and Small Group ministries at our church are joining forces to form caroling teams that go out and sing to some of our shut-in members, as well as people whose names you bring to the table (neighbors, co-workers, etc). Weather permitting, plans are to head out in groups (6-8 singers each) on December 21 and 22 from 6-7:30 pm. Please text, call, or email Lucas Patterson to have your name added to our list of carolers: 423-582-1678 or lucaspatterson@southern.edu.


Our church is blessed with many active ministries. One of these is the Season of Change. We are just a few days away from Christmas. We all have long lists of things to do for ourselves and our families. I am so thankful that Lupina and her team always find time in their busy schedules to brighten up the day of many widows from our church and the community. Heartfelt Thank You to the Season of Change ministry. Here is a short update from Lupina: “We had another great turnout (57) for our last luncheon of the year. The Kitchen Angels loved the new stoves. It certainly made the food prep easier and we appreciate all their hard work. We were blessed by music from the OAKS Fourth Graders led by Mary Wilcox. Special thanks to the Pathfinders who did a wonderful job setting up our tables.”


Last Friday the CA auditorium was packed with families of the OAKS students. I feel sad that I could not be there for the annual Christmas program, but I’ve heard many great comments about the concert. Good job, Shelly and OAKS teachers and staff!

Actually, there are several exciting developments taking place at OAKS. First, Aaron Hall has been promoted to Vice Principle! Awesome. Congratulations, Aaron! Jenny Spicer has been hired to teach 7th and 8th grade PE and computer classes. Here is a link to the latest OAKS Chatter publication.  I hope we all remember about the Building Hope Christmas offerings campaign going on in our church. We want to be sure OAKS has a building with no leaking roof for the next 50 years :-).

Also, I am so glad that OAKS student are continuously being invited to perform at different churches and public places. The students who played bells and were in the symphony at the Christmas Play will be playing again at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church this Sunday, Dec. 16.  K-6 students who sang in the choir for the Christmas Play are also invited to come to the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church this Sunday, Dec. 16. OAKBOW Band will have their Christmas Concert at Bradley Square Mall on Tuesday, Dec. 18. Praise God for all these ministry opportunities!


PRAYERS.

Cliff Corbitt’s recovery is going well. He’ll stay at Syskin Rehab till December 21, and he’s planning on celebrating Christmas at home.

Last night Bobby Boles was transferred back to Memorial. Praying for Bobby.

Little baby Ava (from Avril William’s extended family) was born prematurely and is dealing with a number of serious health concerns. Prayers for Ava and her parents please. Ava is at Erlanger Children’s hospital.


I hope you’ll not miss our Christmas party this Sabbath night. See the ad below:

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