Merry Christmas CLA Family!
Today is a family service as we give our Kid’s Ministry volunteers the next two weeks off. This is an opportunity to gather all five generations together to celebrate Christ, His coming, His work, His return. Today we invite you to take Communion as families. If you are visiting, we invite you to remember the work of Jesus Christ through the remembrance of the Lord’s table. If you are in right relationship with Christ through repentance and faith AND you are in right in all your horizontal relationships, come to the table. Let Christ’s forgiveness and light fill your soul. This is why we Gather. Jesus commanded that we remember Him, that we do this until His return.
Jesus returned this week. He came and ushered one of my best friends and dear friend of CLA, Philippe Straforelli, into eternity. In John 14 Jesus tells us to expect this. He says “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am”. And that is exactly what happened at about 2am on Wednesday morning. It must have been amazing. I think of the shepherds who saw the “glory of the LORD shining” as Christ’s birth was announced. I ponder what Philippe experienced as the glory of the LORD shone upon him. Taking the hand of Jesus, in the twinkling of an eye, the mortal was made immortal and the perishable was clothed with imperishable. Glorification is the final promise of salvation and we will be set free from the presence of sin forever. What hope each of us have because of Christ. Those who remain, Rebecca, the four kids, family and friends … we grieve for sure. My heart is broken with grief and mystery. But, as the Apostle Paul said, we do not grieve as others who have no hope, but we grieve this weekend. A private family internment service will be planned prior to a public service of remembrance in early January.
Philippe had so many admirable qualities and characteristics. One of his greatest was generosity to advance The Kingdom of God. He was so disciplined and purposeful in that area. I want to encourage you to follow his example as we end 2019. December is our strongest month of giving. We need a good month of full participation from all our families and individuals. Currently we are about $300,000 behind where we should be (income vs expenses). To avoid ministry cut backs in 2020 I want to urge you to consider what you are able to do as the year comes to an end. Some may be behind on their tithing goals, others who are new may not have begun this important spiritual discipline. Thank you for taking time to prayerfully consider this vital aspect of belonging to a church family. December is also an important month for outreach and we don’t want to pull back on that proclamation
–Derrick Hamre Lead Pastor