November 20, 2017 | God was, is, and forever will be faithful in caring and providing for His people
This week Americans will pause their busy lives to celebrate a traditional meal that we call Thanksgiving. If your family is anything like mine, we will begin baking and preparing for the big meal a day or two before Thursday. We’ll wake up early Thursday morning to start the turkey. And with every burner used to cook something and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television, everyone has a task to do. Soon family and friends will arrive to join our table, and with eyes bigger than our stomachs we’ll load our plates to sit down to feast on roasted turkey, sweet potato casserole, and every flavor of carbohydrates imaginable. Finally, once we’ve stuffed ourselves happy, we’ll sit down to watch football and take a nap. This is Thanksgiving Dinner.

But is this our best attempt at giving “thanks”? Or are we better at consuming than showing gratitude?

Perhaps you’ve heard about the roots of the American Thanksgiving Celebration. This event that was first celebrated in the fall of 1621 between Native Americans and Pilgrims after their fall harvest. It was later in 1863 during the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving is celebrated to “praise our beneficent Father who dwells in the Heavens” on the last Thursday of November.

But the idea of a “festive day to give thanks” is not purely an American idea; rather, it’s a Biblical idea. Moses instructed the people of Israel In Leviticus 23 to celebrate a festival at end of the harvest to commemorate the blessings of God in their lives. This week-long festival was known as the “Feast of Booths” or the “Feast of Tabernacles”.

To begin the seven-day festival, Israelites were required to cease from their daily work. Each of the seven days they prepared a sacrifice, usually a male cow or goat, that would be slaughtered and burned as an offering to God. This seems like an odd concept to us today; however, they were a people of trade rather than currency. So it was as much a sacrifice to give a young bull as it would be to write a large check.

Again according to Leviticus 23, after the first sacrifice on day one, the Israelites were instructed to build a temporary dwelling outside of their home. This “tent” was made from woven together palm tree branches. For seven days Moses commands the Israelites to live in primitive structures to remind them of God’s provision for them the rest of the year. This served as an annual memorial for how the Israelites who escaped Egypt lived while they wandered for 40 years. Throughout their wandering, God provided for their every need. So as they bring in their harvest each year, the “Feast of Tabernacles” was a celebration of thanksgiving for what God’s faithfulness in providing just like He always has.

The Apostle Paul declares in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

God was, is, and forever will be faithful in caring and providing for His people. Much like He commanded His people in Israel to set aside time to give thanks for His provision, God still expects His people to show gratitude for all of the blessings we enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving,

In Christ,
Ashton


November 13, 2017 | Honor our past while embracing our future
I cannot think of a better illustration of what God has called us to do than what we experienced Sunday together. I believe when Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 28:19 to “Make disciples…” , He could have pointed to our Sunday service as an example.

Paul Del Valley is one of CCC’s Timothy’s. We use the term “Timothy” because The Apostle Paul had a young man named Timothy whom he raised in the faith and trained for ministry. The term “Timothy” has long been used to describe young men whom the church raises in the faith and trains for Ministry. Paul is one of several men and women have grown up in CCC and have gone on to do full-time ministry.

Paul shared in his testimony of several people who were instrumental in his developing faith and decision to follow Jesus’ call to serve Him in ministry. These folks genuinely loving and investing in Paul’s faith were simply doing what Jesus calls all Christians to do. They were disciples making disciples. And because they were intentional to invest in Paul’s faith, he is now serving the Lord and investing in the faith countless others.

We were blessed Sunday to witness the blessing of what God has done in CCC’s past. And we must celebrate what God has done! But can I let you in on a little secret? God isn’t finished yet! In fact, I would suggest that He’s only getting started! What God has done in the lives of Paul & Kayla Del Valley, Sam and Samantha Guilliams, Steve Vitaniemi, and others like them, He will be faithful to do again!

Consider the fact that we baptized 4 students into Christ Sunday. Think about the two rows of students sitting in the front Sunday. Imagine the 30 or so elementary children who worshipped in Jr. Church Sunday. This is the next generation that God is calling us to disciple. We are called by Jesus to intentionally raise these little ones in the faith and train them to follow Jesus. And I believe if we are faithful to this, He might even call a few more to full-time ministry.

God has given our Church an amazing past that is worth honoring. And I believe that God has an incredible future for our Church — if we will embrace the calling that God has given us … to “make disciples…”

In Christ,
Ashton

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One Response to “Beyond Sunday”

  1. Nancy perry says:

    Thank you. It’s a pleasure to go to church now.You not only preach from the Bible but also from your heart. If I didn’t know any difference I would think you were Dr Stanley son. I watch him 3 times each week. Keep up the great work and I will be their every Sunday if Lords willing
    God Bless you and your family.

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