Christmas Eve Service was a wonderful celebration of the birth of Jesus! We are so thankful for such a wonderful church family to celebrate with.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
What a joyful time of the year! I love the Christmas season because it allows us to slow down and to reflect on the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ our Savior.
Isaiah 9:6 says… “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Love, hope, joy, peace, counsel and care – every great gift has been given to us in the person of Jesus! My prayer for you, and your family, is that this Christmas is full deep connections with one another and with Jesus.
What if you and your family took time amidst the bustling holiday traditions to reflect on the great gift of Jesus? Here are a few suggestions:
Lastly, Carrie and I and our family are so thankful for each of you. Our prayer is that our love for Jesus and for others would deepen this holiday season as we intentionally take time to seek Him. May you receive a deeper revelation of His love for you this Christmas!
Andrew and Carrie Bach
Returning home for Christmas break can be interesting because you’ve changed and grown this past quarter; that’s the reality of college. As you jump back into life at home during break here are some practical ways to maximize this time and grow deeper in friendship with Christ.
There is nothing romantic or magical about the sound of setting a schedule over break to spend time with God, but it works!! God is worth setting aside designated time in your days. It’s essential to be realistic with your schedule. Even though setting aside 5 hours to spend time with God sounds awesome, it might not be the most realistic for you this break. Simple plans that are followed are better than extravagant plans that never happen. So what will it be for you: 10 minutes, 25 minutes? Whatever it is, God is honored by the time we set aside. Remember, consistency is key to winning this break.
God calls us to remember the works that he has done and worship him because of them. Your past quarter may have been full of hard moments or it may have been the best 2 ½ months of your life. Either way, be encouraged by the ways you’ve seen God. People aren’t kidding when they say you’ll grow A TON in college, so take notice of the growth in yourself. This could look a lot of different ways It could be journaling, processing with a family member, mentor, or friend, or spending time outside by going for a walk. Whatever it is, don’t neglect reflecting.
Winter break is full of people making resolutions for the New Year so they can be their “new and best selves”. If we truly believe in a Father who has “immeasurably more” for us like Ephesians 3:20 says, then why not go to him and dream for 2016. Let’s maximize the extra time we have over break by becoming envisioned for the upcoming year. It’s easy to revert to the mindset that we know what’s best for us. What if this break, we all spent 5 minutes a day praying and asking God for the “immeasurably more” for 2016?
You’ve worked HARD this past quarter. Do things that bring you joy and bring a friend with you. Go out and actually do that thing on your bucket list that you haven’t had time for. Also, don’t forget to laugh a lot. Think of fun ways that you can combine enjoyment and service. Maybe this means surprising people in your life with unexpected service.
Community is an essential part of following Jesus and maximizing break. Take the time to connect with your spiritual family – if you don’t have one at home, stay connected to your Lifegroup family. If you need prayer, encouragement or accountability, reach out and ask for it – we are a community devoted to each other and break doesn’t change that. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?
We can’t wait to be back in January, have an awesome break!
Let’s change the world.
By Gretchen Gelman, SPU Student, College Lifegroup Leader
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
– John 8:12
This Christmas as we remember the birth of Jesus, we celebrate the coming of this Light. The Light that was born in a lowly manger, in the humble town of Bethlehem. The Light that lived a sinless and perfect life. The Light that was killed for the sins of the whole world. The Light that rose again after three days defeating sin and death. The Light that is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven and will reign forever. The Light that is the life of all.
Where do you need to remember the Light this Christmas season? It’s easy to treat the birth of Jesus as a far off distant event, but the coming of Jesus means something for you today, this week, this month, and for your life. The coming of the Light of the world turns the darkest of situations hopeful, it brings purpose where there was none, and it brings freedom from the bondage of fear. Would you let the Light in this Christmas season?
This year we are celebrating that the Light has come at our Christmas Eve service. Would you join us? All our welcome for this hour long service that will include Christmas carols, a children’s choir, candle lighting, and an encouraging message. Come early at 4:30pm for light refreshments, a Christmas photo booth, and fellowship. The service begins at 5:00pm.
Parents. Both new and seasoned, I’d love to fill you in on our check-in process. As you arrive on a Sunday morning, peek across the gym towards the brightly lit, “Mosaic Kids” table.
We use planning center for check-ins. PCO Check ins print each child’s name with medical notes and a security code that corresponds to the label a parent receives. These labels are used for check-outs at the end of church as well. This ensures children only leave with their parents or guardians.
On your first Sunday, we have a card we’d love to have you fill out to be sure we have the right contact information as well as any allergies or any other pertinent information. Afterwards, it’s a joy to give you a quick tour of the kids rooms so you and your children can know what to expect.
During the service, if we need to get a hold of you for any reason, we will text you! These times are quite rare, but be assured that we won’t avoid getting in touch with you if it seems to be what is best for your kids. Though what happens in Mosaic Kids on Sunday mornings is intentional and valuable, we know that God has trusted you to be the main one that ministers to your kids. You know their hearts and the processes they are in far better than we will. Because of this, we really do think it is a win to involve you whenever it’s best.
Dec 6 | Remember & Celebrate | Celebrating God as Redeemer
Dec 20 | Jesus is the Promise | Luke 2:8–20
Dec 27 | God is Our King | 1 Samuel 10:17–25
“LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”
Check out the December Homefront too!
Six months ago we opened the Hope House, an aftercare home for women who have experienced human trafficking. This was an impossible dream and we had no idea what to expect at the beginning. By the end of our first day we had already been barraged by life lessons—follow your own rules, communicate expectations clearly and repeatedly, how to break into a car when you lock your keys in there with it running…the list goes on.
The ensuing weeks have only brought more lessons, one being the grand importance of “the little things”. Our women come to us from very different places—their stories are unique and in many ways unimaginable. They come from living in motels to hiding behind locked doors and drawn curtains. They come from a lifestyle of constantly being in survival mode, never stopping to notice things many people take for granted, because those things are not immediately relevant to their survival.
They know what it is to have nothing, to stand outside all night in the rain because there’s nowhere to go. They know loss. They are well-versed in suffering. They have experienced the deepest indignities, and the cruelest side of humanity.
When you are in that place, it is a luxury to notice the little things, a privilege you are often not safe enough to experience. As staff it has been such a beautiful gift to be able to see our women emerge from survival mode as they gain some stability and start noticing the little things. It is like they are seeing some things for the first time—the squirrels playing on the telephone poles, the stars, and the flowers.
They are reconnecting with parts of themselves that have been in hiding for a long time out of necessity.
One of the most eye-opening realizations for me came one day when we were talking about putting up curtains in the kitchen. They made it clear they didn’t want curtains in the kitchen and that they wanted the curtains we do have to stay open. Closed curtains remind them of hiding and they are thankful to now live in a place where they feel safe enough to keep the curtains open, even if it means everyone walking past can see right in the window.
Curtains being open or shut might seem insignificant, but in that moment, for them open curtains represented finally being able to breathe, to feel safe, and to live without fear. It’s the little things that matter.
We are learning to recognize small victories and celebrate even the tiniest of successes, because each one, no matter how little, represents a step forward in a new direction and the ability to dream into the future with hope. All these little things from learning to bake cookies, to receiving a compliment, to choosing fruit over candy, or walking to the park for fun—are a part of what it means to experience some semblance of normalcy in a world that can be so harsh and unsettling.
Our women are such beautiful examples of resilience, strength, and faith and the more time we spend with them, the more we each appreciate the tiny moments that make life so precious.
So remember the importance of the small, “insignificant,” things in life. Let the phrase “stop and smell the roses” take on new meaning for your own life, because it truly is a gift to experience fully those little things we all so often take for granted. Life is so beautiful–even in the pain and trials there is always a little reminder that there is a God who loves you and you’re going to be okay. You just have to look for it.
Written by Alyssa Everitt, Hope House Program Director
This past Sunday, we drove to Foster High School in Tukwila and threw a HUGE PARTY where 500 food bags were given away to feed families for a week! Wanting to serve and build relationships with our neighbors in Tukwila, one of the most diverse zip codes in the country, warm food, games, and dancing broke down language barriers and brought joyful laughter.
We arrived early to overcast skies and chilly temperatures, but our set-up crew couldn’t have seemed more upbeat and optimistic. With smiles, hugs, and a lot of hard work, Foster High School’s softball field was quickly transformed from a grassy lawn to a fair-like atmosphere ready to bless anyone who walked on its turf. Even the children whose parents were setting up were put to use walking prayer laps around the field praying for the Holy Spirit to work in unimagined ways.
Large tents, seven bouncy houses, face painting, cotton candy, popcorn, a mouthwatering selection of Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican food, and great music spun by DJ Flow (a Foster High School graduate) made for an atmosphere that was ready to party rain or shine…and rain it did. The softball field got a great watering as did all of us. We huddled closely under the refuge of the tents, kids snuggled next to other children they’d never met before, laughs were shared between people that didn’t speak a word of the same language, and coats were shared between those who had and those who had not.
It was a true picture of the diversity and breadth of God’s kingdom, a true mosaic.
Sharing testimonies reminds us of the goodness and faithfulness of God, below are a few testimonies from Serve Sunday.
“I watched as a sweet 7-or-so year old boy bent as far to the side as possible as he tried to hold the food bag which was on his other shoulder off the ground so as not to get it wet. It must have been at least half his weight and height. He was just one of many who I saw walk off by themselves to bless their family with a bag of food that would feed them for a week. “
“I saw a woman with two children walking in by themselves and went up to greet them. When I pointed her to the hot food, she literally took off running towards it. They didn’t have coats or closed-toed shoes but I believe God warmed their souls that day with warm food and His sufficient love.”
“As I was standing by the jump houses, feeling miserably cold, I was amazed at the way the children excitedly stripped off their shoes and socks to climb into the jump houses, which were basically flooded. They would emerge as if from a bath with smiles on their faces and hearts full of joy. They found happiness and the ability to play despite the circumstances and were able to set aside how cold and wet they were to join in community. Rain couldn’t bring them down.”
“The kids faces. It was priceless. So many of those kids (toddler to teenagers) let their guards down. They would walk up with a wall and leave with smiles and a cotton candy. It was a place where they could be kids and were all the other worries could be washed away as they filled up on food and just had fun. The dancing, soccer games, and food lines were places where you glimpsed into the eyes of who God made these people to be, before the world had handed them rougher lots. I really feel like this event was a spark to so many who came.”
This came from a non-profit refugee organization: “I would like to express my thanks to you and your church for an outstanding event providing fun, food, and love for the community. Your community is something we should all strive to work for. So wonderful seeing the smiling faces of the refugees and immigrants gather together.”
These stories are why we decided to do this. We are commissioned to be the hands and feet of Jesus and, as a church, we want to unify around a mission of serving others. Tukwila is a beautiful community made up of incredibly diverse hard working people and God laid it on our hearts to serve this community. As a church, we discuss God’s calling of going to the nations to share the love of Jesus and felt Jesus calling us to Tukwila, an area where the nations have come to the Seattle area.
As we move forward as a church, I hope we can take away the strength and power found in rallying around a designated mission as a church. We have such an incredible congregation, many of whom are close friends with each other, and when we focus those relationships on the greater calling God has for us, nothing can stop us, not even chilly rain.
And the rain didn’t win. For about an hour, the rain ceased and the dance floor was quickly saturated with dancers of every age, race and dancing ability celebrating the generosity of God. As I looked at this beautiful scene, I couldn’t help but feel that I was getting a glimpse of the Kingdom of God here on earth, on Foster High School’s softball field.
By Jennifer Larson