We got our Christmas tree last week and have set it up in the stand, but we are waiting for Meche to come to help decorate. David and Meche never had a Christmas tree in Mexico, as it is not the usual custom there like it is here. Sondra will put lights on the tree right now in anticipation of fully decorating next week when Meche arrives.
Last Saturday, Sondra spent the whole day shopping, trying to find every bargain out there. She loves to roam the stores and find great deals. However, she walked too much and her left ankle gave her excruciating pain at the end of the day. She actually had to pull out her crutches from the closet so she could walk around that evening.
Sunday was memorable. What a special time of worship we had at church. On Saturday we had a group that went down to our mission church in Mexico just across the border in Tijuana, so several gave a report during the church service yesterday morning. They showed photos of more than 400 children and 150 adults who came for preaching and singing. This was our annual trip to distribute clothing, food and Christmas gifts.
During our worship hour yesterday, we had two testimonies as well. Beifei Edwards has just returned from China on a mission trip and shared what God did in her life as she served with a team from a sister church here in our Association.
Then, a man named Joe Lick shared his life story of salvation and call to ministry. Pastor Joe is starting a new church plant in the downtown area of Riverside, starting with a home Bible study first. He is also beginning a student ministry at Riverside Community College, as well as participating with us as a Teaching Pastor for our homeless ministry each Thursday afternoon at Fairmount Park.
By the time all these exciting testimonies were shared, I had about 10 minutes left to preach. But, yes, I can do that...and I probably preached about 15 minutes. My message was about the announcement to Joseph concerning the birth of Jesus to his intended bride Mary. Because they were not yet married and she was already with child, this presented a challenge of faith to Joseph. He rose to the situation, trusting the Lord's plan for their lives.
The sermon, then, followed the four C's below:
1. In life, the CRISIS of a situation...
2. ...shows the CHARACTER of a man (or woman)...
3. ...whereby the COMFORT of God by divine revelation and purpose...
4. ...is brought about by COMPLETENESS of faith and obedience in God.
I spent a some time on the topic of character. Someone once said, "If I take care of my character, then my reputation will take care of itself."
Here is a quote from William Hershey Davis:
Reputation is what you are supposed to be.
Character is what you are.
Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community.
Character is what you have when you go away.
Reputation is made in a moment.
Character is built in a lifetime.
Reputation grows like a mushroom.
Character grows like an oak.
Your reputation is learned in an hour.
Your character does not come to light for a year.
A single newspaper report gives your reputation.
A life of toil gives you your character.
Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor.
Character makes you happy or makes you miserable.
Your reputation is what men think you are.
Your character is what God knows you to be.
Two final quotes about living for the Lord:
1. "We can get too busy for God that we forget to take time with God."
2. "Don't ask God what the next step is until you have been obedient in all the things that he has called you to do already."