Can You Hear Me Now?

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Okay, so the Verizon guy… wait the Sprint guy… whoever he is with, gave us a simple phrase that sticks out in my mind all the time. Our family totally changed services here in New Braunfels in order to HEAR ONE ANOTHER. From where we live currently to where we go out and about, we continuously found certain areas where our calls were dropped. Then, as we moved out of the “dead spot” we magically connected again. Needless to say, we made a move TO BE HEARD.

As we are looking at PRAYER or CONNECTING WITH GOD as a church, our Middle Schoolers are going back to the basics of what it means to connect with God.

That same question, “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?” seems to come up as we focus on prayer as well.

The BEST example we have is JESUS HIMSELF, as he preaches His first (and need I say LONGEST) sermon that cuts to our hearts, even today. In this Sermon, presented on a mountain, he directs His people to think about the “WHY” when it comes to prayer.

“Don’t be like the hypocrites, for they love standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5 NIV).

 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”  (Matthew 6:6 NIV).

WHAT IS THE REWARD?

When we create a space and a place to CALL ON the Lord, we get more than an instant download code for 20% off on a flash sale. When we make time to focus on the person of JESUS and call out to HIM, we get more than three wishes for all our dreams to come true. Our REWARD is far greater than a “good day” or a material possession.

OUR REWARD IS A DEEP RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS.

Isn’t that what our hearts truly call out for? I believe we are moved to choose a payment plan and upgrade to a new cell phone because we value the close relationships in our lives. We desire to connect with others on a deeper level, and we want to guarantee a secure connection.

How does the value with our Father translate to our daily lives?

I believe that an intentional TIME and PLACE builds a foundation for a deep encounter with the God of the Universe through Jesus Christ. How have you created an intentional time and place this week to connect? How have you seen the ultimate reward work out in your own daily walk with Jesus?

Believe Weekend January 28-30

Believe Weekend Schedule

Thursday- Jan 28

6:30pm        Student Check-in (bring CAN donations from home)
7:00pm        Session 1
8:15pm        After Event
8:45pm        Dismiss

 

Friday- Jan 29

6:30pm        Student Check-in (bring CAN donations from home)
7:00pm        Session 2
8:15pm        Breakout Groups
9:00pm        After Event
10:00pm      Dismiss

 

Saturday- Jan 30

2:00pm        Student Check-in (bring CAN donations from home)
2:30pm        Session 3
3:45pm        Breakout Groups
4:15pm        Event
5:00pm        Dinner
5:30pm        Session 4
6:15pm        Breakout Groups
7:00pm        Baptism celebration Dismiss

7:30PM        DISMISS

Pray This For the New Year

As we begin the New Year, Oakwood is beginning 40 days of Prayer to kick things off.

I don’t know about you, but many times, I want to pray, have the desire to grow in my prayer life, but I don’t know exactly what else to pray after about… 30 seconds. I think this problem leads to giving up on connecting with God in this way on a consistent basis. I mean, with all the distractions of raising kids, getting them in the right place with the right things at the right time, sometimes I turn around and realize I missed getting ME in the right place with the right things at the right time. Then we have technology, the game to watch, and oh yea, that source of income is good to invest in as well. It’s not that we don’t want to connect with God that’s the problem. I think its the fact that time is always slipping away through our fingertips. Before you know it, you are laying yourself to sleep and throw up a, “THANK YOU JESUS… FOR MY BED!”

So as not to WASTE TIME, maybe we need to build confidence to use our time WISELY. That is where the question begins to be:

If I’m going to pray, how can I do it right?

You want to do it right? Literally COPY A GREAT PRAYER!

‘And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ‘ Colossians 1:9-14

What better example do we have than Paul and his prayer out of God’s Truth in Colossians?

My challenge for myself for the NEW YEAR is to just PRAY THIS.

I am taking whatever time I have in the morning, after lunch time for a moment, as my mind wanders in the evening, to basically copy and paste most of Paul’s prayer for individuals that come to mind. The easiest way to start is to find those right in front of you. Pray for your family to be filled with Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding. Pray for good works and fruit from God Himself. Ask for strength according to His might. Do you need endurance, patience, and joy anytime soon? How about the consistent reminder that we have a Father through Jesus Christ that delivered us out of darkness and qualified us to be saints in light? Needless to say, I have found my own joy and connection with God as I have used a great prayer guide in Colossians Chapter 1.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

PEABOD – Big Feelings Family Devotional

Family Devotional

Artist: Peabod
Album: Growing Up Part 1
Label: Centricity
Song: Big Feelings (feat. Aklesso)
From: MVL 110
Writer: Brandon Best | Oakwood Church | New Braunfels, Texas

Theme(s): Emotions Hope Love

Devotional Thought:
When our feelings get us down, God’s truth can pick us back up. 

Warm Up: What am I feeling?  Write different emotions onto sticky notes for your family members (one for each participant). Without looking at them have each participant place their emotion on their forehead. Ask family members to pair up and guess their “feelings” by acting them out to each other. Rotate around the room and encourage those participating to have fun by overdoing it on the emotional side. 

Questions for Follow Up

  • When have you felt overwhelmed or down by your emotions?
  • How do your feelings tend to shape your day or week?
  • How do you think God reacts to our emotions and big feelings?

The Video: Peabod is a hip-hop artist from Seattle, Washington that gets the whole overwhelmed feeling. While most of his music is meant to bring happiness and lightness to life, this song shares a little bit of a different vibe. Play Peabod’s music video for Big Feelings

List any emotions depicted or experienced in the video while watching. Share your reactions to the video as a family.

The WORD

In Lamentations, we find someone that can relate to the struggle of being overwhelmed with emotions and feelings that could ruin anyone’s day. Jeremiah shares some raw emotion about his feelings of hopelessness and loss as he reacts to his circumstances around him. 

Read Lamentations 3:14-20

  • What feelings and emotions do you see Jeremiah dealing with?
  • How do these feelings relate to your own feelings?
  • What is it like to feel so down, that you don’t have any hope?

The good news is that while Jeremiah was overwhelmed and hopeless at one moment, he changed his mindset to get him back up. 

Read Lamentations 3:21-24

  • How did Jeremiah change his mindset to give him hope?
  • What truth about God do you find in these verses?
  • What action do you need to take when you are feeling down?
  • How can you find hope to get back up again?

Wrap Up

Our emotions and feelings can change our outlook on life and get us down for a day, or even a week. However, God’s steadfast love and mercy can get us back up and give us hope no matter the circumstance.  When your feelings get the best of you, change your mindset and begin focusing on who God is to get you back up again.

  • What is one emotion you’ve felt overwhelmed by recently?
  • What is one scripture you can find as a family that God can use to help you the next time you feel overwhelmed?

Listen to more PEABOD RIGHT HERE

Check Out More Christian Music on this Interlinc Page

LITTLE DRUMMER BOY – For KING & COUNTRY

Family Devotional

Dreaming Big
If you knew you could do anything or be anything without the possibility of failure, what would you want to do or be?

Gifts What are some talents, skills, or abilities that you have? What talents, skills, or abilities do you wish you had?

READ 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

On a scale of 1 to 10, How important is it to you to:
Fit in?
Be popular?
Be unique?
Describe yourself as a part of the body. (An eye, hand, foot, etc.) Why did you select that part? How connected are you to your local church body? What can you do to help the “body” function better?

READ Colossians 3:17

The drummer boy wanted to use his best ability for the King, so he played a drum. How does the TRUTH in Colossians 3:17 help you think about your gifts and talents? What are you involved in, right now, that you can use for God’s glory? How can our family pray for your gifts, talents, and abilities this week?

Best Christmas Ever Parent Cue

REMEMBER THIS

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:14, NIV

THINK ABOUT THIS

Best Christmas Ever is a series designed to help students recognize that the best things about Christmas aren’t the things we typically tend to remember first during the season. They’re the things God did for us thousands of years ago. Though encouraging students to embrace abstract concepts like the fact that God is with them and wants to know them may be difficult for some middle schoolers to grasp, it’s important to help them recognize these key elements of what Christmas is all about. These are things they can celebrate and understand as they grow in maturity and relationship with God. 

Daily Cues

Morning Time

Take time to celebrate the person who spends a lot of their time with your middle schooler: their Small Group Leader! Write them a card, shoot them a text, give them a call, or put together a little Christmas gift for them to show your appreciation for how they invest in and care about your kid. 

Drive Time

Let each member of your family share what activity would make their Christmas the best Christmas ever! Maybe it’s a Christmas movie marathon, a drive to see holiday lights, a special treat made at home, or a chance to serve someone else. Whatever it is, let each person choose their best Christmas ever activity and then, make an effort to do each one this holiday season. 

Meal Time

Make an effort to bless others this holiday season. Choose a day to make Christmas cookies, cards, candy, or another holiday treat together as a family. Then, deliver them to your neighbors to spread a little Christmas cheer to those around you this week.

Bed Time

Read the Christmas story together as a family this week (Luke 2:2-20). After you read, discuss some of what you read as a family. Talk together about what this story means for you today and how you can remember it during the holiday season.

What does the Bible Say About Santa Claus?

Click HERE for the full HOW TO TURN HOLIDAYS INTO HOLY DAYS ARTICLE

Is Santa Claus real?

By Dr. Jim Denison

There’s reality behind the story and history of Santa Claus. 

There actually was a man known as Nicholas who was born in AD 280 in Asia Minor, which is modern-day Turkey. He was bishop of the church in Myra, participated in the First Council of Nicaea, and helped the church find the best language to describe the Incarnation of Jesus.  

St. Nicholas was beloved because he spent his life helping the poor and underprivileged. He was the first to initiate programs for mentally challenged children. His love for children led him to visit their homes at night disguised in a red-and-white hooded robe to leave gifts of money, clothing, and food in their windows or around their fireplaces. 

After his death, he was made the patron saint of sailors since his church was located in a port city and had an extensive ministry to those who traveled the sea. He was later named the patron saint of Russia. Nicholas was one of history’s most venerated saints, with more than five hundred songs and hymns written in his honor. Christopher Columbus arrived in Haiti in 1492 and named the port after him. By the year 1500, more than seven hundred churches in Britain were dedicated to him. 

The Dutch especially appreciated his life. They spelled his name Sint Nikolass, which, in America, became Sinterklass, or Santa Claus. 

His popularity grew through a poem written by Dr. Clement Clark Moore, a theology and classics professor at Union Seminary in New York. In 1822, he penned the classic, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known today as “The Night Before Christmas.” Artist Thomas Nast illustrated the book, creating the figure we now know as the jolly Santa Claus. 

That’s the reality behind the story of Santa Claus. St. Nicholas’ selfless lifestyle was based on his love for God and people.

Now, let’s look at the actual Christmas story and why it should matter so much to our lives. 

Christmas nativity scenes all over the Christian world will once again be unpacked and displayed to relate the story of that glorious first Christmas: a beautiful young woman protected by her equally attractive young husband, adoring shepherds with their sheep, and three majestic kings from the Orient bearing their magnificent gifts for the baby lying in a manger.

But very little that blessed night happened the way our decorations depict it. Let’s discover why.

Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25? 

According to our traditions, Santa Claus visits our homes on December 24, Christmas Eve. And we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25. But, do we know why we observe Christmas on that day? 

The night Jesus was born, the Bible tells us that the shepherds were in the fields tending their sheep (Luke 2:8), something they did not do in the winter. The Roman census, which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, would not have been possible in winter either.  

It is most likely Jesus was born in the springtime. Early scholars estimate the time around March 25 or sometime in April. But Christmas was not celebrated as a holiday for nearly four centuries.  

For many years, the Romans had celebrated the “birthday” of the sun each year on December 25 since that date is near the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the beginning of the winter season. Pagan festivals marked the occasion for centuries before Christians began using the “birthday” of the sun as the birthday of the Son. 

By 1038, the Mass of Christ was called Cristes Maesse, from which we get the word “Christmas.” In 1223, St. Francis of Assisi assembled the first nativity scene.  

And so Jesus’ birthday is celebrated on December 25, and St. Nicholas is the “patron saint” of the holiday. 

And we give gifts to celebrate the greatest Gift.

Read The Full Article Here

Tonight is the NIGHT – OAKWOODMS CHRISTMSAS MOVIE NIGHT @ STARS AND STRIPES

Oakwood Middle School Family Movie Night @ Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theatre.

All Middle School Families are invited to this FREE EVENT for a night of laughs and celebration to start off the Christmas Season. 
MOVIE NIGHT SIGN UP LINK 

Movie Time 7pm – Running TIme 1hr 37min

WE HAVE PLENTLY OF ROOM FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR FRIENDS AND SOME OTHER PEOPLE!!!! 
Watch in the comfort of your car, bring some lawn chairs to sit up front, bring your own food or buy at the concession stand.