Advent Devo Day 1

Hope: Week One – Day One

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. – Isaiah 40:3 (NRSV)

Maybe you have heard this passage before. It is repeated in the Gospels and used to describe the ministry of John the Baptist. John was a prophet sent ahead of Jesus to prepare the way for Him. He lived in the wilderness near the Jordan River and people came from all around to hear him and be baptized. John called people to repent and get their hearts right because he knew that the Messiah of God was coming soon.

Advent is the season before Christmas in which we are supposed to prepare our hearts for Christ just like John did two thousand years ago. We are invited to take time for reflection and prayer. We are called to cultivate anticipation in our souls through worship and studying the Bible. We are encouraged to sit quietly and remember what Jesus means for our lives.

The thing is, while God is asking us to prepare our hearts for Jesus, the world is asking us to prepare our homes for Christmas. There are gifts to buy, halls to deck, presents to wrap, lights to string, cookies to bake, and carols to sing. There is so much to keep us busy and distracted that we might miss Jesus when He shows up.

So how should we prepare our hearts for Jesus this Advent? Here are a few ideas: participate in some charity work in your community, attend a special Christmas service with your family, or spend some extra time in prayer or reading your Bible alone or with some close friends. And of course, following this devotion series is something that will help too.

Believe me, Christmas morning is so much sweeter when we welcome the day having prepared for Jesus.

Believe Weekend 2021

Are We Having Believe Weekend?

Yes, Yes We Are.

Will it look a bit different this year?

Right Again.

Believe Weekend is January 28-30, 2021.

This is our Retreat/Disciple Now Event geared for Middle School and High School Students.

Rather than cancelling one more event, we have decided to ask the question,

WHAT CAN WE DO?

#1 WE CAN meet on the Oakwood Campus with regular Covid gathering guidelines for main sessions geared for Oakwood Students as they grow in their faith in Jesus.

#2 WE CAN break out into small groups after each session for real life discussion.

#3 WE CAN provide FUN ACTIVITIES during the weekend that may happen both inside and outside the Oakwood Campus.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT?

#1 WE ARE NOT coordinating HOST HOMES or any overnight activities. Due to the Oakwood Policy during Covid, we have held back from overnight retreats, camps, events, in order to walk wisely in the midst of the pandemic spread.

#2 WE ARE meeting THURSDAY NIGHT, FRIDAY NIGHT, and SATURDAY AFTERNOON/EVENING. This will include main sessions with Speaker, Stuart Hall and the Gladsome Light Band + a few random games and surprises.

#3 WE ARE thinking creative about outside HANGOUTS and FUN EVENTS that look like AFTER PARTIES EACH DAY. So if you are looking to hang with your friends and enjoy outside games, we are working to make them cautiously FUN.

#4 WE ARE thinking about what snacks and food may be appropriate for the AFTER PARTIES and a DINNER SATURDAY.

WE BELIEVE GOD has a word for this generation, and that is based out of John 15. He calls us to BEAR FRUIT and prove to be disciples of Jesus. …Somehow that looked like a Panda in a Pineapple suit, but you get the point. No matter the circumstance, we have the ability to walk in the Fruit of the Spirit and Love like Jesus calls us to Love.

Clear Vision for the New Year

We are BACK IN ACTION for MIDDLE SCHOOL THIS SUNDAY, JANUARY 5 at 9:15am

We are challenging our students to Own Their Faith and take steps to spend time with God. Have you taken the Oakwood Challenge as a Middle School Parent?

Oakwood is taking the entire year to read God’s Word and ask Him for a CLEAR VISION for our personal lives, our relationships, and our community.

Our one goal is to READ MORE THAN YOU HAVE READ BEFORE

Here are TWO OPTIONS to get STARTED:

The YouVersion Bible App is set up with the Chronological Bible Study

Click The Image Above for a direct link to the Bible Plan

Pick Up in an Adult Small Group

Oakwood Passed out the One Year Chronological Bible during our Christmas Eve Services and in Oakwood Small Groups.

Here is an AMAZON Link to the Physical Copy as well

Joy for Christmas

How is your JOY this Christmas? When I think about being a kid and anticipating the Christmas Season, I had an excitement that seemed to grow more and more as the big day headed my way. I was all about getting those presents, and all those hopes and dreams seemed to wrap me up with a Christmas spirit that energized me and brought happiness. As I grew, however, I realized I was getting in sort of a routine. Excitement for a gift, unwrapping the gift, playing with the gift… for about a day or two, and then forgetting I even owned the gift. This buzz I felt in anticipating a wrapped, unknown gift, did not sustain my happiness for very long.

These days, as I have now entered into the DAD ZONE, I find that there is more to Christmas than just receiving the gift. There is something about giving a gift to my kids and family that makes it special. I have realized that the relationships I have around me are the true gift. The ministry here at Oakwood, the family I share the holidays with, the lives that have been impacted, turn into things that bring me joy, and little, by little, I think I am getting closer to relating to what the Wise Men must have experienced as they approached the Messiah as a baby boy.

It says this in Matthew 2

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Matthew 2:10-12 ESV

Where do YOU find your JOY this CHRISTMAS? My hope and prayer is that I might somehow join the Wise Men in anticipation of meeting baby Jesus. I hope to find a place where I too can “rejoice exceedingly with great joy.”

Merry Chrismas!!!

Pastor Brandon

Heart of Hope is THIS SUNDAY

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Location: New Braunfels Civic Center, 375 S Castell Ave, New Braunfels, TX US 78130

As our mission is to Intentionally Engage Our Community with the Love of Jesus Christ, I would have to say that Heart of Hope has become one of my favorite ways Oakwood does that. The generosity of so many in our congregation comes together in a way that channels the Love of Christ into meeting needs and getting to know families, while partnering with a dynamic organization, Communities in Schools. On top of that, I enjoy seeing our students serve along with their families. Somehow things like this seem to fill up my personal “God Bucket” each year. It’s like we were made for something like this!

God Bless you and Merry Christmas!

Pastor B.

Here is the info for the Youth Servers. If you have not signed up during the services, email Tiffany.Lenz@oakwoodnb.com and she can put your student on the list for Lunch or Dinner.

Parent Cue: The Good Life Series

Right now, in our culture, students have a great opportunity to absorb a great amount of knowledge at their fingertips. They have the ability to ask Google or Siri for life advice, what a word means, or dive into deeper aspects of a subject they are learning at school. However, in the world of vast knowledge, a question arises. “What is the right WAY to use all this?” Even with all the knowledge in the world, the human race still needs direction on how to use it properly. How can we make right choices with all our knowledge? This only comes from God. It is called WISDOM.

The Good Life is a four-week series that focuses on the book of Proverbs. It covers the wisdom that can help middle schoolers take a step toward living the good life—God’s best life for them! Real wisdom is hard to come by, but so very important in directing students’ steps. Pointing them to the truth in the book of Proverbs will give them the foundational pieces of wisdom they can not only understand, but also begin to apply to their lives and faith.

THINK ABOUT THIS

“In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.”
PROVERBS 16:9, NIV

DO THIS

 MORNING TIME


Take time to share what you personally think is the good life with your kid this week. Then, ask them to tell you what the good life looks like to them, too.

 MEAL TIME


Take turns sharing with each other about areas in your life where you could use some wisdom right now. Then, share some ideas about where you could find the wisdom you need.  

 DRIVE TIME


Ask your kid where they see you being the least patient with them. Listen to their response and try to exercise more patience the next time you find yourself in that specific situation with your kid.

 BED TIME


Watch the movie, Eighth Grade, to learn about what middle school is like these days. (Watch it without your kid as the content may not be age appropriate yet!) Take note of what middle schoolers are dealing with and talk to your kid about some of the things that stuck out to you from the film.

November Middle School Series

This Month’s Series is based on Micah 6:8

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us to wander through life without any directions. He has given us a set of expectations to show us clearly which paths will take us where we need to go. These expectations aren’t arbitrary rules imposed on us just to make our lives harder. Quite the opposite—God’s expectations exist to give our lives meaning and direction. One important thing to know about God’s expectations: they can’t be faked. They have to start with serious heart transformation that only comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

Act. Love. Walk.

Three signs that we are being transformed from the inside out by Jesus. Three signs to point your students squarely in the direction that God wants them to go.

Nov. 6 Week 1 – ACT JUSTLY

Nov. 13 Week 2 – LOVE MERCY

Nov. 20 Week 3 – ALL ACCESS BELIEVE WEEKEND LAUNCH

Our annual Thanksgiving service is Tuesday, November 26 at 6:30p in the Main Worship Center. If you would like to participate in the Thanksgiving Cook-off, bring your award-winning CHILI or PIE/DESSERT to the Branch at 6p.

Wednesday, Nov. 27 – NO FUSION HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!