December was a really great celebration of Jesus’ coming for Emmaus Road Church. We enjoyed fellowship over a Christmas cookie decorating contest (Chewbacca and Yoda did not win by the way), and our first Christmas eve service at the Shilo Inn was a great success. We were also able to bless some of the men of the Rescue Mission with a Christmas gift.
Christmas for our family was a little rough. As a result of Adon being sick for several weeks prior to Christmas, Kim caught Adon’s bug on Christmas Eve and was sick all night. Then more of the family came down with the same bug on Christmas day. At least, our praise is that we were able to have a successful Christmas Eve service before we all got sick.
What are we looking forward to in the New Year? I believe that 2016 is going to be an outstanding year for Emmaus Road Church. We are currently planning to move out of our basement beginning in February. The Lord has blessed us with a wonderful time of worship and fellowship down there for several months, but it is time for the church to begin to put some roots down out in the community. Please pray with us that the Lord will direct us to the place He wants us to gather, and that the funds necessary to rent or buy would be provided. We trust God, and we’re excited to see what He does with us in the days and weeks ahead.
We are in the planning stages of several ministries. For our youth ministry, we’re planning to watch the recent depictions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We’re going to watch the films and discuss elements of Tolkien’s theology as well as some of the additions and changes of Peter Jackson and his team. Our ladies are back to planning ladies events. In January they plan to watch the film War Room and discuss ways that we can be prayer warriors for our families and marriages. The men are half-way through Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods and are working through a discussion of the ways that we as humans tend to idolize almost everything that God has created. We are planning both a mens retreat and a ladies retreat for spring. Finally, we are planning several outreach projects for our team in 2016. Simply put, we are incredibly busy, but we are blessed in that God has given us a mission. Thank you all for your prayer and financial support that enables us to consider various and new ways that we can be the church of Jesus Christ here in our city of Idaho Falls.
I am also happy to report that I am close to the finish line of my Th.M. program. I have been working on my thesis since the fall semester of 2014, and I am ready to finish my first draft in the next few weeks. I am currently writing my last section, and I expect to submit the first draft to my supervisor on February 1st. Please pray for me that I would be able to finish writing and editing, and that I would be ready to submit the thesis in a few weeks. Once the first draft is submitted, my supervisor will provide comments and points that I need to edit or address and then I will be able to submit my final draft sometime in this spring semester. Then, I will need to take a comprehensive exam that covers all of the classes that I took in my Th.M. program, and finally I will be ready to graduate in May, Lord willing. All of your prayer support for me has been felt and is greatly appreciated.
My resolution for 2016 is that my life would increasingly be used to glorify God in many aspects. This week, our church took a look at the Shema in Deuteronomy 6 (vv. 4-9). From that passage about loving God, Moses’ exhortation is clear: Our lives ought to be so governed by our relationship to God that His word characterizes us in all aspects of our lives. How do we get God’s word in us at all times and in all places? Repetition, dedication, devotion, study, teaching, sharing, conversation, home decoration, and above all, the indwelling presence of the Spirit (for new covenant saints). May God’s word dwell in you richly in the days ahead!