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January, 2014 - Issue #111
Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock



It's the Most _____ Time of the Year
by Brennan Conklin
1989 was a Christmas I will always remember. The tree was glowing, the egg nog was poured and a light snow was falling outside. And there they were, so beautifully wrapped under the tree... Several presents with my name on it. The craziness began as paper was flung around the room and gifts were revealed. And to my surprise there was Batman, the Joker and, believe it or not, the long wished-for Batmobile! This was the best Christmas ever!

But so often Christmas doesn't work out the way we plan; instead of "perfect," it looks more like a Griswold family Christmas where the turkey is charred, cousin Eddie won't leave and your Christmas lights short out. The truth is, Christmas is not always the most wonderful time of the year as the song would have us believe; it actually can be far from it.

For some, it can be incredibly crazy and chaotic; for others it can be very sad and lonely. What if there was something we could do to overcome the craziness and sadness - to help us find the wonder and peace that Christmas should bring?

This is exactly what we have planned for you at Real Life Church this Christmas Season with our new series titled, "The most __________ Time of the Year!" We will "fill in the blank" during each service by teaching on the following topics:

Sunday, December 15: Crazy

Saturday/Sunday, December 21 and 22: Sad

Monday/Tuesday, December 23 and 24: Wonderful

Saturday/Sunday, December 28 and 29: Peaceful

For specific service dates, times and locations, visit
www.reallifechurch.org.

We invite you to join us at Real Life Church for a truly "Wonderful" Christmas season and a great way to ring in a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Brennan Conklin is the executive director of ministry at Real Life Church. 775-2041

The Ultimate New Year's Resolution
by John Shaver
"Do not be frightened... for God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Resolutions! On January 1 your whole life can be transformed. For one day, all your good intentions can be jump-started and all your bad habits can be unplugged.

But January 1 is followed by January 2. Soon we will opt for staying in bed a few more minutes rather than the cold morning jog. By January 7, the candy is back.

New Year's resolutions often get packed away with the last of the Christmas decorations. The problem with most of our resolutions is that they are too safe and too me-centered. We resolve to make tiny changes in our lifestyles but refuse to consider restructuring our lives.

What would it mean in 2014 to live, not according to human expectations, but according to God's plan?

Why not make the ultimate New Year's resolution that isn't all about you? The ultimate resolution is to live in the light of God's plans, not human inventions. And when we do this we're not in it alone but God is with us.

What if, instead of resolving to lose 10 pounds this year, you resolved to eat according to a diet that could give back to the Food Pantry?

What if, instead of resolving to spend more quality time with your family, you resolved to take your whole family somewhere in the SCV and help others?

Your life, your commitment to the ultimate resolution, can help the love of God transform the world. I hope you'll join me in the ultimate resolution!

Join us at Valencia UMC as we see how much better things can be when we do life together and invite God into the ultimate New Year's resolution.

Sunday, December 22: Christmas Sunday Celebration Inspiring worship through music at 9am and 10:30am.

Tuesday, December 24: Christmas Eve Worship Family Worship at 4:30pm and 5:30pm; Candlelight Worship at 7:30pm and 9pm; Candlelight Worship with Communion at 11pm.

Sunday, December 29: Pancake Breakfast In Fellowship Hall at 9am;
at 10:30am, All-church Worship.

John Shaver is the lead pastor of Valencia United Methodist Church
255-1301 #VUMChereforgood
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