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2017 Christmas Offering

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Is it strange to you that on Jesus’ birthday we give each other gifts? At Christmas, we celebrate God the Father giving us His Son, Jesus, to save us from our sins. This gift of love was extraordinarily generous and is pictured every time we give each other a gift at Christmas. Jesus sacrificed Himself for our well being, so we sacrifice some of our money for the well being of others. He loved us, so we love each other (1 John 4:11).

This Christmas, we wanted to put the generosity of the Good News on display through a Redeemer Bible Church Christmas offering. Every penny raised through this offering will go to bless people in our church, our community and on the other side of the world.

There are three areas of generosity that we’re asking you to focus on, pray about and give to - At Home, In Our Community, Across the World:

1. At Home. We have a steady stream of people who either come to us for help or who we know need help. We vet all of them, obviously, but like Jesus who helped us, we want part of our Christmas Offering to help people who are struggling. All of this money will be used throughout the year to remember the poor (Galatians 2:10).

2. In Our Community. There is a foster care crisis in Arizona. Loving our Valley includes mobilizing our church to help. For almost two years we’ve been praying and planning to do this by starting our own Royal Family Kid’s Camp (please see what this is at rfk.org), a one-week summer camp for foster kids ages 7-11. All of our leaders are trained and ready to step out in faith to host an adventure for the kids that God chooses to participate. This camp will have an estimated cost of $40,000 (that's not part of our operating budget for 2018), which means a good portion of our Christmas Offering will go to helping many hurting kids, all of whom are living through the trials and tensions of foster care.

3. Across the World. One of the missionaries (I’m purposely being vague because he’s in a country closed to the Gospel) we support has planted a church, is planting another one and is giving seminary-level training to pastors all over the country he is in. We want the final portion of our Christmas Offering to bless his ministry, and since he will be visiting us in March, what an incredible moment it will be to surprise him by handing him a check from all of you saying, “We love you. We love the people in your country, and we stand with you in your desire to take the Gospel to them.”

I hope that this explanation of our 2017 Christmas Offering will inspire a deep contemplation of your heart. Any amount will help. You can give online here (https://rbc.churchcenter.com/giving), or you can wait until one of our Christmas Eve Services (11:30a, 1p, 2:30p) where will we take an offering specifically for this project.

Between now and then, please be praying about how you and your family can get involved. What a great teaching moment for kids and grandkids, helping them see what Jesus said is true, it is “more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).

For Christ and Our Neighbors!

Jon

Posted by Jon Benzinger with

Giving Thanks Today

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'Tis the season to be thankful! I love that our culture has this time every year when we reflect on all the good things in our lives.

It's important to make sure what we're not like our culture, talking about being thankful without actually thanking the One who's given us every good thing we've ever had (James 1:17).

So, I thought I'd do what 1 Chronicles 16:34 says, "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good." My hope is it'll increase your gratitude and maybe cause you to do your own short post, status update, tweet or journal entry as this list sparks ideas for you to be grateful to God for.

I'm not just thankful, but I actually thank the God of the Bible for...

1. ...My wife (Prov 18:22) -- She's gracious, generous, happy, hardworking and patient, especially with me. I could not do any of the things I do without her. She is God's best gift to me.

2. ...My kids (Psalm 127:3) -- Colin & Ava are an incredible source of laughter, silliness and fun, exactly what is needed after a day full of seriousness. And, we just found out today that in His goodness God is adding another GIRL to our family in April.

3. ...My parents & in-laws (Eph 6:2-3) -- They're all so incredibly helpful and generous, especially when it comes to giving us a break and watching our kids who they all love so much.

4. ...Dale (1 Sam 18:1) -- There's nothing like working with your best friend who you're so aligned with it's scary sometimes. I'm also happy I get to see him, his wife Shawna and their two kids, Noah & Kenna, every Sunday once again.

5. ...Redeemer Bible Church (Phil 1:3-5) -- To go from under 100 to almost 500 in 2.5 years is exciting, humbling and a testimony to God's power & faithfulness. Thank you to all who did not look at outward appearance, have been consistent, prayerful and patient, and who aren't being consumers, but contributing to the turnaround.

6. ...Redeemer's Elders (1 Theses 5:12-13) -- There is no Redeemer, no me and no turnaround without the elders. These men work hard, think hard and pray hard for God's leading and work at our church.

7. ...Redeemer's Staff (1 Cor 15:58) -- There would not have been a turnaround if it weren't for the prayers & diligence of Norma, Tiffany, Josh, Jan, Jacob, Rachel and Michael (and RJ). (Don't forget to be praying for a new kid's ministry director)

8. ...Those who serve at Redeemer (Phil 2:1-4) -- You are the frontline. You are the smile and the handshake. You are the musician. You teach the kids. You mentor the students. You take care of all the details that have made our turnaround possible.

9. ...Those who give to Redeemer (2 Cor 9:6-12) -- Thank you for following the Lord, trusting us, being sacrificial and being generous with your time, your talents and your treasure.

10. ...Growth Groups (Col 3:16-17) -- This is the most important ministry we have, where men and women from every background come together to talk about God's Word, share their lives and love each other. We are a more caring, praying, serving, learning, growing church because of our Growth Groups.

11. ...AWANA (Prov 3:1-2) -- Seeing the life every Wednesday night on our campus with 90+ kids and a bunch of volunteers fills my heart with gratitude to God. Wow! What an amazing few months this has been.

12. ...Redeemer Night (2 Tim 2:15) -- To have just under 100 people every Wednesday night studying God's Word together has been completely unexpected and so incredibly encouraging. 

13. ...Prayer Night (Col 4:2) -- To have a couple dozen people meeting every third Thursday of the month to cry out to God for each other, our church, our city, our nation and our world is a tangible blessing that is shaping the kind of church God wants us to be.

14. ...Jesus (2 Cor 9:15) -- His perfect life belongs to me. His death took my wrath. He never forsakes me. My forgiveness, acceptance and freedom is in Him where I am and nothing can separate me from Him. To have Him is to have everything!

Of course, I could say more. This could be a million points long with all the good things God has given me and our church in 2017. Please forgive me if I missed something obvious.

Reflecting on God's goodness while writing this blog has been really good for my soul. I hope reading it has been the same for you.

Happy Thanksgiving, Redeemer Bible Church!!!

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