• He’s Here

    Devotionals | December 25, 2020

    Mary had waited for nine long months, carrying the child whose conception had been announced to her by the angel Gabriel. She had overcome countless obstacles—the stigma of being an unwed mother, the shock of family and friends, the judgment of the community, the fear of losing Joseph, the long trip to Bethlehem. And now it was time. Mary faced the birth of her firstborn with faith that the One who had carried her through her pregnancy would see her through. And God did. Jesus, the long-promised Anointed One of God, the Son of God, was born.

  • It’s Almost Time

    Devotionals | December 23, 2020

    Anticipation brings us to our toes. Like children peeking into a package, like brides and grooms waiting for their wedding day, like waiting for a birthday . . . like waiting for Christmas. Preparations are underway: cooking, cleaning, choosing gifts. In the last-minute hustle and bustle, let’s not forget to prepare ourselves to welcome the One whose birth we celebrate. Receptive hearts, minds focused on the gift of God with us, and hands ready to extend the gifts of love and grace and reconciliation to all. Are you ready for Christmas?

  • Waiting with Love

    Devotionals | December 21, 2020

    Worry overwhelms thoughts and emotions, clouding judgment and priorities, and stirring up anxiety and irritability. It draws a person’s focus away from God, allowing worry to replace the assurance of His presence and love. Abiding in God’s love displaces worry from the center of our hearts and minds, overshadowed by the reality the love of Christ. We are freed to experience the ongoing, overwhelming, and life-changing love that transforms even times of waiting into times of worship, trust, and love-in-action.

  • For Us

    Devotionals | December 18, 2020

    God is for us. This simple truth is one that many find difficult to believe. Even those of us called by His name may find it hard to believe at times. Moses did. One of the greatest of God’s servants struggled with feelings of inadequacy, disillusionment, and discouragement. And when he did, he wasn’t afraid to call out to God. God responded to Moses at his point of need. He will respond to us, too, speaking the words He knows we need to hear. Pour out your heart to Him. Then listen to what He has to say next.

  • Grieving and Getting Through the Holidays

    Blog | Sheryl Giesbrecht | December 16, 2020

    Is there an empty place at your table this Christmas? For many, this will be their first holiday season without their loved one. It’s okay to remember them. This year, my dad is celebrating his third Christmas in heaven. We recently visited dad’s grave at the beautifully decorated Central Valley veteran’s cemetery; a moving experience to see hundreds of natural pine wreaths with their bright red bows placed lovingly in front of each white marble headstone. Dad would have loved it.

  • No One Wants to Fail

    Devotionals | December 16, 2020

    No one actually sets out to fail. We try our best, give it our all, wanting and hoping that what we have to offer will be enough. Still, we fail at times. The question isn’t ‘if’ we will fail, but when . . . and how . . . and what happens next. Peter’s relationship with Jesus points the way. Think of how often Peter thought he knew better than Jesus. And time and again, he was proved wrong. But Jesus didn’t discard Peter because of failure. He taught him. He corrected him. He sought him out. Jesus does the same with us. And He wants us to do the same with those we lead.

  • Waiting with Peace

    Devotionals | December 14, 2020

    Peace is a gift. It flows from knowing whose we are and who we are. It flows from knowing that God is in control, this is His world, and He is writing His story through the lives of His people. Peace flows from time spent in His presence. It flows through hearing Him speak to us in His Word and by His Spirit. It flows from giving all that troubles us to Him and trusting that He will direct and guide us. God gives us His peace in this hurried, broken, impatient world. Where do you need His peace?

  • A Final Word

    Devotionals | December 11, 2020

    The writer of Hebrews closes his epistle with a final reminder of who Jesus is and speaks words of hope to his recipients. He knew that they were struggling under persecution. In response to their need, He uses his influence to point people to God and to encourage their faith in Him and His purposes. Where do his words find you today? Be encouraged so that you can encourage others.

  • Why Do We Come Together?

    Blog | Gilbert Camacho | December 10, 2020

    Every year at churches, street corners and even the mall, carols and hymns can be heard bringing in the Christmas season. Christmas isn’t just another day; it’s different. It’s not because of the snow, not everyone gets it.  It’s not the parades or bowl games, not everyone watches.  It’s not about the gifts, we don’t always get want we want.  Something about this season changes us.  The feeling is perhaps described best in the movie Scrooged (1988).  Frank Cross, portrayed by Bill Murray, asserts: