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Eliminate stress this holiday season

Ideally, the holidays should to be a time of thankfulness, reflection, and celebration. Yet the idealistic visions of a perfect holiday are often marred by tensions and stress. Financial pressure, over-commitment and unrealistic expectations are among the culprits. However, I’ve discovered a few adjustments that can bring joy and peace to the season.
-Have realistic expectations. Magazines, The Hallmark Channel, even commercials depict elaborate holiday decorations, spotless homes and amazing meals. All of those images push us toward unrealistic expectations of ourselves and everyone else. Instead, do what is realistic for you without feeling guilty, lazy or inadequate.
-Be flexible. You might have to make concessions about when and where celebrations occur to avoid stress in families. Be willing to get together on a different day before or after the holiday if need be. The actual day isn’t as important as the opportunity to gather in a relaxed, unrushed atmosphere.
-Downgrade décor. Just because neighbors or family members decorate excessively doesn’t mean you can’t opt for a different experience. Simple decorations are just as festive (and perhaps more peaceful) than over-the-top extravagance. Include a few items that are special to you or your children, but don’t feel obligated to go overboard.
-Don’t break the budget. Gifts, parties, decorations and travel create a lot of financial pressure during the holidays. Your budget may require reducing the number of gifts you give or finding other ways to cut costs. Ignore the retail hype that plays on your emotions and avoid the temptation to buy with credit cards. Your stress level will skyrocket in January when the bills arrive.
– Just say no. A full holiday calendar equals exhaustion. Consider the logistics before accepting too many invitations. Leave holes in your calendar for quiet evenings at home or impromptu gatherings. You’ll be glad you did.

Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers. 

Getting involved in church












 During the holiday season, people tend to evaluate their priorities.  Let me encourage you to evaluate the level at which you are involved in serving the Lord at your church.


Why should you get more involved? Here are a few compelling reasons to consider:

The laborers are few.

You’ve heard it before: The Gospels only record one prayer request from our Lord Jesus, “Pray for laborers.” If you are not already active, somebody somewhere is praying for you to become involved in the ministry. The need is greater than ever. Laborers are as relatively few as ever.

A popular business principle is one called the 80/20 principle. Basically it goes like this: typically 20% of the people do 80% of the work. In many local churches, 20% do 80% of the giving, 20% of the people do 80% of the outreach. You get the idea.

 Children tend to emulate what they see, not what they hear.

When Jesus selected His apostles, He chose them to be “with Him.” How significant. Ministry is more often “caught” than “taught.” Maybe this principle is what motivated Luke to write of all that Jesus began both “to do and to teach.” Teaching is most effective when doing (on the part of the teacher) precedes it.

What are your children learning about positive, heart-motivated ministry by watching you?

Ministry involvement enhances biblical understanding.

Obviously the Bible is an important book, and we ought to interpret it in its literal, grammatical, and historical context. But understanding the Bible also involves a commitment to obey it. Jesus was careful to point this out to His over-educated critics, “If any man will do his [God’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine…” (John 7:17). As we put the Word of God to practice in our lives, the Lord brings His purposes into focus.

Loosely stated, one Chinese proverb says, “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.”

You will forge long-lasting and valuable friendships.

One of the major fringe benefits of getting involved in our church is discovering genuine friendships. Those to whom we feel the closest in life are typically those with whom we work. Adam and Eve began their marriage side by side, working together—he, the garden worker, and she, his helper. The close connection we have with our coworkers often surpasses the ones we share with our own neighbors.

Some chapters of the Bible are more difficult to read than others. One of them is Romans 16, mainly because some of the names are impossible to pronounce! But what a tender passage it is. Paul takes time to assign value to his coworkers in ministry. Read it. Sense his heart.

Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, Aquila and Priscilla, Peter and John—and the partnerships go on. Ministry partners are the best lifetime friends and great sources of encouragement.

Thanksgiving Basket Outreach





It's a wonderful time of year to share our bounty with families who are less fortunate. Last year, we provided more than 50 baskets to families selected from our Food Pantry. With your help, we can do more! Please consider donating:




  Thanksgiving paper goods such as napkins and paper plates

1 roasting pan

1 $10-15 grocery store gift card for a turkey

2 boxes of stuffing

2 boxes of mashed potatoes

2 jars of gravy

2 cans of corn or green beans

2 cans of cranberry sauce

2 cans of sweet potatoes

1 bag of marshmallows

1 can pumpkin pie filling

1 can evaporated milk

1 graham pie crust

Bring individual items to the church by November 4th, so we can complete the baskets in time for distribution. Please bring your completed baskets on Sunday, November 11th.

Operation Christmas Child


From children to seniors, people pack shoebox gifts each year to bless needy children in more than 100 countries around the world. Parents often use the project to teach their kids about giving. Operation Christmas Child is sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization run by Franklin Graham since 1970. 

You could start with a quality “wow” item such as a stuffed animal, soccer ball with pump, or clothing outfit that will capture the child’s attention the instant he or she opens the box. Lined paper and school supplies are particularly appreciated.

However, some items are NOT permitted: Candy; toothpaste; gum; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; seeds; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers.

Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift. You can also include a personal note and family photo in the box, which is due on Sunday, November 18, 2018.

For more information, contact Kathy Mannino at 386-601-4157.

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