Advent is here!

December 7, 2010

By Steve Wells, South Main Baptist Church Pastor

My son Joshua is our Christmas child; his birthday is December 27th. From March until December of 1997, our lives in the Mississippi Delta were focused around his coming into the world. His timing was perfect: Missy’s brother Wes was working at Ole Miss and was leaving for their bowl game in Phoenix (where Missy’s parents live) on the 28th. Wes was able to see his most recent nephew and deliver pictures to proud grandparents the day after his birth. Hardly impressive in the age of Facebook, but quite an accomplishment in the olden days of the late 20th century.

There is something about good news that we just want to share. And there is no better news than in the perfect timing of God, “the fullness of time” as the Scripture calls it, Jesus came into the world. Advent is an opportunity to Share the Miracle. Advent is a call to let our lives focus around the coming of Jesus into the world as we anticipate His birth. Advent is an opportunity for all of us to remember the Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace that our faith offers us. Just like Missy and I prepared our hearts and home for the coming of Joshua, we should prepare our hearts and homes for the coming of Jesus. So we will decorate the sanctuary and dedicate our time to hearing the story, cherishing the traditions, worshipping the Christ child, and following Him as He grows up to become the king.

I hope our Advent book becomes a significant devotional partner for you this season. More than that, I hope Advent gets deep inside you and you experience the wonder of the season afresh. If you do, why not Share the Miracle and invite someone you know to faith in Jesus this year at His birth…

grace and peace,

Steve

innerloopchurch.com

 


Give Grace…by Erin Conaway

December 3, 2010

By Erin Conaway, Associate Pastor, South Main Baptist Church

There seem to be these tiny pockets of grace that jump out at us and sometimes we are fortunate enough to catch them and other times we sail right by without even blinking.  It was at the end of a long day; Carmen was at a choir rehearsal so I was on daddy duty.  We ate dinner and had the usual dinner struggles, played games and laughed and cried, read books and bargained for just one more, changed into jammies and brushed teeth and used the potty and it was finally time to turn off the lights and go to bed.  I was spent and not in any position to negotiate through any more questions or requests.  Sam was stalling like professional sports agent.  I finally kissed him goodnight, told him I loved him and walked to the door.  He said in a voice that I knew instantly was sincere, “Dadda, please come lay with me in the dark…I’m scared.”  I turned off the light and lay down next to him.  He’s had a few dark issues lately and we’ve talked about how he’s brave and strong and how his stuffed animals will help keep him safe and most importantly, how God is always with him.  He anticipated what I was going to tell him and asked, “Is God here?”

“Yes, buddy, God is here.”

“How tall is God?”

“Well, God is taller than anything you can imagine—even taller than the stars.”

“No way—if God was that tall he’d tear up our roof.”

I laughed—so in love with the combination of his little mind at work and his sensitive spirit.  “Good point…God has a way of being with us without breaking our houses all apart.”

“How old is God?”

“God is as old as anything there is—even older than dinosaurs—God was around before all of that because God is the one who made it all.”

“I sure wish we could see God?”

“Me too…and we can—when we do things the way God would do, sometimes we see God in each other—like when we are kind to other people and love other people.  And sometimes we see God in the beautiful things around us—like beautiful flowers and sparkling stars—because God made all that and in the same way I can tell when you’ve colored a picture—we can tell that God is here because we see the wonderful things God made.”  Doh!  I went too far and lost him…I thought…because he asked me about taking the manna bags to the homeless on Sunday.

Then he said, “Do the homeless get to play in the snow when it snows?”

“Yes, but they also have to sleep in it, which is very cold and no fun at all—snow is mostly fun when you have a warm place to go.”

He was quiet for a minute and I know enough not to mess with his contemplation or try to rush him in these sacred moments.  He held up his little puppy and was doing something with him, but I couldn’t tell what it was in the dark.  I asked, “Sam, what’s puppy doing?”

“He’s trying to look in his heart so he can see God.”

“Good for puppy…in his heart is the best place to look—yours too.”

Sam made it to sleep that night without any further assistance on my part.  I almost missed it…almost just turned the light out, told him he’d be fine and closed the door.  I am confident I have missed more of those wonder-filled moments than I have taken in, but what a blessed gift they are.  I heard a song on the radio by Lady Antebellum that echoes a similar sentiment and want to share the lyrics with you:

Traffic crawls, cell phone calls, talk radio screams at me

Through my tinted window 
I see

A little girl, rust red minivan

She’s got chocolate on her face, got little hands,

And she waves at me,

Yeah she smiles at me.

Well hello world…

How you been? 
Good to see you my old friend

Sometimes I feel, cold as steel broken like I’m never gonna heal

I see a light, a little hope in a little girl,

Well hello world…

Everyday I drive by a little white church,

Its got these little white crosses like angels in the yard

Maybe I should stop on in, say a prayer

Maybe talk to God like He is there

Oh I know he’s there, yeah I know he’s there

Well hello world…

How you been? 
Good to see you my old friend,

Sometimes I feel as cold as steel and broken like I’m never gonna heal

I see a light, a little grace, little faith unfurl.

Well hello world…

Sometimes I forget what living’s for,

And I hear my life through my front door,

And I’ll be there, 
oh I’m home again

I see my wife, little boy, little girl,

Hello world…

Hello world…all the empty disappears

I remember why I’m here

Just surrender and believe

I fall down on my knees

Oh hello world, hello world, hello world…
innerloopchurch.com


Gathering Stones…Advent 2010

December 1, 2010

After the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job or the loss of a home, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time of poignant grief. Being in community with others can help you cope with the holiday season and the pain and the joy brought about by the traditions associated with this time.  We want to offer you a place to talk about your grief, to learn from others who are grieving, and break down the isolation that death often brings to those of us who are left behind.

We will gather the stones of remembrance and share them with one another. Each lunch will include a time of sharing over a specific aspect of grief. These lunches are open to anyone; particularly those who have experienced a significant loss in the past few years. For more information and to RSVP for a lunch, contact Erin Conaway.

Join us on Wednesdays, December 1, 8, 15, Noon – 1:00 p.m. in LB 204 at South Main Baptist Church.


Why South Main?

December 1, 2010

The following are excerpts of feedback we have received from church members about South Main…

I think one of the things that makes South Main so unique is the different paths we each took to get to not only this church, but also to where we are in our faith, and learning about those paths can help each of us learn and grow.

–Melissa Pasche

Chances are, [when getting to know others here] you discover something about someone else that you did not know, that you wish you knew already, that you have in common either from personal interest or life-changing events or similar faith stories or experiences. A librarian for almost twenty years that dabbled in motorcycle riding as a hobby. A graduate that was pointed to the seminary but found their real calling in social work and discovered questioning faith was OK and valuable in discerning God’s plan. A veterinarian by trade, civil war historian who served on an independent school district board for many years. A lover of all things French, with a degree in hospitality management, who married these interests to work in a hotel in Southern France, also who wrestled with death of school-aged child some twenty-five years ago, but found grace and meaning as surviving family members’ lives were enriched by the experience. A physician working with women suffering from breast cancer, with a passion for water-skiing.

–Brian Fowler

smbc.org/share