Occidental Community Church family,
Habakkuk 3:17-18 - 17.Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines; though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food; though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18.yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior.
This was written by the prophet Habakkuk as he foresaw the Babylonian invasion and the devastation it would bring upon the land of Israel. He shows that his faith in God was not dependent upon favorable circumstances. In fact, even in he face of the worst of circumstances there is reason to rejoice in our God and Savior. Don't we wish that we had such faith! As we come to Thanksgiving Day 2020, we have experienced a year like no other. But let us, like Habakkuk, find reason to rejoice in God and offer up our thanks to Him for His goodness and grace to us even in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic.
The acclaimed Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his positive, uplifting prayers at church each Sunday. He always found something for which to be grateful, no matter what was going on around him. One Sunday, however, it was bitterly cold, there was no heat in the church, and the weather was very gloomy. The congregation collectively thought, "Certainly, Pastor Whyte won't think of anything to give thanks for on a wretched day like this." Much to their surprise, however, Pastor Whyte began his prayer, "We thank Thee, dear Lord, that every day is not like this one!"
If we can find no other reason to give thanks, we thank God that every year is not like this one! And we look forward to better times and safer times in 2021. As we enjoy this Thanksgiving season and prepare for the Christmas season to follow, I want to update you on a few things. First, we have completed two Sundays with our livestream services. Aside from a few minor glitches, it has gone well. We try to make each Sunday smoother and better. I wish to thank all who have helped to make this happen, especially Devon Bolt, Chuck Thode and the Harrison family for their technical skills! Many have worked hard and have been willing to lend a hand so that we might send out praise music and God's Word each Sunday. I hope you have been able to view these services at home. Click here to view our livestreams!
Next, I want to let you know how to prepare for our communion time each first Sunday of the month. Our next communion Sunday will be December 6. I suggest preparing your own communion elements at home ahead of time so that you will be ready to take communion with us at 10 AM when the service starts. You can use grape juice of any kind (or wine if you prefer) and bread or crackers (unleavened, if you can find these in the store). If you can't find unleavened, then use regular bread or crackers. We have at the church some of the presealed cups and wafers that we have been using at the school. If you wish to stop by the church to pick these up, someone is there on Wednesday mornings and Sunday mornings. I will be leading the communion service on our livestream broadcast, and you can participate with me in your own home.
We are decorating for Christmas starting this week, even though we will not be able to assemble as usual. For the enjoyment of everyone on Youttube, Dennis Bolt has suggested that if you wish to make Christmas greeting videos, festive pictures of yourself or family, or anything else you can think of . . . to email them to him so that he can send them out to the church family in December. His email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, If anyone wishes to participate in our Advent Candle lighting each Sunday leading up to Christmas, contact me. We need two people to team up each Sunday. We still have two Sundays open. We will begin our Advent Candle ligthing this coming Sunday.
May God bless you all! We serve a great and glorious God, even in hard times!
Trusting in Him,