I was reading Matthew 5:41 from where we get the expression “go the extra mile” — “If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.”
It got me thinking about the theme of “Emmanuel, God with us.” God with us brings so much extra that transcends our little worlds, that gives us something more.
What if “going the extra mile” is more than what we can do for someone else? Yes, there is always that. Going the extra the mile is good when serving someone... even someone demanding (as is the Matthew, “Sermon on the Mount” context). But perhaps in reality, it ends up benefiting the one doing the going (aka, serving)?
Going the extra mile serves to offer a new perspective. It creates the space to consider that something more, beyond my little bubble. To experience a broader scope — someone else’s reality. And God gave us an example by coming to dwell in ours.
Emmanuel, left his throne to give us a home forever with him. And isn’t that really why we “go the extra mile” in the first place? Because he is with us in every step along the way?
So going the extra mile can be a gift to the one who goes. It can give empathy, which leads to to compassion. The kind of compassion that loves like Emmanuel. And that kind of love changes everything.
So this Christmas season when you find yourself serving others, perhaps carrying their gear that extra mile… consider the gift you are receiving in doing so. And consider the One with you as you go.
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.” (John 1:14a, NLT)
God has been growing my trust in His provision (finances) for many years. Several years back Deanne (my wife) and I were at a time in life where monthly bills were extremely tight. Tithing was something we always did, but during this particular season the pressure had been ramped up. We had transitioned to being a one income family and now had a young daughter. I started questioning the wisdom in giving a large portion of our monthly income back to God. Why put ourselves through this stress? Why not take care of ourselves first and then others? These were just some of the big questions we were pondering. One month we had another significant shortage and were faced again with trusting His ways or our own.
We knew several things God had been teaching us at this point. We wanted to stay faithful in giving in all seasons of our life, whether in plenty or scarcity. Giving was something that we had always done and Lord willing, would continue for the rest of our lives. Deanne and I also were united in not using a credit card to cover the gap between paychecks under any circumstances. So there we were…faced with a decision of trusting Him who had always given us so much.
I realize now it was not a question of how much money we would trust Him with, but rather the work of peace He wanted to do in my heart, mind, and soul. Giving had always been a pleasure, because I could see the fruits of what God did with what I gave….that is an amazing experience and beautiful attribute of our Father in heaven. However, the unexpected transformation in my heart was and still is true healing. A healing from the constant striving, worrying, and value I had placed on finances. God wanted to heal that part of my thinking that had been corrupted by sin’s deceitfulness. I had lost so much sleep and robbed myself of so much joy by agonizing over where a decimal point was at on my bank account.
So the end of the month drew near and we gave our usual amount. We were still short a certain dollar amount or we were going to have to look for other options (borrowing from friends, family, etc.) However, at just the right time and almost to the penny the right amount….a check showed up in our mailbox. I was beside myself…I had read about God doing these sorts of things, but never experienced it in such a personal way. We are still in awe of Him today and the way He pours out His love to people. His generosity is staggering. His ways are so good and can always be trusted. Praise God for the body of Christ at Cold Springs who have encouraged us to live life His way in all seasons.
CELEBRATING THE EVENING OF INSPIRATION
On the first Thursday in December, the lady’s ministry team of Cold Springs Church has put on an event called “Evening of Inspiration”. The event includes decorated tables, a potluck dinner, a gift drawing, carols, a Christmas message and an ornament exchange. Cold Springs ladies give of their time, resources, creativity, and hospitality to insure every person who walks through our doors feels welcome. FUN! And a wonderful way to welcome in the Christmas season.
This year, we had the pleasure of hearing Pam Cooke share about her experience with embracing the way God chose to bring about our redemption. She asked “Why Jesus?” She heard a response – “Why not Jesus?”
He came – “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14.
He loved – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends.” – John 15:13
He showed us The Father – “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. - Hebrews 1:3
He left The Spirit – “But I tell you the truth – it is better for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.”
Why do women decorate tables every year, why do they invite others, why do women come to the event who have never set foot in our church, and why do women return year after year? Jesus. “Why Jesus?” “Why not Jesus!”
Our prayer from lady’s ministry is that you would experience the fullness of Jesus in this glorious holiday season.
With Much Love,
As Sharon and I approach our fiftieth year of marriage this coming March, we have experienced the faithfulness and goodness of God… most recently in preserving our home and property which was threatened by the Caldor Fire.. as in feet from the burning Camp Creek ravine nearby. We have two adult married children with loving mates…six healthy, talented, beautiful grandchildren who are a constant reminder of God’s goodness…of His provision of a heritage… a chance to pass on the values, family traditions and stories that have endured… a chance to share our faith…our love of Jesus that we pray will enable them to navigate a world that is so so different from the one Sharon and I had as youngsters.
Finally, Sharon and I have always been each other’s very best friends…. which, in my book, is the key to joy… marital harmony.
All we have… everything that is long lasting- eternal and deeply felt and gratefully held is due to the blessings and faithfulness…. the goodness of God…
Tell us a little bit about your spiritual journey.
My spiritual journey began at the age of five when our family began attending church. That church laid a solid spiritual foundation for my life. In spite of this I found myself, inconceivably, rebelling against God in high school and college. It was no wonder, then, that I found myself in a personal crisis in my mid-twenties. It was then that I finally surrendered my life to Christ. Throughout the decades that have passed since then, I have found that it is during times of tribulation that I grow the most spiritually.
How does Cold Springs Church fit into that spiritual journey?
In this church I feel connected to a wonderful family. My pastors and fellow members inspire me, challenge me, teach me, encourage me, and pray for me. I am truly blessed!
What have been one or two significant life experiences that God has used to draw you closer to Him?
There have been several, but I will share just one for now. In 1984, I began to suffer with severe depression. It went undiagnosed for seven years and therefore untreated. It was shortly after this began that I invited Jesus into my heart, as I mentioned above. The depression took me on quite a profound journey and eventually I was successfully treated.
What are you passionate about these days?
I am passionate about sharing God’s love and His Word with the inmates at our county jail and at Growlersburg Conservation Camp in Georgetown. I have had the incredible privilege of doing so for twenty-one years. All of the hardship I have been through over the course of my life has enabled me to relate to these inmates. God has called me to be compassionate and genuine with them, and I have had the privilege of leading many of them to surrender their lives into His hands.
Please share a story of how you have seen God at work through the prison ministry.
One inmate at Growlersburg immediately comes to mind. In 2004 we were doing a study on finding God’s purpose for our lives, and this quiet, disgruntled, closed-off man just came alive and immersed himself in the study, and in God’s Word. Over the course of seven weeks we watched an incredible transformation take place. He was released with the determination to seek a new way of life, and got involved in a wonderful church in his hometown, finding a ministry in which to serve. When I last spoke with him he was still doing quite well.
There might be other people in the congregation who would be interested in learning more about the prison ministry. What would be a next step for them to learn more?
I would encourage those who are interested to contact me! We are looking for people to join our team in sharing the Bible with the inmates, and in praying for them. Thank you!
To contact me, simply call or email the church office expressing your interest in the prison ministry.
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