Grow Deep - The Excellent Encounter Edition

December 1, 2019 – January 4, 2020

An Excellent Encounter

“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:12

Winter came early this year with record-breaking cold and a blanket of snow. I confess that I am never quite ready for shorter days, frigid temperatures and frozen landscape. And yet, there’s a beauty about winter that seems to be fueled by the darkness, cold and quiet. The hallowed hush of the still, early hours of the morning can become a “sacred place” for me … sacred because Jesus reveals Himself to me as I curl up on the couch, open my Bible and begin to read. It’s a place where He invites me to “encounter” Him face-to-face … a safe place where I can cry out in earnest prayer and wait for His answers. A “sacred place,” indeed, where my faith is strengthened and my love for Him deepens when I linger to reflect on His character and ponder His Word. It is in those “sacred” places where I have learned to lean hard on His promises when my soul quakes with questions or doubt, and I am “fighting” for faith. And when the “hush” of silence is shattered by a repeating refrain in my mind of all the ways I have failed and fallen short, it is a place where the Holy Spirit reminds me to stop and drink in His unconditional love and forgiveness.

And, on this cold, quiet wintery morning as the sun begins to peek through the turned slats of the blinds, I get up from the couch to get ready for the rest of the day. As I head down the hallway, I find myself wondering about Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, and the shepherds. They must have had moments when they had to “fight” for faith … moments when their souls quaked with questions or doubt in the darkness and quiet of the night. Did they, too, have “sacred” places? Did they recall God’s promises in the hallowed hush of the early morning and learn to trust Him there? Did their hearts overflow with joy and worship when they “encountered” the perfect Son of God face-to-face in human flesh? I wonder ….
This edition of Grow Deep will take you on a journey through Advent and Christmas. Don’t miss it! Don’t allow the busyness of the season to rob you of “An Excellent Encounter” with Jesus. Find your “sacred” place in the hallowed hush of the early morning. Accept His invitation to come face-to-face with Him in His Word. Linger to reflect on His promises. Prepare your hearts for His coming during Advent and receive Him with joy at Christmas.

Grow Deep With Jesus!
Adult Ministry
December 2019

Thank you to writers Julie Bode (Week 1); Sandi Geis (Week 2); Jacqui Skoglund (Week 3); Pastor Scott Holder (Week 4); Dr. Joe Bordeaux (Week 5) and to Pastor Dan Teuscher and Sharon Pahde for sharing their expertise and insights with us in this edition.